NEW BREED SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: TOO DESIGNS
Hot of the back of being awarded the Life Instyle New Breed scholarship, this dynamic design duo aspire to echo their award-winning success by establishing TOO designs as a well known and loved brand within the Australian design community.
With a lifelong passion for art and design, Thomas & Sureen Gouws decided it was time to pursue a different career path. Immigrating to Australia two years ago with their two young daughters, Lana & Kayla, the couple sought a more balanced lifestyle around family. Having done the hard yards through nearly two decades in architecture, culminating in a multi-award wining practice in Pretoria, South Africa, the birth of TOO designs was a natural next step.
Their design style was always characterised by clean architectural lines and simple geometric shapes. This is reflected in the designs of their inspired graphic art series, which invites the owner to create their own designs with metallic, magnetic components. "As with architecture, which is always a collaboration between architect and client, we aim to create products that involve our customers in the creative process and leaves room for personalisation" says the couple.
Navigating two creative brains comes naturally to the couple, who's processes have evolved over years of working together to allow them to work effectively as a team. Starting their week with a quick planning session to outline the week's work goals, the couple are "very much in sync" creatively and work beautifully together across all facets of the business. "As typical creatives, admin is our least favourite part of the job, so we usually just slay the dragon and get it over and done with. Early afternoons are usually spent in our warehouse producing and packing orders."
The plan is working, affording them the lifestyle balance they yearned for, without compromising on creativity or integrity of their design practice. "We are very fortunate that working together has always been very easy for us, and value the fact that is allows us to spend so much time together. We are usually in agreement on design decisions and rarely have opposing views. We also make time for creating our own independent artworks as artist, which allow us to express our creativity individually."
"The Life Instyle New Breed Scholarship is an extraordinary opportunity for us to present our products to Australian retailers. With the amazing exposure the scholarship provides and the guidance of expert mentors, it is really the ideal opportunity for any start-up business to prepare for their first trade show and successfully establish themselves in the industry. We're looking forward to interacting with retailers, getting their feedback and establishing lost of meaningful business connections."
"Late afternoon is family time and we love to take the kids for a play on the beach close to our home and watch the sun set over the water. Being close to nature helps to keep us grounded and see the bigger picture in life. It's all about balance."
Thomas & Sureen Gouws