Q&A with Plantation Shutters Managing Director
Werner Jansen van Rensburg is the managing director of Plantation Shutters, manufacturers of exquisite timber, aluminium and security shutters. Werner joined the Plantation Shutters team in 2009 and has been involved across all areas of the business since. He has a real passion for people and his main focus is on developing processes and systems to ultimately optimize operations.
1. How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as modern with a touch of traditional detail.
2. What qualities define your brand / business?
Plantation Shutters work with the end customer – we do everything in-house from the sales, to the design, to the manufacture, to the final installation. The client is the core of our business and our entire business is based around offering a product and solution that works best for our clients’ requirements. The quality of our product, as well as the quality of our installations, allows everyone in the business to be extremely proud of what they do.
3. What sets your brand apart in the industry at the moment?
Plantation Shutters are 100% locally manufactured and the entire sales, design, manufacture and installation processes are handled in-house.
We have a range of 5 different products and between these 5 products, we should have a solution best suited for our clients’ requirements.
4. What is the most recent purchase you’ve made for your home and why?
With the currently load-shedding situation in our country we recently changed our kitchen over to gas supply. This completely changed our lives, especially having a new baby in the house. Cannot believe that we never had gas installed previously.
5. What one design element, trend or furniture item can you not live without. Why?
I would not be able to live without our security shutters. With the extreme heat waves we had in Cape Town the last couple of months it made an enormous difference being able to sleep with the doors open at night to have fresh air circulating, and have complete peace of mind that my family is safe.
6. What design influence has had the greatest influence on your work and business?
The thing that influences me most in today’s world is that it is all about innovation and how quickly you and your businesses can adapt to new ways of doing business – ultimately giving each client an experience and service that is of the highest quality and standard.
7. What has been one of the most challenging projects you have worked on?
We recently completed a project in the Okavango Delta. It is quite humbling to understand the complexity of logistics in getting the product delivered which took about 10 days on severe terrain. Traveling there is complex and takes you a good 2-3 days of traveling with 2 commercial flights from Cape Town to Mau in Botswana and then 2 flights by light aircraft, and then a 2-3 hour off road drive by 4×4 to get to the lodge. The design requirements were extremely complex as each unit was completely built from timber and aspects like expansion and extraction of the timber as well as extreme weather conditions were some of the challenges we had to keep in mind in our design considerations. We also had to consider designs to keep guests safe at night from wild animals as there were no other security measures installed like the traditional glass sliding doors. To top everything off, the above had to be repeated on 6 occasions as we could only do 2 units at a time. Definitely my favourite project to date!
8. How would you describe the design industry in South Africa at present?
We are continually involved in projects that are so cutting edge and beautiful, and rival what we see abroad. It is such an exciting industry to be in – working with creative and talented individuals that imagine, design and build these beautiful spaces.
9. What trends do you think we should keep an eye on in upcoming seasons?
We think that there is going to be a “re-emergence” for the love of the Timber Plantation Shutters – they are so exquisitely beautiful and captivating. Nothing comes close to the natural beauty of the timber shutter.
10. What exciting projects do you have planned within the next year?
We are starting a new project in Namibia soon, where each unit is premanufactured and placed in the middle of the desert, basically sleeping under the stars. What makes this exciting is that the entire front of each unit is curved (a semi-circle) and we will be designing the shutters to open in a curve to compliment the design of each unit. Very excited to be part of such a unique concept and project!