International award-winning interior architect, Tristan Du Plessis is no stranger to crafting eye-catching spaces that bring together form and function. A family background in art has shaped his collaborative approach to his craft. The 33-year-old designer has evolved to specialize in luxury hospitality and bespoke residential design. From the unexpected start to his career – he initially wanted to pursue a degree in marketing – he has become one of the most sought-after interior architects and brought along other South African design talents including Gregor Jenkins, Lucie de Moyencourt, Chris Soal, Jake Singer and David Brits to shine on the world stage.
His distinctive signature design quickly attracted international attention even earning him the coveted award for The Hotel of the year at the 2019 AHEAD awards (Middle East and Africa). His success is anything but traditional; the multi-hyphenate talent is as well known for his style as he is for his design. Not only did he earn a spot on GQ South Africa’s 10 Most Stylish Men List, but he was also awarded Designer of The Year by the prestigious publication and is an Ambassador for the premium global brand, Courvoisier.
A full slate of projects coming up in Dubai include the highly anticipated SAN, Dubai’s first African-inspired beach club on The Palm Jumeirah – rubbing shoulders with the St. Regis on The Palm – and Loren, an Italian Riviera-inspired eatery that evokes the 70’s glamor made famous by the iconic actress, Sophia Loren; these will be glamourous additions to the Dubai landscape.
“I love the challenge of creating a beautiful space that distinctly stands out yet maintains the essence of its surroundings. It’s something that I consider with all my projects, especially in Dubai where the eye is spoiled for choice,” says Du Plessis on his philosophy when it comes to luxury design.
Du Plessis is no stranger to the region, he applied his talents to the award-winning Clay Bahrain and its recently inaugurated, equally as stunning Bluewaters Island location in Dubai. The Japanese-Peruvian eatery is known as much for being a beautiful space as it is a gastronomic experience. Moreover, with The Meat Co Dubai, Tristan brought a taste of African luxe and as always hit the mark, winning yet another award for his work with Best Bar Design for Middle East and Africa and a finalist in Best Restaurant Design category.
With Katsuya, the culinary concept from LA’s SBE Group, the acclaimed designer leaned into the luxurious vibe that has become synonymous with Dubai mixed with an ode to the Japanese cuisine that has made the concept famous.
One would think that with so many projects on the go in the Middle East, South Africa, and Europe, Tristan wouldn’t have time to sleep, let alone find the time for leisure. “More than loving what I do, I love that through my work I get to explore my curiosity, particularly through collaboration. Marrying art, design, and the understanding of what makes a singular experience exciting is fascinating.”
The next two years are already looking jampacked including a first for the designer; a nightlife project in none other than Miami, the nightlife capital and design hub, which launches in late 2022. Top of his agenda for 2023 is a large-scale luxury hotel by one of the leading hospitality brands in the world – arguably the last one missing from Abu Dhabi’s vibrant hospitality scene. “It is incredibly exciting to have been selected for a project of this magnitude and I wish I could shout it from the rooftops. But, what I can say is that it’s a wonderfully challenging project that will allow me to showcase another aspect of my capabilities,” says Du Plessis.
Having a full-slate doesn’t mean that he doesn’t bring his distinctive vision to each project – which was evident when not one but two of his projects were nominated in the same category for best restaurant and bar design in 2019. “Now that travel is back on the table, I am eager to be inspired in a completely different way, and I am honored to be the Head Judge at the Accor Design awards this year – which challenges me to elevate my own design going forward,” remarks Du Plessis.
Dubai’s landscape is constantly changing and with it comes an exciting wave of fresh new talent such as the likes of Tristan Du Plessis. While he has started to make his mark with his latest projects, it is evident that this is the beginning of an exciting step towards cementing his status as a leading designer in the GCC region.