Art, culture and design hub to open at V&A

The Silo District is set to become Cape Towns designated art, culture and design district at the V&A Waterfront, and will be home to a number of lifestyle retailers, eateries, and hotels. It opens in September.

The Silo District is the V&A Waterfront’s latest addition and is set to become Cape Town’s designated art, culture and design locale.

“I don’t know what my designs mean to Silo but I know what Silo means to me,” said Kat van Duinen, fashion designer and one of the retailers at the new Silo District.

For designers like Ms Van Duinen, this new high-end district serves as an opportunity to demonstrate what South Africa has to offer the world.

“The biggest collections of South African art and African textile are in New York, in London, in Europe, not in Cape Town and not on the African continent. We are all hungry for French- and German-made products,” Ms Van Duinen said. “I love that every company that you see here is local, everything is made here.”

The combination of upscale food, fashion and art featured at the Silo District contributes to an ostentatious atmosphere fit to impress tourists and locals.

“It’s just going to entrench what already is a world-class destination,” said Yola Bergh, a Cape Town native whose son-in-law, Jasper Eales, is an artist exhibiting in the Southern Guild Gallery at the new district.

The Silo District is the pinnacle of a display of opportunity in Cape Town, Ms Bergh said. Its emphasis on presenting local talent will serve as encouragement to Capetonians.

“It’s not just a commercial enterprise which I think is what this whole district is about,” said jewellery designer Kirsten Goss, who is one of the retailers at the district.

Otto du Plessis, another artist exhibiting in Southern Guild at the Silo, said the V&A Waterfront’s new dynamic add-on has the potential to become the new design district for the African continent.

“I think only recently there has been a renaissance of African design and art,” Mr Du Plessis said.

“I think it will just open Africa, and South Africa, to the world in a way that’s never (been) seen before.”

This month Ms Van Duinen, Ms Goss, The Guild Group and several more of the district’s retailers opened their doors, including lifestyle botanist Opus and Glasshouse Rejuvenation, an upmarket beauty salon. The district is already home to a number of eateries, a Virgin Active Classic Club and The Silo Hotel. Later in the year, more restaurants, lifestyle retailers and the Radisson Red Hotel will join them.

“The V&A Waterfront has taken a three-pronged approach to development at the Silo District, focusing on providing a mixed-use space in which people can live, work and play. Our residential and commercial office offerings have been well known for a while, but our lifestyle and leisure plans for the district are also reaching fruition,” David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, said in a press release.

The Silo District is constructed around the historic grain silo complex, currently being developed into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) which opens to the public in late September.

“The grain used to come from all over Africa to be sorted here and put on ships to travel further. So, it does have an amazing story,” Ms Van Duinen said. “Even If you look at the videos of the construction of both the hotel and the museum, it’s really incredible and the architectural thought behind it inside is just genius.”

On Wednesday June 14, the Silo District held a preview event to introduce its new designers and offer a sneak peek of what the retailers have in store for the district.

“With Zeitz MOCAA at its core, we wanted the Silo District’s retail offering to reflect the creativity, design, art and culture embodied by the museum,” Mr Green said in a press release.

“Today’s opening is a small teaser focused on our retailers, and a preview of what to expect from our Grand Opening in September, when Zeitz MOCAA opens to the public and final few retailers open.”