For all those who are more interested in the face of a deluxe design company and the “behind the scenes” actions, we bring you a special treat: a glimpse into the background of Craig K. Whitehead – Founder, Designer and Creative Signatory for CKW Lifestyle.
This established lifestyle and interior design company in Johannesburg, made up of a seasoned in-house interior design team with nearly 30 years in the industry, has changed the way South Africans view up-class leisure spaces and residential homes ever since it was founded back in 1996.
Let’s see where it all started…
Bringing a very impressive 28 years in the design industry to the table, Craig Whitehead is a designer, decorator, and influencer. With his talents and opportunities, he has proven his dedication to excellence in just a short space of time via architectural finishes, interior architecture and design, furniture, décor, and even event design and coordination.
In his own words, Craig has gone from
… seeking fame and fortune to inspiring people toward greatness and a great way of life. There is beauty all around us and to be great, we need to stop and look over our shoulder. We are not here just for ourselves, but to leave an indelible mark on the lives around us.
Craig’s journey started as a design- and decor graduate from Johannesburg. With a finely crafted skillet, he first set off as a solitary interior designer and decorator / furniture consultant for a small furniture and curtain workroom in Pretoria, which he helped to flourish into an enterprising design business.
Next up was working for a fabric house and completing internship shadow work as a student decorator on the last interior design renovation of the Johannesburg Carlton Hotel for the acclaimed designer Gerard Kokt.
It didn’t take long for Craig to earn a solid reputation on the Johannesburg and Pretoria scene furnishing homes, offices, and embassies alike. This taste for excellence led to his desire to own his own design practice—which he eventually founded in 1996 at only 24 years of age. He took an office in an old Art Deco boxing club building his father operated in Ellis Park Johannesburg. This was his space where he worked odd interior jobs which soon led to his first lucrative contract.
Partnering with the renowned architect Hugo Hamity (with whom he still works regularly today) and the multi award-winning company Atelier Architects, a collaborative company called Atelier Whitehead Incorporated was born. This helped Craig to sharpen his skills as an interior architectural consultant on designing finishes and interiors for many of their joint-venture and interior design clients.
Since then, Craig has worked on his own again as well as with teams of staff and designers, resulting in some of the most eye-catching homes, offices, and leisure spaces in South Africa. His journey eventually resulted in CKW Lifestyle, where he and his equally passionate professionals continue to inspire all with their great design aesthetics.
Known professional as CKW (which stands for Craig Kingston Whitehead), Craig lives by a simple philosophy:
Never get too busy building a life, that you forget to live one, and live it well. Life is so short and we owe it to ourselves to lead a rich bountiful life.
Working together with some of the most seasoned designers and manufacturers in the industry, Craig and his team launched the CKW LIFESTYLE COLLECTIONS in 2016—a sophisticated collection expertly crafted and created exclusively for CKW. This bespoke line of designer upholstery and furniture is a proud collection from two decades’ worth of glamour in the design industry.
To ensure a reputation as strong and solid as other great international brands, CKW has gone to great lengths to ensure bespoke pieces, customised to suit every client’s unique tastes, are delivered. Affiliated with two major manufacturers to produce these pieces to full specifications, CKW has aligned with the best professionals in the business to ensure clients’ needs and desires are met and that they can be sure of the most finely crafted furniture available.
For an in-depth look at one of CKW’s projects, let’s treat ourselves to The dream penthouse by Johannesburg interior designers.