CATE SIMPSON IS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER AND SERVICE CONSULTANT
My passion and knowledge for African design came from my having been extremely fortunate to have had extensive hands-on experience in travel and tourism and in eventually having been able to weave my experience and passion into my work.
My first inspiration for design in Africa came in 1996 when I backpacked from Egypt to Cape Town and it was on this journey that my love of all things African grew – I knew I had found my passion and my home. The natural scenic beauty, the wildlife and the rich diversity of cultural heritage provides endless inspiration in a vast array of colour, texture, pattern, scent and language. Every vista is a feast for the eye and as I grew to understand each scene more and more, I fell in love with each and every aspect of Africa.
I reflect on this in all my work and my ground experience, my admiration for culture and knowledge of manufacture is something that I draw on in every project still.
This captivating splendour of Africa led me to a 17 year career with the world renowned luxury photographic safari company Wilderness Safaris, working in 7 different countries. Through this I acquired experience in Guiding, Camp and Operational Management, Sales & Marketing and finally
as their Group Standards and Service Manager.
During my last 5 years with Wilderness, I was responsible for the entire groups service standards and guest experience and was involved and managed many building and refurbishment projects through all their 7 regions of operation. In this period I was lucky enough to work with some of the best designers on the continent: Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens of Adventarch, Nick Plewman and Life Interior Architects. I extended my knowledge, experience and pure passion for the industry through these engagements and I continue to learn as each new project and environment presents its own unique qualities and challenges.
My operational career ended in Seychelles on the award winning North Island where I had initially worked with the lead designers in maintaining the Interior standards and design integrity.
I then assumed the responsibility of all Interior Design and refurbishment projects as well as service offering and operational standards for the business. After 12 years as part of their team, North Island became my very first client in 2016 when I initiated ‘Reflecting Africa’, seeking to focus my career in interior design.
The name was important to me because I felt that by pushing the luxury boundaries in African hospitality the industry had started risking losing the focus of our unique locations we are operating in. Protecting these unique and sensitive environments that tourism products operate in is critical to the survival of both the people and biodiversity of these regions and our opportunity as designers is to create spaces that are always a reflection and a celebration of the location and culture the product is immersed in.
We are so privileged to work in these unspoiled environments that are rare in the world today – as a designer, I am explicitly considerate of their protection.
I promise a bespoke design which is a reflection and in celebration of the local environment.
By engaging with Africa’s finest artisans, I am able to push the boundaries and find unique ways of representing the exceptional environments I am privileged enough to work in.
One of my passions is exploration into what can be locally made and am always mindful of eco conscious production.
I will engage artistically but also practically. I always consider the longevity of products and factors of resupply into these unique locations.
I enjoy working with colleagues who have committed their careers to these remote environments and we strive to assist in delivery of unique experiences for guests. We continually push the boundaries in our industry in Africa. I delight in teamwork with a bringing together of creative ideas and strategies to achieve implementation.
I have been fortunate to have engaged with many of Africa’s leading tourism companies and have relished the experiences. Working with all levels of staff within the industry has been inspirational and rewarding.
Post any project I leave a set of standards documents and training suggestions.
I understand the importance of replacement in any environment while keeping to a style already created. I work with owners and staff to ensure that consistency, practicality and functionality are considered for any particular style. Shipping arrangements and the subsequent accurate documentation, packaging and labelling are always considered a priority.
I also gladly sort out décor for any festivity! I love a party!!!! I enjoy creating unique concepts for such celebrations that combine the distinct characteristics of a particular lodge or hotel to craft unique offerings and make all guests feel particularly spoiled.
Nothing can enhance a properties décor more than the small touches – be it for festivities, as departure gifts or special occasions, I will happily assist.
GET IN TOUCH
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Nature is such a positive force and blurring the boundaries with interior design is a delicate art. Cate has perfected this balance of elements and creates magic in her simplistic sophistication. I love watching Cate’s timeless approach to design, her uncanny knack of integrating time and place is so important to portray the unique purpose of our Wilderness Brand.
Cate Simpson helped the award-winning Cottar’s 1920’s Camp build on their success with a refurbishment of the mess tent, explorers tent and honeymoon tent. With a vision and flair she designed and 1920s interior, that was befitting, authentic and provided the wow that we needed for intrepid Safari travellers.
Cate managed the full design and installation at Hoanib Valley Camp. With her experience of working in camps and managing service standards, combined with a great sense of style, Cate achieved the perfect balance of creating a beautiful retreat for our guests that is functional and practical too. We would highly recommend Cate’s services.