Two months ago, VISI shared a quick article on a gorgeous new crêperie that recently opened its doors in the Cape Town CBD. The accompanying images of the interiors were so lovely, bold, and striking that I immediately knew that this was a space I just HAVE to see in the flesh.
Located on the corner of Buitenkant and Barrack streets, in the bustling east city precinct, Swan Café boasts of being Cape Town’s first authentic Parisian Crêperie. One can thank the overseeing hand of owner and restaurateur Jessica Rushmere for this authenticity as she is French – born and bred. Jessica, who also owns La Petite Tarte in the Cape Quarter, desired to bring a slice of Paris culture and food to Cape Town.
Taking queue from the gorgeous swan logo, designed by graphic designer and illustrator Heidi Chisholm, the space features a bold and patriotic blend of blue, red and white.
The bold blue walls and beautiful monochromatic wallpapers serve as a gorgeous backdrop to the space. The side wall features the well-known Renaissance painting “Leda and the Swan” by Leonardo da Vinci, while the back wall is that of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s “Leda and the Swan”. Read More »
I’m sitting here wondering how to get this article off the ground? Where do I begin? I’m a bit of a storyteller. So I’m wondering, should I start with “Once upon a Time”? …Nah! Not this time around. I’ll leave that for when I write my book. All I ask right now is that you try to stay with me until “The End”.
Back in September 2017, Design Monarchy was commissioned to assist with the interior design and project management of Chan Wela, a nail bar and beauty salon. I’ve always maintained that whether you design for residential, hotel, retail, or any other interior space, the processes and the principles are always the same. That being said, the interior design of a nail and beauty salon was a first for us, yet we were very keen and excited to get on with it.
Before I go any further, I think that it would be appropriate to open up the meaning of the Salon’s name. “Chan Wela” is Thai for “me time”. To this day, I still find the name and its meaning very enchanting.
There were two major challenges that we faced with this project. First off – the timeframe was extremely tight. The Salon’s PR driven celebrity launch party was to be on the 28th of November. From the time that the deal was agreed upon to the big evening’s launch party, we basically had two months! In that time, we had to tackle challenge number two: converting a typically bland office space, in a typical office block complex, into a compelling top-of-the-range, fully-equipped, upmarket beauty salon. NO pressure!
The construction and building process of a project and converting an interior space is always a time-sensitive issue. The processes are all time-consuming – stress trigger points deluxe! Always! If you are planning an interior upgrade, please, factor in sufficient time.Read More »
Okay – who of you reading this right now can recall the movie Love Story from way back in 1970? (Oh my word, I feel “timeless” just recalling it. Timeless in this case being a kind word for “old”). It starred Ali McGraw and handsome Ryan O’Neill and was the tearjerker of the decade. At the time, it was meant to be the love story to top all love stories! Just to give you an indication of how bad-ass sad this move was, I was warned beforehand to take my tissues with me to the movie house. But the love story I am about to share with you, actually tops the forgotten 70’s tearjerker. It’s real and authentic.
It was sometime back that I somehow connected with the Château de Gudanes. Exactly how that happened I can’t recall. As I cast my mind back now, I vaguely recall that one of my friends was following their blog and thought it might interest me from an interiors point of view.
Well, it sure did. I was intrigued by the Château and its owners from the first blog article I read and have followed their progress over the last few years. The newsletter updates aren’t that frequent, but when they drop into my inbox I can’t wait to catch up. With each passing newsletter, my intrigue and fascination is deepened, as is my desire to eventually visit this Beauty in French Countryside.
Built in the mid 1700’s, Château de Gudanes, a timeless and forgotten Stately Home in the French Country side, despite being sorely neglected, cast aside, pretty much abandoned and forgotten with the passing of time, still stands proudly in the south of France in the small village of Château-Verdun. It stands on the foothills of lush fertile French country surrounded by mountains and nearby French country villages. In the midst of it neglected state, the Château managed to hold its head up high enough to catch the attention of Australian couple, who were looking to set themselves up in that neck of the woods. What more could Craig and Karina Waters with a very big vision want for? If I recall, it was to create a new country home for their family while sharing it with as a guesthouse with all who wished to do so. The Château it seems called their name. They in their turn hearkened it calls, despite the numerous restoration challenges that they must have known would face them. Were it me, I might have run for the hills! It was to be a mammoth task, something that could only be supported within the context of a brave and determined vision.
Want to hear my fantasy around the call of the Château to its new owners? Here goes – in my mind’s eye they saw its outward, regal, stately and romantic appeal at first – standing there wooing them to its heart. Like any other romantic call, the outward appearance draws one in. Then once inside – they were faced with the harsh realities of the ravaging effects that neglect and “careless-ness” had on its once beautiful interior features! Did that put them off? By all accounts it didn’t. In fact I assume they admitted to the reality of it forgotten state, but looked beyond that to it hidden beauty, a beauty that they could unearth, unpack and once again restore. And that is why they committed to this long term relationship with the Château. What an experience of a lifetime, which they took hold of and made it their own.
That’s my take on their initial and early day encounters with the Château (only because I can’t find the account that I read years ago, which means I am left with the little recall I have). But it works for me. I don’t really want to spoil my own romantic notion of their encounter by spending time trawling their website for the facts. I mean, this is the month of LUV, not facts!
Because ultimately, that is really what Love is all about. We are drawn to each other, attracted to each other by some magical yet inexplicable force (which we can explain if we want to be spoilsports). Then when we step in closer to each other, we are faced with certain realities of neglect and careless-ness. But despite that – we stay with each other, work with each other and then reap the rewards. That’s Love for me. It’s not always romantic, but it’s true.
Now, looking at this latest video that has been produced, something so romantic has once again been given back to the Château by those brave, tenacious, creative, determined and love filled owners, who have loved the Château despite the odds often being stacked against them. Plus they have allowed others to show love to its restoration as well, by including many people into the volunteer work force. It’s a long story indeed and one that you are more than welcome to dip into by jumping over to their website, to trawl through their amazing recorded stories.
I want to salute the owners Craig and Karina Waters for their big vision, determined courage, steadfastness and for all they have achieved thus far. I am equally determined to visit the Château in the not too distant future as a fulfilment of my dream. Either to assist in the restoration for a while as a volunteer or as a guest in their home. I dream of waking up in one of those boudoirs that pulsate with that timeless authenticity that has been restored with so much fastidious love and care. To breath in the fresh country air and to explore the depth of the house as well. But mostly to pop my laptop onto the French antique desk that stands in front of the window with a mountain view that is to die for – to write. TOTAL BLISS!
Hello Everybody – It’s Monday, the start of yet another fabulous week to do what we all love best!! Not so!! Oh boy – are you wondering why I am so perky on a Monday morning, when actually the weekend has come to an end? Well, take a look at this HAPPY video and you too will feel bright and breezy going forward into this week. And the kicker here is that this video features our home city of Cape Town. It is such a pleasure to share the people and places of our diverse city with all our readers. Especially, since we have been World Design Capital 2014. ENJOY and wishing one and all a HAPPY week ahead.
The year is quickly racing to a close and so also Cape Town’s stint as World Design Capital 2014. With over 460 recognized WDC projects it was (and still is) quite difficult to keep track of all of them. We find it sad and somewhat frustrating that some awesome projects slipped past us without so much as a whisper.
HOWEVER, the year is not over yet! There are still fabulous projects in the pipeline not to mention some stunning ongoing project. AND of course, our very own Design Monarchy studio is still hard at work with our World Design Capital project: #WDC323 the makeover of the Acute Care Surgery Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital…
To keep the yellow design fires burning we would like to share some of our favourites WDC projects with you in the weeks to come. Today I would like to single out two official World Design Capital projects that are still in motion… and might I say, pretty awesome. Though both projects sprouted from the temporary World Design Capital platform they are said to become permanent fixtures.
#WDC344 | Stable:
“stable: A collaborative exhibition space where Designers, Artists and Artisans have the opportunity to showcase their work.”
Located on 65 Loop Street in the CBD, the purpose of stable is to create a link between talented local designers and the everyday consumer.
The concept of stable is the brainchild of designer Aidan Bennetts and the shop features a boutique collection of innovative South African design. Designers, Artists and Artisans from every corner of South Africa showcase their work alongside one another in a professional retail environment. There is a wide range of items including chairs, tables, lighting and accessories all curated under one roof for your convenience.
stable is a long term initiative, with plans to open new outlets and growing beyond 2014.
#WDC533 | Table Mountain Frames:
“This project celebrates nature’s beautiful design: Table Mountain. Seven frames will be erected around Cape Town that perfectly frame Table Mountain from well known & unusual views.”
I am so in love this concept – it gives folks an opportunity to “interact” with Table Mountain.
The Table Mountain Frames were designed by Porky Hefer. Each frame was optimally positioned to perfectly frame a view of Table Mountain. Visitors can travel to all 7 sites to collect an image of themselves & Table Mountain. By setting up framed views from some unusual locations, people will be reminded of the beauty of the mountain from within the city, and convey a sense that it is a mountain for everyone, not just for visitors to the “usual” tourist locations. This is a great way to celebrate Cape Town’s New7Wonder of Nature and to encourage people to share images of the different views on social media.
Frames has already been set up at the V&A Waterfront, Blouberg Beach, Signall Hill, Khayelitsha and Cape Town Station.
Cavendish Square collaborated with local green designers to create sustainable products from the waste recycled by the centre. These chic & functional products can be bought at their Made by You & Cavendish Square Recycling Pop up store during the month of October 2014…
I rather like that title “Today for Tomorrow” as a WDC 2014 initiative. To me it carries a very powerful message of being present in what we undertake today, with a view of impacting our environment and surrounding going into tomorrow. One of those “speaks for itself” taglines.
And in keeping with the whole pop-up shop trend that is still gaining momentum in Cape Town, it is heart warming to see one of Cape Town’s landmark upmarket shopping malls, Cavendish Square, playing host to a designer orientated pop-up shop. For those further afield from Cape Town, just a piece of useless information – Cavendish Square has many, many designer label shops. Mostly all in the “High Street” genre. That to me then makes this initiative by Cavendish really cool – bringing in your street level designer labels and giving them exposure alongside the high street labels. Just the kinda inclusive exposure these designers need.
I realise that it is a bit late in the month, but for those of us in the Cape Town area, there is still time to nip over to Cavendish to take in the power of creative design influences by local designers. Something that we can surely be very Proudly South African.