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South African design champion, taste-maker, influencer, editor, design curator and creative director, Cathy O’Clery is a force to be reckoned with…


One of the first, and certainly one of the foremost proponents of local design, Cathy O’Clery has played a significant role in landing ZA design talent on the international map, as well as planting it firmly in the hearts and minds of South Africans back home.

Perhaps it was working in design and décor publishing in the UK – from where she originally hails – as the features editor and stylist on the iconic World of Interiors magazine that gave her an outsider’s appreciation for the wealth of talent she discovered on our shores. But she knew a good thing when she saw it, and was one of the few people in the country to celebrate contemporary South African design when she moved here in 1995.

Cathy O Cleryklein

Cathy conceived and curated the inaugural South Africa House – an event that was then held annually at the decorating show Rooms on View. She was appointed as editor of Elle Decoration magazine and then associate editor of House and Leisure and Conde Nast House & Garden, but was and still is extremely influential outside of publishing. She has mentored several emerging designers and has also art directed and developed product for leading retail companies, such as homeware store Loads of Living. Her award-winning fabric and soft furnishing collections have been distributed here and abroad.

Currently, Cathy is a co-founder and partner at Platform Creative Agency. She is the Programmes Director of 100% Design South Africa and curates many of the feature exhibitions at the show. She is also an ongoing Design Facilitator for Design Network Africa, a Danish funded programme that supports market access for some of the continent’s top designers. Due to this wealth of experience and far-reaching expertise, Cathy is recognised as an expert on contemporary African design and is often called on to present on the topic.

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