A strong flair for design, a passion for creative arts and decor, and a resolute determination are central themes that have run concurrently throughout Lauren Shantall’s career, which recently took another upward turn with her appointment as Social Media and PR Manager for South Africa’s leading decorative and industrial coatings supplier, Plascon.
Shantall will take up the position after a two-year-stint at the Free World Design Centre – a division of Plascon. This experience, coupled with her time as a working journalist and editor will prove invaluable in her new position.
Her creative journey began while still at school in Durban where she clocked up a string of different awards in art, English and public speaking.
With a BA degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a cum-laude honours degree in English from the University of Cape Town, her higher education studies express not only creativity, but also hard work and excellence, and clearly provided Shantall with a firm foundation from which she has thrived and flourished.
“Looking back, it’s as if everything I have done has been building up to my career at Plascon,” says Shantall, citing her experiences as a journalist at several top South African and international magazines and as editor of eminent design and decor publications as pivotal.
As editor of Design Indaba magazine, Shantall was awarded the sought-after Communication Arts Award (USA).
Equally, Shantall’s work for the national annual Design Indaba represents a major stepping stone in her career path. Combining her creative talent and her project management skills, Shantall turned a once poorly attended show, with just a splattering of exhibitors, that ran at a loss, into one of the most prestigious design shows in South Africa.
“In less than two years, the exhibitor base, audience and floor size of the expo tripled,” says Shantall.
More recently, Shantall was Deputy Editor of Elle Decoration which received an Avusa company award for her having started and driven the Elle Decoration website and blog. In addition, Elle Decoration received two PICA awards under her guidance.
Two years ago, Shantall left the publishing world at Elle Decoration to take on the challenge of heading up South Africa’s first trade-orientated design centre – Plascon’s Freeworld Design Centre, recently voted as “Best Design Concept” in Cape Town by House & Leisure magazine.
“The Freeworld Design Centre provides a decor consultation and 3D rendering service for architects, interior designers and decorators, property developers and owners,” says Shantall. “It’s a great space which draws a wide range of different people who all have one thing in common – a passion for decor and design and a love of colours and textures.
“Letting go of the Centre to take on this broader and more strategic role at Plascon was easier said than done,” she says. “The Freeworld Design Centre has been my pet project for the past two years.”
Shantall faces the exciting challenge of designing public relations and communications programmes that not only support the organisational goals of the business but also maintain and grow the creative spirit of the Plascon brand.
Shantall has proven herself as someone that packs a lot more into her life than most – voluntary work with charities and NGOs (she is a Director at Rock Girl, a section 21 organisation), solo jewellery and painting exhibitions, a catalogue of published photographs, and regular stints as an MC and public speaker.
The executive team at Plascon has no doubt about the incredible work that Shantall will do in the coming months.