mario rodrigues and andrew irving
extraordinary talents.

There are few times when doing an interview is not only a pleasure, but a treat.
Having the privilege to chat with Mario Rodrigues and partner Andrew Irving of Interdeco was certainly one of those occasions!

These are two people unaffected by their success and deserving of every accolade bestowed on them.
Mario has been a stalwart of the Durban Décor scene since he opened his premises in 1980.
He chuckled at me for absent mindedly having asked for their address.
“I’ve been in the same premises since 1980..42 years. I opened my business when I was 24!”
Being a Durbanite myself and having known Mario and Andrew for a number of years, I had to put that one down to a “senior moment” on my part.

Walking into Interdeco’s premises is rather like walking into Aladdin’s cave, (an incredibly understated and stylish Aladdin’s cave.)

“I initially set out to study architecture” says Mario, “but after three years I decided that that wasn’t for me, and I started Interdeco.
My parents were incredibly supportive. They said I was young and still had time to make mistakes and should take the time to find what I wanted to do with my life. “

42 Years later it is clear Mario has found his calling and passion and the Décor Industry is far richer for him having done so.

Mario and partner Andrew have been together for 32 years, and their passion for their business and sense of style is clearly evident.
“Andrew has his following, and  have mine. And then there are projects we both work on” says Mario. “We play off one another’s strengths.”
Mario and Andrew have undertaken projects as far afield as London, Portugal, Los Angeles, and several Game lodge sites in Botswana (one of which they are currently working on re-decorating).
“We have developed relationships with many of our clients which span decades” says Mario.
“We decorated clients’ homes and business premises in South Africa, and now their children have grown up and have relocated around the globe, and they in turn ask us to decorate for them.
The children are familiar and comfortable with us and our style, and of course the exchange rate works in their favour.
I recall dropping one of the children off at school many years back, and now she is a grown woman with children of her own, and we decorate her homes for her.”

It is this incredible testimony to a personal investment in their clients lives, not simply as clients but as people that strikes me.

I ask Mario if he has any favourite projects which he has worked on, or any that stand out.
“You know, all our projects are incredibly special because you are dealing with individuals and each person is unique.
But there is one at the moment we are incredibly excited to see finished! We have a client who invested in a private jet and asked us to design the interiors.
It was a year an a half back, but of course with COVID, we have never actually seen the finished project.
And we have just had a call from the client saying the jet is now in Durban and would we like to see it!”

Mario’s excitement at the prospect of seeing their work having been brought to life is evident.
And why would it not be. If I was in his shoes, I would be clicking my heels like Dorothy to see that plane!

“We have had the privilege to work with people who have flown us in private jets to their homes.
We are working on a project for a client in Cumberland Terrace on Regents Park in London, and I will be there for a few weeks in May to assist in making sure al goes according to plan”
Mario shows me a picture of the Cumberland Terrace apartment block, and I am blown away.
“THAT is an apartment block?!”
He laughs..””Yes!”

When asked about any trends for the season Mario smiles. “I sometimes tell clients that what is trending this season will probably be out of fashion next year.
We don’t really work on trends. Both Andrew and I prefer natural materials.. Stone, marble, Travertine, rather than engineered products like porcelain tiles.
Natural materials have a warmth to them and are tactile.
If there is any trend, I would say we have noticed, it would be one that has been prevalent for the last five years or so, and that would be the use of wall coverings to disguise features such as doors.
You may have a small entrance with a door immediately adjacent to the main entrance door and want to disguise the second door to make the space look larger.
With many of our projects, we get involved from the planning stages with the client’s architect to ensure that they get the best possible results.
Having a great working relationship and understanding with architects is beneficial to ourselves, the architects, and most importantly, our clients”

After generously giving up two hours of their time to chat with me, I leave Mario and Andrew to get back to the business of making the world a more beautiful place.

These are two individuals who are successful not only because of their huge talents, but because they remain unaffected and humble in spite of it..
Cumberland Terrace
You will find Interdeco at:

368 Florida Road
Windermere
Durban
Tel: 031 312 8530