VISI: Vive la France: Swan Café
In a world with more than its fair share of sombrely stylish café interiors – all charcoal fabrics and masculine dark wood finishes – it’s a breath of fresh air to find a light-hearted, uplifting, feminine spot to pick up a coffee. That’s exactly what Cape Town’s Swan Café offers. This Parisian-style crêperie in the East City Precinct is the brainchild of one-time French international model and sought-after style consultant Jessica Rushmere, who wanted to bring a touch of her nostalgia for Paris chic and sense of fun to the Cape Town café scene.
“We tried to create a space that celebrates Jessica’s personality,” says Haldane Martin, who worked with her on the interior. She’d used swan iconography before, so they picked up on it as a theme, not just in the large prints on the walls featuring mythological scenes but also in the design details. Birdcages become light fittings and mushroom tiles covering the front counter start to resemble feathers.
The blue-and-white colour scheme of the traditional crêperie is given a contemporary spin. “We used traditional bistro table bases, but we powder-coated them a bold blue,” says Haldane. He also referenced classic Parisian marble tabletops, but they’re contrasted with others in timber.
“We designed some chairs and bar stools based on a traditional bistro chair, but in a contemporary way,” he adds. A bespoke shelving system also gives the fixtures a distinctive character. Tiling – another definitive feature of French Café design – has been harnessed and reinterpreted, with custom-made hexagons bearing the swan motif sprinkled on the screed floor at the entrance. There’s even a nook for serious meetings, marked by its pinstriped denim upholstery with a playful wink to the businessman’s uniform. The result proves you can indeed have fun and indulge in bright colours and feminine touches, and still be stylish and sexy while enjoying coffee and crêpes.
Published in VISI Magazine, August 2018 | View PDF