A fusion of art, design, architecture
Put a Sabi Sands private lodge in the hands of two architects and a style maven and you get a remarkable merging of art and design that results in the ultimate modern safari destination.
Owner Japie van Niekerk and ARRCC interior design studio combined their considerable talents to conjure Cheetah Plains into being. The architecture and interiors speak volumes. Consider for a moment the conceptual eye and the artistic confidence that was called on to push the boundaries and arrive at this product.
The project was the reimagining of an existing – and perhaps somewhat pedestrian – bush lodge, which was essentially Japie’s private home. He called on fellow architect and close friend, Stefan Antoni and his team at ARRCC interior design studio to lead the redesign. Given its remote location in a protected area, Japie’s initial concern was that the architecture and design should complement the surroundings, not overshadow the location. “I had nothing to worry about as the design team exceeded my expectations in meeting the brief.”
The resulting imaginative, honest architecture is balanced by restful interiors that invite the outside in. With a muted indoor palette warmed by natural elements, the interiors are enhanced by handpicked decor pieces by local artisans, as well as works by recognised artists. Each Plains House is not unlike a contemporary gallery space designed to offer an interpretive journey through some of Africa’s most celebrated artistic talent.
“I have essentially searched for and selected unique pieces by acclaimed masters and these are often thoughtfully placed alongside ascendant talent,” says Japie. Artists include Lionel Smit, Arend Eloff, Emilio Eftychis, Conor Mccreedy, Loyiso Mkhize, Greatjoy Ndlovu and Gail Catlin curated within an eco-luxe safari space for the sophisticated palate.
Set in a privileged wildlife area, Cheetah Plains aims to be the definitive luxury sustainable safari experience. Each house essentially takes the same form comprising two parts: the shared space and the accommodation. The shared spaces pull each house together with expansive living rooms, sun deck, lap pool, loggia, wine gallery and dining room. Japie’s vision was to provide guests with the perfect layout and design elements for exclusive family and group travel. “This is how I personally love to vacation with my family and friends; feeling part of the magnificent surroundings, making memories of a lifetime with loved ones and also enjoying the benefit of privacy.”
Arend Eloff is a sculptor originally from the Lowveld whose soul interest are the relationships between humans and nature and the evolution of the human spirit. arendeloff.com
Conor Mccreedy’s work is derived from four essential themes: a singular focus on one colour; inspiration from the heroes of Abstract Expressionism; a long fascination with Chaos Theory; and a sincere reverence for nature. He is South African and based abroad. conormccreedy.com
Gert Potgieter is a South African sculptor working in welded metal. He uses a technique he refers to as metal modeling that involves building up sculpture with small pieces- and blobs of metal welded together around an armature.
Galia Gluckman produces large-scale multi-faceted artworks in her medium of choice: pigment ink on cotton paper and collage. www.galiagluckman.com
Gail Catlin is the first, and possibly the only artist to use liquid crystal as the principal medium in her art. www.gailcatlin.com
Loyiso Mkhize is one of South Africa’s best-known graphic novel and comic book illustrators. He turns to painting as an avenue for his personal, political and social commentary.
Greatjoy Ndlovu is a visual artist, who mainly uses abstract realism and gets inspiration from socio-economic influences and tackles issues www.greatjoyart.co.za
Martin Dollar is a Cape Town based industrial designer specializing in product, furniture and contemporary bespoke lighting design.