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» 10 Mar 2009

Building a Life

The son of a building contractor, Roger Martin was born in 1954 and spent his formative years growing up amongst the panoramic beauty of Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. Early on in life he became accustomed to the comings and goings of architects and designers involved in his father’s business, and developed a fascination for their work which was to last a lifetime.

In 1974 Roger qualified as an interior designer, and graduated as an architect from the University of Cape Town in 1986. Now, with thirty five years of experience, Roger attributes his success to an inherent sense of style and a passion and unique approach to the area of design.

A Developing Career

Roger’s first job, in 1975, was as an interior designer for a large architectural company based in Cape Town. Since then he has developed a large and varied portfolio which includes corporate ID’s, building restorations, exhibition stands, retail shop designs and installation, theatre stage sets and even couture garments.

He embraces traditional or modern styles with equal passion and the integration of the open and built environment, of the inside with the outside, is always evident in his designs and is something of a personal hallmark. According to Roger, “You are a part of everything you have done.” And his many and varied experiences have all had unique aspects which have helped to improve and enhance his creative ability over the years.

Just Pairs

Just Pairs was formed in October 2008 and is an endeavour that Roger has been looking forward to starting for some time. Having always loved beautiful things, he dreamt of opening a shop where he could provide clients with the benefits of his personal attention and artistic expertise and flair.

The concept is to create an environment based on pairs of items, for example a pair of vases, a pair of lamps or a pair of fireside chairs. Just Pairs will therefore provide exquisite home furnishings sourced from all over the world as Roger strongly believes that a pair of correctly placed items, “Always gives a room a big finish!”

Innovation, an almost innate understanding of client’s requirements, and Roger’s interpretation of “Mauritian Style” are certain to contribute to the success of the company. Hard work is naturally a factor too and Roger’s daily schedule may consist of anything from a site inspection, meeting a new client for a brief, working at his drawing board or sourcing new products. Every day brings its own rewards, and the joy and sense of achievement derived from a grateful client makes all the work worthwhile.

Travel & Leisure

Travelling is an integral part of Roger’s life and work. He visits Europe, the USA and China frequently and visits international design fairs such as Decorex in the UK, the International Milan Furniture Fair and the Arts Internationale event in Paris. Egypt and Madagascar are also useful destinations, the former for sourcing French furniture and studying Egyptian architecture and the latter for stone carvings, silk embroidery and other fabrics. Lamu, in Kenya, offers good quality woven mats and time spent in Greece, Turkey and Italy, studying Greco-Roman ruins, further complements Roger’s interest in architecture.

Numerous magazine articles, both locally and internationally, also keep Roger busy. In particular the South African magazine and TV shows “Top Billing” and the French TV channel “Voyage”.

He also enjoys spending time with his French Bulldogs Noah and Mona, the former of which provided the inspiration for the logo for Just Pairs.



Roger is clearly quite enamoured with the country. When asked why he likes Mauritius he replied, “It provides one with the opportunity to reinvent your life style. To discard what is not necessary and to focus on what is; to open your mind and spirit to a new way of living; to have time to explore the beautiful island and its environs; to relate to its people one on one and feel their warmth and kindness and to experience the sense of family and community that has made Mauritians the welcoming, hospitable people that they are.”

Like numerous others, he sees the character of the Mauritian people and the island’s exquisite natural beauty as the country’s main strength and recommends that visitors experience as many aspects of the country, the people and their culture, as possible.

The Future

Roger has the rather unique ambition of developing a contemporary Mauritian interior design style by combining the county’s traditional elegance with his own imagination, and creating something new, yet clearly Mauritian. He hopes that this style will stand the test of time and become something of a signature regional aesthetic, but, as important as his work is to him, he would like to be remembered above all else, for his generosity of spirit.

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