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November 01, 2011

Cape Town: A designer city

Cape Town is host to annual events such as Creative Week and Design Indaba, which champion creativity. And now Capetonians are all fired-up about their city winning the World Design Capital title, which has increased awareness of design all over the city.

Interior designer, collector and curator Neil Stemmet sums up what the accolade means: “We have become a living, breathing world-class inner city. Hallelujah!”

There's plenty to see, explore and discover. So what’s a typical day like in a "designer city"? From a design perspective there are three areas to discover: the City Centre precinct, The Fringe and Woodstock, each jam-packed with creatives, studios and shops. We invite you to engage with our creative energy and see the city through our eyes …

Creative coffee mornings

Start your day at Haas Coffee Collective in Bo-Kaap (+27 (0)21 422 4413), a coffee shop and studio all in one that buzzes with coffee fanatics. Then cruise the Rose Street shops before heading down the hill into the city’s happening hub.

At this end of town, the Freeworld Design Centre, South Africa's only dedicated gallery space for the promotion of interior design, is an inspiration. And while you wait for the legendary melktert at Jacques Erasmus’s Hemelhuijs restaurant, see if you can spot the artwork made from hundreds of pieces of toast!

Or why not join the fashionistas at 6 Spin Street restaurant (+27 (0)21 461 0666), which shares space with Lobby Books in a palatial Sir Herbert Baker building. The popular "Creative coffee mornings" event is on the first Friday of the month from 9.30am, organised by the Cape Town Fashion Council.

Long inspiring lunches

Lunch at the Field Office in The Fringe (+27 (0)21 461 4599), a popular “coffice”, is a must, offering you the chance to get under the skin of this up-and-coming area populated by design studios.

Close by is the beautifully restored Fugard Theatre, or you can pop into Charly’s Bakery (+27 (0)21 461 5181), the heart of the district. Creator of extraordinary wedding cakes and irresistible quiches, sandwiches, glittery cookies and the prettiest petit fours, Jacqui Biess and her family run this welcoming and soulful establishment.

You can then head out to Woodstock to visit genius recycler Heath Nash (+27 (0)21 447 5757, +27 (0)78 398 4851) at his studio; or visit Haldane Martin just around the corner (+27 (0)21 448 0999, +27 (0)83 321 5992) for award-winning furniture that graces our boutique hotels and contemporary homes.

Local stylist Tracy Lynch raves about the area: “I love how new designer stores are popping up all over Woodstock and the City Centre.”

Pedersen + Lennard is truly inspiring, with flat-pack furniture and reconditioned bicycles being its focus – Field Office is also its showroom.

Entertaining, engaging evenings

Café Oh! at 46 Harrington fills in the gaps for clubbers with food at all hours (open till 4am on Friday and Saturday).

For an artisanal beer head to &Union (+27 (0)21 422 2770), and club the night away; or head back to The Fugard for a show after your beer.

“Variety is what makes a city truly intriguing,” says architect Mokena Makeka, and we agree.

Explore, discover and be inspired by Cape Town.


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