African Modernism: Light and Shadow in Capetown by

Issue 68 · Africana · April 15, 2013

African Modernism: Light and Shadow in Capetown

Issue 68 · Africana · April 15, 2013

In the online design world, we wonder if everything isn't beginning to look the same. And then, we discover a project whose differences reveal the influences of its cultural and environmental surroundings and we feel a rush of delight as we defy the onslaught of visual globalization.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the architects of Makalali Bush Camp (voted most innovative hotel design of the year by Tatler Travel) and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, are known to live on site in the exotic locations of their projects so that they can design environments which are particular to each project. Out in the bush, this results in an elegant fusion of modern and ancient African architectural styles. What happens back in town when the international language of minimalism is the architectural style?

Photos via Silvio Rech & Lesley Carstens in collaboration with INK Design Lab.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, wood platform bed, Remodeslista

Above: The strong light and shadow of the African continent play a dramatic part in sculpting the minimalist textured spaces. Wood is used to create a platform for the bed.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, , South Africa, full height sliding wood door, full height sheer curtains, Remodeslista

Above: The open modern space makes use of floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains and a full-height sliding door to create flexible living areas.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, wood paneled dining room, green globe pendant, Remodeslista

Above: The dining area is made of wood and concrete; a translucent Kartell Icon Lamp by Ferruccio Laviani ($310 from Stardust) adds a subtle dash of color.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist kitchen in Capetown, South Africa, Remodeslista

Above: The articulation of the minimalist kitchen has a scale reminiscent of the continent's wide open plains.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, orange chair, colored book spines, Remodeslista

Above: Color is introduced into the neutral palette in the office through the upholstery of the chair and spines of the books.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, brick walls and white plastered walls, Remodeslista

Above: Brick and plastered walls create a rich and authentic texture that is impossible to achieve with sheetrock.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, neutral palette in bedroom, Remodeslista

Above: The designers use a mixture of soft textiles and hard materials to create a textured neutral palette.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, wood stair, concrete steps, brick wall,Remodeslista

Above: A textured and mannered wood stair is inserted against smooth concrete steps and a rough brick wall.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, coffee table made from tree stump, white-stained wood feature wall, Remodeslista

Above: A coffee table made out of a tree stump is paired with a full-height feature wall made of white-stained wood.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, primary colors in children's room, Remodeslista

Above: Bright primary colors introduce an alternate tone to the children's playroom.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, wood platform under bathtub, Remodeslista

Above: A wood floor provides a platform for the bathtub and continues up the wall to become a bench.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, double organically shaped sinks on wood slab pedestal, Remodeslista

Above: The organically shaped sinks sit on a simple wood slab pedestal.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist shower in Capetown, South Africa, Remodeslista

Above: Frosted glass provides privacy in the shower and is open to the sky above.

Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, INK Design Lab, minimalist house in Capetown, South Africa, glass balustrade, Remodeslista

Above: The detailing of the glass balustrade is minimal and textural at the same time.

Wood adds a natural texture and warmth to any design. See 5,039 images of Wood in our Gallery of rooms and spaces for more ways to use this versatile material.



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