SKEP Architects received the brief from a Stellenbosch family to create a new office space that would provide the headquarters for the family office, from which their various business interests would be run.
THE BUILDING in central Stellenbosch was essentially a white box that provided remarkable ceiling height as well as some significant historical features. The decision was made to keep some of these elements, like the wooden door to the patio and the sash windows that provide abundant natural light. The main offices were placed on the perimeter of the building to maximise this lovely natural light from the large windows. The smaller booth offices were placed internally and we installed skylights to allow the natural light in. Lighting was a central feature of the design, as it was used to highlight the artworks that are focal points throughout the offices.
An initial challenge was the original entrance to the large upstairs office space, which was created by the awkward placement of the staircase at the back of the downstairs property (previously a travel agency). SKEP decided that a more significant placement of the staircase was needed and after further investigation with engineers, the inspired decision was made to cut a large opening right through the first floor slab and build a spectacular staircase to connect the entrance to the main office space upstairs. This was a significant challenge, as all the existing heights had to be kept in place, but the stairs still had to work within these heights while leading to a reception desk as the first point of entry.
The result is a truly remarkable entrance and staircase that provides a wonderful ground floor ‘gallery’ for the family’s art collection. Currently displaying an Obie Oberholzer series, the entrance has become a distinctive feature of the family’s office headquarters.
The interior brief from the client emphasised natural light and numerous focal points for the family’s extensive art collection. A terrazzo-look tile was the natural choice for the general areas, whereas wooden floors were selected for the offices to provide warmth, a softer acoustic and a timeless feel. The client’s classic style of furniture provides a clean aesthetic for modern fabrics, which again combine effortlessly with the art. This timeless atmosphere is underscored by the natural tones of the furniture, while a modern influence is introduced by the upholstery and the colour and texture of the artworks thoughtfully placed in each space.
SKEP ARCHITECTS’ DESIGN VISION
‘Skep’ means to create through artistic or imaginative effort and it’s a well-chosen name for an architecture and design company founded in Stellenbosch by Geraldine Heyns Lotter and Carla Gerber in 2012. SKEP Architects and Interior Design strives to produce creative, honest and environmentally responsible designs that are tailored to specific needs and styles and add value to investments.
“We aren’t bound to any one style, but we enjoy reading our clients’ needs, taking keynote cues from the terrain and using what we have to work with at each site to create a unique solution for each client.”
Committed to design that is modern and relevant to both the brands it works with and the regions it operates in, the company is determined to remain global at the same time. Its team is driven by a passion for creating and delivering innovative design and unprecedented value.