Modern and Chic City-Living at Tuynhuys Apartment

Merging a minimalist yet modern approach to design, this apartment located at Cape Town's art deco building Tuynhuys is the epitome of city-living.

Greg Cox
Charl Edwards

Tuynhuys | House and Leisure

Working within a contemporary expression of an Art Deco building is quite wonderful,’ says Yaniv Chen of Master Studio. The Cape Town-based interior architecture practice designed the interior of penthouse 801 in Tuynhuys for a client in New York.

The client wanted something unique and contemporary that could still appeal to a wider audience, as the apartment would be rented out on Airbnb for the majority of the time.


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Working in a space that needed to be both general and specific presented a challenge for Master Studio, which would typically design for the particularities and character of the client at hand.

Master Studio’s approach has been to blend nostalgic elements from different periods and styles as a way to appeal to multiple sensibilities of home and comfort.

The armchairs in the lounge, for example, have paired a contemporary form with a traditional houndstooth fabric. ‘We designed these specifically for the space to tie into the strong curves found on the facade,’ says Chen.

Tuynhuys | House and Leisure


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This is a fundamental principle of the design practice; it creates special pieces and works closely with local manufacturers to realise them, rather than importing most of the furniture.

The penthouse interior celebrates the monochromatic palette of the building, layering materials and colour to add depth and richness.

A custom-made blackened-oak dining table keeps company with dark wooden antique dining chairs, designed in 1934 by Austrian architect Josef Hoffman. The introduction of a rich, dark green bestows a calming effect on the internal world of this bustling inner-city apartment.

Like the penthouse, the majority of the apartments in this building have been bought with short-term rental in mind.

Tuynhuys | House and Leisure

Chen looks at this model positively, citing it as a valuable incentive for homeowners to invest in Cape Town in the face of a challenging property climate.

On the other hand, Silke thinks this first wave of temporary living may be fleeting (he has already noticed a young couple, owners of a small studio flat in the building, sharing a bottle of wine on the rooftop balcony on warm summer evenings).


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