Hi, I’m Saskia, the founder of Saskia Interiors
I am a Cape Town (South African) native but have lived the larger portion of my life in Europe and East Asia, where I reside today. I have been living in Taipei since 2001.
My approach to design draws on a rich personal history gained from travel to twenty-five countries over my lifetime, as well as a heritage drawn from a large and diversely creative family which boasts professional musicians and performers as well as fine artists, skilled crafts persons and one designer before me; my granddad.
My paternal grandfather, Colin van Oudtshoorn was born into a lower-income working class family in Johannesburg in the mid-thirties. With a limited education, he worked his way up from junior draftsman in a company that designed military vehicles, to one day becoming general manager of that same company.
When my granddad retired he moved to Cape Town, where I was born, following my parents’ decision to trade in big city life for a simpler one on the coast.
Colin’s design talents were soon recognized in the Cape.
After designing and building his own home he began working with his neighbor, a British architect, after his official retirement.
Together they went on to design several homes and also yachts for neighbors and associates.
As grandchildren my cousins and I enjoyed visiting the boat yard and construction sites where Colin managed and personally worked on design projects.
My dad worked with my grandfather for a few years doing the interior fit-outs.
My dad, David van Oudtshoorn, is a cabinet-fitter by trade. He worked predominantly in boat-building before going into philanthropic work in the early eighties.
I started drawing at an early age. My love for the design of small spaces was born through spending many of my early years on the road and camping in RVs while my dad was a traveling salesman in the northern Cape and Namibia. At the early age of five I discovered a love for reading maps and plans.
My appreciation for a natural aesthetic was cultivated out of the wonder many Capetonians share for the wild, rugged beauty of our region of Africa; its unique flora and fauna, as well as indigenous art and culture.
It is something that will always be with me.
In the UK I came to appreciate architectural history through visitation to many of London’s greatest museums and heritage sites across the island on weekends with my family.
In northern and western Europe I began to absorb the subtle appeal of the movement toward modernism and clean functional form. It is my opinion that clean functional form is the essence of good design. It is much like choosing a fresh canvas before beginning a painting in art, only this ‘canvas’ needs to serve many functions for daily living.
Moving to the far east in my late teens I discovered my appreciation for the contemplative and nature-conscious aspects of Japanese design and the excitement of the avant-garde interiors of Hong Kong’s high society.
I am influenced by the high level of craftsmanship evident in the Japanese tradition as well as others of southeast Asia, such as Bali, Malaysia and Thailand. The oriental approach to oneness with nature and meditative form is mirrored in the beautiful tropical minimal style of Brazil’s modernist architects, which rose to prominence early last century.
Here in Taipei many examples of good Taiwanese design draw on these same principles of pureness of form, respect for natural materials and the desire to get closer to nature and living an uncluttered life. LOHAS, the Taiwanese acronym for “Life of Health and Sustainability” is made more possible through intelligent and empathetic design.
As an amateur artist (sketching, painting and multi-media collage) I have a great appreciation for art and believe that everyone should start a collection of something which inspires them.
You can read more on my journey to becoming a designer and what I’ve learned in the twelve years since I ‘caught the design bug’ on my blog, Design Baddie. Design Baddie is our media company and produces educational and entertainment content as part of our design outreach.
Education and Design Practice
I graduated from the three-year professional diploma course with celebrated UK distance-learning interior design school Rhodec International with distinction in 2020.
I still remember the day I discovered that I had found my passion at the crossroads of art and architecture: interior design. More than simply running a business or providing a service I hope to inspire those I have the privilege of working with to know that if you can dream it, you can realize it.
Curious about what drives my passion for green-filled, tropical interiors or simply want some unique design ideas? Receive my free e-book on Tropical Design styles by entering your email address below 🙂