In our new post-pandemic reality, socialising is norming once again. City streets are abuzz with pedestrians, vendors and businesspeople going about their daily work and Cape Town’s CBD has reclaimed its status as a nexus for meeting, greeting, and eating out.
One of the grim consequences of COVID-19 was the particularly hefty impact on the hospitality and restaurant industries over the last two years, and in order to help rejuvenate the Mother City’s happening hub of Bree Street in the wake of lockdown, a unique parklet has just been launched to welcome curbside patrons.
Located in front of trendy pizza hangout I Love The Dough, the new public-minded parklet is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Design Indaba, Beefeater Gin SA and I Love The Dough. Together, they formed a powerful trio that propelled this space through the necessary city council support.
“Beefeater Gin’s brand purpose is to ‘refresh your love for life in the city’ and we were looking for meaningful ways to help rebuild the hospitality industry while reconnecting with our brand community in their beloved city spaces in the aftermath of the pandemic,” says Marketing Portfolio Head, Grant Hendricks. He adds that the brand has had an ongoing relationship with I Love The Dough who share the brand’s desire to make an impact in their community.
In response to a concept and commission by Design Indaba to be launched on International Gin & Tonic Day, the parklet was designed by former Design Indaba conference speaker, Thomas Chapman, of award-winning architectural firm Local studio.
About the Parklet
The parklet stands out from predecessors by its pioneering use of Cross Laminated timber. Design Indaba specified a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) process, using timber harvested from alien vegetation in support of the city’s mission to clear water-draining plant life from catchment areas. In this instance, the wood was harvested from eucalyptus, which is endemic to south eastern Australia. Removing alien vegetation from the landscape of the Western Cape will help restore billions of litres of water in the years to come.
In addition to its water restorative benefit, cross laminated timber is being heralded as the building material of the future. As a material, the timber begins as a nett negative carbon emitter and acts as a carbon store during the parklet’s lifespan. The construction processes lends itself to off-site assembly with 80% of the build taking place in a factory reducing the need of transportation and disruptions to the local community. Fabrication for the parklet was provided by Cape Town-based company XLAM. The timber gives the finished space a striking appearance whilst embracing sustainability and greening by bringing a moment of civic landscaping and magic to what would otherwise have been bare tarmac.
“It is incredible to see how Thomas and his team have completely transformed an urban pavement into an urban oasis. What was once merely a parking spot is now a testament to the power urban design interventions can have on city improving city life. We’re elated to see our mantra ‘a better world through creativity’ realised in an impactful way. We look forward to seeing people out and about on the streets and enjoying the parklet – after all that’s what it’s for!” says Design Indaba Founder, Ravi Naidoo.
I Love The Dough and Beefeater
“It is amazing to see what the partnership with the world’s most awarded gin, Beefeater, has allowed us to achieve with our unique convivia landmark. What a pleasure to see people sitting outside our parklet and enjoying the warm days and balmy evenings here. Over the summer months the sun sets later and later and it will stay light outside right up until 9pm, which means you can enjoy an extended sundowner session or supper whilst hanging out in the parklet,” says I Love The Dough Director, Marco Picone.
This fresh contribution to the Mother City’s already substantial appeal is not to be underestimated. It is said that cities that welcome and encourage urban life and interaction through community spaces are better cities to live in, offering an improved quality of life for both residents and visitors.
It was in this spirit that Beefeater Gin came on board as partner to the project to mark the significance of International Gin & Tonic Day, a tradition that both partners will continue to celebrate throughout its partnership. It also follows that the parklet makes for a prime spot to sit back, unwind and sip on the World’s Most Awarded gin while enjoying the late spring/early summer season.
People watching, mountain gazing, lazing, taking in a slice or two of pizza, and enjoying the ever-changing vista of street life… what’s not to love?