In the heart of Cape Town’s bustling CBD, the property at 118 St George’s mall is not one building, but a consolidation of two. A “Cape Edwardian” building, estimated to have been completed in the early 1940s, stands on the corner of St Georges Mall and Longmarket Street, and is flanked by an Art Deco counterpart which was designed by the architectural firm Walgate & Elsworth, who designed the Table Mountain Cableway stations, for the offices of the United Building Society and completed c1938. While the characteristic external elements of the existing buildings have remained unchanged, like the Edwardian teak windows, the Art Deco granite façade and the noteworthy bronze portal doors framing the entrance, the interiors were sadly destroyed in the decades of reuse and reinvention of the space.
Now destined to become a contemporary boutique hotel, the first design concept was to strip the decaying interiors and expose the layers of historical structure below – once the crumbling concrete beams and remnant lift shafts were revealed, it was clear that the building’s history should be preserved and showcased in the design.
The brief resolved into 32 rooms (ranging from studios to 2-bedroom suites) across 4 floors, with the first floor set aside as a conference/meeting space and the sixth-floor a bar and restaurant that spills onto the roof terrace of the corner building.
The rooms combine elements of the original concrete and steel structure and historic windows with contemporary design that showcases the immense talent of a range of local artists and designers while still keeping elements of classical grandeur.
The most exciting challenge was the design for the roof terrace. The lower portion of the original Broseley clay tiled roof was refurbished and a steel pergola structure clad with sun-control glass extends the original roofing profile, appearing as solid and almost invisible during the day transforming into a transparent structure at night. The remaining salvageable tiles have been used as a wall cladding feature on the sun deck. A new pool was constructed inside the original corner tower, a unique feature of the hotel, being both a view point and a landmark at the same time.
In reinstating the urban presence of the building as a public venue, the Gorgeous George hopes to be more than just a hotel but a living room for the neighbourhood which houses the best of Cape Town’s old and new.
Material Used :
1. Douglas Jones – Mosaic Floor Tiles – Penny Round Tiles
2. Eco Flooring – Timber Flooring – Classic Chevron Collection
3. Meir – Sanware – Meir Black collection
4. Geberit – Plumbing –mixed collections
5. St Gobain – Dryealling & gypsum products – mixed collections
6. Dormakaba – Ironmongery – mixed collections
7. Wolkberg Casting Studios – Lobby Tiles – Scallop Tiles
8. Renwick Studio – Wall Tile Cladding – Subway Collection
9. Moooi – Carpets – Delft Collection & custom design
10. Lumen8 – switching – Qbic Range
11. David Brits – Wall Murals – Snake Design
12. Gregor Jenkins – Furniture pieces – mixed collections
13. Lucie De Moyencourt – Cape Town Tile Mural