We meet the Dokter and Misses husband and wife duo Katy Taplin and Adriaan Hugo who are making a mark through their contemporary and unconventional furniture.

The husband and wife team of Katy Taplin and Adriaan Hugo are known in the design world as Dokter and Misses

Husband and wife duo behind successful product design business Dokter and Misses, Katy Taplin and Adriaan Hugo.

Since 2007 the couple have been creating innovative designs inspired by both the extraordinary and the mundane, from travels abroad to what’s found on their doorstep in Johannesburg. From limited edition and production furniture, to lighting and interior objects, their work is original, modern and African. 

The two met while still at university, when they were introduced by a mutual friend and needless to say they immediately hit it off. Adriaan studied industrial design while Katy studied graphic design, “a combination of that is really what forms the DNA of Dokter and Misses,” shares Katy Taplin, Owner and Product Designer at Dokter and Misses.

The two create beautiful works described as modernist, where strong construction lines and a bold use of colour create graphic shapes and spaces.

“Our offering is really about what we can design. We like a challenge. The landscape changes a lot and we like to move with the challenges that we’re given or the inspiration that comes to us. I think it’s safe to say that it’s really hard to force an idea and to force inspiration, and so we have all these different inputs from different angles and that’s really great but when it comes down to it, you really just need space to create. And for your mind to run wild,” comments Katy.    

Adriaan Hugo, Owner and Product Designer at Dokter and Misses addes, “I get most inspired when I’m traveling, be it in nature or a big City, and being out of my comfort zone. When you experience things in the world away from your home, when you’re on a train or looking at a landscape that you haven’t seen before, it not only triggers new ideas but allows time to think about these ideas and put them into place.” 

Adriaan and Katy showed The Insider SA around their studio in Johannesburg. “This is the Hadedah Table, it’s quite an unconventional table top shape.” The thinking behind the design, Adriaan shares, is to create a table that enables you to be intimate, yet still have enough space for your food or whatever you want to display on it. Changing up the colour and material transforms the look and enables one to use it in various interiors to accommodate various styles. 

One of Katy’s personal favourite chairs manufactured by Dokter and Misses, is the Lowveld Sofa she shares, which is “inspired by rock gabions, where you’ve got a steel structure holding the soft cushions.” She adds, “Pattern is really important to us. Inspiration for which comes from various places; there’s the Kassena patterns from Ghana, local patterns and then there’s also a lot of everyday natural patterns that come into our work. Stuff that we see in the cities, typography, nature, weaving… wherever we see things, there’s a pattern to be made.” 

That said, it’s a fine balancing act. “We always have to balance putting a lot of pattern on-to something and making it very bold and graphic, and taking away, to coming back to the essence of design,” says Adriaan. 

By saying more with less, Adriaan and Katy are making their mark on the world. Their respective industrial and graphic design skills are brought together as the perfect match and we see them continuing to make an impact for a long time to come.