Muse. A artist loft in Woodstock, Cape Town

Muse - An artist loft in Woodstock

Muse Location, is a magnificent art filled Loft in a trendy up and coming area of Cape town. This location offers a great vantage point from which to take in the magnificent views that stretch across the city toward the harbour on the one side and toward Table Mountain behind you. Sitting proud atop what used to be a textile factory in the meat packing district of Woodstock and what is now a trendy and creative space housing businesses as well as residential spaces, Muse Location is in her element.

Woodstock came to be in the decade post 1900, and was always a "grey area" that remained unconquered by the group areas act. A certain Bohemianism has remained here, together with a wonderful mix of cultures now from traditional Muslim families to hipsters, creatives to cafe owners and a hundred plus, main road furniture and decor stores.

Massive Steel framed windows frame the space between interior and exterior, allowing beautiful natural light to flood the space. With a square meterage of around 250m2 ,the industrial architecture design  mixed with an eclectic decor style makes for an interesting and exciting apartment. The large open plan space with polished black screed floors is separated into various areas using unusual, one of a kind items of furniture. Many of these items are created by the owners themselves, or adapted to be functional within this environment. The owner, an avid fine art collector, has found a space here where his growing art collection can truly sing and where his wonderful and unusual furniture finds can be repurposed in a suburb where conformity is frowned upon and creativity celebrated.

An absolute passion for art is apparent in this gorgeous space, with a myriad of fantastic art works begging for your attention. In every nook and around every corner you will spot visual treats.

Both stills and film shoots are welcome at Muse.

Muse is also open to short stay accommodation bookings.

 

 


Decoding Chairs - A guide to where to place your Derriere!

There as many chair designs out there as there are stars in the firmament it seems some days, and each has a fabulous and often unspellable name.

Here is a brief guide to decoding some of the particularly popular lovelies that we often see but may not know the name or story behind.

The Acapulco Chair 

First created in Mexico in the 1950's the exact details of its design and designer are unknown.Rumor has it, a French tourist was lounging on a rooftop on a hot afternoon. He became unsatisfied with the sweltering heat and had an idea. He decided to make a chair using the stringed construction of traditional Mayan hammocks. From this, the Acapulco chair was born.

The unique design is easily recognizable and can now be seen on balconies and patio’s across the world. Acapulco chairs were originally made using steel and plastic. Bright colours are a trademark of this chair with modern replicas tweaking the design to include rocking varieties and a host of other deviations.

Acapulco Chairs creating a happy summer retro vibe at House Hugo
Acapulco Chairs creating a happy summer retro vibe at House Hugo - Shoot My House

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Created by Charles and Ray Eames in the 1950's (a good time for furniture design it appears!!) for the Herman Miller Furniture company. The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are made of molded plywood and leather. They are officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) and were released in 1956 after years of

Eames Lounge and Ottoman at AI - Shoot My House
Eames Lounge and Ottoman at AI - Shoot My House

development by designers. It was the first chair that the Eameses designed for a high-end market. Examples of these furnishings are part of the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.This luxury item was inspired by the traditional English Club Chair. Charles's vision was for a chair with "the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." The Eames Lounge Chair is an icon of Modern style design

Charles and Ray (short for Bernice Alexandra "Ray" Kaiser Eames )were an American design married couple who made significant historical contributions to the development of modern architecture and furniture. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art, and film.

The Ghost Chair

Such an interesting story behind this chair design!! The story of the Louis Ghost Chair, as it’s named, begins with Louis XVI. As in the king of France. During the reign of the 19-year-old monarch and his better half, Marie Antoinette, a renewed interested in classical Greek and Roman design developed, which manifested itself in all sorts of trendy architectural and interior design elements throughout the king’s reign. One such furnishing—a chair with a rectangular or round upholstered back, clean lines, column-like carved legs, and an exposed wood frame—had staying power, eventually earning the name of the monarch, becoming known as the Louis XVI Chair. This formal upholstered chair remains a timeless classic. Then along came a French designer named Philippe Starke (a school dropout known for his cheeky and subversive design)

Shoot My House - Amanzi - ghost chairs
Exemplifying the indoor outdoor versatility of the Ghost Chair at Shoot My House's Amanzi

It was only fitting that Starck would be daring enough to mess with royal style. In 2002 he reinvented the classic Louis XVI armchair for Italian design company Kartell,  The designer distilled the antique furniture piece down into one silhouette, translating its round, medallion-shaped backrest, curved arms, and straight legs into a single clear plastic chair. Calling upon not only the reign of Louis XVI, but on ancient Greek geometry, the chair was a triumph of postmodern times. One of the greatest features of the Ghost Chair is how it’s made. The iconic chair required significant technical innovation: It’s made of a transparent injection-molded polycarbonate, which uses a single mold. This means that the entire chair is just one piece—no screws, upholstery, or separate arms and legs. Because it’s plastic, and because there are no joints (which could freeze or crack in the rain or cold), it does particularly well outdoors. So, it is an indoor/outdoor chair and has even become a popular child's must have item (with a few variations)

The Egg

Designed by Arne Jacobsen in Denmark 1958 specifically for the SAS Royal hotel in Copenhagen, along with many other pieces of furniture that have now found big lives of their own outside the hostelry. His clever pop interpretation of a traditional armchair is all curves and fluidity, soft and sexy. It also creates a sort of cozy cocoon of privacy, especially if you swivel it away from someone you want to ignore or mute.

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B32 Cesca and Wassily Chairs

Designed by Marcel Breuer in Germany in 1928 These two designs are important milestones in the history of modern furniture  Fascinated by bicycle handlebars, Breuer and Mart Stam used non-reinforced tubular steel to pretty much invent the 20th-century modern chair. Though the Wassily is more sculptural, more abstract and complicated, the B32/Cesca was the real game changer: It offered a comfortable bounce and seemed to float a human being on air. As if all that weren't enough, Breuer also designed the former Whitney Museum in New York, now known in respect as the Met Breuer.

 

 

Transat

Designed by Eileen Gray in France in 1927 and based on the deck chairs of steamships, this piece gets its name from the abbreviation for “transatlantic.” The frame has complicated joinery with chromed brackets, while the seat is a sling with a pivoting head-support section.

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Transat Design
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Transat Chair - Eileen Gray

 

In an era dominated by male designers, each one of Gray's designs is exceptional and worthy of study and collecting; her Dragons armchair, designed circa 1917, once belonged to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé and sold at auction in 2009 for a whopping $27.8 million. Still the most expensive chair ever sold in the world.

So if you're feeling particularly flush this month - there she is. The Dragon Armchair!!

Dragon Chair - Eileen Gray
Dragon Chair - Eileen Gray

There are a million more I'd like to explore by important designers like Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier etc - another day.

These are some of my favourites though i think I can probably skip the price tag on the Dragon Chair - well this year anyway....

thanks to:

https://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/lounge-seating/eames-lounge-chair- and-ottoman/

https://www.gq.com/story/the-12-most-iconic-chairs-of-all-time

https://www.decaso.com/blog/ghost-chair-history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_and_Ray_Eames


SA Design Royalty - Julian and Trevyn McGowan

South African design has come a long way very fast and right now it is celebrated around the world. There are many players involved in the renaissance of South African design and no more so than the extraordinary husband wife team that is Julian and Trevyn McGowan.
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The couple have a very interesting background. Julian was a theatre and opera designer in London and Trevyn had an interior and architectural practise doing renovations and redevelopments for the likes of Clive Owen, Sir Ian McKellan, Gerald Butler and Rachel Wiesz. When the couple returned to South Africa they established a company called SOURCE. Part of their homecoming was to rediscover what South African design was all about. They had utilised it in their work abroad and imported it for their clients, and "what began as an interest grew into an absolute passion for local design."
The creation of Source has been very beneficial in bridging the gap between local designers and the foreign market in what was then a new emerging market. Thanks to their established relationship with the international marketplace and an understanding of what it required, Trevyn and Julian were able to present products in a way that that would be well received abroad.


Source now provides South African products to the international marketplace - from the Conran shop to Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Jamie Oliver, Soho House Group, Bergdorf Goodman etc etc. As an extension they then went on to create SOUTHERN GUILD which serves as a platform for leading local designers, artists and craftsmen to exhibit new work at the very top end of the market - limited edition, one off collectable designs. Southern Guild encourages collaboration, discourse and mentorship and uses international exhibitions as a platform to stimulate and provoke the industry. They believe that South African design is attractive to the foreign market because it largely does not follow international trends and is freer and infused with very many different infiuences.
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Not intent to leave it at that, the couple, who astonishingly have also made the time to have a gaggle of magnificent looking children, Trevyn and Julian then went on to create The Guild which has culminated in the multi faceted venue in the remarkably exciting Silos District. The Guild, which houses an in house studio, concept store, Furniture range as well as gallery space had a glittering opening party with the who's who of design in attendance sipping vodkas from golden pineapples earlier this winter 2017.
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Opening Party at The Guild - Silos District - Cape Town

GUILD is set to become a concept-driven experience, with bespoke items available for purchase, alongside contemporary and limited-edition furniture, and great exhibitions, featuring international galleries.
Under The Guild Group’s creative director, Tammy Tinker, GUILD Concept will present a selection of fresh and intriguing must-have items (including jewellry, accessories, gifts, and more), with seasonal ranges from leading Cape Town manufacturers, who specialise in everything from fine art to fashion and furniture design.

Nearby, GUILD Studio will provide production furniture by top South African designers, such as Gregor Jenkin, Meyer von Wielligh and Dokter and Misses, with Julian McGowan’s own in-house range leading the pack.
Another very exciting project that the team have taken on is The BUSINESS OF DESIGN which hosts an annual 2 day seminar in Cape Town and Johannesburg with some of the design leaders from across South Africa. It feels a lot like TED TAlks for artists. Last year the distinguished line up included Brian Steinhobel of Steinhobel design, Stefan Antoni of SAOTA, OKHA, ARRCC, Heather Moore of Skinny La Minx, Emilie Gambade - Elle, Sorbet's Ian Fuhr, destinguished chef Luke Dale Roberts of Pot luck club and Test Kitchen, Conn Bertish of Cancer Dojo amongst many many more. I know I'll be there for sure and will watch with great excitement as the Silo District really starts to take off in the coming months as the design epicentre of the Cape.
Sources
Style Icons - Paul Duncan
Insideguide - Tamlyn Ryan

 


Can we expect a little interlude from Midcentury Modern design? Please say it is so!!

It was with an ounce of guilty delight that I recently read an article in Architectual Digest predicting the end of the obsession with midcentury modern design and  Scandanavian design characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the 1950s. Eames and Bertoia were champions of this design aesthetic and the obsession for owning originals or knockoffs of the originals has not subsided in 60 years!

“Midcentury modern” itself is a difficult term to define. It broadly describes architecture, furniture, and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century roughly 1933 to 1965.  This has been the dominant vintage style of the last 15 years and for some time it seemed the demand for it was insatiable.  Think Mad Men and Scandinavian design. This season our mid century properties have received the bulk of the attention with advertisers desperate to emulate these interiors.

Now dont get me wrong. I love this design aesthetic, but sometimes a change is as good as a holiday and a holiday would be super dooper.
The easiest place to gauge trends in our switched on 21st century is in the online marketplace. Chairish, just such a marketplace reports that searches for “more ornate and feminine” are on the rise. That means Chinoiserie, Art Deco, Hollywood Regency and lots of Pink. The trend seems so perfectly suited to a new era of celebrity “royalty” such as Melania Trump who proportedly is working with a designer on a “Glam Room” within the White House. Not a new idea – its’ borrowed from the likes of Maraih Carey, Celine Dion and of course the Kardashians but before that from the glamourous movie stars of yesteryear.
Designer Francesco Bilotto,  says that a glam room  “combines a person’s beauty and fashion needs all in one space, making it easier for a ‘glam squad’ to collaborate on the overall look.”
Beyond beauty needs, other decor touches may include rich, textured wallpaper, sumptuous seating, a piece of lucite furniture, curated and displayed collections of expensive fragrances and rare beauty products.

Restaurant design, too, is taking a turn for the ambitiously ornate, as seen at Yvonne’s in Boston, with its overstuffed tufted sofas and hand-chipped Calacatta gold marble floors, and at The Edmon in L.A., where there are muted gold accents and chandeliers aplenty. Closer to home elements of The Bungalow interior echo these ornate sumptuous interiors as does the super sexy Kloof Street House, which we are very delighted to represent.
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Perhaps all the austerity of the last few years post 2008 has fueled a desire to return to glamour and opulence together with a move to more individuality within that design – as so clearly noted in international magazines such as living Etc or Town and Country. If opulence is not tempered with individual style and a fresh point of view however it becomes merely empty and vulgar. We will see where these trends go. I am not personally expecting profound authenticity or artistic individuality to come from either the Trump glam room or anything at the Kardashians cribs but “glam rooms” have an old, world glamour that is Mysterious, sexy, unknown – everything our over shared social media lives are not. Looking forward to investigating these intrigiung spaces in more depth in the next post!
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Thanks as always to Architectural digest, Living Etc, Town and Contry, Good Life, Instagram and pinterest for all the inspiration!


Filling the Well

Once a year its imperative (if we wish to remain creative and sane) that we take a break from the everyday grind and we go and explore a new place - a new way of thinking and of looking at the world. Hence we found ourselves this year on a tropical island surrounded by extended family and soaking up the sun, sea and tropical air. While the holiday itself didn't particularly fill that creative well in terms of offering a culture so far removed from my own as to stretch the boundaries of imagination. What it did do is force my busy mind to concentrate more on building sandcastles and less on building a business. More on preventing territorial scuffles between the young 'uns and less on conflict in the workplace. It also meant that by the time I came back to the real world I was relaxed and so totally receptive to the amazing 2 days I then spent at The Business of Design seminar in Cape Town. The line up of speakers covered many of the design disciplines but what was so awesome was that each was cutting edge in their thinking, revolutionary in their field, filled with the fire only true passion can ignite. I scribbled copious notes as each visionary spoke about their particular topic and here are a couple of things that really stood out for me when i look back on the 2 days. Each speaker deserves a blog of their own so this is just a taste...

Brian Steinhobel is an industrial designer who has crafted everything from furniture to weapons, sound systems to sports equipment, cars, deck chairs, jets, the list is endless. He talks about taking the mundane and making it extraordinary and his designs are great examples of just that. He mentioned two developments that he called "World Disruptors" that would catapult us into a new era. The first one being The Microsoft hollow lens which combines holographics and augmented reality and allows us to interact with reality and "illusion" simultaneously. The second which truly blows my mind is Carbon 3d printing. We are all becoming aware of 3d printing but the idea of carbon printing that works at 1000 x the speed of normal 3d printing and grows organically rather than being put down in layers pretty much does my head in.

Sean Mahoney from Studio Mass spoke about designing for the environment and creating inner city edible landscapes. The necessity for urban design to look at green buildings, green appliances, better lighting solutions and he dared us to rip up our lawns and grow edible gardens. I've been looking at my lawn askance ever since.

Scott Gray from Quirk spoke about businesses thriving in a digitally enabled world and the new truths of that world. Emelie Gambade - editor of Elle magazine South Africa discussed the role of fashion on the continent and how what we wear has the power to talk about us, to leave a mark on our culture, our journey and be important recorders of our time.

Conn Bertish the phenomenon behind Cancer Dojo talked about using visualization and imagery to connect with your illness. "The Dojo Thinking approach uses the art and science of Psychoneuroimmunology to enable your brain and body to work together as a team to boost your immune system and engender a more positive cancer outcome." He spoke about humanizing medicine and giving patients a role in their own healing.

 

Stefan Antoni Director of international sought after SAOTA ( architectural firm), was tremendously inspiring with his topic of Local goes Global. He spoke about how true excellence requires that you edge just a little further, push the boundaries just a little harder,which can often mean that you have to go back and re look at the basics and that can open up a whole new line of thought.As was the theme with all the speakers the crux of it seemed to be that Great Design creates value and that true excellence and an absolute dedication to mastery is the difference between making it and not. He reminded us that every project, no matter how small, must be done at 100% and to that end he insists on  controlling every aspect of the detailing, packaging and look.

What really struck me throughout was the similarity in business principles and practices that had taken these creatives to the top of their game. Mr Antoni spelled out the most important points in creating a great company as follows:

  •  Having the right people in place within your organization.
  • Having the right Systems in place to support you and enable a lot of your work to be automated.
  • adding little incremental improvements that take you in the right direction.
  • meeting every week to review every aspect of the business from Marketing to accounts and everything in between.
  • Being very thorough and very clear in very thing you do.

Perhaps my favourite idea from the 2 days was that you cannot release genius without clear thinking and taking clear steps. Contrary to what many believe, the business of extreme creativity is not wishy washy and vague but precise, measurable and exact.firstcrescent_041.jpg