Lionshead and table mountain, Cape Town, South Africa photo by Laura Bielecki via Lumia 1520
World Design Capital has hit Cape Town and everyone is endorsing this stunning southern city. Time magazine just declared Cape Town the 2014 #1 City to visit. I checked it out first hand with a group of 10 bloggers from across the Middle East and North Africa thanks to World Design Capital sponsor Nokia.
World Design Capital Office, Cape Town. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Asha 503
Great video above about the World Design Capital with Alayne Reesberg CEO of the event as well as a quick overview of the Nokia Bloggers trip featuring a quick interview and a few snippets of yours truly.
Starting with the obvious scenery, the city has a 360 degree view of beauty.
Green Point Park, Cape Town Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Asha 503
Lionshead mountain from Camps Bay photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Waves at the rocky shore in Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Seashells, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Cape Town Coastline. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
And then there is the fresh and clean Architecture:
Bo-Kaap houses in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo courtesy my new dear friend Amer Sweidan (http://amersweidan.com/)
Cape Town City Center Architectural facade. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Art Deco Architecture in Cape Town. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Architecture in Cape Town. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Modern Cape Town. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Luxury Cape Town Residence. Did you see the glass swimming pool?! Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Cape Town luxury. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Woodstock Exchange courtyard, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Asha 503
I Heart Cape Town! @ The Woodstock Exchange. Photo by Laura Bielecki Via Nokia Asha 503
Planters at the Woodstock Exchange. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Asha 503
A great group of bloggers, journalists and youtube stars from across the Middle East and Africa:
Nokia Discovery trip group @WDC2014 #CapeTown photo courtesy Daliah Shaer
Laura Bielecki and the Bo-Kaap houses in Cape Town, South Africa. Nokia Lumia 1520 photo by Hussain http://www.hosaa.com/
Laura Bielecki Photographing the Bo-Kaap houses in Cape Town, South Africa. Nokia Lumia 1520 photo by Hussain http://www.hosaa.com/
Laura Bielecki + Daliah Shaer +Yasmin Elayat in Cape Town with South African face painting.
Laura Bielecki + Njeri Ngige in Cape Town
Laura Bielecki + Yasmin Elayat in Cape Town
African beaded jewellery in Cape Town. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
African Masks at the Market. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Cape Town Market Center. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
Cape Town Market. Photo by Laura Bielecki via Nokia Lumia 1520
What makes Africa as a whole special is the creative ingenuity of its people against its surreal natural beauty. South Africa is host to an array of amazing Design medium, here are some of the ones I took note of:
South Africa currently produces approximately 50% of total world production of Mohair a soft and lovely natural material ideal for luxury textiles and upholstery.
Design InDaba (February) is the big Design show of the year. This year the city will also host a branch of 100% Design (April 25th-28th 2014)
Willow Lamp bespoke and custom made illuminated art pieces, chandeliers and lighting. Designed and assembled in Cape Town South Africa.
Willow Lamp Enchanted Faraway Tree
Currently exhibiting at Design Days Dubai, Southern Guild represents a variety of nearly 60 of today’s hottest South African Designers bringing limited edition pieces to the world market. Designers include Ronnel Jordaan a textile designers with 30 years of experience and uses only South African materials with local artisans.
Lalibella Chair by Ronel Jordaan
Ndebele Chair by Ronel Jordaan
Dokter and Misses is a married team who create furniture and fashion in Johannesburg.
Tears Lamp from Dokter and Misses
Kassena Server by Dokter and Misses
David Krynauw lives on a small farm in Piet Retief South Africa near the Swaziland border. Designing and creating unique furniture is what motivates him. While exploring the art of woodwork he discovered the perfect way to express himself.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard has created a beautiful and traditionally made line of Moroccan tiles for Ann Sacks. With an interest in the Eastern aesthetic, Martyn has unleashed 3 new collections for the luxury tile giant this month. I am eager to see them in person and have a lineup of projects begging for there beauty!
Eastern Promise Collection:
Handcrafted in Morocco, Eastern Promise is an updated version of the softly honed tiles made in Morocco that heralded the world over for its coveted colors and remarkable patterning. Martyn draws inspiration from his travels and his love of the modern interpretations that were made so prevalent in 20th century design.
Eastern Promise Collection for Ann Sacks by Martyn Lawrence Bullard
“The arabesques from Marrakesh and Tangiers, the swirling motifs from Istanbul and Myknos, all these exotic elements tie together with the bold statements found in 1950s Brazilian and 1970s Italian design,” said Lawrence Bullard. “This play between centuries is an important part of the collection, we’ve mixed modern color combinations together with traditional design that becomes this rich cultural exchange and encourages any number of decorative opportunities.”
“There is no firing, kiln, glazes or sun-curing used in the handcrafting of Eastern Promise, instead artisans employ an ecologically thoughtful process that dates back 150 years. A mixture of cement, colored pigments, and marble powder are mixed with water to create thin slurry that is then funneled into sections of a handcrafted mold. The mold is then lifted to allow the pattern somewhat marry together. Additional cement and marble paste are made pliable with a small amount of water, dusted over the original form and then pressed to remove all water from the tile. After resting for a day, the tiles are submerged into a water bath to fully hydrate the form. The tiles then slowly dry over a three week period, gaining remarkable strength as the cement and marble fuse together.” (excerpt from Ann Sacks website)
The Mousharabia collection was inspired by the carved wood latticework screens (Mushrabiya) that incorporate repeating architectural shapes into glorious proportionate works of art.
Ann Sacks Mousharabia tiles by Martyn Lawrence Bullard (2014)
“The fine art of mousharabia has been refined over many centuries,” explained Lawrence Bullard. “ANN SACKS has captured the allure of the ancient design and through the use of ceramics and special glazes modernized it to be both beautiful and practical.”
“Each of the tiles has unique characteristics achieved through the tile face’s graphic relief. The raised patterning creates the perfect backdrop for the hand-applied glazes, which pool and break across the surface depending on the glaze consistency, adding to the overall effect of this dimensional art tile. The raised face and unique glazing of Mousharabia creates a lively play of shadow and light. Its composition makes it completely comfortable in water, bringing forth deepening colors and natural rivulets as the water cast its way down the tile face, making these the perfect visual scene-stealers when used as a pool line, patio edge or fountain installation.” (excerpt from Ann Sacks website)
Rounding out these first introductions by Lawrence Bullard is Hermitage mirrored tile. These interpretive tiles take its cues from 20th century design, yet remain true to ANN SACKS’ handcraft by employing the art of 18th century mirror making techniques to achieve the lustrous surfaces.
“There is nothing sexier to me than the use of refined mirror in a project,” explained Lawrence Bullard. “Mercury glass mirrors add mystery and depth, yet originals are hard to find these days and can be extremely expensive. The fact that ANN SACKS is able to offer my designs in what appears to be perfectly aged mirror tiles in various sizes are quite a feat. The look is reminiscent of the decorative art of verre églomisé, a difficult, almost extinct technique mastered by the French in the 18th century.”
Completely handcrafted in the U.S., there are four designs in the current portfolio, three based in nature and one referencing back to Lawrence Bullard’s love of Moroccan art. I am not crazy for the animal prints, but the Moroccan “Mamounia” tile is certainly stunning! I cannot wait to get some samples in my hands. The Manounia tile Inspired by the zellij mosaic tiles that decorate the lobby of the famous La Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh, the pattern takes on an altogether modern edge when set against the silvery warmth of the mirrored surface.
“The wonderful thing about these mirrored tiles is they work spectacularly in a private home, to clad a powder room, be inset into closet door fronts, or laid up in an entry, but there is also the commercial aspect that delightedly speaks to my designer instincts,” said Lawrence Bullard. “I see endless possibilities with unlimited, new and exciting uses, whether selected for a posh restaurant, sexy retail store changing room, or creating reflective columns in foyers, or adorning the walls of elevators, and the ceilings of hotels.”
Check out the new collections on the Ann Sacks website here.
Cat is out of the bag, tomorrow I leave for a small but epic journey with NOKIA, to Cape Town South Africa. Being my first time below the equator I am excited to see if the grass is greener on the other side and most critically if toilets do really flush the other way. I also believe it may be the perfect opportunity to re-introduce my yellow hot pants after exactly a year of seclusion.
Take a look at that city…. Cape Town seems to be in the most picturesque location. The perfect combination of land and sea – sans snow. I cannot wait to see all it has to offer. When it comes to design I feel the need to make a pilgrimage to the SAOTA offices, and most particularly their interiors office Antoni Associates - an internationally acclaimed design studio, winner of “a bunch” of awards and prized by design firms worldwide as having risen the bar.
From what I know, Cape town is the home of the open plan home, “room with a view”, has a serious Vancouver-esque health kick and a wicked accent. What else does South Africa have for luxury Interiors? I’m about to find out…