Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere – Albert Einstein
Meet Christoff Steyn. The superbly gifted Architectural Retail and Interior Designer of Roodt Architects. A bona fide man of style. He is smart, sophisticated and seriously talented.
A true creative thinker who will inspire you with his imaginative designs and innovative ideas. His passion for great design is apparent in all he does.
He is the mastermind and architectural designer behind exceptional buildings and their outstanding interiors such as The Pienaar House, The Central Media head office and the NEW OFS Smart Repair HQ.
Here is a very special peek into the remarkable mind that is Mr. Christoff Steyn.
Architectural Retail and Interior Designer.
So, what’s your story?
Where were you born?
Was born in Odendaalsrus
Where did you go to school?
Matriculated at Welkom Gimnasium
Where and what did you study?
I studied Architecture at University of Free State where I obtained B.Arch (Stud) degree with distinction in design.
What was your childhood dream?
My biggest dream was to live in a massive city which led me to become interested in urban space and architecture from a very early age.
What was your first job?
I asked my design professor where I could apply for work during varsity breaks and he said that Roodt Architects is the slickest firm in town and that I must give Anton a call. I did and I’ve worked there in my first year of studies, then thereafter they asked me back every year and I never left!
Advice that shaped you career?
Professor Ora Joubert once told me that everyone’s normal is different, her front door is at the back of her house and why not?
That really opened my eyes especially in relation to designing for clients. There is many ways to solve Architectural problems but only few of those could work for your specific client.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What motivates you?
It’s probably my worst and best asset but essentially im a people pleaser. I love realising the dreams of my clients and that is what keeps me awake at nights.
How do you spend your down time?
I love road trips, i love going to eat at amazing restaurants with good friends and yes who doesn’t love to Netflix and chill. After all that laziness gym is in order.
What does success look like to you?
Returning clientele is key to any architect and designer, they must enjoy the process and the end product so much that they must always come back for more.
What sets you apart as an influential architect?
I’ve always been able to read people and situations very well, and that has always allowed me to come up with the best solutions to the client’s design problem.
What are the valuable lessons you have learnt in business?
Have the uncomfortable conversations like professional fees early, always return phone calls and do not be afraid to delegate, you can’t do everything yourself.
What makes a great architect?
Good listener, good salesman and a proper problem solver and then most importantly the ability to make it all look pretty in the end 🙂
Give me 3 words that describes you best?
Quiet, Honest and Confident
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?
- I was invited to show my work at Design Indaba Emerging Creatives exhibit in 2009
- Being part of the design team of merit award winning Architecture for the Urban hotel
- First retail designer in Africa who was accredited by Zeiss Germany to design Zeiss Experience retail stores.
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:
You are good enough.
Your hidden talent:
I’m actually a very good cook, when I get the chance.
What other architects, designers or artists do you look up to?
- Architects – Anton Roodt, Bjarke Ingels, Heatherwick Studio
- Artists – Willem boshof, Jeff Koons, Roger ballen, Andrzej Urbanski
- Designers – Tom Ford, Valentino, Alexander McQueen
What is one characteristic that you believe every great designer should possess?
What advice would you give someone starting their creative career?
Constantly educate yourself visually, travel and sleep.
- Colour: Black
- Food: Steak (rare)
- Drink: Scotch (neat)
- Building: Elbphilharmonie Hall in Hamburg
- Artist or designer: Daniel Ting Chong
- Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman
- Brand: Tom Ford
- Happy place: New York City
- Band: The XX – Coexist
- Car: Volvo
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Joan Rivers. She would make a joke or insult me, but there will be laughs.
- Quote: ”Most People are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation” – Oscar Wilde
- Book or Magazine: Single man by Christopher Isherwood and Fotostaatmasjien by Bibi Slippers
- Online inspiration:
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them – Henry David Thoreau