Kassa Studio Celebrates Melville’s Heritage at The Whippet in Melville
The new Whippet in Melville is a Wes Anderson-inspired space that looks deeply into Johannesburg’s favourite bohemian suburb for inspiration.
Melville’s current culinary and design renaissance is pretty much indisputable at this point, and so it is fitting that Kassa Studio, designers of the new Whippet in Melville, looked deeply into the suburb’s own heritage, people and indigenous flora for inspiration.
Kassa Studio’s sister duo Korine Krüger and Sanet Stegmann (who are also House and Leisure Next Level alumni) say they ultimately wanted to create a ‘welcoming, wholesome space for the inhabitants (and visitors) of Melville that will become a location for people and produce alike to bloom’.
The new space, which looks a bit like a set in a Wes Anderson film, began to find its design footing after a long walk that the Kassa Studio sisters took through the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve with Melville Koppies Conservation Chairperson Wendy Carstens and conservation guide Tam Scheidegger.
‘We saw the passion, care and energy they invest in protecting the historical nature reserve and the surrounding area of the koppies and realised how much the inhabitants of Melville care. We wanted to reflect the same level of detail and care in our design,’ the sisters say.
The result is a candy-pink wonderland with loads of references to the building’s 1930s heritage, full of local touches inspired by the surrounding neighbourhood.
A hanging tapestry was woven based on the plan of the historical nature reserve, and a botanical wallpaper was custom-made with Cara Saven Wall Design.
The designers also looked to the Art Deco building itself for inspiration for the creation of custom lights and signage to complement the existing structure.
‘The building itself has heritage value and rich layers of culture that informed and inspired our process and approach to the project,’ they say.
One of The Whippet in Melville's most Instagram-worthy moments is its ‘seedling screen’ (pictured above), which divides two halves of the space.
‘While walking the koppies, we collected various flora samples (with permission, of course), to press and preserve and incorporate in a seedling screen that we designed for the cafe,' say Korine and Sanet.
'To further celebrate the craftspeople and creators based in Melville, we reached out to Wessel Snyman (from Wessel Snyman Creative) – a celebrated bespoke frame-maker based in 4th Avenue – to assist with the framing of the pressed elements.’
The botanical theme continues into the colourful and creative menu at The Whippet in Melville, which features unexpected delights such as a breakfast risotto, as well as its signature coffee.
The Whippet team will soon source 80% of both the Linden and Melville stores' fresh produce from a rooftop garden currently in development above the store, and clients will also shortly be able to purchase this fresh produce.
An expanded retail offering from the culinary team at The Whippet in Melville will also include homemade korrelkonfyt (sultana jam), lemon cordial and grapefruit gin salt.
For more about The Whippet in Melville, head to the website or connect with them on Facebook.