I’m not sure what I was expecting before chatting with Scotty Morris, one of the partners behind It’s a House. The About section on the It’s a House Facebook page reads:
An integrated space which promotes interaction, collaboration and offers comfort in a home type ambience where creativity and imagination can breed with ease.
In essence that is what it is, but I suspect those who are already in the space would agree that it has to be experienced to truly understand what is almost certainly the first initiative of its kind in South Africa.
It’s a House nearly didn’t happen. In February this year, Scotty was expected in Hong Kong for a modelling contract and he was all ready to move. It just so happened, as it does with good ideas, that the nut and bolts of his vision started falling into place and he opted to stay.
While doing some conceptualising for a photo shoot – and enjoying the creative vibe and good coffee – at a friend’s house, Scotty realised that it was a space he’d like to be able to work in daily. Later, when sitting in a local cafe, he noticed that while it was filled with creatives, no-one was really connecting. Scotty imagined a place where these barriers were broken down and where creatives could come together in collaboration – where they could chat, hang out, work and inspire each other. A house (with good coffee), if you will.
The house itself is made up of a central area with a bar and cafe, work spaces, and offices that can be rented on a month-to-month basis, which include free internet and a meal. There’s also a meeting room and music studio.
It’s a House is also an exhibition and retail space. Clothing and accessories by six local designers are available, along with top international brands like Humour and Top Shop. Up and coming artists and designers get to show their work alongside more established names – a wonderful concept because, let’s face it, sometimes it’s not lack of talent but a lack of luck (and perhaps money) that stands between obscurity and being well known.
The restaurant serves simple, flavourful pastas, sandwiches, salads and waffles, but even this small cafe will play an important role. Still in the planning stages, It’s a House is hoping to give Cape Town food producers – think all of those delicious edibles you buy at local markets – the opportunity to operate a pop-up restaurant.
Events will be another feature. Short & Sweet is there in December, but there are plenty of events planned at both the house and outside venues. Events will be more than just a screening or a party, though; the idea is for people to come together to jol, yes, but also to connect and inspire. There may well be mascots involved, as is the case with the Jolasaurus, a 1,8m jolling dino that went from rough sketch to partygoer in less time than you can say, well, jol. And I hear the Jolasaurus may soon have some friends. The word pterodactyl was mentioned.
Chatting with Scotty was a revelation. It’s a House went from being a concept to something tangible, real and very, very exciting. It’s not even officially open and it’s already doing what it set out to do: inspiring others to find their creativity. Scotty shared the story of an acquaintance, a doctor of eight years, who was moved to follow his dream to open a sweet shop and bring gourmet local and imported candy to Capetonians with a sweet tooth! You can bet we’ll be following up and sharing the details.
Scotty and partners Floyd Lavine, Dave Dix and Dean Barnes have created an awesome space – a home for creatives – and Cape Town is all the richer for it.
images supplied by It’s a House