Archives for the month of: May, 2011

Guto Bussab – co-producer of the film Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema (2008) and current photographic documenter for Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid – is a transplanted Brazilian who can’t imagine living elsewhere than Cape Town.

A graduate of São Paulo’s ESPM (Superior Education of Marketing & Communication Management,) where he studied social communication, this photographer, film producer, artist and gallery owner is also owner of MUTI, a company which produces commercial and feature films, offers photographic services and  all aspects of cultural production.

Here hoolie-hah catchers up with Guto.

CURRENTLY I’M INVOLVED IN … several projects at the same time, ranging from feature film production, to public art projects, to art photograhy and advertising.

I ENJOY … being a contributor to the cultural scene of wherever I am residing.

IT WAS PRETTY COOL … producing the film JERUSALEMA, directing Mandela for a TV commercial and then photographing him for the book “A Prisioner in the Garden” (Penguin). He sent me a signed thank you letter. That made me feel extremely thrilled about the work I was doing and of being accepted here as a foreigner.

I ALSO LOVE … having had an art gallery, Muti Gallery, for over five years where I could showcase a lot of good art.We are currently developing a project gallery called The Rec Room which will showcase one local artist per week and link up with a virtual blog space which will be a platform for both new and and established talent.

DESIGN IS … a physical thing that is (hopefully) embedded with some sort of meaning. I am a minimalist in every sense. I find beauty and emotion in simple, elegant and thought provoking design. So, to me, design to me is how to make life more enjoyable, functional and stimulating.

I LIVE   in Vredehoek in two-bedroomed art deco flat shared with my wife and son. We are quite high up the mountain so we have a view of the harbour and beyond. We can see Lions Head, the city skyline and even the Green Point Stadium and Robben Island. It’s awesome to wake up to that every day.

ON OUR WALLS … We have variety of art by Kim Lieberman, Barend De Wet, Paul Sheley, MJ Lourens, Francois van Reenen, and Inge Prins. We have some of my wife Leigh’s art and some of mine on the walls too. My favourite piece is a painting from our artist friend Alexandra Ross. It was a wedding present.

I WORK…   in Oranjezicht, bordering Verdehoek in a two storey building Art Deco building with a lot of character and filled with art.

It’s incredibly conveniently located,  close to the city, to the Gardens Centre and to where I live.  I think it’s very counterproductive to live far from where you work. I can take my clients to lunch with a choice of many restaurants and coffee shops within wallking distance .

I GET AROUND … on my Vespa mostly (although we do have a family car). I wouldn’t change it for anything. I never have problems parking, I am always on time and I feel incredibly mobile. Not to mention that I spend only about R50 per week on petrol and it’s a million times more fun moving around on a cool scooter than in a car, especially driving around scenic Cape Town.

I CHILL OUT … with an early walk in Camps Bay beach after I drop my son at school and at galleries for openings and on Saturdays, with a stop at Superette and the Neighbourgoods market, followed by the Book Lounge in Roeland Street.

I surf in Muizenberg and Llandudno and chill at the beach in Camps Bay.

We eat out quite a lot, and we’re always on the hunt for the next new restaurant or coffee bar. But my favourite spots are Carne, Eastern Food Bazaar and Tokara in Stellenbosch.

My usual hangouts in Vredehoek are The Portuguese Villa (for hearty ‘porra’ food and beer), Lazari (my second boardroom) and Carlyle’s for a pizza and after work drinks.

DESIGNS AND DESIGNERS I LOVE … Cape Town has an excepional amount of good design. I tend to look out for designs that are innovative and intelligent and with a social upliftment intent. I am very interested in public art, so I ike the works of Porky Hefer (Crate Fan) and Chris Swift who made a life-size replica of Mandela’s cell with disposed fence from Robben Island. Both of them deal with recycling which gives a whole new meaning and life to the materials used.

An upcoming designer I love is Lauren Fowler. She is very graceful and playful and I don’t think she is aware that she epitomises Cape Town in her work.

I find that sometimes Capetonian designers tend to look for inspiration elsewhere but their surroundings. I try my best to represent where I live and not obsess about competing with what’s being done overseas. It’s the same with filmmaking, you can only reach the international market once the film has already cultivated a local audience.

But I think there has been a significant shift in consumption, appreciation and validation of local desingn.

I have been supporting the Cape Town bid for World Design Capital 2014 and have been exposed to incredibly innovative design with a beautiful local flavour.

crate fan image, cherryflava


to the City Bowl Market on Hope on Saturday morning …

I love urban markets – for their sights and smells and tastes and  sounds and the experience of buying fresh produce that is beautifully presented and available to sample. Maputo, Melbourne, Sao Paolo, Paris … my favourite memories are of markets and the feeling of being closer to people when you interact around the food and other products that they produce and sell.

So I’ve been keen to try the newest addition to Cape Town, the City Bowl Market on Hope. But being a rugby mom and having a number of busy Saturdays recently meant that this week was the first time I could pop in. Admittedly it was not much of a visit, a quick dash in after lunch time just to check it out and get some photos as I was desperate not to miss another week without seeing it.

It looks fabulous. Enough to ensure that I shall go back soon – especially for lunch as that West Coast Seafood potjie is calling me. The breads and cheeses, pickles and spices too and I think I will have to go there a few Saturdays to lunch ….

The prices seem pretty fabulous too. And although this was literally just a dash in to check it out, I could not leave without a box full of fruit and vegetables. (Though hint hint stallholders it would be nice to see more paper rather than plastic packaging?)

Yes I’d still like to see a local market at which I can do a weekly shop, with a wider range of cheeses, and the addition of fresh fish and seafood. And perhaps even some cold meets (a regular charcuterie)… but I think we’re getting there.

   The City Bowl Market is at 14 Hope St, Gardens, Cape Town and trades every Saturday between 9am and 2pm.

Friday indulgence … a pick of things cool from the mid century.


Cool, environmentally friendly (fuel consumption the stuff of “sniff of an oil rag”), parts are available and affordable, and none of these cost over R100,000. In fact the Fiat was on sale from a dealer for R50,000. Car fundis out there, how does that compare with the new retro Fiat?



Architect Y Tsai’s design of a container sports centre in Piketberg, about 120 km outside Cape Town,  is set to change the way we look at shipping containers.

Containers as spazas, hair salons, clinics and classrooms are a ubiquitous feature of South African cities.


Globally the edge they offer in cost, sustainability and speed of construction have been attracting the attention of designers. Here they’re still regarded as informal solutions, their makeovers traditionally taking the form of a lick of paint, off-the-shelf windows and doors and some interior insulation.

Tsai was commissioned to design the sports centre by SA shipping company Safmarine as part of their quest to enhance their community projects through design.

Issues of sustainability, including ventilation, maintenance and multi-functionalism were paramount design considerations.

To maximise its use, three elements make up the design. A grandstand provides spectator seating. The  sheltering roof shades the container while an air gap between the roof and the container allows cross ventilation and reduces heat buildup. The roof structure folds down to create a screen that can be used to show movies or be used as an advertising billboard.

The centre is home to the Stars in their Eyes programme which caters for over 100 children from the local Piketberg community who benefit from twinning with a Dutch football club that provides local coaches with football techniques and life skills.


When I first met architect Mokena Makeka just over a year ago he was frantically busy on the Cape Town Station project – parts of which had been fast-tracked for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Head of his own design atelier Makeka Design Laboratory, Mokena’s designs brought South Africa’s second largest railway station into the 21st century, with a modern retail zone and a station forecourt that is rapidly becoming a popular public space.

At the time this thirty-something architect already had an impressive list of public projects to his name.

A community centre in Khayelitsha was one of them. Comprising internal sports courts, offices and gallery space this design needed to examine the role of civic buildings in a post-apartheid South Africa and challenged the conventional wisdom that buildings in poor areas did not warrant substantial investment in quality and capital.

The  center is one of four civic buildings planned to work off a common public square that will create  a new public space for culture, set in a proposed urban park adjacent to it.

The Public Transport Shared Services Centre in Athlone, the headquarters for public transport in the Western Cape, is another of Mokena’s designs. It’s been been in the news recently with the roll out of the new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Cape Town.

The centre  is home to 400 employees, a bus testing facility and customer care services. Responsive to its location, which includes residential and commercial precincts, pedestrian paths and a green corridor, and designed to maximise passive energy, this design is a benchmark for future provincial government projects.

But it is Mokena’s first public project, the redesign of a police station in Retreat with a modest budget, that shows his independent take on public architecture and his view that everyone has a right to good design.

Flouting the dictates of bureaucratic specifications, Mokena wanted to cater to the humanity of those who worked and visited the police station, as well as the neighbourhood in which it is located.  For this project he won the  Cape Institute for Architecture (CIFA) 2007 Award for cutting edge design.

Mokena’s influence on architecture and urbanism in Cape Town is increasing and he is no slouch in the global arena either.

He has been chosen to be part of Ordos 100, an ambitious project to develop 100 houses in Ordos in China, designed by 100 acclaimed architects from 27 different countries.

Mokena also sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Design, is an external examiner at the Columbia University School of architecture and lectures at the University of Cape Town.


Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson  of Thingking‘s  latest designs were featured in a recent hoolie-hah post .

These designer-makers are the creators of beautiful objects like the gorgeously organic Waste PVC Table and the Euco Bench  exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008.

Increasingly they’re finding their element in distilled – though deeply evocative – designs that suggest a closer meshing of their evolving personal philosophies with their work,  as well as their exploration of their roles as designers.


Like the Bracket Light  which they describe as “a lamp that is more like a bracket; not a precious object … one which has to be finished off with a shade and base”.

At the  Design Indaba Expo  this year Thingking sold their bracket lamps for whatever purchasers deemed they were worth.  People got affordable access to design while having to engage around the value they placed on it. You can follow how people have personalised their lamps on Bracket Light Blog.

The intersection between design, application and impact is a recurring theme in conversations with Marc and Lyall.

So it is telling that Lyall shares as his favourite designs at home  the Bracket light that he uses next to his bed, personalised  with bamboo and a photographic negatives, and one of a little blue storage jar with ” comforting proportions …  a really humble object (with) a bright, alive feeling,” he says.

Marc’s favourite design object at his house is another fairly recent Thingking design, the Halo Lamp.

25 crafters bent steel into halos to create individual lamps in an exploration of the relationship between designers and producers and to acknowledge an interdependence which is often ignored.

“We need to recognise the fellowship in the way we work. We are all in this together,” they say.

Marc and Lyall are both graduates of CPUT’s Department of Industrial Design and between them have exhibited locally and abroad including a number of appearances at the Milan Furniture Fair.

Here they answer questions about life and living as designers.


Lyall: a vehicle by which I can lead a good life.

Marc:  a way of exploring the world.


Lyall: is I  ethically finding solutions based on context, stemming from a deep, positive understanding of one’s place in the world.

Marc:   I try to design from a place of understanding and challenging my personal development. Solutions need to be useful, contextual and meaningful. It is not about making things look pretty.


Marc: I have really enjoyed the refurbishment at Velokhaya. Coming up with easy and quick to make, cheap, simple solutions that work well.

Lyall:  “The diamond inside a chair“. My way of thinking changed.

While their office cum studio is in the Woodstock Industrial Centre which they share with artists Faith 47 and Alexia Webster, both have homes in Muizenberg which they love for its sense of community.


Lyall:  I mostly have nothing on the walls although there are these images of sharks jumping out of the water in my bathroom.

Marc: Photos and art by friends (Daya Heller, Greg Lomas, Julia Merett, Mikhael Subotzky, Luke Kaplan, Greg Nicolson), plus lots of drawings and family photos.


Marc: I take the train to work and keep a scooter for getting around at work. I have a car for holidays and getting the family around and two vintage bicylces (one with a child seat, the other an old Royal Mail bike) to ride from Muizies to Kalk Bay on weekends and for missioning around Muizenburg village buying bread from Hassan.  I also have a 1978 XT 500 for the raw power.


Lyall: I  love reading and sitting in bakeries and drinking coffee. I like to swim in dams and walk on the mountain. in central Cape Town I really love Birds Cafe.

Marc:  at C’est la Vie in Kalk Bay for coffee, and Bombay Chilli in Muizenburg is the best curry place in Cape Town.  I miss the Independent Armchair. Nothing comes close to it. I like to go to people’s houses and walk on the mountains.


Marc: when we sell at markets.

Lyall:  are areas of Cape Town that I seldom. The other day I was at Makro
in Ottery . That was very interesting and not what I usually experience.

Don’t you love Sundays? Lazy autumn Sundays when there’s nothing more pressing to do than make a lazy late breakfast followed by a lazy amble round Milnerton Market?

This morning’s grey light did nothing to dim the flash of a 60s Pyrex find at Bruce Tait‘s stall. Remember Bruce Tait’s Kitsch and Collectables at the bottom of Kloof Street? It was a sad day for me when their lease was up. But Bruce still has Antiques on Kloof and he’s a regular trader at the Milnerton Market.



I love the milky glass and colours of vintage Pyrex ware and have found mine at the market, thrift shops and at Vamp in Woodstock. But back to today’s market haul …

Some more wooden handled kitchen utensils to add to my collection. What is it about those colours?


And I do get tempted by some of the colours of the 70s plastic utensils too.

I keep meaning to take piccies at the market and usually have my camera in my bag – but how to manage bag, purchases and a camera? So I got these two pics at another stall to share.

And then some more at home of my other finds today.

How cool is this googie shaped 60s glass platter?

and these three striped glasses?

Contact me at if you’re interested in buying vintage homeware.

‘Removing the greyness from the soul of the city is the job of musicians, artists and poets.’


For young city-dweller Taryn Lewis these words that appear on a graffito in Woodstock by Ricky Lee Gordon speaks to the magic she finds in the street art around Cape Town.

Taryn been documenting the work of local graffiti artists ever since she glimpsed the image of a bird by Senyol on a Kloof Street wall six years ago.

Since then she’s tried to capture the work of local graffiti artists, “Falko, Rasty, Mak 1…,” the names roll off her tongue, “You can recognise their styles  and their messages are quite specific and political.”

This work has made her aware of the affect public art has on people and communities.  “Even more than the images, I’ve come to love the way they add beauty to places and make them better than they were,”

“Take Woodstock, for example, where graffiti can be found on many of the walls of derelict buildings; often when I stop to take pictures, people from the neighbourhood come up to me and ask if I am the artist. Theyíre keen to tell how much they like the work. ”

Faith 47’s depiction of two angels on gates in Woodstock is her favourite work.

images courtesy Taryn Lewis

Public hospitals and gorgeousness are not really normally associated. But when Dole SA asked us to revamp a patients’ lounge at Groote Schuur’s renal oncology unit, CPUT design lecturer Janet van Graan and I squeezed the budget for materials to make some beautiful objects for the enjoyment of long-term patients who use the lounge.

Recovering transplant patients might be confined to the unit for anything up to four months at a time and until this refurbishment, the only space to watch TV and break from the wards was a room that, with the exception of an elderly TV and a row of ugly attached chairs, had become the dumping ground for old fridges and other items needing storage.

At the time we started working on the revamp, a couple of patients and nurses happened to be from the Richtersveld and this inspired the imagery incorporated into a large felt, wool and fabric wall piece in the lounge and the huge ‘kokerboom’ noticeboards which now hold messages, notices and photos in the passage outside the lounge.

We called the collection I MADE IT MYSELF imagining that the tactile, textured and easy to make objects could easily be made by patients with time on their hands and  inspired enough to try .

Materials were either recycled like the lampshade made of plastic bottle tops or relatively easy to find. Janet made the elegant riempie lampshades with knotted leather strips and used cork tiles and painted timber  for the noticeboards.

To screen an ugly internal window while allowing light to filter through to the passage, she mounted  craft fabric on a frame and the legend LOVE LIVE HEAL was cross-stitched on it.

LOVE LIVE HEAL at Groote Schuur’s Renal Oncology unit for Dole SA 2008.

The Velokhaya BMX Oval in Khayelitsha, Cape Town is a project of the Life Cycling Academy (LCA) which promotes cycling as a sport to children in poor communities.

Three years ago shipping company Safmarine converted containers into a clubhouse for the young cyclists (about 100 of them) who are club members.

When the company approached me to refurbish the clubhouse I persuaded them to use local designers Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson of Thingking.

To fit the space constraints of a container building and appeal to young club members, Thingking created a range of funky products including bucket seats, helmet hooks, log benches and magnets specifically for Velokhaya.

While the brief was to improve the interior,  the clubhouse facade needed a major lift.  Sprong and Nicolson solicited the help of volunteer artists aligned to Spanish organisation Boa Mistura who were enjoying a residency with Word of Art. Velokhaya members pitched in to create the mural that now lights up the otherwise bleak landscape.

A clever redesign of a common garden hosepipe that uses minimum water to spray a cooling mist  on the clubhouse veranda has been a winner with hot cyclists and gas braais made of drums on steel legs are extending the community’s use of the outdoor facilities . But it is Thingking’s outdoor seating designs – log benches made from alien gum trees and discarded steel – that are providing the lust factor, while having great  environmental credentials too.

And how cool are these bathroom signs?