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12 > Circa on Jellicoe
26 > Steel and nature in perfect harmony
34 > Bring it on – Summer 2010 here we come! SA Fashion Week, Summer Collection
44 > Coffee brand leads the way in Italian household consumption
52 > Transcending trinkets
56 > Highlights from Design Indaba 2010
64 > Success of Decorex Cape Town bodes well for design sector
72 > REcreate: Designing a second life from the old and discarded
Glass wonders from Preciosa
88 > Retile? Why not paint?
90 > The Grand Café & Beach opens in Table Bay
94 > A lifestyle district at the forefront of urban design
102 > Herrondale Wildlife Eco Estate and Waterberry Haven: Making life worth living
116 > Architectural excellence live
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PUBLISHER > Cameron Bramley firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR > EDITOR > Jacques Lange jacquesL@iafrica.com CONTRIBUTORS > Veruska De Vita , Bev Hermanson, Stacey Rowan, Karuna Pillay, Sidhika Sooklal, Suné Stassen, Anri Theron, Russel Thomson PUBLISHED BY > SALES TEAM > Francois Fassler and Jeff Malan PRODUCTION ASSISTANT > Charl Lamprecht DESIGN>INFORMATION Tel: +27(0) 82 882 8124 Fax: +27 (0) 86 678 8448 www.designmagazine.co.za Cover image courtesy of The Everard Read Gallery DESIGN & LAYOUT > Bluprint Design Jacques Lange ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS > Claudia Madurai & Michelle Swart
© 2010 DESIGN>INFORMATION
DESIGN>LIVING is produced by DESIGN>INFORMATION. No material may be reproduced in part or whole without the express permission of the publisher. No responsibility will be accepted for unsolicited material. The publisher accepts no liability of whatsoever nature arising out of or in connection with the contents of this publication. The publisher does not give any warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of its contents. The views and opinions expressed in DESIGN>LIVING are not necessarily those of the publisher, its endorsers, sponsors or contributors.
CIRCA ON JELLICOE
By Bev Hermanson
It’s a Saturday morning and the residents of Rosebank, one of Johannesburg’s elite northern suburbs, are flocking to the art precinct on the corner of Jellicoe and Jan Smuts Avenues to enjoy a coffee, browse through the book store and view the artworks on display. This is the vision of Mark Read of the Everard Read Gallery, whose brief to Pierre Swanepoel of StudioMAS architecture & urban design was to create a multifunctional space on what once was a narrow parking lot.
Top row: The Circa building commands the corner while the Everard Read Gallery forms a demure backdrop. Left: A walkway connects the Circa building with the fire escape.
The Everard Read Gallery was started back in 1912 in the central business district of Johannesburg. In a bid to escape the crime ridden inner city, the Read family chose to relocate the gallery to Jellicoe Avenue in Rosebank, where a domestic residence was converted into a flowing, bright viewing space for various artworks, sketches, sculptures and artifacts. Then in the 80s, the Reads purchased the property facing Jan Smuts Avenue, across the road from the gallery. For the next 15 years the land was utilised as extra parking for the gallery, however, during this interval, the seed was sown to do something more meaningful with the site. Mark Read set about finding an architect that could share his vision and eventually settled on the award winning practice of StudioMAS. He briefed Pierre Swanepoel, the senior partner, to come up with a concept that would become a dynamic multi-functional building that would complement the existing gallery. “It was very challenging to conceptualise a building that would take best advantage of what was essentially a long narrow utility area. We came up with a triple storey building that is an elliptical shape, transparent, yet selfcontained,” says architect Pierre Swanepoel. Known as Circa, which means ‘thereabouts’ or ‘approximately at that time’, the new building occupies the north western corner of the Rosebank precinct. It is within walking distance of the various malls, craft market, banks and the many hotels and restaurants in the district. With the building of a Gautrain station in the suburb, it is expected that this area will become a vibrant node and an attractive destination for visitors and residents of Gauteng to visit.
“Mark had initially wanted to extend the gallery across the street, but as the project unfolded he decided to leave the existing gallery as it was, merely paving the road between the two sites to create more of an ‘art in the street’ atmosphere,” Swanepoel continues. “The new building is a very theatrical space that has been split into three levels with a circular staircase that ascends around the perimeter. It’s a place where people can meet and interact in a highly inspirational environment.”
The concrete stairs which encircles the central structure.
The aluminium fins that clad the exterior of the structure.
Tel: 011 466 0701 Fax: 011 466 2919
It was extremely difficult to piece the building together to achieve the elliptical shape, says Swanepoel. Much of the structure had to be constructed virtually ‘by hand’ to achieve the uniformity desired. The central structure is made from concrete, which is encircled by concrete stairs. To ensure a level of privacy, this was then clad with aluminium fins that allow natural light to filter in during the day and artificial light to splash on to the surrounding pavement area at night. “The fins resemble the structures used for a Zulu kraal, shielding the interiors from the bright African sun.” The structure was conceptualised to become an integral part of the public spaces with a coffee shop and book store that will spill out on to the paving. The streetscape lends itself to the showing of large sculptures and two large glass sliding doors are the perfect answer to the need for security, while offering transparency and a feeling of openness to the space. The ingenuity of the design has given this landmark a triple storey structure with a top level lounge and deck that takes in 270 degree views clear across to Northcliff hill. The lounge, designed by Christine Read, and adjoining kitchen area is large enough to cater comfortably for gatherings of 50 or so people and the west facing deck is perfect for sundowners. The first floor, covering around 177m2 is a multipurpose exhibition space with seven movable screens that can be dropped through the floor to the level below should the need arise for more exhibition space on the ground floor.
Named Speke, after John Speke, the pioneer who sought the source of the Nile, this ground floor space is ideal for displaying treasures of contemporary art and artefacts, all things passionately collected by Mark and Christine from Africa and around the world. The top level, known as the Darwin Room, is linked to a fire escape via a walkway. This metal structure will eventually be covered by a vertical garden, allowing visitors the experience of descending through a green world of foliage, should they wish to do so.
The top level lounge, known as the Darwin Room, designed by Christine Read.
The top level deck that takes in 270 degree views clear across to Northcliff Hill.
In addition to displays of artworks and crafts, Circa will be used for a variety of cultural events that will encourage gallery supporters to rethink the definitions of art and other cultural pursuits. “One can say that Circa is a small building with a big attitude,” says Swanepoel. “One that is inspired by a new world economy, where commercial gain is tempered by a concern for urban and natural environments.” <
Circa’s multipurpose exhibition space
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Steel and nature in perfect harmony
Gone are the days when the use of steel in residential architecture signified the minimalist industrial aesthetic favoured by the Modernists and Structural Expressionists of the 20th century who mainly opted to combine the material with glass and concrete. As a construction material, steel has unique properties that allow architects to achieve innovative and incredible structural results that few other materials can offer. Yet, steel is still considered by many as a material that is more suited for industrial, commercial and civil structures rather than for residential application because of its supposed ‘clinical’, ‘dominating’ and ‘masculine’ associations.
“The image of steel as an aesthetic construction material has lagged somewhat in this country, but there are signs that this is changing,” says Hennie de Clercq, executive director of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC). In recent years SAISC, in collaboration with other local institutions, has developed several initiatives to promote steel as an aesthetic building material. These include a guest speaker programme and the Steel Awards, which also incorporates a Residential Category, among others. In an interview with Engineering News, de Clercq said that recent Steel Award winners, such as the Gauteng-based Highveldt House, winner of the Residential Category in 2009, have contributed significantly to the image of steel in smaller-scale buildings, while iconic structures, like the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, are evidence of the effectiveness of steel and the local capacity to design and build these structures.
Highveldt House project details:
Architect: Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects (Pty) Ltd Structural Engineer: WSP Structures Africa (Pty) Ltd Quantity Surveyor: Turner & Townsend (Pty) Ltd
Project Manager: Turner & Townsend (Pty) Ltd Main Contractor: IQNC Imagine Construction (Pty) Ltd Steelwork Contractor: Cosira International SA (Pty) Ltd
Focusing on smaller structures, the judges of the 2009 Steel Awards highlighted the Highveldt House as a prime example of a project that achieved outstanding results in the way in which the architects incorporated steel as primary construction element in a residential setting, while also integrating it fully into a protected, natural and unspoilt environment by combining it with timber. Highveldt House is set in a typical South African Highveld landscape, within the Cradle of Humankind, which enjoys World Heritage Status. Accordingly, say the judges, the central design task was the integration of the structure into this unique environment, which was accomplished in outstanding manner. The project site is surrounded by a remarkably diverse landscape, which includes an oak forest, a white stinkwood forest, open meadows, poplar groves, a river, a lake, typical Highveld koppies (hills) and an open, natural veld. The site is slightly elevated and shallowly carved into one of the koppies, on
which stand numerous white stinkwoods around which the house has been set. The elevation and the positioning of the building on the site enables spectacular views to distant hills where the various elements of the diverse landscape seamlessly join. The house is designed as a series of pavilions arranged between the horizontal planes of the floor and the roof. These planes are located within a section of the stinkwood forest, on the edge of an intrusion of veld and are elevated above natural ground by an ‘apparently randomly measured forest’ of skew columns – two legs per column – to give the feel of tree trunks.
Shortlisted projects in the Steel Awards – Residential Category
Dune House (left) Architect: Slee & Co Architects Pty Ltd Structural Engineer: DMS Structures cc
Toulon House, Sabi Sabi (right) Architect: Nicholas Plewman Architects Structural Engineer: Victor Booth
The columns, in turn, support a grid, about which the planning and layout of the pavilions and functions are ordered, but which together form the structure’s skeleton, which consists entirely of linear steel elements partially clad in different timbers, fixed to concrete bases. While enclosure is transparent, terraces project into the forest and over the adjacent veld facilitating the harmonious integration of the structure into its unique surroundings. The Steel Award judges were particularly impressed with how steel was used in this project, saying that despite the many advantages of steel as a construction material, it has not been
extensively used in the South African residential sector as a prominent construction element. They added that in this country, steel is not popularly perceived to be easily conducive to a ‘warm, relaxed home atmosphere’ while many are also doubtful of its aesthetic qualities in a residential setting. This project debunks these notions most emphatically. Highveldt House demonstrates clearly how warmth can be created with steel. Here, the juxtaposition of steel columns and rafters, clad in timber, framed in glass and successfully integrated into its environment, have created a warm and homely atmosphere par excellence. The judges were, overall, in awe of this project. “Over the last few years our judging team has had the opportunity to visit and assess some stunning houses and most cannot compare to Highveldt House, which is not only aesthetically magnificent Beach house, Rooi Els (left0 Architect: Slee & Co Architects (Pty) Ltd Project Architect: Guillaume Pienaar Structural Engineer: Cegela Consultants
Shortlisted projects in the Steel Awards – Residential Category
but is also an example of exceptional attention to detail and construction quality. The judges listed the elements that stood out for them: double sloping columns at each column position; steel I-beams with webs in-filled with timber to give a feeling of warmth; of the same design were the internal columns, which were so carefully planned they did not interfere in any way with the living spaces; perfectly proportioned cap plates to support the single rafter beams with timber in-filled webs; the hand railing, balustrades, steel stairs and framing of the enormous glass walls all contribute Ukhuni Lodge, Mziki (right) Reserve, Zululand Architect: Joy Brasler Architect Structural Engineer: Linda Ness Associates cc to the enormously high standard of finishing. “This project could pave the way for showing the ‘steel objectors’ that steel can easily be part of an excellent solution, in a variety of settings, including sensitive public spaces, in the construction of warm, beautiful homes,” concluded the judges. This article was adapted from a feature published in Steel Construction, Vol. 33 No. 6. <
By Karuna Pillay
A nation of outdoor lovers gasped a sigh of relief as the on again, off again, yes it’s happening, SA Fashion Week Summer 2010 show finally took root. Not only did the loss of the previous chief sponsor present many hurdles in staging the SA Fashion Week, but, understandably, this year’s Summer showing did not live up to its predecessors. The ‘x factors’ so to speak, were missing. The one saving grace, for me, was the new format adopted this year, where buyers and the media got an opportunity to interact with the designers and examine the garments up close. This endeavour proved to be the highlight of many seasoned Fashion Week attendees. The one thing on everyone’s lips was: ‘So what’s new?’ The expectation was greater then the delivery this year, this being the time of the Soccer World Cup where the world’s eyes focus on South Africa. We should have seen local designers pull out all the stops, showing collections that made one gasp with surprise, admiration and pride to be part of the SA fashion industry. But, it’s not all negative as the collections that were shown were good ... Although, they were just good … nothing outstanding, nothing brilliant and nothing we have not yet seen before. Yes, fashions and fads come and go and with a year gone by here was a chance to make things special and to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Let’s look at what SA Fashion Week’s Summer collections indicated as what would be fashionable this year after an exceptionally cold Winter and post-World Cup.
Top: Darkie. Above: Mantsho.
Some trends for Summer 2010 include the layering of lightweight fabrics to give the illusion of water cascading off the body and a mix of sheer and heavy weight fabrics to show off a style choice. Men be prepared for the unveiling of the ‘reach for the heavens’ legs - smooth, glowing legs uncovered by shorts. The ‘reach for the heaven’ legs, paired with ladies shorts are making a big appearance together, not forgetting long pants for both casual and evening wear. The men’s wear selection did not disappoint as they showed both casual and immaculately tailored suits, shirts, shorts and underwear.
n Eitzen. Middle: Ephymol. Above: DM Classics.
AMANDA LAIRD CHERRY
(in partnership with DAC, worked with crafters from Gauteng) An overwhelming fresh breeze of light, sheer fabrics created a sense of ease and comfort. The use of fabrics lent itself to the fluidity in the design of fresh, simple, ready-to-wear garments. Her colour palette of pale blues, white, creams and khaki added to the almost cloud-9 relaxed look. This collection is sure to be a hit with the trendy earthy natural women.
Guillotine showed us the simple beauty of black and white. The collection started with the entrance of models with glow sticks and a lamp shade. The black and white showed off the garments design, the fabrics unique textures, with vinyl and leather being thrown into the mix. Again, layering played a huge part of this collection.
NIGHT SHOWS – DAY ONE
‘Bring the big top’ to SA Fashion Week was a sure hit with all the attendees. This collection was funky, quirky and, let’s just say, for the young at heart. A clown walking down the runway with a bunch of gold/yellow balloons certainly said this was not going to be an ordinary collection – it was going to be fun, fun, fun. Dresses, skirts and pants, both long and short, matched with loose flowing tops made of geometric shapes. All very comfortable and funky. As to how many people will be seen in it, is another question.
‘Keep it simple’ is the best description for this collection. The fabrics were comfortable and stretchy, allowing the body to form curves that would indicate a unique cut to each garment, therefore unique garment to each model. The colours of the collection brought out the contrasts between beige and cream, a dark secret-bearing grey and a light baby pink. This is a comfortable collection that many will be seen in. Hold your breath, count to 10 and be overcome by calmness – this is what this collection is going to give you.
The dot is used in every culture around the globe to symbolise the life energy given off by the sun. In saying that, this collection had a life of its own. An inspired mix of solids and patterns, in the form of skirts dresses and pants, all showed immaculate tailoring. The use of blue, my favourite colour, next to black was indeed eye opening, bright, fun and spoke of a summer lost in the deep blue relaxed ocean.
NIGHT SHOWS – DAY TWO
The clothing presented in the collection was loose and comfortable, with the designer using belts to emphasise the waist and shape of the garments. She even showed us that it is okay to wear more then one best item at a time. Jackets, waistcoats, dresses, skirts, pants and even hoodies made an appearance, showing us that fashion is what you make of it.
KAREN MONK KLIJNSTRA
A feel good summer of fun is what this collection portrays. It has a certain rainbow nation feel where colours, cultures and expressions are rolled into one, making a unique garment that not only appeals to locals but people all over the world. As the saying goes “lekker awesome”.
LOXION KULCA BY OLÉ LEDIMO
If you have ever wanted to see men’s fashion take centre stage, this was the time. Loxion Kulca presented a challenging, yet confident, collection that told every man it’s never too late to bring your African roots to life. This range had attitude, and its casual appearance embodied the funky hip street-smart attitude of today.
NIGHT SHOWS – DAY TWO
A sexy earthy soulful collection greeted the audience. The full range of women’s wear ranged from flowing dresses to the, oh so hot, figure-hugging shirts, to pants matched with tailored blouses. This collection brought back the days gone by of an older styled collection, yet it still had major appeal to today’s fashion conscience women.
This was a fitting conclusion to SA Fashion Week. The designer, a first timer, was bold and exciting, making use of colours never used in men’s fashion before. The candy/pastel colours certainly gave the collection an edge and appeal for those hot summer days. The use of one-piece jump suits, that were knee length, was inspiring and the safari styled opening creation,was, for me, the best I have seen in years. The use of lightweight fabrics namely raw silk gave the clothes an easy feel on the skin, yet never lost its masculine look. All in all, a job well done.
Images courtesy of SAFW. Photographs by Ivan Naude, Clarisse Pieterson and SDR Photo. <
NIGHT SHOWS – DAY TWO
Cover of the 2010 Lavazzo calendar by Miles Aldridge. Model: Lydia Hearst.
By Veruska De Vita Coffee is coffee is coffee. Yeah, right. Most South African coffee drinkers will know the difference between their favoured brand versus another, and the milk and two sugars won’t mask any inconsistencies. In Italy where the art of roasting and blending was perfected, the scenario is even more apparent. But what sets one coffee brand apart from the others? Flavour and roast alone won’t get consumers to reach for it amongst the crowdedness of the coffee aisle, nor will the pull of caffeine. So what does?
Historically, many suppliers got onto the coffee bandwagon either as roasters or vendors; coffee became popular in the United States after tea drinking became politically incorrect. Coffee is drunk the world over. In Africa coffee preparation is a daily ceremony; tea and the Taj Mahal aren’t the only things big in India and
the Nepalese drink coffee like it’s water. The same goes for the Italians. Cue Francesca Lavazza Corporate Image Director of Lavazza. She comes from a line of coffee marketers and knows that to make her brand stand out she has to keep it firmly entrenched in the lifestyle and habits of her target market. Since 1993, Lavazza has produced an annual collector’s calendar as part of the company’s worldwide marketing campaign. “This year’s calendar is all about music, Italian music,” says Francesca. Just making good coffee is not enough anymore, it’s about turning a brand into a lifestyle, one that consumers cannot live without. The annual launch of the Lavazza calendar is a glittering and pricey affair, one that is well worth the budget. The 2010 calendar, which was launched in October 2009, has music at its epicentre, with a splattering of film, finesse, fashion and irony. “Like coffee, music inspires, it ignites creativity and this is what we wanted to bring across. Each picture in the calendar tells a story with a sense of humour and a sense of time, an indication that something happened before and will happen after, there is continuity. There is also a sense of irony, like the image has two souls, two interpretations” says Francesca. The Lavazza marketing committee chose Miles Aldridge, an English photographer, to capture the images. “We liked Miles’ style, his innate sense of aesthetic, his appreciation of all that is Italian. We shot the calendar in Italy in a film studio, specifically because we have a history of motion pictures and we wanted to capture this also,” says Francesca. The calendar launch was set in Torino, a city in the north of Italy known as the capital of coffee, and journalists from all over the world were invited to attend.
Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot. Model: Georgia Frost.
Con Te Partirò (With you I will leave/Time to say goodbye).Model: Daisy Lowe.
Guarda Che Luna (Look, what a beautiful moon). Model: Alexandra Tomlinson.
‘O Sole Mio (Oh, my sun). Model: Bianca Balti.
“We wanted to include the city, the coffee bars, the history, the vibe and then launch into the rest of Italy, and then worldwide. The marketing campaign in Italy is different to the various campaigns we apply in the rest of the world. The campaign in Italy called Campagna Paradiso was launched in 1993 and has made Lavazza the preferred coffee brand in Italian households,” says Francesca. The day after the 2010 calendar was launched, every bar in Torino, where Lavazza is served, had a Lavazza hostess standing at the door, clad in slinky black, handing out postcards of the calendar images. Around her neck and on her wrists, costume jewellery – tiny espresso cups and saucers and miniature teaspoons – the attention to detail noteworthy. The hostess also handed out cellphone accessories to patrons, so that they too could have dangling miniatures of cups, saucers and spoons. On the sides of the buildings, giant posters of pictures from the previous calendar were replaced with the new ones, overnight. These posters were placed strategically in piazzas, with high foot traffic, and outside the Lavazza Headquarters. “Lavazza started in Torino so for this reason also we thought it apt to have the launch in the city. Lavazza started as a grocery store in 1895 in the historic district. The shop specialised in roasting and selling coffee. What set it aside is that it was the first company to vacuum pack ground coffee. This helped the brand win over Italian consumers, as you can imagine,” says Francesca. It was during the 60s that Lavazza started its communication and TV campaigns using well-known actors as brand ambassadors. One of the actors, Nino Manfredi, would utter the slogan
“Lavazza Coffee: the more of it you down, the more it picks you up” which would prove to be unforgettable in the mind of the Italian consumer. “In the eighties we expanded into other European markets, opening subsidiaries in France, Germany, Austria and the UK. We also opened in the United States. Then in Spain and Portugal. We entered two emerging markets a few years ago – Brazil and India,” says Francesca. With the expansion into other territories, a larger advertising and marketing campaign was necessary and so in 2002 the first Lavazza calendar in colour was launched. “We decided from the start to collaborate with well-known photographers. To date, we’ve worked with the likes of David LaChapelle, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Ellen Von Unwerth, Finlay MacKay, Annie Leibovitz and Miles Aldridge,” says Francesca. Other Italian brands doing the calendar rounds are Campari and Pirelli, with Pirelli, a tyre brand, bringing the sexy back to the months of the year. Amongst these brands the calendar has become art, or rather, collectible art. What better way of keeping a brand top of mind than with a calendar that hangs behind the kitchen door or in the office, a point of reference that is also an object of beauty. “Lavazza is spirited. If the brand were a person, she would enjoy the irony of life and have a positive outlook. She’d be someone who wouldn’t take herself too seriously, that’s the kind of humour she’d have,” says Francesca. <
(Kiss me, little one). Model: Lydia Hearst.
Va’ Pensiero (Thought
goes, aka Chorus of the Hebrew slaves) from
Verdi’s Nabucco. Model: Alek Alexeyeva.
Top row (left to right): Heart; Steel flowers; Snow pet; Snow pet and Steel flowers. Second row (left to right): Bird of prey; Growable cog; Lily family; Lily family and Time Immemorial. Third row (left to right): Takbok; Takbok and Heart.
By Sidhika Sooklal
During the last few decades, communication design has become a field wherein designers have started to cross-pollinate and transcend into other design fields in order to stay ahead of the rest. This transition has produced a hybrid breed of new designers who are readily able to morph with the dexterity of a chameleon and produce innovative work and new product ranges. Elske Nel is a prime example of this transition. At the tender age of 23, she has already received industry accolades that would make designers twice her age envious. Holding a degree in Information Design, Nel’s most recent achievement, Trinket, launched in 2009, has proved to be an instant success. Nel, who has always enjoyed making things with her hands, fondly reminisces over her university sense of enjoyment that it brought her. During one such project, Nel produced a range of brooches, which she aptly named ‘Trinket’. The idea lay dormant for a year, until Nel resigned from her job in advertising to pursue her freelance ambitions. Nel started manufacturing Trinket products in July 2009. The range of designer brooches is made of a combination of steel, Perspex and wood and. Nel has paid special attention to every hand-crafted
brooch by giving each a unique name such as Ysbeer, Hymns for a small bird, Snow Pet and Night Owl. The collection includes animals, flowers, fruit, clocks and crowns. Nel explains that the world around her, music and good design all serve her as sources of inspiration. Indicatively the latest addition to Trinket is a collection of rockets that came about as she was listening to the new Goldfrapp album, Head First. Trinket is stocked throughout South Africa at exclusive boutique stores as well as South African singer, songwriter and entertainer, Nataniël’s Kaalkop Studio stores. However, Nel’s ambitions have not ceased there. She works as a freelance communication designer and has also branched out into wallpaper design and is currently in the process of producing packaging for Kaalkop Studio. The rapid success of Trinket has seen it being exhibited at Design Indaba 2010 as well as the upcoming African Fashion Week (30 June – 3 July 2010). Nel’s aspirations for Trinket have grown as well, and in June, she will be travelling to England and France to meet with prospective stores that have shown interest in the Trinket range. <
Top row (left to right): King of hearts; Growable cog and Tassel & spikelet. Second row (left to right): Oh Dear; Oh Dear; Bunny rosette and Bunny rosette. Third row (left to right): Hymns of a small bird; Ysbeer and Ysbeer.
All images courtesy of Elske Nel.
A highlight of the South African design industry calendar is surely the annual Design Indaba Conference and Expo. Design Indaba has grown in stature to become a highly-regarded event on the world design stage, from humble beginnings in 1995 to a jam-packed conference and expo that exposes design trends, design thinking, design the profession, design contributions to mankind’s development, and not to forget, design education. As the Design Indaba institution has grown, it has taken a leadership position in South Africa and has driven advocacy programmes to promote the creative industries among business, government, academia and civil society. Running from 24 to 26 February 2010 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, over 40 speakers addressed more than 2 400 delegates over three days. The main plenary sold out for the sixth year running. This year also saw the introduction of a new registration option, which allowed professionals and the design curious to also benefit from the Young Designer’s Simulcast. The simulcast, which was also sold out, offered additional delegates a live feed to the auditorium to view proceedings at a cheaper rate and benefiting from the pearls of wisdom and insights shared by the lineup of speakers, that ranged from design superstars to the rising stars. Conference topics ranged from puppetry to social solutions, from traditional design disciplines to radically new design genres, turning the Design Indaba into an elixir of creativity and innovation. Adding a curveball to the mix, Design Indaba introduced a ‘mystery speaker’, genomic researcher, Dr J. Craig Venter, who spoke about the possibilities of designing life via a live satellite link to La Jolla in the USA.
Adding some additional spice, the Friday morning’s lineup of power-women included uber trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort, who spoke about the redefinition of families and radically concluded with a future vision of the bordello. Following her were Han Feng and Christien Meindertsma, and then, blockbuster homemaker, Martha Stewart. Stewart’s presentation goes down as the most talked-about session at Design Indaba in the 15 years of its existence, when large numbers of delegates mockingly walked out in defiance of her gross display of self-promotion and insular points of view. The conference was overall a huge success and was enlightening to many seasoned and new design professionals, as well as avid followers of design. The Design Indaba Expo opened with much pomp and pageantry on the third evening. The Expo featured more than 280 exhibitors, including 80 firsttime exhibitors and 40 emerging creatives. The core Design Indaba Expo show drew well over 35 000 visitors, including 379 journalists and 427 buyers – one third of which were international. DESIGN>LIVING selected its top-five exhibits at the 2010 Design Indaba Expo based on innovative design thinking, clever use of materials and application of design principles that go beyond the obvious. These five featured exhibits represent the ethos of what many Design Indaba speakers alluded to as innovative approaches that elevate the common and current perception of design beyond mere aesthetics.
RAW Studios: KLiK furniture
The KLiK system grew naturally from an office furniture design that RAW Studio did for the Tribeca Coffee Company. At its root is a large slotted panel in grid formation. Into this panel, the user can slot an
Views of the Tribeca Coffee Company’s offices using the KLiK furniture system. Images courtesy of RAW Studio.
Construction of the Cibitoke School, Burundi, using the EarthBag Construction System.
array of modular elements such as shelving, worktops, cupboards, drawers and storage boxes. The panels are fixed and spaced from the wall so that the plywood clipping system can do its work. KLiK affords the opportunity to fit offices or homes in a unique, yet modular, way which can be modified as requirements change.
EarthBag Construction System
The EarthBag Construction System blends the ancient technique of building with earth and modern materials, combining the benefits of both. The combination resulted in a custom-designed and patented polypropylene bag, developed and manufactured in Cape Town. The system allows for the bags to be filled by almost any earth fill material to construct sustainable buildings with multiple dimensions. The benefits of EarthBag include using local labour and materials, recyclable by-products and reducing the carbon footprint by 70%, compared with standard materials. The EarthBag building system reduces the use of timber and water and provides exceptional thermal insulation while also damping acoustics. Further benefits include its structural durability, termite and corrosion proofing, and non-toxic and fire resistant properties. The final factors that make this a superior designed product worthy of mention is that it is inexpensive, that it allows for free-flowing design applications, that it is user-friendly, and that it is easy to build.
Examples of Umcebo Trust’s range of beautifully beaded chandeliers and décor items.
Umcebo is an isiZulu word meaning ‘treasure’. The Umcebo Trust, established by Robin Opperman, was born out of his work as a special needs art teacher.
Umcebo has a primary goal of empowering young crafters, particularly people with special needs and other community members to use and develop their artistic talents as a means of personal and creative development, as well as to generate income. Umcebo believes that personal empowerment and improved self-awareness is brought about through art, craft, creativity, exposure to business, learning and teaching. Umcebo takes this philosophy further and offers it more broadly, through its dynamic workspace and retail outlet at uShaka Marine World, Durban. Here, individuals and organisations throughout the region collaborate in the development of unique arts, crafts and other projects. On show at the 2010 Design Indaba stand was Umcebo’s signature range of beautifully beaded chandeliers inspired by nature and its bright unique colourful sparkle. What caught our eye, as visitors walking into the expo, was the Eco-Tree, a 6m-high structure, clad in recycled material – plastic bottle caps, beads made from plastic bottles and corks.
Fundi Light and Living
Fundi Light & Living is passionate about designing and manufacturing high-quality lighting and décor products with a unique South African aesthetic. Its product range and manufacturing capabilities are diverse because it strives for constant innovation. Products include lamp shades, wooden and metal lamp bases, pendant fittings, woven products, textiles, cushions, runners, wall art and more. Their work ranges from one-off sculptural pieces to highvolume production.
A selection of Fundi Light and Living’s lamp shades and lamp bases.
While we resisted featuring design for design’s sake, we cannot ignore the 2010 Design Indaba Most Beautiful Object in South Africa initiative.
Most beautiful object in SA
An award scheme where everybody has the opportunity to vote for their personal favourite is priceless. “So what is beautiful to you? The simplistic, minimalist and definable or the unexplainable, the breath taking and indescribable?” asks the Design Indaba website. The finalist included the W-Table by Frank Bohm, Polyhedra Modular Coffee Table System by Haldane Martin, Twi-light Table Lamp by Snapp Design, Fibre in Motion by ALPACAFelt, Emotive Series: Love Table by 1010 Creative, Luhle! by Khumbulani Craft, Flow Ring by Emma Anne Jewellery, Handspring Puppet Company by David Krut Publishing, Ostrich Barstool by Tsai Design Studio, The Tulip by Urban Africa and Wooden Chandelier by David Krynauw. But there can only be one. Votes were cast via SMS and South Africa has chosen what is beautiful to them. The Design Indaba Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2010 is Anatomy Design’s Lab Light. Anatomy Design describes their product as: “Created out of a fascination with utilitarian equipment, the Lab Light exists on the borders of engineering and design, using the functionality of laboratory equipment and harnessing the beauty within it. Constructed out of black steel and solid spun brass, this object portrays functional aesthetic with a touch of nostalgia.” <
The Lab Light by Anatomy Design, winner of the 2010 Design Indaba Most Beautiful Object in South Africa.
Patriotic fabrics, wind pumps on scatter cushions, bathrobes of bamboo, bedding from corn husks, birds everywhere and contemporary cuckoo clocks had home interiors flying high at Decorex Cape Town 2010. With 35 220 visitors flocking through its doors – 10% more than in 2009 – Decorex Cape Town confirmed that the Western Cape’s decor and design industry is alive and well. This performance is a hat-trick for Decorex SA, being the third Decorex exhibition in a row to show an increase in visitor numbers, despite the flattened economy. (Decorex Joburg showed 25% growth on the previous year, while visitor numbers for Decorex Durban increased by 7%). Sponsored by Plascon, with DStv as media partner, Decorex Cape Town celebrated its 12th exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 23 to 27 April with the show theme ‘Breath of Fresh Air’, living up to its promise. More than 340 local and international exhibitors, including 69 first-time exhibitors, showcased their products and services. Says Melanie Robinson, director Decorex SA: “Visitors expected something special, costsaving and trend-driven, which our exhibitors delivered in true form. We were optimistic from the onset that the exhibition will contribute to the region’s decor industry – from design and manufacturing to retail – and the positive feedback from exhibitors confirmed that there are marked signs of economic improvement.” Robinson mentions that it is noticeable that consumers retain their shopping habits acquired during the economic downswing: “There’s less impulse buying as consumers are much more discerning and tend to shop around before making the final purchasing decision. Having so many options under one roof made
Decorex Cape Town the ideal spot for comparative shopping, ranging from high-ticket items and investment purchases to small appliances and affordable decor items.” Cairey Slater, general manager exhibitions, cites the show’s continuous reinvention as one of the main reasons for Decorex Cape Town’s success.” It is key to stay on top of local and international industry trends and interpret these new directions in a novel, yet accessible, manner for trade and consumer visitors alike. Special projects and fresh initiatives such as the ‘MAKE Theatre’ dedicated to home improvement; the ‘Home Tweet Home’ design challenge aimed at charity, as well as the industry conference ‘Conversations on Architecture’ reflecting on the built environment, added to the allure of the exhibition. Building strong business partnerships with sponsors and exhibitors are also vital to our success.”
Stylish bedrooms to help relax and refresh. Africa on display with Plascon’s colour forecast.
Although the pace of new trends introduced to the design arena shows signs of slowing down, innovation and new product lines are vital to keeping consumers interested and satisfying their search for the novel and the fresh.
AFRICA THE CREATIVE HUB
The new design direction on everybody’s lips is the way the African continent has become a major source of inspiration for the design world. The African influence was most evident in the Plascon 2010 Colour Forecast stand. Using the Plascon 2010 Colour Forecast as her design inspiration, Yolande Wieners from d² Interiors in Durban created a stand to match these colour trends. Expressing the 32 new
colours in the four diverse palettes through different textures, moods and hues, the stand reflected Plascon’s eco-consciousness and current philosophy about recycling and re-using. The stand conveyed its message so effectively that Wieners won an excellence award for her interpretation of this new love affair with all things African. According to Anne Roselt, Plascon colour manager and colour forecaster, one of the reasons for the global interest in Africa include South Africa’s selection as host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The public response on the 2010 African Fine Art’s Stadium Collection also pointed towards the immense interest and pride in new South African icons. The Stadium collection consists of a series of iconic fine art photographic images of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums in South Africa’s Host Cities, captured through the lens of local fine art photographer Dennis Guichard.
Bring fresh spaces to life.
Local designers find inspiration on their own doorstep. Natural materials flourish and products are woven, plaited knitted and whittled from fibres ranging from wood, raffia, cork, rattan, leather and feathers. Recycled materials, ranging from plastics to porcelain, shells and cardboard, to rusted and corroded surfaces have an undeniably South African feel. African cotton prints, naïve black and white patterns, folklore and traditional and spiritual motifs are used in earthy colours brightened up with yellows, blue and greens. Detailed embroidery and beadwork, seen on handmade craftinspired objects, also find their way to sophisticated upmarket fabrics and finishes.
As a motif, the Protea is still very popular and can be seen in fabric prints as well as wall tattoos and vinyl stickers to adorn fridges and other kitchen appliances. Fast becoming the ‘it’ symbol of the year is the wind pump. This iconic image of the Karoo landscape finds its way to scatter cushions in tints of fashionable grey and muted browns. Consumers are also investing in home-grown craft aimed at upliftment and job creation. Brisk sales and trade interest at the stand of the DTI’s South African Handmade Collection Pavilion, as well as the CCDI’s craft shop, indicate that the excesses and style-first approach of the past have been replaced by the era of emotion-in-design. “What people want now is to make emotional connections – to be surrounded by things that mean something. More than ever we want to be comforted by beauty, quality, great craftsmanship and eco-conscious design,” says Robinson.
A sense of texture and life. Engaging spaces to interact with.
GOING, GOING GREEN
Green buzz words abound – from salvage chic, to re-use, retrieve and re-process. The greening of the exhibition was a major draw card, tapping in on the immense consumer need for guidance towards more conscious living. New attractions such as the Pick n Pay Living Green Pavilion with its eco-caring house supplied by Greenstuff.co.za set a new benchmark in greenminded product displays. It focused on sustainability, mindful green living and eco-solutions, illustrating that green living can be both beautiful and affordable. Pick n Pay’s Fresh Living kitchen also proved to be hugely popular, confirming that culinary cocooning is the stay-athome-for trend of the moment. Decorex Cape Town sponsored the planting of 55 trees to help offset its carbon footprint, which
is part of its drive at making the show a zero waste event – from reducing and recycling, packaging and re-use of materials such as banners to eco-friendly printing and green breathing spaces throughout the exhibition. This process also entails the types of show lighting used; the automatic switching off of lights outside show hours; using recyclable material for stands, and educating exhibitors on waste prevention.
MADE IT MYSELF
DIY is clearly no longer the poor cousin of the decor world. The mantra ‘made by my own hands’ elevated its status in design circles, especially contemporary designs with a modern sensibility. This renewed interest in DIY sprouted a variety of activities to hone visitors’ creative talents and DIY-know-how. Experts at the Make Theatre, hosted by Aidan Bennetts, enticed visitors to tackle home makeovers on a shoe string budget and tackle do-it-yourselfdecor with confidence. The topics, ranging from modern mosaic work, to easy-to-do wall tattoos and contemporary paint techniques, reflected the upsurge in edgy DIY.
Modern Kitchens to inspire. Salome Gunter’s winning decor stand.
THINGS WITH WINGS
All things avian rule the roost as one of the year’s hottest trends from puffins and peacocks on tea towels, to weaver birds on wall paper and antique birdcages housing delicate pot plants. This winged trend also inspired the creative Home Tweet Home fundraiser. For this dogood design challenge Decorex SA put out a bird call to decorators, fabric houses and decor magazines, in support of Little Angels, whose aim it is to provide a place of safety for babies and children. Taking part were well-known personalities from the Cape’s interior design scene including John
Autard of Autard de Bragard Design & Decoration; David Strauss of David Strauss Interiors; Esther Schumacher of mywalltattoos.com, Katie Thompson of REcreate; Maarten Peutz of Professional Home Services, Condé Nast House & Garden, Elle Decoration and VISI. Birds’ natural nest-building artistry got the creative juices flowing. Using off-cuts from the studio floor or recyclable material from the bin, the designs also tread as light as a feather on Mother Earth. A birdhouse parading as a golf cart, designed by John Autard, was chosen as the winning entry by judges John Sofio – Los Angeles based architect – and designer, Aidan Bennetts. Autard’s blend of sharp design with humour and fantasy was a step outside the box. Covered in faux-grass to resemble a mini golf course, the bird house came equipped with wheels, while a handle (made from a recycled golf club) could also be used as a perch for the ‘birdie’ to rest on. First runner-up Katie Thompson from REcreate used dustbin finds such as discarded crockery and cutlery to turn the blank birdhouse into an orchestral masterpiece. Thompson’s philosophy is repurposing items in the home to create renewed interest and a new talking point. Taking third place, the team at Elle Decoration opted for an ultra modern birdhouse design featuring black line drawings on a crisp white background. The key words are young, contemporary, urban and graphic. “We love the bird theme and find our inspiration in the bower bird – the male goes out and collects things like buttons and pink ribbons to attract a female”. The Home Tweet Home initiative raised R15 000 for Little Angels. Decorex Joburg will be held from 5 – 9 August 2010 at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand. <
Birdhouse by Elle Decoration.
REcreate: Designing a second life from the old and discarded
Katie Thompson is a South African designer with a special passion: She loves designing original and collectable furniture, lighting and interior accessories by repurposing objects that others might consider junk. For Katie, found old objects like milk and booze bottles, oil containers, typewriters, suitcases, medical trolleys, scales and baking trays are pure inspiration. With these she creates contemporary décor pieces that ooze character and tell stories of the past and the current.
Here enters REcreate, the company that Katie Thompson founded in 2009 as a means to channel her passion for retro materials and repurposing those to create contemporary applications for highend décor and interior design. Under the REcreate label, Katie has transformed the ordinary to the extraordinary and converting junk into desirable collectables, tapping into her past experiences working in the interior, furniture and fabric industries in London and Cape Town for several years. Katie never works within established stylistic boundaries. She creates an eclectic combination of styles, materials and finishes. This approach and design sensibility highlights her passion and her ability to find the beauty and hidden purposes in old and discarded items. A hoarder of all things useless, impractical, broken, colourful and shiny, Katie’s eclectic product collection tells tales of her Surrealist and Dadaist passions. Describing her design philosophy, Katie says: “Not throw anything away and creating new functions or use is my core philosophy. I love junk! The more invaluable something is to someone else, the more valuable it is to me. It is amongst these found, raw items that I find inspiration and each found object dictates what purpose the new product should have. A found old Hoover tells me that it wants to be a standing lamp. An old scale simply, but quite obviously, wants to be a new clock. I listen intently to what the source materials ask me to do with them and then respond with a design solution.”
“Dadaism and Surrealism have been major influences on my work. I studied Art and Art History at school and remember being quite disinterested most of the time until the day we learnt about the ‘absurdities’ of Surrealism and Dadaism. These movements continue to influence much of my current work in profound manner. The most influential artist I have come across is Marcel Duchamp who signed a urinal and declared it to be an artwork. I love the questioning behind this! Why should an artwork be on canvas with a brush and paint? Who determines what form a chair should be?” The REcreate product range also has another conscious dimension – sustainability. “The fact that my products are helping to eliminate a negative impact on the environment is just another exciting aspect to my business. To source my raw materials, I often go to garage clearances, do junk shop hunting as well as picking up things that others are throwing away.” The buyers of REcreate products come from diverse backgrounds and generational demographics. “My clients include anyone with a sense of humour and an eye for design. Most people can identify with my products as they – or their grandmother – ‘used to have one of those’. Each of my products has a certain sentimentality connected to it that most people can relate to. I feel that it makes even the most ‘ungreen’ person want to recycle. I get a lot of comments, ‘I had one of those, but it broke and I threw it out years ago. I never thought about converting it into a light!’” says Katie.
What makes the REcreate range even more special is that every product and product part is custom made. “All the products are one-off pieces and therefore I am constantly looking for new materials and processes to add new ingredients to the products. All manufacturing is outsourced to Cape Town’s best trades and craftsmen. Although the raw materials that we work with are discarded or broken junk items, I am in fact a perfectionist. This combination, as well as having great working relationships with all my suppliers, result in high quality finished products.” Working with old and discarded artifacts as core materials for constructing contemporary furniture
obviously poses some unique challenges. Katie explains: “Because much of our raw material is old junk, we often battle with skew angles, rusty edges, broken handles and wobbly parts that all need to be repaired and dealt with before production begins. One has to be sharp and involved in all the aspects of production to foresee these problems. The challenges from a manufacturing and processing side are that each item is outsourced to at least three or four different suppliers. It is extremely timeconsuming since every product passes through the hands of several specialist craftsmen. However, the technical input of all these trades people is what makes such a unique and perfectly finished product.” <
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Lighting fixture with fibre optics, The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Glass wonders from Preciosa
Lighting fixture of contemporary design made of mouth-blown glass components, The Yas Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Czech Republic, a small nation located in the very heart of Europe, has always been particularly famous for a unique handcraft – handworked glass. The origins of this craft, which ranks among the oldest in human history, date back to 3000 B.C. Here in Bohemia, glassmaking has been a major industry since the 13th Century, and in 1724 the first chandelier workshop was established in the region of Kamenický Šenov. Kamenický Šenov has acquired its world-wide fame as a glass producer, thanks to the delicacy of its forms and the purity of its hand cut crystal. Magnificent chandeliers have become an inseparable fixture of royal palaces, noble manor houses and other splendid buildings.
The tradition of this renowned craft of glassmaking continues in the production of PRECIOSA – LUSTRY, a.s. (joint-stock company), which is a fixed star in the field of glass light fixtures. The company, based in northern Bohemia, in the region of Kamenický Šenov, has been operating in the market for decades and, therefore, it can boast of a great deal of experience, acquired thanks to the long-term history of its activity. Today, it is spread across the world with offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Moscow, Madrid and New York.
Nowadays, PRECIOSA’s core activity lies in the design and production of decorative lightings on a wide scale, consisting largely of decorative lighting fixtures of various styles and sizes, wall lamps, table and floor lamps, delivered as complete lighting projects or as a catalogue assortment. Besides lighting fixtures,
lighting sculptures and decorative artistic objects form another part of their production. The main activity of PRECIOSA is the creation of the so-called lighting projects. These are individual solutions, composed on the basis of specific requirements of the client. It comprises a comprehensive service, ranging from design, production and installation to the subsequent maintenance and repair. Extensive projects usually represent luxurious interior decorations for various spaces of a prestigious nature, such as luxurious hotels, palaces, religious and governmental buildings, restaurants and theatres. These unique concepts originate in PRECIOSA’s own studio on the basis of a close collaboration with top architects and designers from all over the world. In the design phase, traditional methods of hand sketching are used side by side with up-todate software, which presents a faithful simulation of the light fixture in its future environment. The designers draw their inspiration for the shaping of glass objects from various sources: nature provides a permanent and almost endless source of inspiration; folklore and legend provides another. New views can also be applied to well known classical works of art. As mentioned above, PRECIOSA’s product portfolio is quite extensive. The first product group consists of luxurious classical lighting fixtures, characterised by the classical shapes of their arms and trimmings, often decorated with rich etching.
Lighting fixture made of glass components inspired by nature, One&Only Cape Town, South Africa.
The other self-contained group consists of fashionable lighting objects made up of hand-blown glass components. Over the last few years, the so-called free sets, created by hanging differently shaped objects in clusters in an open space, have been popular. They range from minimalistic pure shapes to complex organic motifs. Glass sintering and fusing technology adds a further dimension, where a glass powder of various colours is fused into one piece, which can then be bent and shaped in various ways.
These objects are often floodlit by modern light sources such as LEDs or optical fibres. The use of fibres, especially, can lead to the creation of magnificent pieces. Their light sources can be pr0grammed to be able to change their intensity or colour. Aside from an impressive decorative effect, the placement of the light source gives them a major advantage in simple maintenance. <
Classical lighting fixtures produced for a private residence.
Retile? Why not paint?
By Russel Thomson
Retiling is arguably one of the most gruelling parts of any renovation; the effort alone to remove the tiles is enough to make most people run for the hills. Renovators have their own horror stories of continuous hammering and the resultant shards and dust in their to-be-renovated bathrooms and kitchens. Furthermore, retiling is undoubtedly expensive and time consuming; apart from the labour costs. Replacing it can send any budget spiralling. So, what to do if you simply don’t have the time, budget or the inclination to retile your bathroom or kitchen? Paint it. Yes, paint will do the trick and give you a quick makeover without breaking your back, or the bank. Today’s paint technology and techniques are sophisticated and comprise most surfaces, including tiles. The most effort is really the surface preparation and priming which will in turn ensure that your newly painted tiles do stand the test of time.
The right paint for the right job
Firstly, and quite obviously, choose your paint colour and ensure that it is steam resistant and therefore suitable for areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. The label will clearly indicate what the indoor paint can be used for, be it water or oil-based. The key is to read the label properly to ensure it can handle conditions that are less ventilated and more humid.
Clean equals success
Secondly, and importantly, is preparing the surface. Ensure the surrounding area is protected from any dust or paint.
Next, take a suitable detergent and wash down the tiles to remove all dust and grease. For the grouted areas use a nailbrush, or similar, to get right into the joins. If there are any cracked or chipped tiles these will have to be repaired or replaced in order to achieve the best possible result and a uniform finish. Once you are sure the tiles are clean, wash it down again with clean water and allow it to dry.
as indicated by the label instructions. Again, adhere to the drying time as it will contribute to the success of the final product. After the primer is dry, rub down the entire surface with fine sandpaper and remove the dust with a lintfree cloth. Now apply the second coat of primer in the same way, and again, rub down with some fine sandpaper and clean off with a lint-free cloth.
The next step is the most important as it forms an integral part of achieving a high-quality final product. Priming is critical as it seals, binds and ensures good inter-coat adhesion; so choose your primer accordingly. Again, the packaging is straightforward; you can choose primer that has been designed for tiles or universal applications. Don’t cut corners; an inferior and low-priced product or primer that you used as part of an exterior paint job a year ago will put some serious cracks in your tile painting efforts. As with any foundation, your priming efforts must be solid. Ultimately, primer extends the lifetime of the paint – it can withstand elements such as rising damp as it offers better alkaline properties. Applying the primer is relatively straightforward; once the area is clean and dry use a synthetic bristle brush and coat the tiled area evenly - smooth vertical paint strokes are the key to achieving an even coat. Once you have coated the entire area you will need to leave the primer to dry, normally for several hours
The end is near
The next and final step is the most fun as all the preparation will start showing some results and give you a very real idea of what the finished product will look like. Take your natural bristle brush, or a synthetic brush if using a water-based paint, and apply the paint in much the same way as you did the primer, although it may give a better finish if you paint the grout first. Once you have covered the entire area, leave the paint to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the paint has dried, continue with the second coat using the same technique as before and leave to dry thoroughly. The above steps are undoubtedly time consuming but not half as painful as retiling, plus it is substantially cheaper and will allow you to change your bathroom or kitchen as often as you want without the resultant dust, shards and backaches. Russel Thomson is brand marketing manager at Prominent Paints South Africa, a fully integrated member of PPG <
The Grand Café & Beach opens in Table Bay
By Suné Stassen
From within a once-abandoned warehouse at Granger Bay adjacent to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the Grand Café & Beach has been created on the lip of fashioned white sand in Table Bay. Following on from the runaway success of the Grand Café and Rooms in Plettenberg Bay and the Grand Café in Camps Bay, the Grand Café & Beach is an eclectic fusion of international and local cultures, café ambiance and fun beach elegance.
Although it had been a neglected feature of the Waterfront area for many years, most of the façade of the old warehouse has been retained while a sundeck and sea sand beach have been extended to the water’s edge, ensuring that the groundbreaking new Grand Café & Beach promises to be the place to lay down your sun hat this summer. “The design inspiration was Cape Town meets St Tropez – a free–spirited, eclectic, beach café culture,” says Sue Main, CEO of Grand, who designed the interiors with Morne Christian Smith from M. Christian Smith Design.
“Along with beach café culture, the natural elements of the location, landscape and existing structures, proximity to the ocean, magnificent new Cape Town Stadium and Table Mountain create the perfect setting” adds Smith. “Natural textures with contemporary and timeless antique furnishings complete the trendsetting design of the new Grand concept with singular elements including oversized chandeliers, antique Indian rugs, Parisian café chairs and open windows to the sea as well as large screens for multifaceted use.”
“Sue bought two chandeliers on one of her travels to France. Both used to hang in her house, but the one found a home in Grand Camps Bay and the other had to join Grand Cafe & Beach”. “I also went looking for a gift for Sue for her birthday and stumbled upon some amazing pieces at The Railway House in Kalk Bay. I knew we had to go back. Sue and I went back later in the week and found the most incredible mixture of old pieces, from tables and chairs to an old 60/70s surfboard, old Dunhill cigarette display case, old Germanic beach chair, a church prayer chair and a mirror. We also found a travel light at The Railway House, loved it but did not think it was working. Not giving it another thought, we bought it, had it connected and then had the great surprise that it lit up in pink neon,” says Smith. Entering beneath a wooden-covered ‘floppy hat’ along a wooden deck flanked by tall palms, guests arrive to a space of discreet escapism. Take in the 15m-long pure white bar with cherub detail and subtle lighting which adds to the ambience of the
main dining area, backed by an exhibition kitchen which has a pizza oven as its centre feature. Furthermore, the existing timber beams were left exposed to create a natural setting for the new Grand lifestyle gallery and private VIP dining room. Smith continues: “In the middle of this huge space you will find a dinner table designed by Gregor Jenkin, called the Blue Wale. Jenkin is truly a great example of home-grown talent. The table is 6200 x 2400mm in size and weighs about 1 1/2 tons. Around 14 people are needed to move the table. It is made from steel and has only five legs, and incredible feat given the size”. The Grand’s signature theme of grey and pink were introduced by using textured eco-friendly paint, while natural textures with contemporary and antique furnishings complete the trendsetting design of the new Grand concept. Dark stained interior furniture combined with fresh white furnishings and the Grand signature velvets create an eclectic mix.
Outdoors, the Grand’s deck spills out onto the main beach where sun-seekers can laze on Indian day beds, ordering from the pink outside beach bar. Additional feature include two round sea water pools along with outdoor fresh water showers. “I had to consider the number of people the deck had to carry and had to ensure that the substructure would be able to withstand the load. Sue also wanted the entrance deck to be able to accommodate a vehicle driving in for special launches, so I had to make this substructure even stronger. Due to the close proximity to the ocean and the long length of the deck, the timber had to be properly kiln dried to prevent warping,” says Smith. During construction, all efforts were made to ensure a green approach. Notable aspects include the selection of sustainable timber for the outside deck, use of textured eco-friendly paint, enhancement of the original building’s look and feel and even using harvested beach sand from surrounding areas cleared by the Cape Town City Council to create the new beach.
“Scattered outside on the beach sand you will find ceramic balls that are a by-product of fuel production. It is a 100% eco-friendly product used to remove metal particles from fuel. The ceramic balls attract the little particles, which then cling to the ceramic balls resulting in much cleaner fuel product,” says Smith. The Grand Café & Beach also offers a chic, bistrostyled menu for both lunch and dinner, serving up dishes of robust flavours and sensory tastes, with old and new classics combined in a new-world fusion of beach café cuisine. “The Grand approach is to blend worldly charm with top cuisine, service and style in astonishing destinations, all of which reflect uniqueness and imagination. The Grand Café & Beach is an exciting new ‘sun-drenched beach boy’,” says proud owner, Sue Main. <
A lifestyle district at the forefront of urban design
By Suné Stassen
On Friday, 6 November Cape Quarter donned its glad rags when the official launch sent everyone into party mode. Enjoying a welcome drink on the Piazza, celebrities and VIPs mingled to the hot sounds of Coda and Shamanzi dancers led the guests across to the Square where MC, JoAnn Strauss welcomed everyone. The guests were treated to a high-octane evening with a seductive tango setting the mood, followed by an awe-inspiring aerial act symbolising the opening of this magnificent lifestyle centre.
Fashion took an interesting and unusual turn as the Eco Fashion Show presented garments made from recyclable materials. As guests enjoyed the spectacle and tasted the delicious food offerings from the restaurants the Jonny Cooper Big Band made the evening swing to the sounds of old favourites. An elegant and sophisticated event, this was a memorable night of pure celebration. The extension of Cape Quarter in De Waterkant came to life on 1 October with the opening of the new Square. This niche boutique lifestyle destination with its superior tenant mix is set to attract shoppers, diners and investors to Green Point’s latest and most exciting trading hub. Since 2002 the original Cape Quarter has been hugely successful. There was, however, a demand for retail outlets such as a supermarket, more shops, especially focussing on fashion, as well as a gym and offices, which led to the creation of the extension. Over 10 000m2 of retail space (more than 100 retail stores and restaurants), and 8 700m2 of office space bring a new energy to this lively district. Don’t expect to see the usual
tenant mix found in shopping centres. The Cape Quarter is a lifestyle centre that has at its heart unique entrepreneurial businesses. A creative epicentre is how developers, Bob Knight, Paul Moxley and Ross Stegmann describe the building. “We wanted to give residents and visitors a lifestyle experience like no other, whilst retaining the architecture and village atmosphere of the area. Our tenants are all individual, independent retailers and restaurateurs, each with a unique character that fits the new building,” says Knight. “Only one store is part of a chain and that is the Spar Gourmet Food Store, but it is one of a kind!” Leading the trend in urban renewal in this once run down area, Cape Quarter Property Company has taken the lead in using the old industrial buildings, warehouses and service yards that covered the block of Somerset Road, Dixon, Jarvis and Napier Streets to create the new Cape Quarter. Add to this a keen sense of the environment; design and recycling plus generous use of space; the creators of Cape Quarter have brought together a unique shopping experience at the forefront of urban design. The design and ambience are in keeping with the surrounding streets – no mean feat since each street has its very own design qualities. Looking up at the unique building, the traditional Cape architecture is clearly reflected in the external façades. From Art Deco lintels to sash windows to arches and raw brickwork, the building is far from the slab of concrete that usually signifies shopping malls. Enhancing the area was the core of all design decisions made by the team of Propfin Design who ensured that space, light and harmony take precedence. The façade on Somerset Road has been retained, giving the main entrance a charm that is inviting in its simplicity.
Once inside, the atrium reaches high into the sky and the roof garden on the top level is in full view as you look up. Integral in this development has been the recycling of materials from the old buildings that originally occupied the site and the preservation of some of the authentic architectural elements is evident, giving the development a charming character and ambience. The Cape Quarter Food Spar is the anchor tenant with 1 600m2 devoted to gourmet foods. Catering to an upmarket clientele seeking the unusual alongside their basic food commodities – food shopping has never been this good. A quick park ’n shop area has been created on the corner of Somerset and Napier allowing for late evening shoppers to purchase goods quickly and efficiently. With the Deloitte’s staff, the retail tenants have a readymade market to cater to and the office workers will have a playground of shops, eateries and healthy pastimes to enjoy. From Jarvis Street you walk straight on to The Square. This is a magical use of space which forms the soul of the building. Open to the sky, the area is reminiscent of a European central square in an old city and a water feature, stage area, trees and wrought iron décor complete the scene. Four restaurants spill onto The Square and live entertainment allow shoppers to spend the day enjoying the atmosphere. The use of natural light has also been key to the development and many of the retailers have this advantage on their premises. The office space above The Square offers mountain and harbour views that are hard to match and on the northwestern side trees screen the building from the sun. Many of the design features save the overuse of air-conditioning. Eight escalators and lifts facilitate easy movement around the centre. Multiple entrances and exits off three roads give easy access to different levels and there is ample parking,
relieving some of the congestion in the area. The Jarvis Street precinct becomes the link between the original Cape Quarter and the new section, creating greater pedestrian access than ever before as the building has been set back from the road whilst street parking is still available. Sharing some insight into the design considerations, the developers explain that sustainability was high on the cards. “The water for CQ living and the common bathrooms are solar heated. The concrete roof is vegetated and can be regarded as a ‘green roof’. Many materials have been recycled from the demolition of the old buildings. Sun shading and roof overhangs have been designed to reduce heat loads and subsequent air-conditioning power requirements.” “It was also our vision that a common thread must run subtly through the development. The possible use of pergolas, stonework, cobbles, arches, ironmongery, shop fronts, planters and lighting and more could be used to link the original Cape Quarter and the new development.” “The design had to be cost-effective, frugal where possible and extravagant in selected areas. Natural and practical finishes were used in common areas while the retail shopfronts are to be maximised in size and exposure. The offices have more than the normal appeal by using Juliet balconies, glass, foyers, natural light and more.” The developers conclude: “Connectivity and individual yet unified look and feel between the original Cape Quarter and the new extension and development was key for us. We want both to be perceived as the enhancement of the other rather than a distraction. This concept is already in development through the use of pedestrian crossings and underground basement connection and will be perfected with the proposed pedestrian bridge that will hopefully be built in the near future.” <
A mere 100km away from the frenetic pace of Johannesburg’s busy suburbs, two Dream Veld Authentic Lifestyle Developments projects, on the outskirts of Potchefstroom, offer an alternative lifestyle to those looking for something completely different. The Herondale Wildlife Eco Estate on a magnificent 2400ha malariafree game farm offers residents an exclusive bushveld experience, while Waterberry Haven offers a retirement option which is more a resort for active seniors than a retirement village.
By Bev Hermanson Although there is no pressing need for gated security estates in Potchefstroom, the directors of Dream Veld Authentic Lifestyle Developments realised that this residential trend has many advantages. This prompted them to come up with two unique, but very different estates. The Herondale Wildlife Eco Estate is situated 9km outside Potchefstroom on a piece of African bushveld that would make one believe one is truly out at the wild frontier. Waterberry Haven, on the other hand, is pretty much a part of Potchefstroom’s urban fabric.
Travelling along the vastly improved N12 roadway from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom, one can’t miss seeing the imposing gatehouse of the Herondale Wildlife Eco Estate proudly welcoming visitors and residents to its bushveld experience. Even when all the building work is complete, this 2400 ha game farm will remain mostly ‘wild’ as only 2% of the entire land area will be covered with buildings.
LEFT: Artists impression of the Herondale Gatehouse. TOP RIGHT: Map of Sunset Creek showing the layout of the stands. BOTTOM RIGHT: Map of Kiepersol showing the layout of the stands.
On completion, the estate will have four villages placed remotely from each other in the depths of the African bush. Each village has about 70 stands of between 2000 sq m and 3 500m2, of which the houses may only occupy 500m2 on their ground floors with a further 300m2 allowed for an upper level. No perimeter fencing is allowed, although provision has been made for each home to have up to 600 sq m as a courtyard. This is to allow the game to roam freely throughout the estate. The game on the estate is non-predatory and is mainly made up of herds of zebra, impala, springbok, waterbuck, reedbuck, black wildebeest, blesbuck, gemsbok, kudu, eland and giraffes, as well as a number of ostriches and other birdlife. “To qualify as an eco estate, the built-up area has to be less than 5%,” explains Zieg van Huyssteen, sales consultant at Dream Veld Authentic Lifestyle Developments. “At Herondale, we are only building up to 2% of the land, so there’s lots of room for the game and birdlife.”
The first two of the four villages have been launched, with all the electricity, water and sewerage services in place and dirt roads provided during the building phase. After all the building has been completed, the roads will be tarred so that luxury vehicles can be driven around the estate, in addition to 4x4s. The architectural style prescribed for the development is contemporary African with natural materials used as much as possible. Landscaping should be done with indigenous plants typical to the region and the colour palette for paints has to blend with the earthy colours of the surroundings. Sunset Creek, with 75 stands, is already almost 50% sold out, while the second village, Kiepersol, with 71 stands, is 35% sold out. With stand prices just over R500 000 each and monthly levies of R400 per month, a slice of this African paradise is certainly within reach of most families looking for a secure, yet authentic lifestyle.
A view of the surrounding landscape.
Being at home in the African bush, residents will be able to enjoy the climate and natural flora and fauna of the area, undisturbed and in safety. Recreational activities available to residents include game drives, hiking, walking and jogging, mountain biking and horse riding. In addition, an organic spa centre will be built close to the gatehouse. This will house a gym, heated swimming pool and squash courts, while outside, there will be tennis courts and a driving range.
Seeking to revolutionise the concept of a retirement village, the directors at Dream Veld Authentic Lifestyle Developments conceptualised a village where residents need not lead sedentary lifestyles, although full facilities have been included so that, should there be a need for frail care, this will also be available as part of the unique Waterberry life care programme. The village is split into full title independent living units and assisted living units, with a care centre that has facilities for frail care and sub acute conditions. When the village is complete, a clubhouse, with a restaurant, lounge, pub, overnight accommodation for visitors, wellness centre, social centre and conference centre will be available.
For older residents looking to downscale, the conveniently located Waterberry Haven is the answer.
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Situated on the banks of the Mooi River, with 200km of river frontage on the western side and the wall of the Potchefstroom Dam on its northern perimeter, Waterberry Haven is one of the only estates in the North West Province with water on two sides. With 5 ha of parkland and landscaped gardens for relaxing, the estate offers residents the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without having to stress over the maintenance of the common areas. The upkeep of the estate is handled by the Waterberry Management Trust, along with the 24 hour security and emergency service. The communal buildings have been planned to cater for the movement impaired and are wheel chairfriendly, with widened doorways and passages, ramps, user-friendly taps and specially designed showers. Furthermore, emergency and security buttons have been strategically placed in case of crises.
To make life easy at Waterberry Haven, once the estate is complete, transport will be laid on for those needing to go shopping, laundry and cleaning services will be available and meals will be provided by arrangement.
Both Herondale and Waterberry are close enough to Potchefstroom’s central business district to make either one of the developments a worthwhile choice, depending on age and lifestyle requirements. Present-day Potchefstroom is best known as a ‘university town’ with a large student population. However, the city is actually steeped in history and has much to offer. Founded in the late 1830s by the Voortrekker leader, Andries Hendrik Potgieter, Potchefstroom (or stream
Artists impressions by architect Shawn Rowley Architects – recommended style for Herondale houses.
of the chief Potgieter) was, at first, the capital of the Transvaal Province and home to the first president of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), Marthinus Pretorius. During the Anglo Boer War, the Battles of Frederickstad and Tygerfontein were fought close by and many of the Potchefstroom residents were involved in defending the territory. Gold was discovered in the region in 1853. This caused great changes as hordes of fortune seekers arrived in the Transvaal to grab their share of the action. In 1910, the Avenue of Oaks was planted with a total of 710 oak trees. Stretching 6,84km from the Agricultural College in Botha Street, via Tom Street to the Lakeside Resort, it is considered the longest avenue of oaks in the southern hemisphere and is now a national monument. Other national monuments include the Old Gunpowder House, the Old Police Station building, the Kruger Kraal Opstal and the old Landrost, Post and Telegraph Offices.
For the culture lovers, there are a number of museums to be found in Potchefstroom. The Potchefstroom Main Museum in Sol Plaatjie Avenue comprises three art halls and a cultural history hall. Totius House Museum was the home of the well-known bible translator, JD du Toit, who was better known as Totius. The President Pretorius Museum is the restored Capestyled residence of the late Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, the first president of the ZAR and the Goetz/ Fleischack Museum is the Karoo-styled residence of the late Andreas Marthinus Goetz, magistrate of Potchefstroom between 1870 and 1881. For avid shoppers, there are a few shopping centres, the most notable of which is the sprawling Mooi River Mall that was built in 2008. Straddling the Mooi River, this modern shopping mall offers a wide selection of stores, banking facilities, restaurants, and cinemas – enough to keep one busy for hours.
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At night, the student district comes alive, with lots of fun to be had in the various eateries frequented by the younger set. If sport is the priority, there are a number of sports grounds in Potchefstroom. At the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, one can play soccer, cricket, netball and hockey. The Kenneth McArthur Oval is well known as a venue for rugby and soccer matches, while cricket is best enjoyed at the North West International Stadium – Seagars Park. The North West University’s Potchefstroom Campus also boasts a variety of world class sports facilities, including the North West University High Performance Institute. The Potchesfstroom Country Club has an 18hole golf course and the Boskop Dam is a favourite angling spot.
For nature lovers, the NWU Botanical Garden, which is maintained by the university’s School of Environmental Sciences & Development, is open to the public. Another attraction is the OPM-Prozesky Bird Sanctuary located on the wetland adjoining the golf course, which is excellent for bird spotting. Further afield, the Vredefort Dome, now proclaimed a World Heritage Site, is the spot where, more than 2000 million years ago, a giant meteorite crashed into the Earth. Here, one can enjoy hiking and many outdoor adventure activities, including white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing on the Vaal River. Of course, the many attraction of Johannesburg are not too far away and the OR Tambo International Airport is less than a 2 hour drive, for those who still wish to enjoy their holidays overseas. <
Game on the plain at Herondale Wildlife Eco Estate.
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From a sliding roof to an origami house to a backyard in the sky, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award attracts the mind-boggling, the complex and the sophisticated. No other event offers architects from around the world with this type of inspiration and the 2009 awards seemed to have an extra soft spot for the housing category. The WAF Awards is the world’s biggest architectural award programme and is designed to celebrate and showcase the best of the best work by the international architectural community. WAF rewards excellence across a wide range of building types and budgets.
Its judges are instructed to consider the principal qualities of welldesigned buildings wherever they find them, including Vitruvius’s classical definition of “commodity, firmness and delight”, as well as contemporary considerations such as clarity of organisation, expression and representation, appropriateness of architectural ambition, integrity and honesty, architectural language, scale, conformity and contrast, orientation, flexibility, sustainability and aesthetics. What sets this scheme apart from the rest is its unique entry and adjudication process. Entries are first screened by an expert jury before a shortlist is invited to present their projects live to the public, as well
as to a star-studded international jury of architecture experts. The process entails a fully interactive live format that has produced some spectacular results. The 2009 event, held in Barcelona, attracted 1 507 architects from 71 countries who came to view and learn from the best projects and to help shape the future of the industry through exchange and collaboration.
With the 2010 entry deadline looming (1 July), DESIGN>LIVING looks at some of 2009 winners and commendations in the Housing and Residence categories as well as the overall winner of the World Building of the Year award.
WORLD BUILDING OF THE YEAR
MAPUNGUBWE INTERPRETATION CENTER Category: Culture Location: South Africa Architect: Peter Rich Architects, Johannesburg, South Africa Award: WAF 2009 World Building of the Year The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, which is situated at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, features rounded roofs and is surfaced in local rubble in order to fully complement the surrounding landscape. From the start Peter Rich Architects sought to add value to the region not only in delivering the final solution but also in the process of its design and construction: The project’s agenda extends beyond the presentation of ancient and more recent history of the area to awaken an understanding of the vulnerability of the local ecology. These objectives are manifested in the construction process of the Centre in which unemployed local people were trained in the manufacture of stabilised earth tiles and in building the timbrel vaults. This knowledge has been accepted into the culture of the region, with the masons continuing the skills they have learned by using the remaining tiles for their own houses in nearby villages. Thus,
the Centre not only tells a story, but has become part of a story that is still unfolding, of culture developing in symbiosis with its natural legacy. The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre was chosen as the 2009 World Building of the Year by some of the world’s most distinguished architects and renowned industry experts, beating off competition from a shortlist of 17 entries. The jury admired the way in which: “the architecture responded to vernacular African styles. The judges described the project as ‘an indisputably contemporary building of immense resonance and richness. It is also underpinned by a strong social programme, using the skills and labour of local people and involving them in the design and construction processes.” Peter Rich Architects describes the project as a “poverty relief project using ecological methods and materials” and that “the complex landscape was both the inspiration for the design and the source of most of the materials for its construction. This resulted in a composition of structures that are authentically rooted in their location.”
IMAGES © Iwan Baan
IMAGES © McBride Charles Ryan
Housing as a category has a lot of criteria to take into consideration by the WAF judges. It could be rationality of the plan, the comfort of living, new typology, or presenting an additional public space to a city. For the 2009 judging panel, the main criteria was the strong message that the building sends to other architects and other specialists in residential developments.
The judges praised the design of Klein Bottle House as: “evoking on every day of the year, the enriching playfulness of being on holiday. The house was also celebrated as fitting comfortably within the dramatic Australian landscape.” The Klein Bottle House is built in heavily treed sand dunes directly behind 16th Beach at Rye, only two hours drive from Melbourne. The house revolves around a central courtyard with a staircase connecting all the spaces and levels. McBride Charles Ryan describes their design process: “We were keen to remain topologically pure, to distort the shape as need dictates but not to appear to sever this form. We were attracted to the idea of the origami version of the Klein bottle because of its beauty and the perversity of an origami Klein Bottle. To accommodate ‘rooms’ within the bottle we thought of them like objects inserted within the bottle. The Klein bottle was also the perfect fit to the constraints of the site. Once adopted, the shape of this building had something of a life of its own, the genie was out and she was difficult to temper. The development was intense, the serious pursuit of joyful nonsense. The result we think is a unique shape, an internal space with series of new relationships between the traditional components of the home.”
KLEIN BOTTLE HOUSE Category: House Location: Rye, Australia Architect: McBride Charles Ryan, Melbourne, Australia Award: WAF 2009 World’s Best Home Award With rapid developments in computer software it’s becoming possible for architects to achieve increasingly complex and dynamic shapes in their structures. The Klein Bottle House, a holiday home shaped like an origami Klein Bottle, situated in Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, is a testament to this and truly thinks ‘outside the box’. The Klein Bottle House celebrates the country’s traditional beach houses whilst remaining a practical and useful 21st century home.
CHEN HOUSE Category: House Location: Sanjhih, Taiwan Architect: C-Laboratory, Turku, Finland Award: Category Commendation Situated on an old Japanese cherryfarm in the Datun mountains of northern Taiwan, the Chen house is notable for its synthesis of traditional methods of construction with contemporary living and spaces. Built for a retired couple, it is an adaptive entity and designed entirely on the principles of bioclimatic architecture, taking into consideration the regions’ summer heat, occasional flooding, strong winds and seismic activity. The Chen house is orientated to the north and south and is built on heavy concrete blocks raised above the ground, allowing floodwaters to pass freely without causing damage to the structure. Beams of mahogany are used on almost every surface of the house, both interior and exterior, in such a way that air can easily pass through the spaces creating a self-cooling system. To accommodate for earthquakes and typhoons common in the area, the house is flexible, each space acting as a buffer to absorb movement instead of working against it. The Chen house is beautifully simplistic, not aiming to close out the surrounding environment but rather
IMAGES © Nikita Wu
IMAGES © Ross Russell
becoming part of it. C-Laboratory explains “A ruin is when ‘manmade’ has become part of nature. With this house we were looking forward to designing a ruin.”
SLIDING HOUSE Category: House Location: Suffolk, United Kingdom Architect: dRMM, London, United Kingdom Award: Category Commendation Described as ‘the industrial and the picturesque’, the Sliding House is a combination of the client’s vision for the unconventional and the architect’s knack for innovation. The outcome is a 28m linear building comprised of three structures, the main house, garage, guest annex and a dynamic fourth component, a 20-ton mobile roof. Ross Russell, the owner of the Sliding House, approached the architects with the mantra “we are prepared to be radical,” and for the conventional area of Suffolk the result is very radical. All the structures are aligned on a level ridge that runs north to south along the northeastern boundary of the property. The sliding roof sits on rails and is powered by hidden electric motors on bogeys integrated into the wall thickness. As the roof slides over the three structures in
a mere 6 minutes, it transforms the spaces by creating combinations of enclosure, open-air living and framing of views, according to the position. dRMM explains “It is about the ability to vary or connect the overall building composition and character according to season, weather, or a remotecontrolled desire to delight.”
THE MET Category: Housing (including mixed use) Location: Bangkok, Thailand Architect: WOHA, Singapore Award: WAF 2009 Housing Category Winner The Met, a Bangkok skyscraper designed by WOHA, was the perfect fit for this category’s adjudication criteria. The housing development is inspired by Thai tiles, textiles and timber panelling. The judges praised the development as “an excellent attempt to open a skyscraper to the city and to allow its inhabitants to use the building as much as possible in a rapidly developing Bangkok.”
When designing The Met, WOHA successfully took on the challenge of exploring the opportunities for high-rise living in the tropics. Rather than adopting models developed in temperate countries, with a strong separation of interior and exterior, this skyscraper explores how aspects of low-rise tropical housing can be applied to create outdoor-indoor spaces in the sky. The staggered block arrangement gives all apartments access to light and air on all four sides and recalls the Thai teak staggered panelling on traditional houses. The Met also features open-air communal terraces with barbeques, libraries, spas and other facilities. “These sky terraces, both private and public, link the blocks every five storeys, creating dramatic yet human-scaled external spaces in the sky,” explains WOHA. Strategically located between two main train stations on Bangkok’s busy South Sathorn road, The Met also practically deals with the problem of urban sprawl and traffic by making use of existing infrastructure.
IMAGES © Patrick Bingham-Hall WOHA Group
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
WAF also considers projects under development as well as future projects as separate categories in its awards programme.
the site could be returned to nature with the seismic spine walls being the only permanent built element to remain. BURO II further explains their philosophy: “The goal of the project is to create a dialog with the presence of the existing: the nature and the village. The main characteristics of the site are: the presence of the beach, the thick foliage all along the beach, the long and thin plot, the road running along the plot, the topography from flat to steep, the river and ravine and the proximity of Mero village.” Set to be completed in 2010, each residential unit will offer flexibility for use as multiple single rooms or full-scale family residences. A promenade will serve as the connecting element between the hotel’s different areas such as the marina, shops, reception, parking, restaurant and beach club.
360º BUILDING Category: Future Projects – Residential Location: São Paulo, Brazil Architect: Isay Weinfeld, São Paulo, Brazil Award: Category Commendation The 360º Building is set to be developed on an elevated area between the districts of Alto de Pinheiros and Alto da Lapa in São Paulo. São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, is home to a little over 10 million people spread over an area of 1525km2. Residential areas are often crammed with housing that is compact and closed onto themselves to sustain the rapidly growing population. Isay Weinfeld designed the 360º Building mindful of the urban reality in São Paulo and with open air, space and views in mind. The building will feature 62 elevated ‘homes with yards’ with a choice of seven types of apartments, either 130, 170 or 250m2, combined in sets of two, three or four units per floor. The lower levels, semi-subterranean, will be an adults’ playground featuring a gym, lounge, party room, sauna and a swimming pool. <
MERO BEACH PROJECT DOMINICA Category: Future Projects – Residential Location: Dominica Architect: BURO II WAF Entry 2009 Award: WAF 2009 Category Winner From the onset of the Mero Beach project, BURO II had one goal: To design a solution in which a sustainable relationship with the local economy, culture, natural heritage and environment is central. The judges at the 2009 WAF were especially impressed with the way in which BURO II were able to persuade their client to reduce the scale of this hotel project from 45 000m2, firstly to 25 000m2, and finally to just 15 000m2. With this scaling-down they also reduced the amount of disturbance to the sensitive natural habitat, almost completely eliminating the need to excavate into the coastline. BURO II even considered what would happen at the end of the projects’ lifespan, showing how
RIGHT: Mero Beach Project, Dominica. © BURO II FAR RIGHT: 360º Building © Isay Weinfeld
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