Name: Franco Moz (AKA Francois Mostert)
Company: Robin Sprong Wallpaper
Position within company: Chief Designer
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I studied Industrial Design (National Diploma) at the Witwatersrand University of Technology (WITS) in Johannesburg from 1996-1998, after which I moved to Cape Town in January 1999. My first creative job was as a comic book colourist at STRIKA Entertainment, where I worked for 11 years. Our main publication, a soccer comic called SUPE STRIKAS, was one of the widest print sport publications in the world, with over a million copies printed per month. As a comic book artist, my work has been published in 24 countries, throughout Africa, Europe, South Asia and the Americas.
After my work in the comic book industry, I worked for 3 years as a Photoshop retouch specialist in the stock photography industry for Coco Productions. It was during this time that I did a few hand painted wall murals. My friends told me that they were really good, and that I had to consider doing wallpaper designs full time.
In May 2014 I met with Robin Sprong, who has been doing custom wall covering and large scale printing for several years, and he was looking for a new designer. It was a perfect fit, and I have been working as the Chief Designer at Robin Sprong Wallpaper for 5 years. Although we represent ranges from over 40 local and international designers in our portfolio, as Chief Designer I am responsible for all custom wall art projects, and it gives me great pleasure to help our clients realise their vision, and the perfect wallpaper for their individual projects. I also have my own portfolio range as Franco Moz.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I love nature and my style of design definitely reflects that. The majority of my wallpaper designs are inspired by botanicals, and my Crazy Banana designs have received international acclaim from various publications. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Design Et Al International Design and Architecture Awards, in the wall-covering category. I have recently started to incorporate birds and animals into my designs, and it has been met with great reviews. My latest and most ambitious design takes inspiration from the Chinoiserie wallpaper style. It was created as individual elements that I digitally “painted” and it was created so that I can rearrange the individual elements so that each design would be completely unique, and that no two walls would look exactly the same.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I take most of my inspiration from nature. The more we become urbanised, the more we seek to include nature in some way or another in our lives. Through an expression of art or through the colours we surround ourselves; we are able to connect with nature even while we are in an urban environment. This process facilitates feelings of peace, happiness and rejuvenation, and that is what inspires me to create designs that will make people happy when they look at them.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I believe that contemporary design is moving towards wholesomeness and calm, rather than chaos and discord, in general. The current worldwide trends of opposition to the status quo and consideration for all life and the environment has made people thinking about what we need to do to make the world a better place. The way we design for our environment now will shape the world that our children will live in. We are starting to design with an attitude of positivism and consciousness of how these designs will impact on the well-being of future generations.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.
Sustainability, environmentally friendly (green), global awareness, cultural sensitivity and enlightenment.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Follow you heart. The purest expression of design comes from being true to yourself.
How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
I think it is very important to recognise and encourage excellence in design and architecture, which these awards do on a global scale. We are the products of our environment, and if that environment is sensitive to the creation and attainment to life and well being, it benefits the human race as a whole.
What projects are you currently working on?
We currently have three students form the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CUPT) Surface Design Faculty doing an internship with us. I am teaching them the fundamentals of design and product development. There is no greater call in life than the one to impart what we have learned to the future generations. It is an honour and a duty to teach what we have learned and to instil a respect for the continuation of our industry.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
I would like to incorporate a wider cultural influence into my design aesthetic. Recent trips to Mexico and North America has widened my creative pallet and opened up new avenues for using colour and flavour in my future designs. Life is a wonderful adventurous journey, and we as designers have the opportunity to use our experiences to enrich the world with cultural and natural diversity.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
I have inherited an artwork supposedly painted by Francis Bacon. It has not been authenticated, but it is a treasure to me non-the less?
Your favourite holiday destination?
There are so many, but I really love Oregon, USA.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
La Residence, Franschoek, Western Cape. La Parada restaurant, I don’t go to bars…
Your favourite book, film & song?
Comic books, The Greatest Showman, Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Your favourite food and drink?
Prawn cocktail, Margerita!
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
A long walk on the Cape coastline, if the sun shines…
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I would have loved to sing, but I’m a bit tone deaf…
Anything else interesting?
I am one of two twins in the family. Most people think we are identical, but I’m prettier 😉