RADAR has moved into new premises in Cape Town, in the process constructing a space that is a dedication to creativity. The standalone heritage building has undergone a complete facelift – inside and out – and houses, among and around the team’s desks and studio space, a collection of mid-century furniture and contemporary art that had been amassed over the years.
The building at 21 Rose Street in the Bo Kaap is one that comes with years of stories and a strong significance and heritage. An early Dutch building (the first record of it is in 1817) it started life as a wooden clog factory, named (not surprisingly) the Clog Factory. It then became a button factory, and from then on was used and lived in by a variety of creative people.
“The building has a history and patina that we love,” explains Jason Ray from RADAR. “When we bought her, it was an art gallery, and then I lived in her for six month. It was an uncomfortable six months, but I got to know and love every corner of her. When we took over the building she was rather tired. We have tried not to alter her original character, but we have breathed some new life into her.”
The building houses the considerable collection of mid-century furniture and art (mainly typography based and contemporary South African) that Ray and his team have assembled over the 10 years that the business has been in operation.
“The space allows us to showcase our love of art and design. We don’t have a style – we are madly eclectic. We surround ourselves with things that we lobe. Things that tell stories. That’s what RADAR is about – a love of design and story telling, with everything being a creative commentary. We think it is important that we create an inspirational space – modern, contemporary, but not expected,” continues Ray.
The collection spreads over three floors, each slightly different, yet still recognisably of the same.
“The ground floor, which contains the reception, boardroom and shared workspace, houses work from Black Koki, Christo Basson, Zander Blom and Andresj Urbanski. Their contemplative portraits and abstract work, reflect a sense of where ideas are borne and abstract concepts become tangible,” explains Ray.
The first floor, which houses the traffic and finance teams, is a salon with light hearted, emotive works, including works by Khaya Witbooi , Wesley van Eeden and Cameron Platter. A Boeta Phyff wooden sculpture in the form of ‘3D graffiti’ creates a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined.
The top floor houses the creative team studio, and presents the use of text and typeface as a visual language. It includes a work by Neill Wright who draws inspiration from the media, society and politics, and a series of 13 intaglio prints by AM I COLLECTIVE studio. These illustrative and text works have been created by 13 illustrators who took inspiration from the stereotypical and unlucky events in South Africa and use irony to interpret the tales of misfortune.
The top floor also houses the in-house exhibition space. This is dedicated as an exhibition area/gallery for the team to showcase their own personal creative work in a light and informal manner, whether it be doodles or a highly crafted work.
What is noticeable is that the creative spaces are not just dedicated to “creatives’ though.
“We think that it’s important that our finance people sit in the same kind of creative space as our studio. At RADAR we don’t have a back office. We are a collection of creative individuals,” continued Ray.
“After having been unhappy renters for ten year, having a home for RADAR is so important. It helps expresses what we are about. We are not the typical agency. We don’t think like them. We don’t aspire to be them. So our building needs to reflect that. Its imperfect and real and quirky and personal and something that we think that will make you think. Like the work we do – intensely personal,” he finishes.
For more information about RADAR, log onto www.radar.co.za
• The interiors at the RADAR building at 21 Rose Street were designed by J-P de la Chaumette.
• The photographs of the interiors were taken by Micky Hoyle.
• The art and furniture were collected by Jason Ray over the past ten (and more) years.