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Restaurants, art and shops by design…

Restaurants, art and shops by design…

Places to eat and designs to see in Johannesburg and Cape Town – must-see restaurants, bars and cafés, plus events past.

Lounge Around this Bar

Braamfontein’s newest hotspot, Anti Est, may look like no more than an insanely stylish bar and lounge serving square pizzas, craft beers and clever cocktails, but it aims to be something so much more. It sees itself as a hangout for maverick minds, a cradle of unconventional thinking that will foster creativity, break moulds, even start a revolution. It was designed by architect Emilio Eftychis, who converted the former warehouse into a facebrick, concrete and parquet temple to cool with dazzling geometric lighting. Anti Est. is the brainchild of maverick thinkers and branding gurus Nathan Reddy, David Cohen, Paul Shafer and ‘Mr Braamfontein’ himself, Adam Levy of Play Braamfontein, who is in large part responsible for the rejuvenation of the precinct. Think of it as one of the Paris cafés of a century ago re-envisioned for present-day Braamfontein. And don’t dare be dull.


Anti Est. – short for anti-establishment – is a Braamfontein bar that promotes unlearning, the philosophy of challenging conformity.

Food for the Design-Inclined Palate

Four years after the first Life Grande Café opened in Hyde Park, two new branches have opened: one at the polo fields in Midrand’s new development hub, Waterfall Estate, and another in Pretoria near the country club on Waterkloof’s Embassy Mile. The brainchild of architect Maira Koutsoudakis, the designer cafés blend subtle and glamorous interior design with artisanal yet sophisticated meals. The menu continues the legacy of the first Life Grande Café, offering delicious breakfasts and pastries, sushi, tapas, salads and heartier meals. Maira has adapted the Life Grande signature aesthetic of wood, leather, stone and brass to the specific settings of each new café, and each includes a Life Collection design shop filled with homeware, jewellery and designer gifts. A third café is scheduled to open in Durban in October this year. Oh, and Life Grande cracked the Condé Nast Traveler ‘Hotlist’.


Life Grand Cafe has a little bit of everything for the family to enjoy.

Pop-Up Dinner

There’s a new foodie experience taking Cape Town by storm. Headed up by Johnny Hamman, a wedding planner with a passion for food, Slippery Spoon is a fortnightly pop-up dinner hosted by Johnny at various venues around Cape Town. No two dinners are the same, and Johnny prides himself on drawing inspiration from the weird and wonderful – think fairy tales, music videos and even the Bible. His eccentric flair has secured him a spot on Kyknet’s reality TV cooking series Kokkedoor.


Slippery Spoon takes dining to unique locations.

Dim-Sum Restaurant

Well-known socialite and foodie, Yhang Zao, famed for her pop- up restaurants in both Cape Town and Jozi, has recently set up a daytime eatery in trendy De Waterkant. Using the same name as her pop-up restaurants, Beijing Opera serves up Yhang’s famed dim-sum dishes, which are inherently traditional but with an experimental edge. With two large tables taking pride of place, as the tradition goes in Southern Chinese dining, patrons are encouraged to share. We’ll have whatever she’s having!


From pop up to sit down, the new permanent location of Beijing Opera.

Decorex Cape Town 2014

At the end of April, Decorex transformed the International Convention Centre in Cape Town into a Mecca for anyone looking for design inspiration. Here are some of our highlights from this year’s event… Petra Vonk Design’s media VIP lounge boasted 70 white cuboid lampshades suspended by rainbow – coloured cords. Other features included the Pantone mirror collection, high – gloss trestle table and chesterfield couches all designed by the consultancy. The result? A light – filled enclave where VIPs could but up their feet, enjoy coffee and a snack, and absorb the fabulousness of Decorex. Robert Sherwood and Home Fabrics 100% Design Hospitality stand was a vibrant collaboration featuring jewel tones and sumptuous textures curated by Robert. He went with the theme of a hotel lounge and bar, and drew inspiration from the collection of Designer Guild fabrics used to upholster various furniture pieces at the Home Fabrics showroom. As well as items from his own showroom in Bree Street, Robert sourced products from shops high up in the design ranks such as Limeline, Kartell, Cécile & Boyd’s, Private Collections and Spilhaus. There was even an original Athi-Patra Ruga tapestry taking pride of place.


100% Design Hospitality (left) and 100 Beautiful Things (right) stands at Decorex.

100 Beautiful Things was a collection of some of the most inspiring design happenings in South Africa right now. It was curated by Cathy O’ Clery, programmes director of the initiative 100% Design South Africa, which is the largest showcase of contemporary design in southern Africa. As Cathy says: ‘The 100 Beautiful Things are a mere snapshot of what is out there. However what has been chosen represents what I call “considered design”, in other words each one stands out for the thought and creativity ingrained within the design process, for the application and mastery of the craft, or for its quirkiness and sense of humour.”

Art as Design

If you’ve not yet heard of Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, then it’s high time you do. The Capetonian artist’s hauntingly beautiful paintings have seen him receive numerous residencies around the world, and his work has been included in the Delaire Graff collection as well as the South African National Gallery. From 5 June, the Barnard Gallery in Newlands, Cape Town, will be hosting his first solo exhibition. Called ‘Tru Colours’, it explores the themes of truth, memory and history.


Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi’s paintings True Colours (left) and Industrial Domination (right) form part of the exhibition.

A Venue for All Events

With the refurbishment and redevelopment of Joburg’s exclusive Inanda Club complete, renowned catering and events company By Word of Mouth has launched a new events venue overlooking the club’s polo fields. Called the Polo Room, it’ll be available for weddings, parties, launches, conferences and more.

Designer City. Designer Appliances.

Smeg’s sleek new showroom near De Waterkant is another coup for the World Design Capital city and, besides coveting the ovens and hobs, you’ll want to take a peek at the new appliances fast – stock is on its way by ship of its latest range of toasters, kettles, mixers and blenders all in gorgeous colours.


Smeg offers high quality domestic appliances that combine cutting-edge technology with Italian style.

Paint your Bathroom Designer

At its recently launched Kramerville showroom, Duravit’s hands-on approach to bathrooms allows everyone to experience the full spectrum of its designer bathroom collections, including the technologically more advanced ranges.


Duravit’s Kramerville showroom.

Contact Details

Words: Genevieve Fisher and Graham Wood Photographs: Matt Banks, Joe Dreyer, Charl du Preez, Max Mogale, David Ross, and supplied

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