MEET THE TEAM

HEY THERE!

 

We are Shaan and Gonzalo - a husband and wife design duo. We are professional architects, permaculture designers and water retention practitioners that guide clients on a journey to live more connected to nature.

With over 30 years of combined experience in complex infrastructure projects our passion will always be strategic design and planning.

In 2019 our professional path found a new purpose. In search of reconnecting with nature, we discovered natural farming, permaculture and other regenerative practices. We took a deep dive into this world, fascinated by the potential of integrating nature and people harmoniously in order to restore degrading land into thriving and biologically diverse ecosystems. 

In 2021 we founded Wild Banana Design. Wild Banana Design is an ecological design practice that focuses on supporting thriving natural systems, biodiversity and people through strategic design, implementation and education. We thrive working with nature and finding harmony within its complexity.

GONZALO PRIETO CALLEJERO

My childhood was filled with freedom and sunny adventures.  Growing up in Southern Spain, most of my days were spent exploring nature or pursuing sports.  

I followed in my father’s footsteps, studying architecture. I completed my Masters in Architecture in 2003. My career and life was all neatly laid out for me.  But a nagging feeling called me to keep exploring, so off I set to London - to forge a different path.

Soon I found myself being drawn on even further adventures, and landed in South Africa. Having access to natural environments that I had never experienced before thrilled me, and I spent a lot of my time exploring the wild places that this beautiful country has to offer and enlivening lost passions like surfing and diving.

After a few years working in South Africa I was a director and shareholder in a large corporate architecture practice, overseeing global projects from hospitals to stadiums.  Since I started my architectural studies, my goal was to contribute to creating a better world.  Almost two decades later I realised that the impact of my work was not aligned to my aspirations. I was using the wrong tools. I needed to reconnect to nature.  Over time I began to envision how I could pivot my career into something that filled me with meaning and purpose.  A career that could merge all my years of strategic design thinking, with my passion for living regeneratively and having a positive impact on the planet.

When I discovered natural farming, permaculture and other regenerative practices it all fell into place - A design methodology focused on replenishing the earth. I was fascinated by the concepts and principles of how one can integrate nature harmoniously into your daily life and regenerate landscapes and biology.  And so Wild Banana Design was born.  

SHAAN STEYN

I completed my Masters in Architecture at the University of Cape Town in 2010.  Thereafter I moved to Durban and worked as a Professional Architect at a corporate architecture practice until the end of 2020.

During my formative time working in corporate practice, I worked on a wide variety of large complex projects - from international sports complexes, healthcare developments and more. I have always had a love for problem solving through design. I thrive in working on complicated projects, with many moving parts, and strategically designing them to create clarity and simplicity.

I am passionate about creating spaces that are not only deeply rooted in their practical use and function, but that elicit feelings of being deeply connected to nature and the wonder it holds.  As a child, I dreamt of living like Robinson Crusoe, and would spend hours drawing and designing intricate treehouses on remote islands.  With permaculture and regenerative design, I feel like I have finally found my way back to that love of design in partnership with nature.

In 2022 I completed my Permaculture Design Course with Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Institute of South Africa.  With the creation of Wild Banana Design, I have aligned my architecture experience and ability to make sense our of highly complex systems, with my deeply rooted passion for nature, ecology and sustainability.

GET IN TOUCH!

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