The strong sense of place visually presented at Cape Grace is very much down to the array of local artists who used their talents to create the unique décor. One ancient skill used to great effect was that of blacksmith, Conrad Hicks who worked iron into organic forms for the lamps at Cape Grace, amongst others.
His creative artistry can be seen all around Cape Town in gates, railings, balustrades, staircases and sculptures in wineries like Tokara, L’Ormarins and South Hill, and public places like the Cape Quarter and on the Fan Walk outside Truth.coffeecult, corner of Somerset and Buitengracht St. These represent the work he has done over many years, but his form of expression has now changed from commissioned work to art sculptures. Old tools and Heath Robinson-style machines crowd his huge workshop and it is the beauty of their form and function that inspires his art.
The skeletal sculptures currently in his forge showroom in the Bijou building, Lower Main Road, Observatory, show the characters of iron as both flexible yet incredibly strong. Hicks uses his intuitive creativity to bend and shape the heated metal to work with it not against it; “You can’t impose your will on steel, you have to be patient,” he says. “It’s something you can never become the master of, there is always room to innovate.”
Each of his innovations bear testament to his handwork and he believes that appreciating each individual for their skills is important to our culture. This was also the ethos behind every aspect of the décor at Cape Grace, and more artists involved in creating the Cape Grace look will be featured soon – look out for these.