Suncoast Casino delves into art deco inspiration
Durban- The city of Durban has long been considered the art deco capital of South Africa and now it can boast even more of the special 1920s-influenced architectural designs.
This is because one of the city’s iconic art deco-styled buildings - Tsogo Sun’s Suncoast Casino, Hotels and Entertainment on the beachfront - has just unveiled its revamped Salon Prive.
The walls, ceilings, floors, doors, mirrors, the lift interior and even the toilets are decorated in the art deco style and no expense has been spared to capture the fashion of the bygone era, but with a contemporary look.
Modern technology and the unique workmanship turned the vision into a much talked-about venue.
Architect Howard Dembo, co-founder of Prime Architects - which formed a joint venture with interior designers Volume Design for the eight-month contract - explained that art deco was all about being bold, vibrant and over the top.
And as much as it was art deco, the designers tried to bring in an African influence, hence the reception desk at the entrance, for instance, was shaped like a giant African basket, said “PJ” de Kock of Volume Design.
Natural marble had been specified for the work, and brass, stainless steel and antique silver were used as inlays separating varying marbles throughout the floor pattern layouts.
Each area was designed to have its own flavour and flair and also to have its own marble detail. Eventually, contractors used up all the brass in the country. In the classic art deco style, patterns were laid out in rectangular block-like forms in a geometric fashion “while also introducing curved ornamental elements to break them up”, Dembo said.
The intricate floor pattern in the restaurant used 1 400 pieces and took eight days to assemble.
“We tended to push the boundaries as much as possible. Many patterns involved mathematical precision and a keen eye for detail and puzzle work,” Dembo said.
Quantity surveyor Vida Hattingh said: “The ceiling was created by a team of magicians.”
Dembo said: “They are possibly the only specialists in the country - and possibly the world - who could have done this work.”
Two of the team, Brian Oosthuizen and his uncle Chris Dudley, who have combined industry experience of 68years, attended the recent launch of the Salon Prive.
“You are shown a drawing and you have to make it happen. It was quite a challenge; every radius was different. These tricky, fancy jobs can’t be done by a machine. It all has to be done by hand using drill and a jigsaw,” Oosthuizen said.
The showpiece plaster of Paris ceilings feature convex and concave decoration techniques.
“They were designed as exaggerated chandelier pieces in their own right.
“The inspiration was that each ceiling became the light feature, not just a standard ceiling with a separate light fitting hanging from it,” Dembo said.