Clare van den Berg, Co-founder Daphnes Taverna

Renowned for her exceptional ability to create charming spaces that make us want to eat, drink and be merry. We talk with Clare Van den Berg, co-owner of Daphnes Taverna,...

Clare van den Berg, Co-founder Daphnes Taverna
Renowned for her exceptional ability to create charming spaces that make us want to eat, drink and be merry. We talk with Clare Van den Berg, co-owner of Daphnes Taverna, about business and motherhood.

Clare wears Harry Dress in almond, Minson Blazer in ivory.

Can you share with us a little bit about your background… Interior Designer, businesswoman, restaurateur. Where did it all start?
I started at a Production company in Auckland after university. Soon after I moved to London when I turned 21, where I was working at BBH Advertising Agency, then as a director’s assistant/director in film for various directors/production companies. I was in London for five years, then moved to Amsterdam for two years before moving back to New Zealand in late 2009.
We then started Zus & Zo (our first venture together) 2010. Then onto  Zomer, Odettes Eatery, Hugo’s Bistro and now Daphnes Taverna.  From my experiences working in film - particularly so closely with directors - I have always had an eye for aesthetics, and keep in mind the big picture at the beginning and end of a project. Designing and evolving the interiors across all the different spaces we have created has been such a joy.  That’s always the drawcard for me with opening another new spot, that I can do the interiors. I love it. I have also worked on residential, commercial and retail interior design for various companies. My interior company is Studio VDB @studioclarevdb
Daphnes Taverna LightingDaphnes Taverna lighting.
Going out to eat has become one of our most accessible ways to experience a taste of other cultures. How do you go about designing a space such as Daphnes? Was it inspired by a particular place in Greece?
It’s on feel most of the time. I always start with a colour palette and design in my head from the get go. I stay strong to my initial vision, getting the building team onboard to the creative direction of the space. Going through the floor plan in detail numerous times is crucial and key for execution of any space.
Daphnes was inspired by our trip to Paros, Greece. Despite being a very traditional Greek island, it was bustling with modern tavernas which was wonderful to be part of.
Clare wears Kate Shirt in ivory, Minson Blazer in black, Marta Trousers.
With a long line of successful restaurants behind you, you're clearly a great business woman (alongside your husband and business partner Joost). What is your favourite or most full-filling part of opening a new restaurant?
The vision, the idea and creating a new space for our customer. Coming up with new ideas is energising. Opening the doors on opening day is always the best feeling with such a long lead up of building. We are lucky to have such wonderful, loyal followers that have been with us since Zus & Zo, and are still with us eleven years later.
Clare wears Harry Dress in almond, Minson Blazer in ivory.
Harris Tapper is about championing women with a strong sense of self and designing a wardrobe that serves them and their multi-faceted lives. Is there a woman in business who you admire or has mentored you along the way?
My dearly missed and loved friend Anna Caselberg... never a day goes by without thinking of you my lovely friend. Through the process of building Daphnes, I had Anna in my head a lot, every day. She would have been there asking me how she could help, asking to see the colours, patterns of the fabrics, what the uniforms would be like and giving me advice where needed. Always there for chats and support over numerous cups of Earl Grey tea we would drink together. At the opening we had Isabella (her beautiful daughter) and husband Gus, as well as her Dad, Michael, come along. This was very special to us. She is sorely missed. A huge void and big loss of such a special iconic woman to many.
Daphnes Taverna.
Talking to your own multi-faceted life, you have two young children, Harvey (6) and Marni (1). How do you juggle the demands of your family and your work? Do you believe there such thing as ‘finding the right balance’?
Not sure! Somehow, we balance. It’s a full time roster at home with a lot of amazing help from truly special women in our life, including my Mum (we could never ever do anything without her amazing support and love for our children). xx
Balance… we all try and find it right? I think we find it but then it slips and sways away at times. It’s life, and we just have to find it again. 
What has been your biggest learning in motherhood?
Trusting your instinct. Having one person that you respect and admire that you go to for advice.  Listen, and then ultimately do what you think is best. Every child is different, every situation is different. No one knows their own child better than the parents. Motherly instinct always kicks in, trust it.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
My mum, she always says to foster a child’s personality and let it grow, never knock their personality back too much. They are children and they are growing to learn. She also always says, our children are lent to us, at some point they fly - we need to give them those wings.
Clare wears Kantor Shirt in white and Marta Trouser in black.
Being a busy and inherently motivated person, what do you love to do in your downtime?
We try and do special family outings with the kids – some of our favourite things we like to do together are packing up the car and heading away to the beach for the night. We like to be spontaneous, that comes mostly from Joost. It’s also such a treat to have dinner with my husband and still have date nights outside of work, to see all of my gorgeous girlfriends, to go to an exhibition, the ultimate is alone time.  A cup of tea in hand, a good book or magazine… did I forget to say a good treatment or massage?
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