January 7, 2021

Establishment Founder Dawid Augustyn Designs His Own Blush-toned Apartment in Cape Town

Inside Clarens, in the duplex apartment of Dawid Augustyn, founder of design company and retailer Establishment, beyond the green canvas armchair by Shane Schneck, the living area opens to a private terrace with a small above-ground pool. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

Happily for Dawid Augustyn, the chance to set up home in Fresnaye, a desirable waterfront suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, happened seamlessly. An interior designer and founder of design company Establishment, Augustyn is also a quantity surveyor, and one of his recent projects in that role was Clarens, a new nine-unit apartment build­ing in Fresnaye developed and designed by KLûK CGDT Property. “I’d been watching its journey from an insider’s perspective from the ground-up,” Augustyn recalls. “Their vision of a community lifestyle, based on a nonstandard approach to the look and feel of the building and interiors, resonated well with me.” He’s referring to the vision of Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriël du Toit, the celebrated African fashion designers who’ve expanded their bold aesthetic for couture under the label KLûK CGDT to entire environments. “We love crossing new frontiers, and property design and development is the natural progression,” Kluk says. “We’re not scared of color or pattern, and we use both of them in contemporary, international ways as we continue our exploration of what is African,” du Toit adds.

Clarens, a new apartment building in Cape Town, South Africa, developed and designed by KLûK CGDT Property, features a concrete facade punctuated by brick screens, all tinted with a custom pigment. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

That attitude is immediately apparent at Clarens. The four-story, low-profile building is contained within concrete and open-bond brick walls that have been pigmented a signature KLûK CGDT pink, one that’s reminiscent of a sunset—and eye candy for the tony neighborhood, where many of its elegant avenues are now fringed with new-build boxy gray blocks that reinforce a generic real-estate trope. “We hope our building will add to the architectural richness of Cape Town, like a gallery or museum,” du Toit says. “I appreciated that, architecturally, Clarens has character, that it was carefully considered and curated,” Augustyn notes. “Plus the interiors have compelling aspects that align with how I like to live, offering a strategic connection to the outdoors and spaces that don’t feel heavy or energy-sapping because they’re open, naturally lit, and charming. Lastly, I bonded big-time with the color palette of the shell.” That palette is unusual yet beautifully muted, thus easy to work with when Augustyn was selecting furnishings, fabrics, and finishes. A feature wall coated in millennial pink is juxtaposed by others in charcoal, stone, caramel, maize, and buff tones. “It’s grounding and cocooning,” he adds.

The ground-up building, which contains nine apartments, was executed by Hours Clear Architects. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

Augustyn’s company, Establishment, now in its 16th year, represents a roster of international design brands, plus produces its own pieces; he also conceives original contemporary furniture, lighting, and accessories under the label DA Design. All of these harmonize with the interiors of Clarens overall, and with Augustyn’s duplex specifically. “How we live now,” he muses, “is very adaptive. We’re a generation of natural nomads, able to detach quickly from nearly any setting. I like that a chair can be around a dining table one day, at your desk or even outside on the terrace the next. Then, you can take these pieces on to your next home and use them in a different way. That’s the modern way to live now.” The furniture in his apartment, a mix of pieces by global and local South African designers, were selected with this exact modus vivendi in mind. He calls it “easy to be around.” 

A Simon Schmitz pendant fixture hangs over the dining area’s marble-topped table by Alain Gilles. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

In fact, beyond the entry to his duplex, which encompasses 1,400 square feet, two bedrooms, and 2 ½ baths, is a generous table that is currently used for dining  but could easily transform to a desk for a home office. Its curved metal legs echo the sculptural motif of the interior architecture, and its black-and-white marble top synchronizes with the gray-and-white slate floor tile inside and on the terrace. Farther in, in the living area, which opens onto said terrace, an armchair riffs on a classic mid-century leather design re-contextualized in green canvas, making it the perfect transitional piece between indoors and out. The open-plan first floor is anchored by a compact yet luxe galley kitchen in one corner and a powder room in another. 

The steel pendant in the stairwell is custom. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

Up the apartment’s stairs, which have stone treads, risers, and landings, are the two bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. For his bedroom, which has views over the terrace and Clarens gardens, Augustyn mindfully appointed it to avoid bulky forms. An open four-poster bed is grand yet airy. One bedside table is highly functional, offering open shelving in varying widths to accommodate whatever he needs close by, while the other is a cleverly combined standing lamp and small table. The guest quarters are more enveloping, thanks to a plush upholstered headboard that partially wraps around the bed. 

In the main bedroom, a Claire Johnson artwork hangs near the four-poster bed. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

Cohesive examples of witty flexibility are numerous in all the rooms, contributing to an emotive comfort that comes with spaces that are well-planned. Artwork figures in substantially, too. Almost all are by South Africans represented by Smith, a Cape Town gallery focused on pieces by artists who disregard convention to produce brave, joyous, and timeless work that values and contributes to the discourse of contemporary art in the region. One such is a 9-foot arched panel by young Cape Town artist Rosie Mudge that, like the Clarens palette, is also reminiscent of a sunset. But this one is by way of Cuba—it’s titled The Way (Havana). Nomadic, indeed. 

A Paper Clip chair by Johannesburg designer Joe Paine joins a Paolo Cappello desk and second Johnson artwork in the main bedroom. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
A black-and-white artwork by Dale Lawrence joins a padded headboard and marble side table in the guest bedroom. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
Its bathroom includes a tub clad in acrylic that mimics granite. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
Sealed slate floor tile, granite countertops, and photography by Cape Town artist Thandiwe Msebenzi define the galley kitchen. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
Rosie Mudge’s glitter glue and automotive paint on canvas backdrops a sofa and cocktail table by Norm Architects. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
The downstairs landing, which is stone, in the living area hosts a marble table lamp by Lars Tornøe. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.
A 3D steel sculpture by South African artist Gaelen Pinnock on the wall of the staircase’s upstairs landing. Photography by Greg Cox/Bureaux. Production by Sven Alberding.

Project Team: Hours Clear Architecture: Architect of Record. Square One Landscape Architects: Landscaping Consultant. De Villiers & Hulme Consulting Engineers: Structural Engineer. R&N Masterbuilders: General Contractor.

Product Sources: WOMAG: Countertop (Kitchen). Siemens: Appliances. FFC: Custom Cabinetry. New Works: Table Lamp (Living Area). Mae Artisan Rugs: Rug. Hay: Green Chair. La Grange Interiors: Tweed Chair. Menu: Sofa, Cocktail Table. Poliform: TV Console. Miniforms: Table (Dining Area), Desk (Main Bedroom). Meuble: Chairs (Dining Area). DCW Éditions: Pendant Fixture. SHF Home: Bed (Main Bedroom). WOUD: Shelf Unit, White Lamp. Joe Paine: Chair. Your Space Bathrooms: Shower Fittings (Bathroom). Cielo: Bed (Bedroom). Tusker Trading: Side Table. Establishment: Lamps, Ceiling Fixtures. Throughout: Bang & Olufsen: Speakers, TV. Belgotex: Carpet. Mazista Tiles: Floor Tile. Plascon: Paint.

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