Making it in Cape Town
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.
BY ALEXANDER MATTHEWS
8:12 am • 10 March 2014 • View comments
Isn’t it iconic?
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.
1:32 pm • 6 March 2014 • View comments
Wine of the Month
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2010
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.
11:02 am • 5 March 2014 • View comments
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
10:58 am • 5 March 2014 • View comments
Design Capital? What Design Capital?
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.
2:06 pm • 6 February 2014 • 4 notes • View comments
A fresh start
WANTED’s February issue is available tomorrow to subscribers of Business Day only. Editor ALEXANDER PARKER shares his favourites from the issue.
The arrival on our shores of a major exhibition on the rise and fall of apartheid on this 20th anniversary of democracy gives us a moment to pause. It’s an instant in time we can step out of the privileged busyness of our lives, and the blessing of their ordinariness, and consider the extraordinary times South Africans have endured.
The Rise and Fall of Apartheid opens this month in Joburg and it looks unmissable — see our preview on page 14.
We’ve also had the good luck to dispatch Business Day’s Nick Kotch to our very own Motown, PE, to chat with Patrick Gaspard, the US ambassador to SA and a man not only deeply embedded in Democrat politics, but also a man with a great personal story that’s taken him from Haiti to the DRC and back to New York. See page 12.
Now that the holiday madness is a distant memory and a new business year kicks in, we’ve gone out of our way to find you apps and gadgets that can help very busy people save precious time, that ultimate luxury, on page 34.
We also asked Michael Wray to give the ski season one last blast at a fabulous new hotel in Verbier that’s got to be worth a long weekend before the snow vanishes, on page 30.
All the best for the year.
12:40 pm • 6 February 2014 • 2 notes • View comments
Wine of the Month
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012
The idea behind three single-vineyard bottlings of Pinot Noir in addition to a blend of all of them is “to indulge those who love the variety and let them discover more” says Bevan Newton Johnson, marketing manager of Newton Johnson Vineyards in the Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley.
When I tasted the line-up recently, I found Mrs M 2012 (planted on sandy soils) sweet fruited and soft, Block 6 2012 (planted on a combination of sand and clay) particularly fresh and then Windansea 2012 (planted on clay) relatively big and rich.
The three single vineyard wines each sell for R220 a bottle and the blend, which was rated 5 Stars in the 2014 edition of Platter’s, for R260. Windansea 2012 is of course Red Wine of the Year in the current edition of Platter’s in addition to being rated 5 Stars but to my mind the blend is the more complete wine and the best that Newton Johnson have made since 2009.
It consists of 30% from the Mrs M vineyard and 40% each from Block 6 and Windansea. Red and black fruit, some musky fragrance and mild spice. Relatively full bodied with coated acidity and suitably firm tannins – not without heft as local examples often are. Very accomplished.
1:52 pm • 5 February 2014 • View comments
Franschhoek Summer Wines
8 February, Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
Franschhoek’s wineries showcase their summer wines. Compliment your wines with food prepared by the chefs in the Leopard’s Leap Kitchen. Tickets are R120 per person and can be booked via Webtickets.co.za
21 - 22 February, Constantia
Constantia Fresh, now in its fifth year, is a celebration of the excellent wines of this ward. The week-end’s events include the following: 1) A tasting exploring traditional and modern wine styles – Constantia wines up against some of the world’s finest (R990 per person); 2) an al fresco four-course dinner prepared by celebrated chef Bertus Basson at Klein Constantia (R990 per person and 3) a walk-around tasting at Buitenverwachting with a focus on local wines that epitomise freshness accompanied by canapés made by some of South Africa’s best chefs to complement the wines (R400 per person). For further information, visit Constantiafresh.com or contact Fine Wine Events on firstname.lastname@example.org.
1:50 pm • 5 February 2014 • View comments
Time for a break
WANTED’s December issue is available tomorrow to subscribers of Business Day only. Editor ALEXANDER PARKER shares his favourites from the issue.
It’s the time of year when bad advertising tells us it’s “that time of year again”, and even the most workaholic minds start to contemplate hard-earned time at the beach cottage, with the family, overseas or just at home — sometimes an alien space for those with some time on their hands.
This December we’ve scoured the country — specifically the coastal locations but also up here on the reef — for the absolute best spots to visit on your holiday this year. It’s been a fun experience. We’ve set no boundaries, we’ve eschewed the straightjackets of categories, and have asked our friends and contributors to let Wanted’s readers become instant insiders at your holiday location of choice. We’re really proud of Navigator 2013/14, on page 35. Keep it — it’ll be useful for years to come.
In order to help keep you all safe this Christmas break, we’ve teamed up with the geniuses at Uber, the smartphone taxi service, to bring Wanted readers new to the service free rides around Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. It’s a brilliant service — safe, quick and superbly clever. Check out the Navigator section for details.
Also this month we’re playing with some augmented reality — embedded, bespoke video content accessed through the pages of Wanted and an app on your smartphone. Check out the cocktail on page 14, follow the instructions and let me know what you think. We can certainly do more of this kind of thing if it flies.
Have a great break. Be safe and have a fun, ironic and elegant holiday. See you in 2014.
11:44 am • 5 December 2013 • 3 notes • View comments