GDF Design Lab


GDF Design Lab is the dynamic partnership between two long-time friends. They are a full-service interior design and decorating company and their work is filled with all the passion, dedication and attention-to-detail that characterises the owners.

AJ Bell and Carla De Fondaumiere started the business in 2003, and, over 10 years, have brought their particular blend of style and practicality to numerous jobs in the residential, commercial and hospitality markets.

GDF specialises in boutique beach retreats and game lodges. With a practical background in hospitality, and a good academic founding in interior design, AJ and Carla have a keen understanding of the needs of their clients.

They focus on growing and maintaining close relationships with their clients. GDF’s impressive portfolio of jobs comes solely from referrals and repeat business. Aiming for transparency in all their dealings with the clients, GDF can be trusted to deliver interiors that exactly match their client’s style, expectations and budget.

Their focus on the client means that GDF isn’t led by trend. While always aware of bigger trends, GDF prefers to create and deliver designs which reflect the personality of the environment. Their designs are highly personalised, but each is characterised by GDF’s contemporary elegance.

Social and environmental responsibility are big concern for many clients, and as such, AJ and Carla have worked hard at creating a network of suppliers who embody these principles.

This wide network of suppliers means that GDF are well-established to deliver to clients both national and international. They have enormous experience in the logistics of completing international jobs, and in using local suppliers and craftsmen. They also specialise in sourcing and commissioning bespoke furniture and furnishings.

Carla and AJ are always on the lookout for new suppliers, and, when possible, they support craftsmen who are disadvantaged or disabled. It’s unique suppliers like these which help add that little bit of something special to their interiors.

GDF Designs strive to create interiors which sit seamlessly in their environment and which preserve the integrity of each location. Practically, they also understand which materials will withstand the rigours of each environment and they select fabrics, furnishings and finishes with this in mind.

Some of GDF’s recent jobs include a V&A Waterfront apartment, two private retreats in the Seychelles and repeat work at the Azura Hotel in Mozambique.


Meyer von Wielligh


GDF design Lab have collaborated with MVW for over 5 years, with MVW designing bespoke items for GDF’s varied local and international Interior projects. This collaboration has grown with GDF distributing the beautiful pieces that MVW design and manufacture from their factory in George.

Their pieces speak to nature with subtly fluid lines and an obvious truth to materials, and their dedication to environmentally sustainable practices is something that GDF particularly loves.

While most of these pieces are made in Oak, Ash, or Iroko, MVW also uses other timbers – although the the emphasis is always on sustainable timber. While the signature range is relatively contemporary, MVW are capable of making beautiful traditional furniture too. Bespoke items can be ordered and MVW are currently working on some very exciting private commissions.