The Silo
Thomas Heatherwick and Liz Biden

Category: Small Hotel (fewer than 100 rooms)
Location: Cape Town

Part of the redevelopment of a 1924 grain storage facility on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the Silo is the creation of British architect Thomas Heatherwick and interior designer and hotelier Liz Biden. The hotel’s 28 rooms occupy the former elevator house, a concrete grid whose voids Heatherwick filled with faceted glass windows that billow out like geodesic domes, affording views of the harbor and Table Mountain. Biden’s goal for the interiors was to soften and brighten the building’s industrial nature, and the result is an eclectic mix of design references: crystal chandeliers handmade in Egypt, tufted leather sofas, Eames-style plywood chairs, a Queen Anne desk, and other furniture upholstered in ice blue, mustard yellow, magenta, and tangerine. The property sits above the just-opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, and Biden filled it with works, including some site-specific commissions by South African artists. The STA jurors were drawn to the contrast of Biden’s and Heatherwick’s designs. “No one has seen this before,” said Dana Cowin. “In a way, the interior design doesn’t really work with the architecture—which is what makes it thrilling,” adds Murray Moss. “You can see them both, and appreciate them both.”

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