Meet Cinthia and Pierre from BIRBA


After a short hiatus Design Store's series of designer interviews are back on track. This time I went to visit the Cape Town City Bowl home of design duo Cinthia and Pierre Strydom from furniture brand BIRBA. 

How long have you been together? And when did your cat join the family?

Cinthia We’ve been together for seven years and married for five. We adopted Chenin our cat two years ago and are not very sure how old is she as we adopted her from the street in front of our building and she was already an adult cat.

There seems to be a lot of really cool gadgets and items in your house, can you tell us more about them? Were some of them collected on your travels perhaps?

Cinthia We worked on a Cruise Line travelling around the world for about three years and during our travels we enjoyed buying fridge magnets for all the new places we’ve been. From some places we collected some iconic little souvenirs as well, like the Matryoshka Doll from Russia and the Dancing Hula girl from Hawaii. Pierre is a wine lover so we like to keep in the house some special bottles in a little wine fridge; we transformed our garage storage room in a wine cellar as well. From our love from wine and spirits Pierre started his own gin, Bloedlemoen, so we added a dehydrator to our kitchen décor as we are constantly drying blood oranges for the distillation. I think it is easy to say that our gadgets come from things we love and hobbies we take, as we like to surround ourselves with things that make us happy and feel homey.

What is your favourite object in your house?

Pierre For me it’s our Bullet Planter that together with the brightly coloured wall and a beautiful painting from Frans Smit, turns a dull and empty corner with no use into a beautiful space.

Cinthia I love the cake topper that we used on our wedding day, which was made by a local artist in Brazil.

You have a range of designs from pillows and some unique paintings - can you tell us more about them?

Cinthia The pillows are from Missibaba and we absolutely love them. The paintings are from our talented friend Frans Smit and we have been collecting them for a while now as every time he releases a new collection we just fall in love.

How did BIRBA's name come to be?

Pierre Our favorite style is mid-century modern and we were very intrigued by the work of Richard Neutra in Palm Springs California. During one of our searches we came across a restaurant over there from the 50’s called Birba where all the famous people use to dine. We loved the name and lately discovered that it means rascal in Italian, so we were sold.

Where do you draw your inspirations from, in terms of BIRBA’s designs?

Pierre Inspiration comes from the most diverse things; I personally get inspiration from the mid-century and not only the furniture but fashion, cars, accessories and so on. I find that travelling or just visiting new places is an amazing font of inspiration. This past holiday I enjoyed being a tourist in Cape Town and it allowed me to see things differently, to see beauty in places that I usually just pass by and it made me think of new ideas. 

What is next for BIRBA, do you have any projects or plans?

Cinthia BIRBA launched a new collection earlier in 2017 focusing on smaller décor pieces and furniture items made of fibreglass – our latest obsession. Have a look at the new fiberglass dining chairs and Bullet Planters available through Design Store here.

Credits: Brett Charles-Seiler