You know that feeling when you walk into a beautifully-styled hotel and it makes you want a) curl up on the deep-over-sized-plumped-up-cushioned sofa b) hire a shipping container and fill it with the perfectly-placed interiors with a view to replicating the same look back home? Well, that happened a lot to us when we travelled to South Africa last month. Furthermore, possibly something to do with Cape Town taking hold of, and running with, the ‘Design Capital of the World’ baton for 2014, we were blown away by the number of unique home and interior boutiques which have popped up since our last visit. With the Pound Sterling being so strong against the South African Rand, there is no better time to hit the boutiques…and erm, drive a truck-full cross-continent back to Europe….
We highly recommend a visit to the The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (375 Albert Rd), this is a compact, easy-to-navigate pedestrianised hub with a good selection of shops (look out for Heartworks for affordable quirky pieces sourced from South and East Africa, and Imiso for ceramics). The Woodstock Exchange (66 Albert Rd) just down the road from The Old Biscuit Mill, reflects how Woodstock is growing in stature as Cape Town’s design hub. Designs on offer vary from arts to clothing, jewellery, collectibles, homeware, object design, furniture and the like. Of particular interest here is Pedersen + Lennard, a South African company focused on well-made products with a simple aesthetic.
A small gentrified precinct of cobbled streets, with two squares, one of which is the central point for the Cape Quarter, a small mall featuring mostly independent, local-design or owner-picked-stock shops; no chains or international brands. Africa Nova (72 Waterkant Street) offers a very mature and classic selection of African craft; while nearby Nap (Shop 001, Cape Quarter) has pretty loungewear and jewellery.
Cape Town City Bowl
With its relatively low rentals, the city centre attracts a very varied and quirky retail offering, from individually-owned boutiques stocking handmade garments to high-end African art. Offering an African community feel, and numerous cafés and restaurants to refuel in, one-way Long Street (which becomes two-way Kloof Street as it clambers up the mountain slope) is a good starting point, though Bree Street (running parallel to Long Street) is being transformed into a décor haven with a number of independently owned boutique merchants dotted around. Some of our favourites amongst these include:
Cape Town interior decorator Sarah Ord, founder of Sarah Ord Interiors (215 Bree Street), is inspired by the light, colour, landscape and culture of South Africa. Her shop is located in the décor and design precinct of Bree Street where clients can soak up rich fabrics, striking homeware and accessories.
Skinny laMinx (201 Bree Street) showcases owner Heather Moore’s wonderful textile and design work and other creative endeavours.
Also worth popping in to the new South Africa Market (SAM) store which is also on Bree Street above one of the city’s newest watering holes in a grand and elevated loft space. Showcasing a full spectrum of local design from cool and edgy fashion labels through to stationery and illustrations, as well as furniture, homeware and jewellary, SAM is a ‘must-do’ to stock up on gifts and covetable pieces from leading designers.
Stable (65 Loop Street) is the new collaborative exhibition space in Loop Street, making local design, art and artisan items easily accessible. A one-stop shop for innovative designer furniture, accessories and prints, the space hosts products from 42 household names.
At LIM (86 Kloof Street) functional pieces (by indigenous stars Clementina van der Walt, Anthony Shapiro, Wonki Ware) cohabit seamlessly with choice tribal pieces, leather-bound albums, handcrafted glass and modular furniture. Great for gifts and paradise for modern and new homeowners.
Klooftique (87 Kloof Street) impeccable cabinetwork, glass and veneer tables and art deco-inspired lounge suites and club chairs are just a few of the finds in this renowned store. Whether you’ve opted for minimal design or traditional and classic styles in your home, the extensive Klooftique sofa range has something for every space.
Those who have been fortunate enough to safari at Singita and Tswalu will understand our obsession with all ‘interior’ things created by Cecile & Boyd 26 Kloof Nek Road). Their showroom is located in Tamboerskloof. By appointment.
Thanks to the wonderful Jené Barnes for her local expertise in pulling the above recommendations together.