When I first moved back to Durban, I was completely out of touch with what was going on culturally and design wise. In my spare time I sought to seek out Durban’s best kept secrets. Many people disregard Durban and have a whole host of “must do’s” when jetting off to Cape Town or Joburg but not much to say for those headed for sunny Durbz other than “Oh, you should head to the beach.”
The beach IS fantastic but as a city working towards creating it’s own design hub we really do have uncovered little gems. So here is one of them : Freedom Cafe which is off Stamford Hill Road in St Marys Avenue.This hang out belongs to Neil Roake who has a love for food and design (and boy does it show). I later discovered that the design was the work of Don Albert and Partners who have received numerous awards for it. Most recently the building is one of the eight SA projects chosen for the Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence this past weekend at The Architecture ZA 2012 .
When you drive up to Freedom Cafe you see a red shipping container, next to a glass box.You’re greeted by a ceramic sausage dog and two bright yellow rocking chairs.Inside there is a mirrored wall with Marge Simpson hair do’s,a quirky selection of food and a roll of XXX mints given when paying the bill.The little details in such a small space make a world of difference; the decision to let you sit on a tree stump,that your cutlery is wrapped in traditional isishweshwe fabric leaves you feeling appreciated. There is an undeniable character in this place;one that boasts such a simple design aesthetic. I really love the careful treatment of inside as a warm,cosy and transparent glass box and the outside as a playground for everyone who visits.
Place Freedom Cafe on the top of your list of must see hangouts if you’re looking for a cup of coffee alongside a big dose of visual inspiration. Click here to have a look at their website and menu. I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experience at Freedom Cafe! See you there.