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?

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