Old Biscuit Mill | Cape Town

In the post-apartheid South-Africa, it makes sense that Woodstock, a gritty, formerly lower-middle class neighbourhood of crumbling Victorian cottages, is emerging as the city’s new creative district. Located between the docks of Table Bay and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, Woodstock is quickly becoming Cape Town’s trendiest areas.

Woodstock’s revival began when two friends who owned an art gallery in east Cape Town — Cameron Munro from Zimbabwe and Justin Rhodes from New York — started a small outdoor food market on Saturday mornings on the grounds of the Old Biscuit Mill. In 2006, they bought the old surrounding factory buildings and transformed the 1500 square meter complex into art-shops, trendy restaurants and market areas.

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Old Biscuit Mill has become a place where people collaborate, come together and share their passion. It feels like a small, but vibrant village, where you can find arts and crafts, fashion and design shops and original places to eat and drink. It’s a great place to meet some of South Africa’s most talented artists, photographers and innovators. The mix of cultures is very exciting.

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The Old Biscuit Mill Market is held every Saturday in an old sky-lit brick warehouse. More than 120 vendors sell local and organic produce, artisan cheese and bread, craft beers, juices and gourmet foods.

It is as much a source for farm fresh as well as organic foods and locally produced specialty goods, as it is a meeting point to enjoy community, swap ideas and stories, and become educated about what we buy and eat by going directly to the source.

Sit down at one of the long communal tables and relax with a snack or a glass of wine or beer and enjoy the live entertainment.

Old Biscuit Mill, 373 – 75 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Old Biscuit Mill Market: Every Saturday rain or shine 9:00 – 14:00.

 

Niyona workshop

Recently, I had the pleasure to join the “an initiation in leather” workshop at the atelier of Niyona in Brussels, Belgium. In a few hours, I created a small leather wallet / card holder from scratch! How exciting!

It was very interesting to learn about the different steps to make a leather item (purse, bag, whatever), to have an introduction to all the machines and to see the passion of true craftsmen (and women).

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The Niyona pieces are all crafted in Belgium and all very original. Their flagship store Hello James also offers some other cool, small brands. Crafted by real people who spent hours on the details of the product. All products are a great combination of craftsmanship, design and innovation.  Owner Nina clearly has a strong vision of what her brand should be.

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Niyona Ateliers & flagship store: Rue de Laeken 86 (Lakensestraat), Brussels.

Pictures by Niyona and myself.

The faceted trend evolving

Being a countermovement from hyper realistic animations, video-games and computer images, this polygonal way of creating images gives hard edges to round shapes. The design world is ready to move away from the organic forms of the past few years. Realistic shapes are used in a faceted way, or the shapes are altered using some new edges.

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The faceted trend has gone on for quite a while now and can already be seen in mainstream designs, packaging, typography and retail, but we can see some developments. More and more details are added and subtlety is coming back. It’s now also used in combination with photography and other graphic design styles and shapes.

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In fashion it is used to give volume and rigidness to the flowyness of fabrics. Ine de Haes makes beautiful shapes in her garments, using a faceted way to fold the fabric. Jewelry is showing geometric shapes and exaggerated faceted gems or beads.

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Diptyque

o.10315Diptyque is a brand that is surrounded by French elegance and history. Candles, perfumes, room fragrances and bath and body products, all made with natural scents, make up the simple but solid collection of this brand.

In 1961, three creative friends named Christiane Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet, and Yves Coueslant, all from the world of fine arts and décor, decided to open a bazaar store in Paris, on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain. From here, they displayed and sold their designs and other things they had found during their travels. They also gave their customers the opportunity to discover the biggest names in traditional English perfumes, then little known in France.

In 1963 they produced a line of scented candles of their own, which eventually became the main focus of the brand. Because of the success of these scented candles, they expanded their line with their first eau de toilette in 1968. Named l’Eau, it is inspired by a 16th-century potpourri recipe and the scent of pomanders. Since the added success of the first perfume, Diptyque has been producing a refined collection of eaux de toilettes with a highly distinctive signature for over 40 years. The scents are inspired by nature and travel, the forgotten taste of a particular fruit, exotic spices and subtle notes of wood. Slowly, the brand expanded and also used their signature scents in other products, like room fragrances and bath and body product.

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The Diptyque products aren’t just products; they tell a story and create a ceremonial experience. It feels authentic. The story is flawlessly communicated and every product feels lovingly created. The scents, materials, packaging, visuals and store experience communicate Diptyque’s powerful narrative.

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Diptyque can always be recognized by the iconic oval, which can be found on all products made by the brand. The shape is of a shields of ancient Rome or an 18th-century medallion. While the emblematic shape always stays the same, the rest of the design often gets reinvented for new products.

It shows that Diptyque is started by three very creative people, because they collaborate with known and unknown artists who help them design great products, graphics and packaging. Some of my favourites:

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Safia Ouares

 

Kuntzel & Deygas

 

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Minä Perhonen

 

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Skaggs Creative

 

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Pierrick Calvez

 

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