De Waterkant Apartment

The brief was to transform a duplex apartment shell in the new Mirage Development, being constructed in De Waterkant.   This trendy suburb is located in the heart of Cape Town and in the day, hosts cool-hunting hipsters frequenting impossibly quaint eateries and in the evening it becomes the urbanites playground as fashion and art champion the nights.  The brief to the Design Dream Team was to create a sanctuary for these city slickers, and to create a space that captures the ‘urban chic,’ combining contemporary living with high design.

The design of the duplex apartment expresses a distinctly modern African attitude that is current with today’s demands of fast paced city living. The apartment is a space of calm and serenity for re-energising, relaxing within, floating above the city streets of its location. Using these criteria as the foundation of the design direction, the interior is a stylised and dynamic clutter free space that is a forward thinking, contemporary luxury urban space that maximises spatial use, cutting edge design and technology.  

The spatial constrictions of the space have influenced the design and careful consideration to ergonomic planning, have influenced the design process.  The requirements of the modern urban couple, that desire to live a streamlined, fluid and finely focused existence and the need to express one's individuality have been at the forefront in the conceptualisation of the apartment. The design takes advantage of the small space to highlight clever functionality and wherever possible spaces double-up in function.  

The largest challenge was that the designers had a small narrow space with high double volume walls to work with as well as an extensive brief requiring the inclusion of a number of living elements. The total internal floor area of the existing shell was only 65 square meters.  To define the bare spaces Mark Rielly and Michele Rhoda conceptualised a black and white colour pallet as the base fabrics for the walls, floors and ceilings.  The concept was to create a light living space with a dark bedroom cubicle cantilevered overhead.  This theme of day and night was introduced to reflect the way in which the apartment functions differently at various times of the day. To break up the ‘box space’ angular and facetted elements were introduced in the stair and ceilings to create drama and interest. The large double volume vertical walls were broken up by the feature black stair on the one side and on the opposite wall a cantilevered white glass bridge. The glass bridge extension adds additional floor area to the apartment and functions as a library platform. To keep the apartment spacious, and to accentuate additional floor space, a number of the design elements such as the joinery, kitchen counters and the TV wall ledge float. Concealed lighting has been added to these elements for more dramatic lighting effects.

The lower living level features a seamless spatial flow between the kitchen and living room on to the terrace with uninterrupted views of Cape Town’s cityscape and Table Mountain. The feature black steel staircase slices through the apartment and creates a strong focal point linking to the private bedroom suite upstairs. The kitchen design incorporates a Careline kitchen finished in white duco which has been matched with white Miele appliances.  By cleverly tucking the kitchen underneath the staircase and having the centre kitchen island double up as a bar and a dining table, the multi-functional lower level can be used both practically and for entertainment.

The brief also required that the Design Team create a master dressing room.  Due to the size of the apartment, the designers combined the master dressing room and en-suite bathroom into one and created a dark, ‘moody’ sanctuary for bathing and dressing.

There is a strong emphasis on rhythm, geometric forms and graphic elements that are reflective of modern patterns. The general colour pallet is kept crisp and monochromatic for a clean and uncluttered look and feel. This is warmed up with a beautiful dark wood parquet flooring and again the warm timber is picked up in the angular graphic timber screen used behind the bedroom wall to separate the dressing room en-suite.  The parquet flooring, concealed LED lighting and décor items bring the added dimension of warmth into the space.

The Design Team wanted the interiors and artwork to explore the avant gardist graphic of the interior architecture and to introduce colour. Adam Court played with a fusion of modern African graphic and colour to juxtapose the lean, monochromatic interior. Artist Daniel Orme was commissioned for the one major artwork hung above the staircase.

Some of the furniture has multiple uses, i.e. tables that also provide storage, the bookshelves that act as an installation artwork, plus all the furniture was custom designed to fit in the available space allowing enough circulation. The furniture is modular, allowing the layout to be re-configured as need be. As the interior needed to be a place of calm and serenity, ‘less is more’ was the design rule but still allowing for personal expression and individuality to have its place.

Renowned for its contemporary take on African luxury, Antoni Associates’ distinctive style paired with the unique pieces designed by OKHA, sets this apartment in a category of its own.

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