Located on a high-level road in the small beachfront community of Llandudno near Cape Town in South Africa, Project La Belle Vue commands spectacular views of both the mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. The project is a creative collaboration between interior design group OKHA and Bomax Architects. The coastal concrete retreat with integrated natural features has undergone an extensive refit, translating a modern African design narrative into an interior design vocabulary.
“The decor used within the interiors subtly articulates the African heritage of the client.” — OKHA
Open Onto the Vastness
Guests are welcomed to the home through a three dimensional, sculpted and carved front door. Extending the space into the hall, while maximizing the amount of light, the front door boasts inspiration from traditional African motifs. The direction of the entrance orientates one towards the balcony terrace, to immediately experience the expansive view of the Llandudno mountains.
Visible and accessible from every corner of the house, the open plan project unzips across dining area, living room, entertainment space and master bedroom to the exterior on both levels, all of which having a strong open connection to terraces or balconies at the front or back now breathes in the sea air and invites in natural light.
An array of bespoke furniture pieces inspired by African tribal geometrics combined with ceramics and sculptures by local South African artisans adorn the ground floor, as featured by etched raw oak, vintage leather, satin brass that create a timeless elegance, as well as a giant boulder that seamlessly merges the outside in.
Inside the formal lounge area on the ground floor, a polished copper mirror, an oak and carrara marble side table and natural oak armchair work well with the minimal, monochrome color scheme weaving through different supports. This not only allows natural light to enhance the interior design and stucco walls, but also masterfully exudes modernist simplicity. “The color palette of the furniture and decor is kept neutral to accentuate the modern luxury feel of the house and allowing each piece to be distinctive,” states OKHA.
As one moves upstairs to the upper level which possesses the audio-visual home cinema system, a mix of vibrant African earth-inspired tones, geometry and curves are found throughout to add to a distinctly retro feel. As such, it is in this way that the project recreates a vibrant, dynamic connection between the minimalist aesthetic and African luxury, hence resulting in nothing short of dazzling.
Moving through to the master bedroom, you can see the oak bed accompanied by the rug and ottoman together boasts the simple and effortless chic while also functioning as a foil to allow the surrounding view of the ocean and mountains to stand out.
In Conversation With BOMAX & OKHA
Can you tell us more about the owners?
OKHA: Acha Leke is an international economist from Cameroon, based in Johannesburg and was looking for a Cape Town beach house. Given the modern African design narrative that Acha wanted to express throughout the interior, Adam Court knew OKHA would be creating unique, custom pieces for the project.
“This is always a great bonus of any interior and something that challenges me and brings great personal satisfaction. The custom front door design is a perfect example of this. Acha has a great energy and sense of excitement which is infectious, plus he’s a bold decision maker, a client possessing such traits can only be a positive and is a clear indicator that the project is going to be rewarding and inspiring.” – Adam Court, OKHA designer and creative director
What was the site like before the project started? Were there any points of note?
BOMAX Architects: Initially not finding what he was looking Acha went to BOMAX Architects who advised him that an existing house that was for sale could effectively be remodeled to achieve a contemporary modern open plan beach house. Acha is outgoing and dynamic, BOMAX immediately knew that there was scope for reflecting his personality in the design. This was to be his holiday home, but it required major remodelling if success was to be achieved. The project was practically a rebuild except for the existing concrete superstructure which BOMAX retained for its geological stability.
What are the most interesting parts of the project?
OKHA: We create interiors that take time to absorb and assimilate, they are full of subtle but important details that one becomes aware of over a period of time. They are generally understated, quietly nuanced and balanced spaces but that also possess the unexpected, moments of provocation, idiosyncratic characteristics. My manifesto is that each element in an interior should be able to hold its own in isolation and should earn its right to be present as part of the collective, yet not overwhelm. I enjoy calm, balance and the occasional intentional upset. Aside, from my personal style, the success of a project is the seamless translation and fusion of the clients brief, personality and practical requirements with my own aesthetic.
Were there any major difficulties in executing this project?
BOMAX Architects: We took about 10 months to get the project designed, approved and tendered. The build took a further 18 months, much longer than expected, largely due to the extensive rock excavation required for the garage and other difficulties associated with altering the existing structure. Our final occupation deadline date from the client was his birthday party with over 200 international guests so we had no choice but to be ready!
In what ways have OKHA translated the indoor/outdoor living theme to the interior design?
OKHA: The coastal location of the property has a strong impact on the interior, the materials used and the color palette.
BOMAX Architects: The forms of the building respond to site orientation and the buildings appear to be well grounded. We always take care to keep materials natural and harmonious with the site. So, on the case of this beach house we went for matte natural materials that reflect the beach colors of sand, driftwood and granite.
Which part of the house do you love the most?
OKHA: I enjoy both the ground floor formal lounge and the first-floor entertainment lounge, they are radically different spaces for different moods and uses. They are complete Yin and Yang; residing in either space is based completely on one’s mood and being, they offer completely different energies.