Swan Café Crêperie | Interior by Haldane Martin

Swan Café: A Bit of French Heaven

by Marica Fick

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.

The interiors were skilfully designed by Haldane Martin. Interestingly enough, Haldane also designed the super cool steampunk interiors of Truth Coffee which is just across the street from Swan Café.

Swan Café Crêperie | Interior by Haldane Martin
interior design: Haldane Martin   |  photographer: Micky Hoyle

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”.
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Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy

Our Work: Chan Wela Beauty Spa

by Rose McClement

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.

Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy
Chan Wela Beauty Spa’s manicure bar in Century City, Cape Town. Don’t you just LOVE the gorgeous mint velvet fabric we sourced for the manicure chairs? It was a very hard find!

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!

Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy
The Pedicure station featured some beautiful plush and comfy wingback chairs upholstered in a stunning soft pink velvet.

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 »

Quirky Workspace | Interiors by Design Monarchy

Our Work: Workspace Before & After

Quirky Workspace Before & After | Interiors by Design Monarchy
AFTER: The completed fun & quirky workspace featuring the trestle desk made out of a reclaimed vintage door.

by Rose McClement

I am sure by now you are quite familiar with the following workspace as we have shared and chatted about it many times before.

After images of this interior project appeared in the January issue of Tuis / Home Magazine last year, we have received so many complements on this specific space.

This quirky workspace seems to stir up a stack of enthusiastic comments and questions. We heard a lot of: “Wow, this is awesome!”; “I want a workspace like that!”; “Where did you get that desk?”; “And the boxes where did you buy those?”; “Is that a real brick wall?!

So we thought we would share a bit of the design process involved with this workspace with you.Read More »

Old Books Archives

We Are Delving into the Blog Archives

by Rose McClement

Often during the winter months, due to the slower pace of work, we take advantage of the breathing space, to revisit and revitalise the social media side of our business. Coming out of recent chats, Marica and I have decided that we are going to “modify” our email newsletter tempo a little. Like gear it up a bit.

What will that look like in reality? Well, for a while now our newsletters have been sent every fortnight. Cool – until it dawned on me that since we have been blogging for near on 7 years now, we have so many articles and posts from “back then” that may not have passed before your line of sight yet.  I’m excited about this and hope that you will enjoy it with us.

In the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday, we will also be sharing past blog posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages every Thursday.Read More »

Creative SA: Zana

Creative SA: Zana

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we want to share the gorgeous products of Cape Town-based creative studio, Zana, with you.

Zana produces beautiful screen-printed products – textiles, bags, cushions, and other fashion and home accessories but to name a few of their “giftables”. Their trendy graphic designs are bold and fun with a definite Scandi flair.

“We love to create things that pack a punch and give you that hair-blowing-back, confetti-bomb experience. We are in love with colour, pattern and typography. This is really what gets us inspired.”

– ZanaRead More »

Block & Chisel

Creative SA: Block & Chisel

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

The South African creatives we want to share with you today are very special indeed. Block & Chisel is celebrating an extraordinary milestone this year. 2017 marks the furniture and homeware company’s 30th anniversary – which is no small achievement for any business. They are one of the few local creatives who have built their business into a powerful, recognised local brand. One might even call them a furniture and decor dynasty.

We here at Design Monarchy hold Block & Chisel and their founders, Lynn & Sibley McAdam, in very high regard. The way in which they have developed and grown their product range over the decades is admirable.

The husband and wife team first began this journey after Lynn sold Biggie Best. With Lynn’s eye for beautiful pieces together with Sibley’s passion for restoring antiques and crafting fine furniture, Block & Chisel was born. The past 15 years has seen Block & Chisel welcome the McAdams’s son and daughter into the fold.

I, as a relatively “green” designer, love when Rose, who has been in the South African decorating industry for decades, enlightens me on the history of certain creatives and local design-related businesses. Block & Chisel is such a business – Rose can distinctly remember when they first opened their doors in 1987. Now 30 years later they own multiple successful shops.

Block & Chisel fills a very distinctive niche in the furniture and decorative accessories market. Their flavour is distinctly upmarket. They manage to create this delicious mix of eclectic, luxury, traditional but also contemporary, trendy yet timeless, oh-so-chic elements.

While Block & Chisel has their fingers firmly on the global interior trend pulse, they stay rooted in the company’s slightly colonial foundation which is evident in their classic French and English Country ranges.

Sibley first introduced these designs in the early years and to this day, it still forms the backbone of the Block & Chisel product range. In recent years more contemporary designs have been added. Lynn expertly accents these locally manufactured pieces with carefully chosen treasures to create an overall eclectic flair.

It is always such a treat and sensory experience to visit Block & Chisel in Diep River where we often shop and source for our clients. Not only does the showroom smell amazing, it is also filled with layer upon layer of the most beautiful furniture and decorative accessories. The showroom layout and various room settings tell such a wonderful decorative “story”.

We believe the key to Block & Chisel’s success (other than their visionary and talented owners) is longevity. Longevity, not only in their product ranges, but also in their business model. They keep evolving and reinventing to cater to their chosen market. And that is what we appreciate most about Block & Chisel.

Be sure to check out the Block & Chisel to see their full range of furniture & decorative accessories.

You can also follow Block & Chisel on FacebookInstagram, Twitter & Pinterest.