On the go

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WANTED’s April issue is available tomorrow to subscribers of Business Day only. Editor ALEXANDER PARKER shares his favourites from the issue.

Two Wanted staffers spent a week in France this month. Our contributing fashion ed Jenny Andrew attended Paris Fashion Week to make sure we’ve got our fingers on the pulse — you can see her report on page 38. Separately, I spent two days revisiting old haunts in Paris, which really was a treat. I know the city well, and can report that it is almost entirely unchanged from when I lived there 15 or so years ago. The exhibitions are unmissable and the waiters are rude. It was wonderful to be back.

I moved on to Marseilles, where I drove the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, a car of such quality I really think that in time it will drag the entire segment upwards with it. See page 46.

I was fascinated by Alexander Matthews’s interview with Mmusi Maimane (on page 28). I asked Matthews to be as critical as possible about the Gauteng premiership hopeful and to really find out if there’s substance under the man’s style, and whether there is any truth to the usual accusations thrown at him. Matthews doesn’t miss much, so I think Maimane comes out of it looking quite good.

Once again Gary Cotterell has worked wonders with a fashion editorial of office-proof sporting attire. That’s on page 30.

It was chilly in Paris but the daffodils were out, which made me realise that by the time this is inserted into Business Day we’ll be officially in autumn. Time, perhaps, to contemplate a break, I think — and why not try South America? The coming months will no doubt be increasingly dominated by the Soccer World Cup, so this month I asked our Brazilian contributor, Jonathan Cane, to put together a Wanted guide to the locations central to the competition. If you are travelling to watch some soccer, or just to enjoy the atmosphere, Wanted’s got you covered. See page 20.

Democratising design

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BY ALEXANDER MATTHEWS

The Street Museum of Design (SMoD), a collaboration between archtiecture and design firm SAOTA and branding agency iKineo, launched yesterday and will be live for the remainder of the year. SAOTA’s Shelley West explains what the initative is all about.

Describe the concept in a nutshell.

SMoD has transformed SAOTA’s office on 109 Hatfield Street into an interactive graphic display for digital media and content, acting as a platform where artists can exhibit work and gain exposure both locally and globally, showcasing their creativity on a digital platform. It brings content to a street level, encouraging an immediate participation between the public and semi-private realm.

What is the museum’s aim?

The primary goal is to democratise content and make creativity tangible, accessible and inspirational to the masses. This is achieved through the marriage of the latest technology and the most local and international inspiring content. The museum aims to keep Cape Town engaged and involved in the World Design Capital initiative and showcase the talent we have emanating from the Mother City. It also aims to provide a platform for the design community to express themselves whilst positioning SAOTA and iKineo as design thought leaders, active in the design community.

Why has the term “museum” been used?

109 Hatfield Street, the location of SAOTA and SMoD, is situated in the heart of Cape Town’s ‘museum district’ in close proximity to the South African Jewish Museum as well as the Iziko South African National Gallery and South African Museum. The idea is to challenge the notion of a museum as an exclusive space, by exhibiting content at street level. The “visitor” or pedestrians will be led through a museum-like experience with a vinyl strategy leading them from screen to screen, through the artist’s work. The tone and approach to SMoD has been consistent with those of galleries and museums however; we have made deliberate choices to make the museum relevant on a street level.

The digital aspect in itself is a movement away from traditional curation, especially regarding the interactive wall. This allows people to navigate through content using touch technology or activate the random function, allowing the participant to go on a journey and discover the content. 

Explain its online presence.

SMoD will develop into an integrated initiative. We recognise the power of the online space and want to utilise it to connect with people on a global scale. All content showcased will be available on multiple platforms, using multiple social networking sites. We want to harness the digital aspect of the museum mainly through SMoD’s website (www.smod.co.za), which is still under construction. The content of the artists will be available for viewing and it will act as a driver to artists’ pages to ensure support and interest.

The project has a global footprint, with links to Lagos, Moscow and Venice. What will this entail?

The architectural footing of SAOTA means that we have established links in places like Lagos, Moscow and Venice. The directors and architects frequently travel to Lagos as 85% of our business is outside of South Africa. Moscow is an increasing source of business and interest for us. Venice is iconic and holds both historical and current influences in our industry.

SMoD will grow and we aim to set up satellite SMoDs in these key places. Whether it is an interactive wall set up at the Palazzo Bembo or even a time lapse camera uncovering the true daily lives of people living in Lagos, SMoD aims to show that art and design lives and breathes on the street. This content will be shared and designed to encourage interactivity between cities.

What will the SMoD’s legacy be?

The legacy will be that SMoD fostered a love of design and allowed it to be shared by anyone who was interested. Should the project resonate with our surroundings, we could ensure it enjoys a longer lifespan. As the projects grows and develops throughout the year, we trust it will morph with other creative influencers and become a dynamic example of how to ensure creativity continues in a developing nation and in a digital era.

Wines of the Month

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Avondale in Paarl appears on the brink of hitting the big time. Organic and biodynamic farming principles combined with the best that modern science is resulting in some particularly characterful stuff in the bottle.

One wine in particular to look out for is Cyclus 2011 (R225 a bottle) which was rated 4½ Stars in the current edition of Platter’s. It’s a blend of 25% each Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier and some Chenin Blanc and Semillon and shows white and yellow fruit, some leesy character and delicate spice. Great if you fancy something a bit different.

The recently released Anima Chenin Blanc 2012 (R180) is also smart. It has a subtle nose of lime through peach plus a yeasty top note. The palate is intense but balanced – good fruit delineation, fresh acidity and a touch of spice. Not too clean-cut thanks to a bit of phenolic grip on the finish. A wine of real interest.

March Winelands diary

Bouchard Finlayson Tutored Tasting
8 April, Johannesburg

Coobs restaurant in Parkhurst is the venue for a tasting of 12 current-release and older vintage wines from the Bouchard Finlayson portfolio. Winemaker Peter Finlayson will be in attendance to lead the tasting and canapés will be served. Time: 18:15 for 18:30 - 20:00. Cost: R200 per person. To book, send an email to info@bouchardfinlayson.co.za or call 028 312 3515. Payment secures you a seat.

Making it in Cape Town

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Four Cape Town creatives – art director Charl Edwards, stylist Kara Furter and architects Renée Roussouw and Lucie de Moyencourt – have combined forces to create Yenza, a showcase for innovative African design – an officially recognised project. We spoke to them about what the project entails and what they hope will be achieved from it.

How did the idea for Yenza come about?

Quite spontaneously. As a group of friends we knew that we wanted to work together on a project for World Design Capital 2014. We have a keen and common interest in beautiful objects, and we knew that we wanted to create a project which would really showcase African design items. So instead of creating, we focused on combining our talents and interests of sourcing, editing, and compiling to produce a pop-up showcase and grouping of found self-made items sourced from self-made homes. In the end it led us to YENZA, our project, which stands for “Do It”/’Make it”.

And that’s literally what we did. We started with our first visit, which was in the fishing village of Hout Bay. We had no idea what we were looking for, and no idea that we would even find anything. But we did! The first self-made home we entered we found the most incredible bucket geyser, made from an old PVC container, and the elements of an old kettle. This, to us, is what our project is all about: Finding simple and everyday design solutions. Since then we have visited many homes and sites, and have found the most incredible range of design and products.

What are you hoping to achieve by it?

Our main goal is to celebrate and showcase these self-made items sourced from self-made homes (shacks). These examples of everyday design are not revolutionary. We have already seen them, have heard about them, but I think very few people have actually seen a grouping of these items in one space. So in a sense we are cataloguing and displaying them for the purpose of giving these objects and design pieces proper exposure, within the context and discourse of design and design making. We as a group feel that this right here, what we have found, are true examples of design solutions, however small the scale.

How many homes and locations did you visit while researching for the project?

We have visited quite a lot of different locations, sites and homes. Too many to mention. Most of our visits to date have in fact been to Khayelitsha. We’ve spent a great deal of time in this specific area, and we really love exploring this neighbourhood. We’ve met the most incredible and inspiring people.

What was your most surprising discovery?

Every discovery and find has been equally special and informative. From our very first bucket geyser (we have found many more of these around Cape Town), to a beautifully upcycled red plastic chair which its owner had fixed with red electrical wiring. The very latest object we have sourced is a candlestick holder made from tin, made by Marvelous who runs his company called Marvelous Metals in Khayelitsha. YENZA was launched at the Design Indaba Expo, showcasing a wide range of these items on our stand. 

Your team comprises of creatives from a diverse range of disciplines - how do you work together?

We’re a group of four die-hard design addicts. We have two architects, a stylist and an art director. So we all have very good experience with research, sourcing, collecting, editing and presenting, as well as a lot of combined experience of exhibition design. Although we all have our different tasks and designated roles for Yenza, they are always overlapping, which is just the way we want it to. It’s a love project, and we’ve been meeting up almost every week to work on Yenza and have a good time as friends.

Keep abreast of Yenza on Facebook or on its blog.

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BY ALEXANDER MATTHEWS

Isn’t it iconic?

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WANTED’s March issue is available tomorrow to subscribers of Business Day only. Editor ALEXANDER PARKER shares his favourites from the issue.

We had our first chilly nights up in Joburg Johannesburg this last weekend, making me think that autumn will soon be upon us. A change in the seasons always makes you realise the year is advancing apace, and it’s good to take the time to plan some downtime after a frantic start to the year. Phuket might not immediately strike you as a wind- down kind of place, but, as Katy Chance discovered, there’s a far calmer side to this classic Eastern destination, on page 36.

With an eye on an election and all the rhetoric and bluster that will unfortunately accompany it, I asked Marc Hasenfuss to investigate people who really work hard on making a difference — private individuals and organisations that take giving and philanthropy as seriously as they do looking after their own wealth. They ought to be an inspiration to professional politicians whose sound and fury so often signify nothing. See page 16.

I’m just thrilled with our fashion editorial this month. Gary Cotterell and his team have worked wonders, bringing inspirational African icons into the present day, all the while paying homage to their unique and lasting style.

I also hope you enjoy Alex Matthews’s conversation with Anthony Beevor, who reveals how a historian experiences trauma while writing about war – and how he labours to avoid what he terms “the pornography of war”. Beevor is a hugely accomplished man, and I really enjoyed his candour ( page 32) .

Songezo Zibi also spoke to Vusi Pikoli (page14), a man who has stared down the barrel of not only the apartheid state, but then the perfidy of his former comrades-in-arms. It makes for gripping reading and, at this time, serves to remind us that there’s life outside of politics.

Wine of the Month

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2010

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Does any modern South African wine have a greater pedigree than the Bordeaux-style red blend that is Paul Sauer from Kanonkop in Stellenbosch? I recently encountered a bottle of the 1995 and it was exquisite – fresh, subtle and long.

The current-release 2010 is as about as opulent as this wine gets. A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc and 16% Merlot, it shows sweet, ripe fruit and plush, relatively soft tannins. It’s hardly a blockbuster but if you’re wary of super-austere wines, then this vintage is the one for you. Price: R370 a bottle. To order, call 021 884 4656.

March Winelands diary

Ommiberg Round the Rock Festival 2014
8 - 9 March, Paarl

The wineries of Paarl celebrate harvest. Be the first to taste the 2014 vintage-unfiltered and straight from the tank in the middle of harvest time. See Ommiberg.co.za for programmes offered by individual farms. Tickets cost R80pp and can be booked via Webtickets.com

The AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction 2014
15 March, Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch

Run along the lines of the famed charity wine auction in Napa Valley, this is the inaugural event of its kind in South Africa. It culminates in a lunchtime affair where bidding will occur while guests enjoy a memorable meal prepared by some of South Africa’s top chefs. For more information, visit Thecapewineauction.com

FNB Mpumalanga Wine Show
14 – 15 March, Ingwenyama Conference and Sports Resort

Wine enthusiasts from Nelspruit and White River will have the opportunity to taste around 350 wines from some 60 exhibitors, while purchasing can be done through the Shop@Show retail facility. Tickets are R130 per person and are available via Computicket.com. For more information, visit Mpumalangawineshow.co.za

Design Capital? What Design Capital?

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BY ALEXANDER MATTHEWS

The year 2014 isn’t quite so shiny and new anymore – summer holidays are a distant memory for most and it’s now been almost six weeks since Cape Town took on the mantle of World Design Capital.

Having been away from the city since mid-December, I was curious, upon arriving back several days ago, to see how this much-hyped status had translated itself physically in the city. Yes, design is about ideas, process and dialogue as much as it is about tangibility – but what would Cape Town as a World Design Capital be like? Would it look different, feel different? And if so, in what ways?

Since I returned I’ve chalked up a few miles strolling through streets in the central city and Woodstock. That Cape Town is a design hub is undeniable – signs of entrepreneurship, artisanal food and craft and great eateries abound. But all of these were around late last year. If I was a tourist ambling about, would I have known that this was – for 365 days at any rate – the design epicentre of the universe? I don’t think so.

Whether or not – and to what extent – World Design Capital status will have grown Cape Town’s economy, tackled social challenges, and boosted design will surely be hotly debated in the months to come. It’s interesting that many officially recognised projects and programme items have been around for some time and/or would’ve happened regardless (such as the annual Design Indaba conference and expo). Others are still in the conceptual phase (the case, it appears, with the refurbishment of Valkenberg mental hospital), or have links to Cape Town as a design hub that appear tenuous at best – such as the WWF Rhino Raid gaming app. While there are projects inspired by WDC 2014, many, it seems, were not.

That so many projects would’ve happened anyway or are part of the city’s ongoing fabric (such as the MyCitiBus) perhaps indicate that the organisers have failed, largely, to inspire the city’s creatives to embrace journeying beyond “business as usual”. You can’t blame just the organisers, though – it’s up to locals to make the most of the opportunities presented to them, and to take advantage of the increased profile that WDC2014 has inevitably brought the city. A little bit of proactiveness goes a long way.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see what Heather Moore has been up to at fabric design store Skinny laMinx. Her approach to WDC isn’t earth-shattering or complex – but it’s smart, shows initiative, and is deservedly giving her a higher profile than many of her more self-absorbed design counterparts.

Moore has slapped a massive yellow dot over the façade of her store on Bree Street and created a WDC-themed window display. She’s also released a punchy manifesto challenging other Cape Town designers to “take the bull by the horns” and make the most of WDC 2014. Entitled “OWN IT, PAINT IT, WORK IT”, the manifesto encourages designers to “own” the year by promoting “#WDC2014” on social media and by doing collaborations with other designers; Moore wants people to use yellow paint in their store and office spaces to remind everyone about WDC; she also believes in “working it” – using the likes of window displays to forge a strong connection between WDC status and local design brands in the eyes of visitors.

Perhaps ironically Skinny laMinx is not an official WDC project. But you can be sure as you pass its unmissable yellow dot on Bree Street that it’s more than willing to make the most of Cape Town’s year in the sun, regardless. Good work.

Skinny laMinx, 201 Bree Street, Cape Town.

Matthews is WANTED’s contributing editor. This is the first in a series of monthly columns on the World Design Capital 2014 and its related projects.

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