WOW!House 2023: Grand Safari Meets London Town

WOW!House 2023: Grand Safari Meets London Town

South African born Bernie de Le Cuona and interior designer Christian Bense collaborate on the Safari suite – a bedroom and dressing room at WOW! house 2023.

This blend of South African and English style is about elegant living with a soul. It appeals to our sense of wanderlust, opening our eyes to the beauty of artisanship, sustainable materials, natural textures, and the embrace of colour. Shades lean to the rich and warm – earth tones, veldt green and burnt orange accented by soft sophisticated neutrals. It’s grand safari reimagined for London life—chic, eclectic, effortless, with the right amount of edge.

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Christian describes his interior decoration for this bedroom with interconnecting dressing room as where ‘safari meets London town’ with ethnic African touches in a quintessential English backdrop.

 “In its simplest of descriptions, the overall style of the room can best be described as the lovechild of a safari tent and a Bloomsbury apartment.  Two contrasting aesthetics merging to create a room that can’t be summed up in a single word.

 The overall colour palette of the room will undoubtedly hark more towards the colours of Africa, ensuring that the room feels rooted in nature. A palette that is neutral but not light, bold but that doesn’t shout.  

 The structure of the room and the architectural details will on the flip side feel very English and less casual. Georgian style wall cladding, cornicing, and a traditional style fireplace will give the room a sense of grandeur whilst still feeling informal and approachable. 

One of the fundamental drivers behind the design is the desire to use as many de Le Cuona fabrics as possible, in a way that best showcases the brand's diversity as well as the fact that one can quite literally design an entire space using a single fabric house, something which really should be acknowledged and celebrated. “

About Bernie de Le Cuona

Bernie grew up in South Africa and the natural world has always been at the heart of what she does. Her passion and vision for bringing a new approach to natural fabrics began while travelling in Belgium, where she first discovered the raw beauty of linen. The versatility of this soft yet robust ancient fibre mesmerized her. Bernie’s travels then took her to India where she was inspired by the craftsmanship, attention to detail, and hand finishing techniques of the silk weavers there. With all the knowledge and inspiration from these trips, Bernie established de Le Cuona in 1992 with a determination to create interior fabrics from natural fibres that the world had never seen before – wonderfully floppy, soft, and textured. Bernie’s mission remains unique to the industry to this day.

About Christian Bense

Christian Bense is a South African-born interior designer who set up his eponymous London-based studio in 2020.  He won Rising Star- interiors in the Homes & Gardens Design Awards last year and was named in House & Garden’s list of rising stars. When ushered into the design world, an ingrained understanding of balance and composition, combined with practical on-site know-how, prevailed. His interiors have a sense of effortless curation – a layered and understated yet eclectic look with timeless appeal.


“My passion has always been creating liveable spaces, which centre around thoughtfulness and combine a strong aesthetic with practical living. The studio’s style reflects a cross pollination of contemporary and traditional. Mixing the blank slate thinking of my South African roots, with a distinct nod to the more traditional homes and interiors of the UK. The homes we create are well rounded and full of depth.”

“The de Le Cuona WOW!house room is an incredible platform and association. The opportunity to showcase an unbridled design excites me the most.  Collaborating with de Le Cuona made complete sense! There is such a strong alignment and parallel between us, that I knew this would feel effortless and organic from both sides."

de Le Cuona’s fabrics range from the raw sophistication of stonewashed Buffalo linen and Attenborough wool bouclé in colours of the African terrain to luxurious Cashmere velvet with the softest handle and perfect lustre and heritage Antique Paisley, woven in traditional colours. Cushions and curtains are finished with handmade saddle leather straps and buckles.

 As Seen At WOW!House Collection