Royal Collection to reside in the Heatherwick-transformed historic grain silo of Cape Town
Innovative design studio Heatherwick Studio has given a new lease of life to some old grain silos on Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred waterfront. The iconic structure, a concrete monolith that overlooks the city’s docklands, has been completely overhauled over the past three years to create a luxury hotel that sits six floors above what will be a new contemporary art museum. The project was commissioned in 2013, with Heatherwick being charged with the transformation of the facades of the grain silos and former grain elevators, and with the visionary design of both the hotel and the art gallery. Heatherwick Studio was also responsible for the design of Zeitz MOCAA.
Heatherwick has made some typically ambitious changes to the silos; as part of the brief, he was required to retain the cultural significance of the building, but he has replaced the concrete panels infilling the silos with pillows of glass, completely reimagining the austere character of the industrial building. This adds a lightness to the structure, especially at night, when it is lit internally, entirely transforming its aesthetic. Housed inside these glass bubbles are the rooms themselves, 28 of them in total, each boasting incredible views towards Table Mountain and the South African hills beyond the port. The rooms have been carefully and thoughtfully designed by South African hotelier Liz Biden, who has contrasted the insides with the monolithic appearance of the exterior by using interesting fabrics and splashes of colour. She said of the project, “We have really had to think carefully about the use of space, reinventing the classic formula for a hotel suite to showcase the magnificent views through the five metre tall glass windows.”
The luxury hotel also has a penthouse, rooftop swimming pool and restaurant and spa facilities. It will sit atop a new art museum which will have the structure of the silos exposed internally, allowing visitors to experience the industrial building in a totally different way.
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