Published on : Monday, January 20, 2014
The eyes of the world have been on Cape Town for a while. Not only is it rapidly emerging as one of the top culinary capitals in the world, famed for its bewitching beauty, unspoilt coastlines and verdant winelands, but it is also a growing force to reckon with in the international design and arts arena. Rather than looking north to Europe, Capetonian designers, artists and innovators have continued to look at their unique context and the result is a uniquely colourful, engaging and ‘Afripolitan’ approach to their work.
It is this unique focus that has no doubt led to the celebrated nomination of Cape Town as World Design Capital Cape Town 2014. The organising committee of this prestigious year-long programme of events has been fiercely working with the city’s most creative brains to create a series of innovative conferences, workshops, tours, installations, exhibitions, lectures and concerts that will help place Cape Town even more firmly on the map as an art hub, a design destination, a city that embraces its multiculturalism and an undoubted southern hemisphere must visit.
This January 2014, the city of Cape Town will be abuzz with activity. And One&Only Cape Town is excited to be an integral part of the experience. Guests will be left in no doubt that they have come to a bastion of design and art appreciation from their arrival, since key palm trees at the front of the resort will be clad in swathes of bright yellow (the official colour of the year-long event), signifying the resort’s commitment to World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.
But One&Only Cape Town’s commitment to World Design Capital is not just about appearances. Managing Director Clive Bennett explains “we wholeheartedly embrace the tenets of the World Design Capital committee to introduce the world to Cape Town’s possibilities through its creative strengths. We look forward to showcasing our own commitment to local design, art and culture both within the resort itself and in a host of other cultural and philanthropic endeavours during the course of 2014”.
Tapping into the Tenets of the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014
The central concept behind the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 is “to use excellence in design, to design the change we want to see in our city”, says Cape Town city mayor Patricia de Lille. One&Only Cape Town wholeheartedly embraces this notion and is geared up to show its guests the city and its many fascinating facets from as many angles as possible. Kicking off on 31 December 2013 with ‘the biggest New Year’s Eve party the city has seen’, the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 programme promises to engage participants through 450 creative initiatives, designed to entertain and engage the viewer and participant.
A Resort of Afro-centric Design
From the minute guests set foot in the triple volume lobby of One&Only Cape Town, there is no question where exactly they might be. Across from the lobby and dominating the Vista Bar & Lounge is an enormous picture window framing the majestic Table Mountain, one of the most recognisable natural wonders of the world. Suspended from the ceiling is an impressive glass sculpture which itself represents the continent of Africa. Commissioned by the hotel’s designer, renowned US hotel interiors expert Adam D. Tihany, this and all the other artworks in the resort were commissioned from leading South African contemporary artists, designers and photographers. The resort itself was designed around Tihany’s subtle palette of African-inspired colours and textures and this is conveyed throughout – from public spaces to private suites.
Art Routes & Tours
Ideal for guests wishing to get up close and personal with this side of the city’s persona, One&Only Cape Town has devised a series of bespoke art tours and routes under the guidance some of the leading curators and gallerists in the city. Designed to meet the interests of varying levels of art aficionados, from those with an eye for contemporary to those with a more classic leaning, each of the specifically designed tours follows a predetermined route which includes meet-and-greets with gallery owners and artists, dining at award-winning eateries as well as sightseeing in and around the city. Guests need only notify the resort prior to their arrival of their art tour preferences or engage with any of the concierge team and a fascinating and unforgettable expert-led art tour can be arranged.
Township Art & Tours
Art-loving guests at One&Only Cape Town may be interested to know that the resort has a permanent creative art space, the Lalela Project Gallery, that features an ever-changing series of original work by the youth who attend Lalela Project. This groundbreaking after-school arts and music programme operates in a number of informal settlements in and around Cape Town and exists, thanks, in no small part, to One&Only Cape Town’s ongoing support.
Lalela Project has been recognised in the official programme of World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 and will be collaborating with the Maboneng Township Arts Experience, a national-wide concept that turns homes and outdoor spaces in townships into art galleries. The World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 Imizamo Yethu collaboration between Maboneng and Lalela Project incorporates 1) a Permanent Art Route, 2) a Permanent Art Resource Centre and 3) an Annual Arts Fair. The Maboneng Lalela Project Township Arts Experience community guided walks and exhibition experiences will lead visitors through the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu in the picturesque village of Hout Bay. Visitors will engage with the community and the children of Lalela Project and will be able to view a host of artworks exhibited in the area. This kind of up-close-and-personal experience will no doubt leave an indelible mark on each and every participant and visitor. The fact that this innovative public art appreciation platform and official World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 project will bring much-appreciated employment and skills development opportunities to the community further adds to its feel-good factor. The Maboneng Lalela Project Township Arts Experience will indeed embrace the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 credo to ‘…transform Life and through design and design thinking, improve lives for people who are challenged everyday in their communities’.
One&Only guests will be able to join in on these fascinating art tours to visit the Maboneng Lalela Project Township Arts Experience in this unique Cape Town experience and in doing so will be helping to contribute to Lalela Project as it works to empower and uplift local youth through creative programmes.
Time for Design at Neo
One&Only Cape Town guests with a penchant for outstanding design will relish a visit to Neo, the stylish clothing boutique and gift emporium at the resort. This curated space plays host to an ever-changing selection of handpicked fashions and accessories created by a collection of leading local designers. These sit comfortably alongside hot-off-the-catwalk offerings from international fashion talents. As a hotbed of local talent and an outlet for emerging designers, Neo proudly plays host to regular pop-up trunk shows and these will be especially significant during the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 year. Guests should also keep an eye out for the exquisitely intricate beaded wild animals that stand proud outside Neo. Handmade by the artisans of the African Creative collective, these magnificent beaded artworks reveal months of painstaking work and each and every one is an extraordinary artistic endeavour in itself.