When the time was ripe for 10X Investments to expand its office in Cape Town,
interior designer Etienne Hanekom was approached to revamp the humdrum workspace with a few
structural and design changes, and an energising palette of Plascon hues.
10X Investments, an award-winning financial services provider, believes in simplicity and transparency. So
when the opportunity came knocking to amplify its office space, the company decided to rethink the
work environment at the same time.
“We wanted to fashion the office in such a way that it positively influences and impacts on the
organisation’s culture and productivity. One that promotes innovative thinking, collaboration across
departments and is demonstrative of our core values,” says Bianca Krukenberg of 10X Investments.
Contemporary furniture includes small white steel side tables from origo.co.za that are in line with the linear design
The formerly uninspired workspace was painted in a palette of unimaginative hues that wasn’t doing
the company ethos justice, which is why award-winning interior designer Etienne Hanekom was called upon to rise to the
Fearlessly creative, Etienne injected the space with a mix of neutral, bold and bright Plascon hues to
transform the office from utilitarian to eye-catching without being intimidating.
A bright blue wall acts as the backdrop for the company’s values.
Being in the business of running calculated risks, the client agreed to the proposed colour scheme that
includes a shade of black. “Black paint can sometimes scare people. I’m not sure why,”
Etienne quizzically remarks.
He opted for Plascon Phantom Ship (EC 60) because of its warm undertones. But while black is undeniably
stylish, it is quite bold and dramatic, especially for an office space. “I contrasted Phantom
Ship with crisp whites and a warm grey from Plascon called Aluminium Snow (EC 45).
The company’s corporate colours were used in moderation and only to highlight lines, which were
matched with Plascon’s bold blue Monet Magic (B3-A1-1).”
To demarcate the various areas in the office, Etienne cleverly introduced bright focal walls throughout
– particularly in walkways and pause areas. “It is a subtle way of marking out the work and
This includes a bright blue wall that reflects the company’s values. Because it’s
an investment company, Etienne incorporated triangular shapes inspired by diagrams and growth tables
into the space, which can be seen on specific walls and in the flooring.
Etienne and his team introduced solid white columns to support the dropped ceilings and to double as dividers for the
private meeting pods.
Bearing in mind one of the company’s core values of transparency, Etienne’s biggest challenge
was to create a space that is open-plan but still offers a sense of privacy. Custom-made screens allow for
“I find that glass can be cold. Instead, we started playing with lines, and lines became dividers
In keeping with the play on shapes and space, he treated areas – including common ground, walkways
and meeting pods – in a unique horizontal manner. “We also created patterned floors and ceilings
that were dropped. These ceilings offer a contrasting white hue to the higher ceilings painted
in Plascon’s Phantom Ship (EC 60).”
The play on lines is evident throughout the office, seen here in the bar stools and tables. Pendant lights are of the
few artificial light fittings used, keeping the emphasis on natural illumination.
Research shows that colour and aesthetic can have a profound impact on our mood. Interior designer Etienne
Hanekom agrees, joking, “If I were president like Donald Trump, I would ban the use of beige.” A
number of studies have found that dull colours used in offices can induce feelings of
sadness, especially in women. Bianca Krukenberg shares this sentiment, confirming how the new look
positively impacts on the feel of the office and the mood of staff and visitors.
Bright focal geometric walls were introduced to demarcate specific spaces, such as common, work and pause areas.
FEATURED IMAGE: Bold black walls painted in Plascon’s Phantom Ship (EC 60) are
contrasted with crisp white hues to create a monochrome effect.
PHOTOGRAPHS: SEAN CALITZ
PRODUCTION: ETIENNE HANEKOM
WORDS: ASHRAF BOOLEY