city, design, houses, Spaces

this fresnay apartment is three levels of open plan perfection

Micky Hoyle
The words interesting, achingly cool and unexpectedly chic come to mind when considering Daniel Brown’s compact abode. The one-bedroomed bachelor pad in Fresnaye is designed over three levels and completely open plan. It’s as uncontrived as it’s owner, and you can just tell that the interior choices and combinations are reflections of someone who knows the value of good design and it’s overarching mantra of ‘less is more’. The fact that Daniel’s good friend and business partner, architect Chris van Niekerk, transformed the home into the ultimate bachelor pad is probably why it’s such a well executed job of self-preservation for Daniel. The two co-founded Africandy, the South African online design portal, so when it comes to the designphiles in each of them, well, they just get each other. The brief for this apartment was relatively open-ended with the kitchen and other joinery being the major changes. So how do you maximise space while at the same time turning it into a luxurious bachelor pad? Well, first things first, the space issue – it’s within an apartment block that’s protected by heritage and it’s on the ground floor. So the only option was to build, well, down. The apartment is situated on the downward slope of a street in a listed Art Deco building. Suspended timber floors were the norm back then and this resulted in a huge void or basement level under the floorboards, which we decided to use. This meant stripping out the timber floor and removing about half a metre of dry rubble underground. A new floor slab was cast and a great deal of volume was obtained, which allowed for the dynamic spatial resolution of the new space. The next step was to add a functional yet creative means of zoning throughout the apartment, all the while keeping it somewhat open-plan. The main apparatus used for this clever separation of space was a central metal platform. It’s the heart of this home and it’s where all zones lead off from and where much of the joinery pivots around. The materials used throughout were kept in as natural a state as possible – from the exposed concrete beams in the ceiling to the metal structure whose age is showing gracefully, to the matt slate floor tiles and timber kitchen cladding. The artwork is the perfect foil to the industrial envelope of the space and reads like the A-list of South African contemporary art – Zander Blom, Wim Botha and Anton Kannemeyer, to name a few.