Callie van der Merwe: He’s got designs on influencing where you dine and shop

Callie van der Merwe’s designs are different. Synchronising menu, décor, service and fixtures and fittings, he can elevate your space to unseen levels, but in ways that will always fit your brand.



The chances are you’ve never met Callie despite the fact he’s a very sociable sort of guy.

It’s highly likely however he’s exercised some influence over you.

Callie has a unique talent for designing restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets to optimise their customer appeal and so it’s entirely possible his creations have been a decisive factor in persuading you where to shop, dine or drink.



Perhaps the appeal of your regular restaurant derives from the perfect synchronisation of its menu, décor, service and fixtures and fittings. That could be the result of one of Callie’s special design projects which he refers to as “a best practice mash-up”.

If a restaurant’s business model is based around fast customer turnover, Callie’s design features bright lights and colours; if it requires customers to linger longer, Callie prescribes softer, cooler colours and a more restful environment.

There’s a critical consideration that Callie brings to every restaurant design. It must project the image of a happening place. Customers are hesitant to enter a restaurant that’s bereft of activity and energy. So he’s ingenious at creating designs and features that convey a buzz even if you’re the only customer around.

Callie strongly believes in restaurant design as a total strategic exercise. It is therefore vital that even little things like the way you are greeted on entry and the choice of a cheese trolley should conform to an overall brand design strategy.

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You have probably noticed that when you’re in a shopping mall, one store can stand out as being more appealing than all the rest. It probably has a striking show window, an attractive entrance and a name identification that harmonise perfectly to capture your attention. There’s a good chance that store was designed by Callie.

Some supermarkets are designed for top-up shoppers, others for marathon shoppers and some to accommodate both. Top-up shoppers are accommodated by placing the staples like milk, bread, fruit and veg and meat close to each other while the marathoners are encouraged to have a good look round by spreading the staples to all parts of the store. Callie is an expert at supermarket designs that encourage maximum purchases from a weekly shop, a daily shop or a just-run-out-of-something shop.

If you find a bar that features different levels, different lighting intensities and different colours, and furnishings that define a number of distinctive areas, there’s a good chance it was designed by Callie. His concepts offer customers a variety of options such as spectacular views through windows, comfort and privacy, a party environment and that special place at the bar.

Callie is the quiet achiever whose designs have a huge impact on restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets and their customers. He believes that for his work to deliver maximum return it has to bring substantial benefit not only to his clients but to their customers as well.

Callie’s special talents are in such demand that your chances of actually meeting him are rapidly diminishing. On the other hand, the chances of being influenced by him in your choice of restaurant, store, supermarket or bar are increasing exponentially.


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