While views and vines, food and tabletops normally make pictorial headlines out of Cape Town’s environs, a sea change has happened of late as the contemporary art scene gathers pace. Hotels are more and more drawing on local artists and artisans to create a sense of place, and Thomas Heatherwick’s recently opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa has put the icing on the artistic cake.
Perfect timing, then, for Jess Latimer, owner and designer behind the seriously chic Cape View Clifton guesthouse, to launch Latimer Living, an online luxury lifestyle shop that can ship to the UK and Europe (and the rest of world by arrangement), as well as offer a bespoke decor service.
Latimer has honed her own distinctive South African decorative style over the years since opening the hotel in 2012; a style she calls “eclectic colonial”. Endless requests from guests as to where they can buy the tableware, rugs, lighting and more motivated her to launch the website, which showcases ethically sourced products from South Africa, Swaziland and other African countries. They all have one thing in common though: a modern African style with a contemporary yet colonial feel. Some are the result of collaborations between Latimer and the producers, who add a very personalised finish.
The website is easy to use and provides not only care instructions for its goods but also a useful “Mix and Match” corner where items can be grouped together in a lifestyle setting so you can, for example, quickly pair the grey and white marbled ceramic salad bowl (£71.50) with the wood and bone-handle salad servers (£17.78) with ebony ticking detail.
The categories range from small ornaments such as the ceramic South African Nguni cow paperweight (from £25.98), decorative Impala skulls (from £319.76) and basketware, such as small beaded grass boxes (£61.56) and enormously stylish copper and white wire bowls (£108.85), to side tables, like one in ebony and cream bone with a zigzag pattern and brushed-silver base (£387.84). And where would a lifestyle site be without some throw cushions – this features the chunky and rustic, like those with Shibori black and white patterns (£105.70) and the brilliantly vibrant – just look at those in saffron with white embroidery (£139.58).