Powerdresser: Conor Mccreedy
As an artist and entrepreneur, or what he calls an “artrepreneur”, Conor Mccreedy is best known for his exclusive Mccreedy Blue art. Despite dropping out of the Pratt Institute, Mccreedy made history as the youngest artist exhibited at the National Arts Club in New York City. Known for an abstract expressionist aesthetic, he has exhibited at Manhattan’s Charles Bank Gallery where his full-scale shack presented a controversial view on SA’s history and politics, and at Johannesburg’s Everard Read Gallery, where he has been represented by Nick Dreyer since early this year. His pieces are now worth hundreds of thousands, some even millions of rand. For the 26-year-old, art and commerce go hand-in-hand. His signature Mccreedy Blue pigment will soon be patented and sets the tone for his next endeavour, the Mccreedy Blue PAL Bracelet. This range of bracelets, designed and manufactured by Lianne Landman, are created by women in Johannesburg’s Diepsloot and Dainfern areas and will support his foundation Protecting African Lions (PAL), a cause he feels does not receive enough attention.
Selling for $21 each, $2 from the sale of each bracelet will be donated to PAL, with another $4 going to affiliated charities including the Ubuntu Education Fund. The initiative launches online this month and, with the support of names such as Donna Karan, Francois Pienaar, Rohan Marley, Caroline Kende, Ashish Thakkar and Colin Cowie, the projected sale of 1-million bracelets in nine months does not seem too far-fetched.
Mccreedy Blue may become a recognisable colour sooner than expected as talks are underway for two projects that will feature the bold colour. A fleet of Virgin Airlines airplanes flying between London and Joburg will be painted Mccreedy Blue to introduce the PAL Bracelets to Virgin travellers who can pay an extra $21 and receive a bracelet on boarding. Standard Bank has also commissioned a mural to be painted in the tone in its new Rosebank headquarters.
Suit, shirt and pocket square by Peyman Umay Most of my clothing is bespoke because I am extremely finicky about details and fit. My Turkish friend Peyman makes tailor-made pieces for me in return for sketches. www.peymanumay.com Shoes by Arfango These shoes are handmade in Italy and are so bespoke that each pair is numbered. www.arfango.wordpress.com Ring by Christopher Greig This is a family signet ring designed by another good friend Chris Greig, featuring the Shepstone and Mccreedy crests. Cufflinks These are also custom-made pieces made of gold with black diamond studs. Mccreedy Blue PAL Bracelet This bracelet, created in aid of my new foundation PAL, symbolises the connection between people and lions.
Favourite city? London because of its history. Paris because of its chic sophistication. Favourite restaurant? Novita is an understated Italian restaurant in the Gramercy Park area of New York (www.novitanyc.com). Alcoholic beverage? Campari on a hot summer’s day. Most valuable item in your wardrobe? Although I use my Nike FuelBand everyday, I have a collection of watches from Cartier, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Longine and Rolex that I wear for special occasions. Your utmost luxury? Bathrobes from Frette (www.frette.com). Fragrance? Acqua di Parma. Book? Bill Bryson’s A Short History Of Nearly Anything . Favourite device? My iPhone. The thing you love most about your city? New York City is incredibly dynamic and Johannesburg is my balance.
1:21 pm • 17 May 2013 • View comments
ITALIAN CHAIR DISTRICT comes to Cape Town
Fresh from the halls of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, leading Italian furniture companies Moroso, Domitalia, Fornasarig Chairs Friuli, Frag, Gervasoni, Potocco and Tonon will present some of their innovative new designs in a 150sqm pop-up showroom in Cape Town this month. There is also a full calendar of events for architects and designers aimed at promoting the high quality of Italian chair manufacturing. This initiative is part of Gateway to South Africa led by the Udine Chamber of Commerce and is coordinated by the Italian Chair District of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.
For a full trend report on the Salone del Mobile don’t miss our June issue, which comes out on June 7th.
Venue: Youngblood Arts & Culture Development
70-72 Bree Street, Cape Town
Date: From May 28 to 31
Contact: Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (011) 615 3906
10:58 am • 17 May 2013 • View comments
The KAYA FM Wine & Malt Whisky Affair presented by the Wade Bales Wine Society runs over two consecutive evenings, from 18h00 till 21h00, on Thursday 30 May and Friday 31 May at the Rosebank Firs.
Tickets are R 150 per person and include all wine and whisky tasting, complimentary glass, selection of artisanal breads, meats and cheese.
Tickets are available from Computicket (www.computicket.com) or from the Wade Bales Wine Society.
For more information contact Patricia Uribe-Daras on 021 794 2151, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.wadebaleswinesociety.co.za
12:56 pm • 10 May 2013 • View comments
Wine of the month
Cluver-Schaal Syrah 2010 – Exclusively brought to you by the Wade Bales Wine Society
A French-South African Collaboration between Julien Schaal and Paul Cluver Estate Wines. The grapes were harvested from 8 year old vines on the Paul Cluver Estate and spent 14 months in 600 litre French oak barrels.
This Rhone-style wine is ruby red in colour with good intensity of crimson reflections and has kept its youthful colour. On the nose it exudes fruity notes of blackcurrants and blueberries. A note of age appears with the aromas of cardamom, wood and smoke, beautifully blended with the fruitiness. A strong, full flavoured wine, good acidic and tannic structure, with touches of pepper bringing with it a warm finishing edge.
A versatile companion to chicken wrapped in bacon and cheese, duck in plum sauce, or a spicy bacon salad.
Drink now or within another 5 – 8 years.
12:35 pm • 10 May 2013 • View comments
WANTED’s May issue is available to subscribers of Business Day only. Editor GARY COTTERELL shares his favourite from the issue.
Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
Like a true nature child
We were born Born to be wild
We can climbed so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild
Written by Mars Bonfire for the 1968 Steppenwolf album, Born To Be Wild also became the title song on the soundtrack to Easy Rider (1969): a song and a movie that totally captured the restless energy of the Age of Freedom; the roads and the choppers symbolising the attitude and thinking of the time.
How history repeats itself. Looking for a machine to set you free? What would your ride be? From café racers to bobbers and cruisers, now more mainstream than alternative lifestyle, whether its a vintage ride or customised, I discovered that theres a made-to-measure ride to suit everyones style. On page 26
11:15 am • 10 May 2013 • View comments
It was early morning and it was clear Conrad Hicks was preoccupied. With few words he led me from his front-of-shop gallery, The Bijou, in the Cape Town suburb of Observatory, through a magnificent forged steel door to the back of the building and into a huge hanger of a workshop. The furnace was already ablaze and , without any explanation as to what he was doing, Hicks launched straight back into work, refusing to be distracted by an outside presence. The fire was burning fiercely and he set to pumping more air through it to increase the temperature. Flames and sparks shot up. A few moments later, he lifted a massive steel billet now molten at one end out of the searing heat, with the help of a hoist and chain.
Earplugs on, Hicks swung the piece over to a giant power hammer. Every now and then he glanced up behind him to a full-scale sketch on a large piece of plywood dangling from more chains over our heads. It was far from a technical drawing more a series of twisted shadows. With deft movements he pummelled the steel into a flat, fluid shape the concussion of the machine pulsating through the whole space and reverberating in our chests. Hicks made the steel appear as malleable as play dough. Over at a large table he added the finishing touches using a large, hand-held hammer subtle manipulations unclear to me, but obviously crucial to the design.
I had initially met Hicks a few nights earlier in the amiable atmosphere of a braai arranged by Trevyn and Julian McGowan for the sculptors and designers who had put together the Heavy Metal exhibition. There I had noted an appealing charm, combined with a piercing stare. Hicks chatted happily and had that glint and spark often seen in creative people surrounded by their peers the people who “get it”. Today he was weary: this physical demanding work surely takes its toll. Holding his side, Hicks was now ready to let himself rest. “Yeah I reckon I have only got another 20 years at this,” he stated. From what I saw most people wouldnt hack 20 minutes.
For many years Hicks ran his workshop as an extensive and very productive blacksmiths operation, but he has now scaled everything down to concentrate on sculptural work. During our visit he was preparing for his forthcoming exhibition Implemente, inspired by apparatus found scattered around farmyards. Looking around his workshop there were plenty of implements of his own on each side of the furnace scores of specialist tools lined the walls. “Essentially a blacksmith is a tool maker and there is a joy I get out simply making the tools,” Hicks said. And indeed, he went on to explain, as each job or project arises he often needs to make the specific tools first. Glancing further around the studio there were tools everywhere or were they pieces of art? It was hard to tell: there was a definite crossover.
“There is an instinctive satisfaction we get from making things that we can use. Tools are beautiful objects in themselves its a basic sort of pleasure,” Hicks said. “But this thing works on so many levels as an abstract purpose or a vehicle to discover things. As artists, everything we do is carved from our own fingerprint with a painter it is a brush stroke; a ceramicist, the clay; with me it is my tools.” On leaving we passed through the gallery and stopped to admire a beautiful collection of Hicks kitchen knives.They summed it all up brutal, honest, and raw, yet executed with a fineness that transformed them into true pieces of art. This is what Hicks is all about: transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
11:14 am • 9 May 2013 • View comments
Exotic Plant Company on Môreson wine estate in Franschhoek is home to about 500 different orchid species and almost two million plants according to its owner, Michael Tibbs.
Tibbs started growing orchids at the age of six. “I was very curious about them,” he says. His fascination has endured, unsurprisingly when theyre the biggest plant family in the world with almost 30000 species and hundreds of thousands more artificially created hybrids. Orchids are also the most prolifically produced pot plant in the world, thanks in part to being so long-lasting the flowers of a Phalaenopsis (the popular moth orchid) should last for at least three months, for example, while with good care the plants can stay alive for decades.
“Having worked all over the world, I was able to design the greenhouses to best suit these conditions,” says Tibbs, as he shows us around. Air is trapped between an outside shade cloth and the polycarbonate roofing, lowering the temperature inside by about 4°C helpful to cope with Franschhoeks sweltering summers. Combined with a cooling system, this means the greenhouses never become warmer than 28°C. In the greenhouses Tibbs breeds 25 to 30 new hybrids a year a process that can take up to 10 years before the plants are ready for sale.
In addition to selling orchids, Exotic Plant Company also stocks plant-inspired books, linen and ceramics, as well as extraordinarily delicate silver jewellery made by artist Nic Bladen, who uses the lost-wax casting process to create absolute replicas of real flowers.
The bulk of Tibbs orchids are supplied to the greater Cape Town area particularly hotels and restaurants for functions or on a long-term basis. Tibbs is the author on several books about orchids and later this year he will be launching The Ultimate Orchid (www.ultimateorchid.com) a constantly revised and updated online book and magazine about orchids which will feature guides, videos, book reviews and news.
WATERINGApart from Disas and Phragmipediums (which are bog plants), orchids should be watered from the top. Before watering, take the plant out of the container and put it on a draining board. Let the water run through before putting it back make sure it doesnt stand in water. Dont over water. Orchids need about a cupful once a week during summer and once every 10 days in winter.
FEEDINGFeed your orchids regularly with a good, balanced fertiliser. You dont need to have orchid-specific fertiliser. Phostrogen is the best, because it contains all the trace elements.
11:09 am • 9 May 2013 • View comments
Jaeger-LeCoultre watches may boast some of the more convoluted names in the business but, given that its their 180th anniversary this year, they can surely be forgiven an evocative “grande tradition” or two. Its the “gyrotourbillon” that deserves the most attention here though, not just to get the pronunciation right, but because that particular complication marks this watch out as very rare indeed.
Inspired by the pocket watches of 19th century Europe, the aesthetic melds contemporary and classic in a subtle, self-referential tribute to the brands heritage. Eagle-eyed aficionados will pick up on several design elements that recall previous Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, yet they wont have seen a gyrotourbillon quite like this before.
An elaborate version of the famous tourbillon complication (designed to reduce gravitys effect on a mechanical watchs time-keeping accuracy), it combines two separate carriages, one inside the other, the first rotating every minute and the other rotating every 24 seconds. Weighing less than one gram and made almost entirely of aluminium its one heck of a party piece.
Spreading nearly 44mm in diameter, the extra-white platinum frame is a prominent addition to any wrist, no matter what size. The key point here though it that these dimensions are a result of the watchs complex inner mechanics rather than a deliberate play at adding bulk. At the luxury end of the industry at least, those days are mercifully long gone the thinner the better now.
A detail that merits equal attention is the delicate hand finishing of the main plate surrounding the three separate dials; this particular manual hammering technique was used on a Jaeger-LeCoultre pocket watch of 1898 and inspired the designers to invest in a substantial number of artisanal man hours.
The main hours and minutes dial sits at 12 oclock and features a silvered opaline finish, while the rhodium-plated chronograph dial at 9 oclock is characterised by a single seconds hand; every 60 seconds an instantaneous digital-display clicks forward one of the high-visibility apertures to give the chronograph capacity to record up to nearly 60 minutes. Finally, at 3 oclock lies a day/night display with a hand-punched background and sun motif combined with a contrasting blue lacquer night plate.
Also made of extra-white platinum, the cases polished lugs connect it to a blue, alligator-leather strap with a white-gold adjustable folding clasp. Fold the ensemble over for a different view of the gyrotourbillon and a further expanse of that distinctive hand-hammered detailing: a sign of Jaeger-LeCoultres impressive horological legacy.
10:58 am • 9 May 2013 • View comments
Tapas bar La Parada opened in Kalk Bay in February. What makes this new spot stand out is that the tapas are as authentic as they get.
Located beside the Olympia Cafe, La Paradas whole facade opens up to take full advantage of the harbour views, with customers spilling over onto the pavement. Bench-like tables and high stools dot the interior.
The Seville-styled tapas are prepared by Chef Eva de Jesus Galan, who recently moved to Cape Town from Madrid. There are some very colourful versions of so-called tapas in SA, but at La Parada they do strictly traditional.
Hams swing from the ceiling; posters of matadors and flamenco dancers adorn the walls. The menu is chalked up on a big blackboard painted along the back of the restaurant. Its a comprehensive run-down of the top tapas you would get in Spain.
Seafood paella, octopus with potato, red and green peppers, Spanish omelette, Serrano ham and ham croquettes all feature. There is even a sneaky dessert in the form of a rice pudding. All the tapas are available in small and large portions an unusual and welcome touch. Prices range from R15 for red and green peppers to R28 for Serrano ham.
The tapas are seriously impressive, a perfectly cooked omelette still with a bit of runny yolk, the way it is meant to be; an expertly marinated octopus tasting fresh and zingy; chickpeas and chorizo with a touch of chilli simply addictive. The Serrano hams deliver hand-sliced mouthfuls of deliciousness. Surprisingly, they are not imported from Spain, but produced and supplied locally, by Jason Lucas of Prince Albert, who was afforded the rare opportunity to spend three years in Spain learning to cure the ham the traditional Spanish way.
Chef Eva explained through an interpreter that, come autumn, she will be putting wild mushrooms on the menu and a very special rabbit dish. She also became very excited and animated when describing a dish she wants to cook using bulls tails.
As a matador would say”Ole! Ole! Ole!”. Speaking for the rest of us, I say: “Bring it on!”
10:56 am • 9 May 2013 • View comments
All stirred up
Staggering out of my 6am yoga class, I stumbled across The Blend, a five-month-old café in Roeland Street in Cape Towns East City Precinct (an area which has been re-branded “The Fringe”).
The café stocks five different coffees roasted in Cape Town (including Deluxe, Bean There and Origin) a great way to sample what the citys artisan roasters have to offer. The weeks featured blend when I visited was Kupa, roasted out in Table View. Dark and strong, it was the perfect way to kick-start the morning.
I noticed a constant stream of office workers popping in for their morning joe The Blend hasnt taken long to become a bit of a local institution. But, with a great breakfast menu and free WiFi, if you have the time you might as well linger. I had the “egg in a hole” a French toast-esque concoction with avocado on the side. It did wonders to restore my blood-sugar levels although I have a hunch it will also work brilliantly as a hangover cure.
10:52 am • 9 May 2013 • View comments