2 pop-up design stores with staying power

Present Space and Fabricate started as pop-up design emporiums in Cape Town malls, and soon became permanent fixtures – proving that quality local design can hold its own amongst commercial brands.

Cape Town is not short of high-end shopping malls, but with the vibrant design community growing from strength to strength and a host of new designers emerging each year, good quality, local design is becoming more and more accessible.

This was one of the core values set out by Cape Town as World Design Capital 2014: to make good design that’s proudly South African readily available to everyone.  Present Space and Fabricate are doing just that. Both started out as pop-up stores, but have retained their presence and become permanent fixtures at the respective malls they’re located in.

Present Space, at the Lifestyle on Kloof centre in Kloof Street, is beautifully curated with warm, golden lighting washing the shelves packed with locally-designed products. The mainly monochrome aesthetic consists of homeware and lifestyle goods, such as Sugar & Vice and Zana, lighting by The Artisan and ceramics by Elsa Burger, as well as some jewellery and fashion accessory designers. Present Space pride themselves on representing close to 100 young South African design brands and are passionate about the abundance of local talent in Cape Town.

Likewise, Fabricate in the Gardens Centre, Cape Town’s oldest shopping mall, is a champion of local design, and markets itself as a gift emporium. Their range of products extends across the design disciplines of jewellery, home décor, accessories and other gifting goods. Look out for intricate prints and artworks by Lauren Fowler, Dayfeels and Artymiss, amongst others, as well as bespoke paper products by Chandler House. Their home décor and accessories side include wood items by Milkshed and The Ark, and cork and copper accessories by Leg Studios.

Both of these local design emporiums stock a vast range of products and you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re looking gifts or accessories that capture the vibrancy and talent of Cape Town’s design scene here.

Artisan distilleries introduce locally made gin to Cape Town

With gin bars popping up across Cape Town it’s no surprise that artisan gin distilleries have arrived hot on the heels of the craft beer movement. Here’s where to taste ‘mother’s ruin’ in the Mother City (as Cape Town is called by locals).

Worldwide, the demand for premium gin is booming and Cape Town distilleries have been quick to hop on the mixology bandwagon with a range of artisan handcrafted gins.

Although Inverroche is distilled on the southern Cape coast a three-hour drive from the city, you’ll find this fragrant gin at top-notch bars across the city. Infused with indigenous fynbos it’s a true taste of the Cape.

Closer to home, the Inception gin from The Woodstock Gin Company is also getting attention from gin lovers and mixologists.

While the focus is often on small-batch producers, one of the most interesting gins to appear on bar counters this year has come from the drinks giant KWV.

First distilled from pure grape spirits, Cruxland gin is then distilled a second time in a copper pot still allowing the bespoke blend of aromatic botanicals to infuse with the spirit.

Those botanicals include the typical gin notes of juniper berries, aniseed, cardamom, almonds and lemon, with the addition of honey bush tea and rooibos for a touch of local flavour. It also includes one very special ingredient: Kalahari truffles.

These rare truffles grow in the arid Northern Cape province, forming after the first rains have fallen. As they grow a crack appears in the dry earth, a hint as to where they can be dug out. Hence the name, Cruxland.

It’s a smooth gin best suited to sipping, not mixing, with classic juniper notes that mellow into a lingering spicy sweetness.