Make sure to pick up a copy of the February issue of Cape Town Partnership‘s City Views newspaper, a monthly paper dedicated to central city Cape Town. In this latest issue DECO’s editor Laureen Rossouw shares her thoughts on Cape Town as World Design Capital, urban city living, and trends for 2012…
Why did you choose to live in town? We’d had our time in the suburbs, had raised our children there – and we wanted the inner-city lifestyle. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made – given the proximity of everything plus the safety factor. I often go down to the café late at night to buy a chocolate, and don’t think twice about doing so, which is a big feather in the CCID’s cap.
What’s it like living here? The best part of living in the city is that there is a whole world of secret shops and outlets to be discovered: From the R5 store in front of Game, the African tailors, the colourful fabrics to the one-off buys at the Golden Acre (two-tone shoes and slick city-dude stuff). The Central City Library has the best art and design section I have seen in SA. Then there’s the Long Street secondhand bookshops, swimming pool and Turkish baths, the early morning walks in the Company’s Garden and the retro café for tea and scones.
ELLE Decoration is part of an international network of 25 editions. Anything Cape Town can learn from other cities? The one thing Cape Town can really learn from Europe is their use of public space – it’s just so very well thought through. Our markets and informal traders could do with more organised and dedicated spaces – so you know if you want African curios, you go to Greenmarket Square, if you want designer goods you go to Harrington Square, that sort of thing. It shouldn’t be so random; that randomness creates a sense of chaos, when our markets should – and could – actually enhance the experience people have when they visit the city.
Could you give a tangible example of what Cape Town could do? Take Church Square as an example: Nobody goes there. It’s an empty, intimidating space. We should look at doing something interesting on the edges of public spaces. With all these beautiful new cycle tracks in our city, isn’t it viable to have bicycle rentals on one side of the square? That’s exactly what young people would come to the city to do. Or we could have an organised area where the many emerging creatives can sell their work, kiosks where people can buy the daily newspapers and magazine and a takeaway coffee. There’s not enough of a pavement culture, or chairs in the open. We have such good weather and everybody sits inside. We should plant more trees … trees don’t just provide shade. They are inviting and provide a physical assurance in a public space that allows people to be there. And finally, it’s high time that more people started selling fresh produce in the city!
Can you talk to us about trends for 2012? We’re seeing more plants as a sustainable kind of decoration, especially amongst young people. Take that new diner on Bree Street – Clarke’s Dining – and how they’ve decorated the space. Plants are in fashion and so are rooftop and vertical gardens. Designers will also produce more pieces that are interchangeable, modular and compact. Furniture that people can move around and adapt to their needs. At ELLE Decoration, we’re always looking for houses or apartments that are layered, that tell a story about the owners and that have their own personality. And a lot of the people who own or create these houses are living in Cape Town – we’re seeing a migration from Johannesburg … the creative infrastructure seems to be here. Cape Town has many individuals and organisations who assist and support the creative industries.
What’s your wish for World Design Capital 2014 in Cape Town? My wish is that we seize this once in a lifetime opportunity and start preparing and planning in time. That the City of Cape Town delegates the various projects to the appropriate external experts in the relevant fields. That we identify design districts where the exhibits can take place and that specified dates are earmarked for these events. And finally, that the creative industries come up with imaginative projects , that will enhance the city for 2014 but also benefit the citizens of Cape Town in the long run. From a product point of view, a big opportunity for World Design Capital 2014 is crafters and designers working closer together.
For more tips and trends from our editor, see Laureen’s ed note in our latest Colour Issue of ELLE Decoration. For more on City Views, Cape Town Partnership, or to download a copy of this newspaper, visit www.capetownpartnership.co.za