PHOTOS: Michelle le Grange | WORDS: Alma Viviers
Tin Korver is an entrepreneur, risk-taker and dreamer who hopes his latest venture, a locally designed and manufactured product line, will put South African design on the international map.
An old car filled with brochures was the humble beginning of what is today one of South Africa’s leading importers of highquality designer furniture, Twiice International. It all began in 1994 when, after a three-week trip to South Africa, Dutch-born Tin Korver decided to settle here and start a business combining his passion for design with his business management experience.
“I put some brochures in my old car and shipped it to South Africa,” Tin reminisces. “That’s how I got started. I rented a little place and started working from the garage.”
Starting up in the South African market was no easy task, yet it was one that Tin relished. He did almost pack up and go home at one stage but a deal with pharmaceuticals company, Ciba-Geigy, kick-started the business and Tin hasn’t looked back since.
Today, pieces from Vitra, Moroso, Kartell and B&B Italia grace the Twiice International showroom floors in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Tin is also on the verge of starting a whole new chapter in the furniture industry – producing high-end office furniture and custom-designed kitchens, bathrooms and yacht interiors locally.
“The Twiice group recently acquired a factory where we’ll soon start production,” Tin explains. “We are going to commission two or three local designers to work with us.” This factory with a difference will function more like a design lab where the production of original, quality furniture will be the order of the day.
‘Design Idols’ competition
Originality is of the utmost importance to Tin. “If you don’t spend money and time on developing a product correctly, getting it right, putting it through all the tests and you simply copy others, the quality will never be the same because you don’t have the knowledge.”
Besides commissioned designers, Twiice International will also source new talent through what Tin terms a “Design Idols” competition. Investing in South African design talent is one of his passions as he believes these designers are not receiving the necessary support to help them launch internationally.
Tin believes local design should not be categorised internationally as “South African” or “African” design and deserves the same status as international brands and designers.
“If you want to be a global player you only need fantastic designs with high-quality manufacturing – good design is good design, regardless of where it originates.”
• Twiice International: 021 487 9060, 011 343 8900, www.twiice.com