It’s difficult to stay ahead of the curve in this fast-paced, ever-changing modern world. Fortunately, Capetonians are known for their unique and creative style, going above and beyond the ordinary to create quirky and wonderful one-of-a-kind luxury designs, concepts and gift ideas. Benn van der Westhuizen found a few unique designer stores that are sure to be setting future trends with their eccentric and distinctive products.
The low-down: AVOOVA is one of South Africa’s newest and fastest growing luxury interiors brands. The company designs, manufactures and markets a range of beautiful home accessories, decorated in a luxurious veneer of the new ivory: ostrich eggshell.
Developing a distinct look that combines eco-friendly natural materials, contemporary Afro-chic designs and quality craftsmanship, AVOOVA began 12 years ago in a small workshop on the edge of a remote Karoo town, and now exports to 15 countries, with four shops in South Africa.
The company’s artisans transform ostrich eggshell into a luxurious mosaic-style decorative finish, renowned for its beauty and functionality. Everything from bespoke tables to bowls and mirrors are lovingly handcrafted by a team of skilled designers, who work the shards of shell into a myriad of textures, colours and patterns.
Committed to keeping its production in the Karoo where it started, AVOOVA sources eggshells from reputable local ostrich breeders, upcycling from hatched or unfertilised eggs; a process that is both sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
Look out for: The Trinket Candle, one of AVOOVA’s best-selling new products, which combines an egg-shaped trinket box and soy wax scented candle. Other recent additions include the new Nama range of side and coffee tables, bespoke bar carts, nesting tables, and bar accessories.
Address: 97 Bree Street, CBD, Cape Town
Operating hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm | Saturday 9am – 1pm | Closed on Sunday
The low-down: At the foot of a majestic mountain in the seaside village of Muizenberg, Sobeit Studio designs and creates pieces of tomorrow, driven by the desire “to make the ordinary obsolete”.
Trading since 2011 and owned by Bartél van Vuuren and Liezle van Vuuren, Sobeit Studio (on the first floor, above the Sobeit Store) is a specialist design and manufacturing studio creating a wide range of lifestyle and décor pieces that draw inspiration from anatomy and all things curious.
With expertise in composites, metals and mould-making, the Sobeit Studio product line includes candles shaped to perfection, hand-painted skulls, hula girl side tables, mirrors, display cabinets, jewellery and more. The studio has also amassed an impressive portfolio of design projects and interiors focusing on bespoke items and innovative product development.
Look out for: A nice bonus when visiting the Sobeit Store is the Origin Coffee served by a professional Barista at the Coffee Bar, providing customers with the much-needed fuel to keep them shopping. And… coming soon… watch out for “Sushi at Sobeit Store”.
Address: 51 Main Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town
Operating hours: Studio Mon to Fri 9am – 5pm | Store Mon to Sun 9am – 5pm (NB open all weekend)
The low-down: Plantify is South Africa’s first online plant shop with a retail space based in Gardens, Cape Town. The business is run by a small team of plant enthusiasts who are striving to make plant ownership more accessible.
Plantify’s mission is to create an exceptional “Plant Experience” for city dwellers, focusing on the needs of people that are living modern, urban lifestyles. They do this by providing convenience, exceptional service, quality and curatorship. They’ve even coined a term for it: An Urban Plantery.
The distinctive service offered by Plantify embraces five key objectives:
– Quality: Each plant is hand-selected. The root health, shape and colour of the plants are monitored.
– Selection: Plantify goes to extraordinary lengths to find the plants that people want, keeping a stock of on-trend Instagram-worthy indoor plants.
– Care Instructions: Detailed electronic care instructions are provided, to give folks the guidance they need to tend to their greenery.
– Convenience: Bespoke packaging and a vetted network of couriers ensures that plants can be sent safely anywhere in South Africa.
– Personal touch: Hand-written cards with a personal message are included every order. Perfect for gifting.
In addition to the wide variety of plants, a carefully curated selection of hand-crafted planters are available to match the tastes of their style conscious clientele. Some of Plantify’s planters include locally designed and crafted ceramics, stylish cotton-cord planters, rustic Mango wood pots, and colourful Ashanti cotton pot covers.
Look out for: Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, Chinese Money Plants, String of Pearls, Calathea varieties, and the large-leafed Elephants’ Ears
Address: 83 Kloof Nek Rd, Gardens, Cape Town (collections only)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm | At the Oranjezicht City Farm Market every Saturday | Closed on Sunday
The low-down: Head On Design creates unique hand-painted Afro-chic animal ‘trophy head’ sculptures and other wall / table decor – all from recycled and natural materials.
From bamboo and printed kudu heads, to freestanding animals in recycled board, each sculpture is carefully designed, hand crafted and then machine cut to get a realistic 3-dimensional form. Head On Design’s products offer style conscious customers modern sculptures for contemporary spaces.
Look out for: A a limited range of hand-painted sculptural animal heads designed in collaboration with artist Sharon Boonzaier of Sharon B Design, who has delicately hand-painted each piece in ink and gold leaf. The pieces are inspired by themes of South Africa’s natural and historical heritage, including the African Jungle, a Baobab Elephant Woodland and the Dutch-Asian Delft depicting the Cape’s indigenous fynbos and wildlife.
Address: Watershed, F58, 17 Dock Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Operating hours: Open daily 10am – 7pm
The low-down: Cape Island is a South African luxury lifestyle brand that offers a range of home and body products inspired by the wild, untamed beauty of the South African landscape.
The company designs textile, décor and fragrance products which are proudly manufactured in Cape Town using high-quality ingredients and – with the exception of their French aromatic oils – materials sourced locally, wherever possible.
Cape Island’s wide selection of luxury lifestyle products – great for gifts or self-indulgent treats – includes scented candles, soaps and lotions, as well as a selection of note cards and wrapping paper. The range is available online, as well as through retail shops, décor boutiques and independent interior designers.
Products from Cape Island differentiate themselves in today’s competitive market by their strong focus on quality. Their candles, for instance, are produced in hand-poured micro-batches, while the soaps and lotions are made from natural plant oils. Cape Island’s signature fragrance, Clifton Beach, is particularly popular both as a candle and as a lotion, capturing in fragrance the relaxed and somewhat exclusive Cape Town beach lifestyle.
Look out for: The reed diffuser being launched later this year, and the brand new Instant Hand Sanitizer, a travel-sized sanitizer spray that kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and fungi, leaving a soft, fresh Constantia Heights scent.
Address: 4 Sunvalley Ave, Constantia, Cape Town
Operating hours: Online store open 24/7