Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Interiors of the extraordinary Neil Rocher-designed Chongwe River House, chosen Best Safari House in Africa by Good Safari Guides in both 2011 and 2012, have been refurbished by a creative team led by Gillie Lightfoot, the well-regarded visionary behind Zambia’s Tribal Textiles and Jackal and Hide. Lightfoot’s focus for the new look was “hand-designed, beautifully crafted and organic interiors …specifically inspired by the unique design of Chongwe House and its surroundings.”

To realize this vision, Lightfoot pulled together a small design team of artists she has worked with over the past 10 years:  Abi James of Soul Design (who recruited Riaan Chambers); Nicola Swynnerton of Nzito Furniture; and Suzie Lightfoot of Katundu.

Perhaps the most dramatic feature of the re-imagined interiors is a stunning chandelier suspended above the main dining room area, sourced by Abi James and created by Riaan Chambers.  This statement piece, fashioned from recycled glass, resembles a cascading waterfall.  It draws the eye and, when the breezes blow through the house, the soft tinkle of glass and the sound of plashing water from the indoor fountain combine to make charming background music.

For larger pieces, such as wooden dressers and outdoor chairs, Nicola Swynnerton of Nzito Furniture commissioned local Zambian carpenters to craft hand-made, contemporary pieces from recycled wood taken from old fishing boats and dhows that have finished their life at sea

The color scheme now incorporates greens and teal blues, and each room has its own unique palette. Suzie Lightfoot’s Malawi-based company, Katundu, supplied much of the soft upgrade that includes hand-produced and ethically traded bedspreads, cushions and lampshades embellished with glass beads, shells and natural seeds. 

To ensure that all corners of the house are intriguing, Gillie Lightfoot added many touches such as commissioning a six-foot mobile wall hanging and juxtaposing wild wood, horn, hand-painted tribal textiles, leather and metal.

The front deck has been extended to create a functional, casual space that has become the center of activity at the House. Guests relish relaxing on a chaise longue or curling up on a sofa with a cold beverage while drinking in the view that has made Chongwe famous.

For reservations, Email: reservations@chongweriver.net or visit: www.chongwe.com

1 comment:

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