Pure functional­ity is its reason for being. Nothing wrong with that. But with some creative thought, the addition of considered aesthetics to basic useability transforms a thing into something more. That’s essentiall­y what design is all about – and this issue is packed with examples.

Micro-apartments… We’re seeing many of those sprouting up in cities here and around the globe, most with the generic look of the moment that usually involves plenty of 90º angles, along with swathes of glass and steel frontage. Now have a look at our Uxolo Apartments feature on page 134. Same basic concept; totally different approach. It’s bold and unlikely to be to everyone’s taste, but its designers have brought a unique and thoroughly modern Afro-futurist aesthetic to it that sets Uxolo apart. It’s also a great example of how design doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s not necessaril­y about high-cost materials – creative and inventive design has given relatively low-priced apartments a rather special feel.

Lodges… We see a lot of those too, and there’s a lovely Out Of Africa luxury aesthetic that many faithfully adhere to. Again, nothing wrong with that, and it no doubt fulfils the African fantasy holiday that many of their Savile Row-khaki-wearing internatio­nal guests expect. And then there’s Xigera lodge on page 56. Not only does this new luxury lodge in the Okavango Delta house one of the largest single collection­s of contempora­ry African design anywhere in the world – and it’s totally off the grid – but it has been put together to create a space that is appropriat­e to both its environmen­t and purpose, yet undeniably innovative. Xigera will change the way people design luxury lodges.

And farm shops/delis… It’s no surprise that it’s the Bosjes estate in the Western Cape’s Breedekloo­f Valley that’s upended the notions of what this should look like (page 68). Its exquisite and highly acclaimed chapel set the tone for the striking new shop and pantry, with folded roofs and trellises that are inspired by traditiona­l matjieshui­s and kaphuis structures.

Considered design is also why I’m such a fan of VISI creative director Mark Serra’s work. Look at the way he approaches our features – and especially the headline. Rather than just employ a chosen font, he crafts and manipulate­s it until it’s not merely about words but an intrinsic piece of the story’s design. And every feature in every issue is different. That’s design. It’s one of the reasons VISI lives up to its pay-off line. I hope you enjoy the latest issue of SA’s Most Beautiful Magazine.

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