Empowering Through Creativity: This Cape Town Hotel Supports Children in Art Through the Lalela Project - Lifestyle Asia

The initiative provides education through arts to hundreds of its local children.

The Heatherwick Studio-designed Silo Hotel in Cape Town sits above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Africa (MOCAA) and supports the Lalela Project, an initiative to provide education through arts to hundreds of its local children. The museum is the largest museum of contemporary African art globally.

MOCAA attracts art enthusiasts, like those who visit Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, and Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Liz Biden, the founder, and designer of the properties of Silo Hotel’s parent company, The RoyalPortfolio, curated the varied collection of art complementing its interiors. “I have always included wonderful art at each of The Royal Portfolio properties. Art brings a space to life; it creates warmth and tells stories,” Biden explains on The Royal Portfolio’s website.

“Decorating this property has welcomed new challenges,” Biden continues. “It is very different from the rest of The Royal Portfolio.”

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“But moreover, art takes you on a journey which evolves as we evolve. Our guests love to enjoy the art collection at our properties. The Silo will take that art experience to a whole new level with a focus on contemporary African art.”

Every corner

The South-African native has selected art from acclaimed artists such as Cyrus Kabiru, Mahau Modisakeng, and Nandipha Mntambo. Several works are found throughout the Silo Hotel. Haldane Martin’s contemporary chandelier is suspended from the double-volume ceilings in the lobby.

On the walls, you’ll notice Modisakeng’s print Ditaola series and the commission pieces titled “Must be the Rain” and “So Exotic and Blue Velvet” and “Hooded Lady I, II & III’ by Jody Paulsen and Frances Goodman, respectively. There are curated selections, even near the elevator areas (a piece by Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai) and on top desks (an original mask by Cyrus Kabiru). The mask is titled Mbili Uso Macho Nne, Damien Hirst, part of Cyrus’ “C-Stunner series.”

“Art takes you on a journey which evolves as we evolve. Our guests love to enjoy the art collection at our properties. The Silo will take that art experience to a whole new level with a focus on contemporary African art.”

It’s created from debris and discarded pieces of technology that the artist reimagined and reworked. Of course, other areas of the hotel, such as its Willaston Bar and the Granary Café, have works to look out for. These include pieces by Pierre Carl Vermeulen, Georgina Gratrix,and Kudzinai Chiurai.

Making an impact

“Decorating this property has welcomed new challenges,” Biden continues. “It is very different from the rest of The Royal Portfolio. Space for one is restricted by the two core elevator shafts running through the building and the cubic geometry of each floor. Wall space is limited by the remarkable windows.”

The Vault is The Silo Hotel’s small and exclusive art gallery which aims to showcase both established and up and coming African artists. 

Apart from renowned art, Silo Hotel’s furniture was almost exclusively crafted for the space. Biden would utilize fabrics and materials she found interesting, and Cape Town’s Moorgas & Sons would handcraft the furniture pieces.

To help impact and empower young artists, the hotel supports the Lalela Project. The initiative,founded in 2001, provides education through arts to hundreds of local children from age six to the end of their high school years. The Lalela Project works in 11 communities throughout South Africa, Northern Uganda, and the South Bronx.

Images from @thesilohotel_ on Instagram.

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