Out & About: Cape Town

Click to enlarge
Colourful Bo-Kaap houses.

Colourful Bo-Kaap houses. Image: Brett Rubin

1 of 8
<em>It's Beautiful Here</em>, a sculpture by South African artist Heath Nash. Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain sits in the background.

It’s Beautiful Here, a sculpture by South African artist Heath Nash. Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain sits in the background. Image: Brett Rubin

2 of 8
Café Haas in Bo-Kaap.

Café Haas in Bo-Kaap. Image: Brett Rubin

3 of 8
One of many industrial-chic cafes in the city.

One of many industrial-chic cafes in the city. Image: Brett Rubin

4 of 8
A tasty sculpture on the waterfront.

A tasty sculpture on the waterfront. Image: Brett Rubin

5 of 8
The lighthouse in Mouille Point, built in 1824.

The lighthouse in Mouille Point, built in 1824. Image: Brett Rubin

6 of 8
Cape Town is dotted with public sculpture.

Cape Town is dotted with public sculpture. Image: Brett Rubin

7 of 8
Sculptor John Skotnes’ Mythological Landscape in Thibault Square.

Sculptor John Skotnes’ Mythological Landscape in Thibault Square. Image: Brett Rubin

8 of 8

There’s a very good reason Cape Town has been named the World Design Capital for 2014. It’s packed with great spaces and local artists changing the face of the South African city.

Nestled on the shores of Table Bay in the shadow of Table Mountain, this at-once glitzy and gritty city is restyling itself as a global mecca for design. Recently named World Design Capital (WDC) for 2014 Cape Town, still aglow from the international attention of the 2010 World Cup, is gearing up for the spotlight again.

Originally a port town (it’s edged by the Atlantic and Indian oceans), South Africa’s oldest city is now its second largest (population: 3.7 million); and the most popular tourist destination on the continent. Cape Town boasts breathtaking geography, colliding cultures, and a famously laid-back attitude, all of which draw a high concentration of artists and artisans.

Affectionately nicknamed the Mother City, it continues to reinvent itself in corners and neighbourhoods as diverse and distinctive as its multicultural inhabitants.

Woodstock, located between the docks of Table Bay and the slopes of Devil’s Peak, is one of the most successful transformations. Once an industrial wasteland, it has rejuvenated thanks to the artists who moved into its underused spaces over the last decade, and with the recent opening of the Woodstock Exchange, a brand new concept space housing 70 creative tenants with retail and workspaces, Woodstock is now the undisputed hub of industrial-chic.

The historic neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, encompassing the trendy area of De Waterkant, is another rapidly developing creative hub. With its iconic multicolored terrace houses, this former Muslim locale is now one of the most sought-after addresses. Stylish stores and galleries line its hilly streets and the muezzin’s call to prayer can still be heard from its restored Victorian, Georgian and Cape Dutch-style homes.

Cape Town is indelibly marked by its political history, presenting architects and designers with a unique set of challenges to embrace. These include an ever-pressing need for housing, and rebuilding and empowering low-income communities while reshaping the city. The creatives living and working here believe in design as an agent of change and practice the maxim of the city’s winning bid for the WDC – Live Design, Transform Life.

In their leisure time, Capetonians lap up the culture – and the coffee – on offer in these reimagined neighbourhoods. Cafés, galleries and artists’ ateliers are overflowing with trend-setting locals, and when the sun sets over the ocean, bars and live music venues draw the city’s vibrant after-dark crowd.

More places

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Incredible street food and never-ending shopping are two of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous virtues, but dig a little deeper and you can also find an edgy side to Malaysia’s capital city.
Canberra: Out & About

Canberra: Out & About

We meet the cosmopolitan masterminds shedding the city’s bureaucratic grey suit in favour of a more urbane and vibrant get-up.
Dubai: out and about

Dubai: Out and About

From a sandy backwater to glitzy mega-city, the exponential growth of Dubai has produced a heady mix of old world and new.
Helsinki: out and about

Helsinki: out and about

From neoclassicism to Scandinavian modernism, this near-Arctic city continues to grow its rich history of design excellence.

Most read

Garden the blue sky

Garden the blue sky

This architect’s penthouse boasts enviable green spaces and a vertigo-inducing outdoor bath.
The skyline shifter

The skyline shifter

Ground is soon to be broken for The Pacifica, a soaring new apartment complex that has the ability to reinvigorate an enclave of Auckland’s downtown.
My, oh my Milan

My, oh my Milan

The Urbis selection of some of the most alluring objects from this year’s Milan Furniture Fair.
Furnishing the dream

Furnishing the dream

A regular among musicians, designers and British royalty, Francis Sultana shows us how his apartment reflects on an impressive career.