Design Finds

From Africa’s biggest and most highly anticipated art museum opening to new hotels that add the ‘lust’ to wanderlust, not to mention exciting cultural gentrification projects – it’s an exciting design world to live in right now. These are the stories that caught our eye this week.

Thomas Heatherwick has created South Africa’s biggest art museum – in the hollows of a historic grain silo building

Described by British designer Thomas Heatherwick as ‘the world’s tubiest building’, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, or Zeitz MOCAA, is set to become the world’s most important exhibition space for African art. It is located inside a grain silo built on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront in the 1920s; once the city’s tallest building. Heatherwick’s team have carved huge sections out of the building’s tubular interior to create a complex network of 80 gallery spaces.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Roman and Williams’s Robin Standefer open Goop’s first interactive shopping experience

This month, Gwyneth Paltrow and choice designers, Roman and Williams have made her Goop brand’s vision – to open a permanent store – a reality with the opening of Goop Lab in Los Angeles’ Brentwood Country Mart. The actress and businesswoman has worked with Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch on a number of projects, including the designs of the Goop pop-up in New York City and her own New York City apartment. Goop Lab offers visitors a homey feel instead of a straightforward retail experience – complete with a living room that customers are welcome to lounge in, an apothecary for trying on products, a greenhouse and a porch.

A historic theatre in Baltimore has been restored in the midst of the city’s reinvention

The downtown area of Baltimore, is in the midst of a major reinvention, becoming a lively hub of arts, design, cuisine, and cultural activity. This renaissance just took a big step forward with the opening — re-opening, in fact — of the Parkway theater, a massive 1915 cinema.

Built at the beginning of the Golden Age of cinema, the 1 100-seat theatre, designed in elaborate Italianate style, was, for decades, a thriving hub of Baltimore’s cultural landscape. But as movie-viewing practices changed, and as Baltimore’s downtown area went through a downturn, Parkway became quiet, eventually shuttering its doors in 1978 in foreclosure. Then, under ownership by the city of Baltimore, the empty building deteriorated.

Now, Maryland Film Festival (MdFF) has acquired the theatre and three adjacent buildings, hiring Baltimore architecture firm Ziger/Snead to restore the historic theatre and to design a modern addition. Spatially reconstituted, the facility now includes the restored theatre with 400 seats, along with two smaller 85-seat theatres, and a café and bar.

Onyado Chikurintei Inn in Japan blends nature and architecture in its Mifuneyama garden

The serene Onyado Chikurintei Inn is set within the lush Mifuneyama Rakuen garden in the historic Japanese prefecture of Saga. Surrounded by dense wild forest, 500 000 square metres of landscaped gardens, and rare cherry blossom trees in the spring time, the ryokan — or Japanese-style hotel — features 11 elegant, exquisitely-designed guest rooms, each bearing a unique presence and personality. The traditional architecture of the building, combined with newly renovated guest rooms, seeks to seamlessly integrate Onyado Chikurintei with the tranquil natural environment that surrounds it.

Marcel Wanders designs the newest property from Iberostar in Mallorca

In the midst of Europe’s glorious summer, Iberostar hotel and resort group has launched a new property, this time on sun-kissed Mallorca. A short 11km drive from Palma with convenient access to the nearby Puerto Portals marina, the 66-room hotel is the work of design and colour genius Marcel Wanders. Given what looks like carte blanche, the Dutch designer has swathed the hotel with what he describes as ‘symbols and constant allusions to life’. This translates to all-white bedrooms lined with futuristic moulded wall panels, a forest of white arches, bulbous tree-like installations in public spaces, rugs of radiating shades of warm oranges, and an eye-catching pool lined with enormous white mosaic flowers.