Buhle Bendalo Designs (often referred to as BBD) is a full-service Interior design and Event design and styling business that prides itself on space experiences. Buhle Bendalo Designs was born from two separate paths that converged. It arose from the need to create authentic and inclusive stories within a design context - the question was “Can I make others happier and more at peace, by nurturing what they look at?" Years ago, we designed and manufactured cushions - we had not seen African print cushions that were luxurious, both in design and cushion filling. And when ordering them, clients would often ask for design advice. Sharing this advice about which cushions to buy for their space and how to place them for an aesthetically-pleasing finish, encouraged them. As time went on, and we began to create chairs and couches - what was once simple cushion advice became space advice.
Years before, on construction sites working as a project coordinator with my eyes set on becoming a construction project manager, I was immersed in the design of properties and choosing of finishes that highlighted the Look and Feel of the building. I could not contain myself when it came to the Finishing Schedule (a document describing the materials to be used in the project. Materials such as wood type, countertops, tiles, paint colours etc.). With each site visit and resultant site-meeting, my interest was expanding. One day, on site, as we walked and examined the floors as they were being built, an architect pulled me to the side and told me he believed I was in the right industry, but would I consider that my path was different. He suggested that an Interior Designer was bubbling in my spirit. He had observed the books I read on long trips; the questions I posed and; my contribution to the project we were both working on. He spoke so much life into me that day, but even then I felt the dream was greater than that - I wanted more. In the interim, I buckled up on education and training so I could offer competitive and professional views as well as designs. To think that a personal need and technical disposition birthed an entire business.
Design is personal. Good Design is integral. From spaces to homeware to furniture – everything that we create, is for the amazing people we service. After a particularly long day, have you ever imagined arriving home, taking off your shoes and throwing yourself on your couch? Now, arrive.
Buhle Bendalo Designs is also trusted by one of the largest design and build fit-out specialists in South Africa for their technical audits. Buhle Bendalo Designs is a strong team of draughts-people, contractors, installers, experts in floor and wall finishes and window dressings and; vendors and suppliers whose networks stretch across South Africa and bordering countries. Altogether, these various people make the Buhle Bendalo Designs team strong and able to take on your project.
Buhle Bendalo Designs is a full-service African Interior Design and Event Styling company, founded by Buyisiwe Dlamini, with a focus on fusing a luxury and urbane African aesthetic with modern design. ‘Ubuhle bendalo’ is the Zulu phrase meaning ‘the beauty of creation’ and the founding pursuit of our brand. We have the unique ability to translate spaces to meet the bespoke needs of our clients and illuminate their tastes.
Buyisiwe Dlamini is one of the only design professionals, in Johannesburg, who is also qualified to advise on the management and life cycle of various facilities from commercial office space to hospitals. This is a rare skill as this qualifies her to consider the lifespan of the design of a facility from a repairs and maintenance view, increasing a property’s eventual resale value. She holds, with Distinction, a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Witwatersrand in Property Development with a specialization in Facilities Management, the first and only Facilities Management qualification recognized by SAFMA (South African Facilities Management Association).
I spent my early years in Soweto, Johannesburg and this was the foundation of my love affair with interior design and homeware. I have such a deep appreciation of beautiful aesthetics and this is a result of the melting pot of design experiences I had, as a young girl exposed to the township. My love of colour and patterns is influenced by the beauty I saw around myself, as a child. I recall my first major fashion moment which shook me to my core - my cousin arrived, to a family funeral, in a black and white tweed houndstooth-patterned skirt, matched with diamond detail stockings. I spent the day immersed by her. I recall my mother’s love for fitted two-piece luxury suits with silk blouses; our beautiful Gregorian lounge suite, with wooden trimmings, which was stitched most exquisitely. My love for entertaining and styling, I can attribute to the society parties in and around my mother’s childhood home, as well as my father’s friends. I grew up around fashion as a culture: everything from cuban-link gold chains worn with flavourful short-sleeved shirts; the white “doctor’s” loafers my dad would wear with his chino shorts; my mother’s long hair in neat plaits across her head and flowing denim dresses that she’d wear when baking, rhythm and blues pumping from the speakers … This was a time when home had a soul that run across its foundation and; when Old Johannesburg (town) was just Johannesburg. And still today, I find myself in town, wondering in old buildings, gushing over the architecture and running my fingers across walls that have stood the test of eras and errors.
Forevermore when I design a room, I always think of it as an outfit and I often ask my clients to show me some of their favourite outfits, prior to designing their space.
Her on -site experience spans almost two decades and includes project administration and management on large scale schools, residences and clinics. She is a leading young designer who has overseen complete home renovations to décor and styling. She is knowledgeable about and involved in full service design from concept design to project management and the management of contractors, space planning to furniture selection and colour consultation. She is known for her ability to lift the mood in spaces. She is passionate about design education, specifically educating clients and her community about their homes and the design industry across various social media and in her blogging platform *link*. As a designer, her main goal is to save her clients time, money and headaches; help her clients avoid the costly mistakes too many home owners make often. Buhle Bendalo Designs has worked with successful young professionals, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, development financiers and legal practitioners, and Buyisiwe is fond of her one-on-one relationship with her clients. Her personal design ethos speaks to integrity, adaptability and translation.
“I was raised around women and men who cared about the spaces they occupied. I think about colour and textiles and texture frequently. Do you recall Tapyt? It’s the name we used for vinyl flooring – I was infatuated with the prints. Having beautiful floors was important to our people. Looking back, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t analysing, creating or advising.”
Buyisiwe holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Management, Diplomas in Interior Design and Project Management, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Property Development (Facilities Management) with Distinction. The alliance of her educative and work background have set her up to design and preserve spaces across South Africa.
We are of the core belief that good design encapsulates vulnerable collaboration between ourselves and our clients. We aim to listen, with empathy, for desires unspoken. Our goal is to create rooms of contentment through the meshing of each client’s physical, emotional and visual needs with our design ability and vision.
We source from numerous stores, material yards and manufacturers across the country, including but not limited to: