Rupert Smith's industrial loft in Observatory as seen in Elle Decoration Spring Issue no. 110. Photographs Greg Cox Styling Shelley Street All bureaux.co.za

Featured in Elle Decoration’s Spring Issue no.110 is co-owner of VM Central & Olive Studio Rupert Smith’s industrial loft. This home is a sum of his own golden rules in creating a visual narrative.

ELLE Deco SA
Rupert describes his style as ‘A touch of Gothic’ Photographs Greg Cox Styling Shelley Street All bureaux.co.za

‘First of all, I start with a black and white frame and then build and layer from there.’ Rupert starts with a monochromatic canvas and layers textures, decor and design features from different time periods.

Second design rule that Rupert swears by – maximising available light. The loft’s airy double volume with large glass windows meant already an abundance of natural light, accentuated further with use of glass vessels, reflective surfaces and glossy finishes.

‘I was drawn to the industrial elements, but I didn’t want a soulless, run-of-the-mill modern, cold space’

ELLE Deco SA
A lush oasis of plants sits against a monochromatic canvas. Photographs Greg Cox Styling Shelley Street All bureaux.co.za

A proliferation of greenery means the industrial space is anything but sterile, whilst the taxidermy birds and skulls hint at Rupert’s ‘Touch of Gothic’ style.

ELLE Deco SA
The double volume loft has an abundance of natural light. Photographs Greg Cox Styling Shelley Street All bureaux.co.za

‘There was also something about the view, looking out over the rooftops, that reminded me of London,’ he says. ‘I’ve added so much greenery that I don’t even miss the garden.’

And with such an eye for detail, Rupert has ever-changing vignettes and displays which we are lucky enough to get some inspiration from in the Spring issue – on shelf now. DECO also couldn’t help but notice that this stylish home owner has quite the stack of Elle Decoration magazines at his desk…and it made us love this story all the more.

Photographs Greg Cox Styling Shelley Street Original copy Laura Twiggs All bureaux.co.za


For More ELLE DECO Design Inspiration

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram 


The Spring Issue is all about looking forward and recharging. Revitalise yourself, take stock, and get your home and lifestyle in tip-top condition. We explore progressive gardening ideas, show you how to turn your bathroom into a rejuvenation haven, and take you on a tour of homes that capture the essence of the season. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #SpringIssue.