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Subliminal: Debi van Zyl

Debi van Zyl is a British-born, South African-and-Canadian-raised, LA transplant (whew!), currently working in architecture and exhibition design. When she’s not on the job, she’s knitting little beastie creatures and creating paper goods, mobiles and designing furniture. She’s been knitting beasts for about a year and a half, and is currently trying out knitting some new, more human-like creatures.

What are you currently inspired by?
Clever and elegant reuse of materials (ie: Piet Hein Eek) and Polaroid photos…with the news of Polaroid’s demise, I love how everyone is in “Polaroid mode”. It reminds us that new technology is not always better.

What websites can you not live without?
Besides all the blogs I have bookmarked (and there are too many to list)…designboom.

What magazine subscriptions do you currently have? (Bonus Q: How many of them do you actually read?)
None, actually…I used to subscribe to Dwell, Marie Claire Maison and an Australian design journal called Artichoke, but I had to stop. I couldn’t store all the back issues and I felt guilty getting rid of any them. Now I just buy the ones I want when I want them. I am thinking about subscribing to I.D. magazine, though. These days I am reading it cover to cover.

4. Which designers most inspire you?
Eileen Gray
Eduardo Chillida
Piet Hein Eek
Hella Jongerius

What are your favorite inspirational spots?
The high desert – Joshua Tree, CA – the landscape is very inspiring. Sometimes in my car – the traffic has me sitting for hours, so a lot of day dreaming goes on.

What is your favorite local store?
The SCI-Arc Supply Store, in downtown LA. I still go there to buy stuff, long after graduation.
Tortoise, Venice, CA.
Turpan, Brentwood, CA.

What is your favorite music to work by?
I actually listen to a range of things…and it’s never one artist or CD. Also, I listen to old ‘This American Life’ shows, though mostly I’m tuning out.

What books are you currently reading?
None at the moment, but I just finished “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, which was incredible. And sad.

Any “inspiring” deadlines coming up?
My first wholesale order to an upstart shop in London to be completed in a about two weeks, and then my own personal deadline of launching a new set of knitted creatures (end of July).

Thanks to Debi for the interview!

2 Responses to “Subliminal: Debi van Zyl”

  1. Great! I’m happy to have read the interview to Debi van Zyl, I love her beasts and the inside of her studio. Thank you.

  2. her little knit creatures are beautiful. I wish i had them all. And the inside of her studio is great. So colorful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing :)
    Love,
    J