Surrounded by the beauty of nature, Dean grew up on a farm just outside Philladelphia. He began building and creating at an early age, whether it be helping his dad with a go cart, or repairing his Honda Chappie. Inspired by nature, particularly birdlife, he took an interest in the weaver's nest - a parametric design that seemed 2D, yet created a unique concave shape. 

Growing up with a creative mind and spirit, he expressed his talent with street art. Struggling with direction, Dean went into Tourism and learnt about different the cultures and the world. This is when he made discoveries of different designs in each culture. 

After completing his Diploma in Tourism, he began working for his family business in steel manufacturing and design. He learnt fabrication skills and taught himself all the drawing programs, while simultaneously dealing with the business side of things. He then decided to further things and studied a BCom part time. 

After three years Dean wanted to explore even more, and after seeing his brothers work he enrolled at AIDT (Academy of Inventive Design and Technology) for Multidisciplinary draughting. Dean received the highest accolades in graduation and realised that he had found his niche in life. 

Quinton J Damstra, founder of Wildetecture as well as Dean's mentor, approached both Dean and his brother Warren Hoffman to join him on his journey with Wildetecture. At the time, the company was still a concept. They worked a further three years part time. 

During this period, Dean worked at a mining engineering firm, learning about structural design and engineering, processes and the harsh African climate. But his devotion was relentless, and he split his 16 hour day down the middle - engineer by day, and Wildetect by night.

Dean followed his passion in design and architecture and quit his job in engineering. He's never looked back. His work includes furniture design, interiors, product design, art and illustration, shoes, offshore diving equipment, large mine infrastructures and sculptural lighting. Although architecture is his main focus, with such a passion for design, anything can happen! 

Early in 2016 Dean designed an art gallery and event space in Bree Street and later became a partner with the space. Lets take a look at some of Deans highlights of the past three years:

  1. Viking Norse boat collection - A wild concept that got refined into a unique office furniture layout.
  2. Whale Chandelier - A lighting design for a winery on Garden Route
  3. Art Gallery on Bree Street (Upstairs on Bree) - Design and Execution 
  4. Scorpion Lamp - Featured in various publications worldwide. Unique crossover from nature to functional design.
  5. House Bain - House Schutte - Two new architectural homes currently under construction

Dean will be traveling to Berlin to find a crossover, develop the brand and infuse African with European. He plans to learn from their construction techniques too. He will be attending courses in Europe to develop a skill for parametric design and plans to create a strong African presence and pattern into this unique facade design. 

Theres a lot coming up, I’m only beginning to get into the groove now and I’m loving every second!
— Dean Hoffman

Written by Tarryn Hardwicke

What it means to be an ARCHITECT











Architects are dreamers. They have wild imaginations and unique minds. What makes a successful architect is one that has drive, passion and isn't afraid to be different.  It takes a certain type of person to pursue this occupation and heres why: 

Ambitious people are the ones that have a better chance of succeeding. Having drive and determination fuels your path to success. To be reliable shows that you respect your clients. Having compassion when conversing with clients is vital as you are turning their dream into a reality. An architect works hard to achieve their goals. Architects are innovative and come up with fresh and new ideas while exerting creativity and uniqueness. An architect has exceptional talent and grows more each and every day. To be experimental is to attempt the unknown and learn from mistakes. Architects are clever and extremely technical.  

One needs to have optimism, realism or even better - both. Believe in your ability, attempt the unknown, while being prepared for anything. Turning wild ideas into reality while effectively conquering functionality at the same time is talent. When it comes to design, its either in your blood or it's not, everybody was born with their purpose. One needs to be flexible and have the ability to juggle multiple projects at a time.

Most importantly, LOVE what you do. 

Written by Tarryn Hardwicke


Wildetect aesthetics versus practicality - thinkers and makers 2014

So the design debate rages - aesthetics versus practicality - wildetect 3 of 3 is  an absolute firm believer in aesthetics uber alles.

Which really means to sit on this yellow concept mantis chair sketch 003 is not at all comfortable. To get the aesthetics right first in the concept phase is the prime goal. And only then work in the functionality and comfort-ability is what this design exercise has been about. So mantis chair 003 is a concept chair - most designers don't showcase the development concepts as it shows the flaws - however in this case the warts and all is an important part of the dialogue of this piece. To comfort this sketch from here is not an impossibility. however to get the look right first,  comfort and functionality have taken a back seat. or no seat in this case.  I've never felt compelled to fully explain the intent - however now that the chair is getting more exposure - its important to explain the design rationale.  Its great to open up debate on an issue - so this chair in a small way - opens up this argument - design aesthetic versus design  practicality.

Hence the mantis has a note telling the would be sitter - danger aesthetic sketch - DONT SIT!!!   in this particular sketch its actually darn right life threateningly dangerous for a number of very valid reasons. as a designer i am fully aware of this glaring design fault.   ( tongue in cheek, to those design moguls who hooded eye feel your comfort in this sketch is even a concern of mine.)    if anyone has ever tried to sit on the shoulders of a Grecian sculpture. one might find the same sort of dangerous interaction.  sculpture has always occupied an aesthetic appeal -  unless of course you like wrapping yourself around cold marble. 

The first and foremost design point of departure of the wildetect mantis  has always been aesthetics. its a thinking out loud process - in a  consumer world that delivers end products to the public a dime a dozen - in this case this is a concept sketch to the public - with each chair improving aesthetics,  this is sketch 003.

For me, some design doesn't have to really tick all the boxes for the masses - and no this yellow mantis is not going to roll out into a sell-able , marketable every lounge furniture piece.  In fact i dont really want to sell a single one. This wildetect mantis chair design represents a sketch of my own thoughts and for my own reasons im very happy with it.

So aesthetics versus practicality?  for now im happy to sit on the side of the fence that ive staked my claim in.  who knows what direction my thoughts will take me tomorrow.  so in a nutshell - im fully aware of the mantis chair design faults - just as im aware im missing a tooth.  the thing is - i dont really mind much if the practicalities rip it to shreds. its already served its aesthetic purpose adequately. 
for the mean time - a mantis chair needs a person like a fish needs a bicycle. and that is all i have to say about that.

mantis (3).jpg

Progression Scale Architecture

Wildetecture Architectural Concept -- Structure scale progresses as floor levels increase - providing greater panoramic views and envelopes the structure below - creating a powerful presence - design and roof structure inspired by the leaf formation