4 reasons you'll fall in love with The Whippet in Melville Harvest Store

The new sister eatery of a popular Linden coffee shop is a design destination of note

08 September 2019 - 00:00 By Mila Crewe-Brown
The lounge is popular with those who want to grab a quick coffee. The table is by Kassa Studio.
The lounge is popular with those who want to grab a quick coffee. The table is by Kassa Studio.
Image: Chene Steyn

When The Whippet opened its doors on the corner of Linden's most prominent intersection, it announced its intentions to integrate with the community and support fresh and local. The face-lifted Linden store was then revealed last year with a more refined interior and a fresh new menu to boot.

Divan Botha, the brand's founder, must be a sucker for punishment, because he followed on immediately with plans for a sister eatery, The Whippet in Melville Harvest Store. The creation of this new restaurant involved the overhaul of Melville Mansions, a 1937 heritage gem.

For the interiors, Botha's mission was to represent the neighbourhood and to celebrate heritage. Something he accomplished with the help of Kassa Studio's sister duo Korine Kruger and Sanet Stegmann.

The siblings have created a sophisticated interior that hones in on art deco and hand-crafted characteristics in a contemporary way, resulting in a look that's artisanal, but not overtly rustic.

Here are a few reasons we think you'll fall in love:

1. HARVEST

The Whippet in Melville identifies itself as a Harvest Store, because the rooftop is home to a small farm that will provide a large amount of the kitchen's fresh ingredients. Hinging off that concept, the hope is that once there is enough food being harvested, the surplus will be sold to the community on a market day.

The Whippet in Melville identifies itself as a Harvest Store, because the rooftop is home to a small farm

The harvest is also celebrated with a visually interactive display in the courtyard, where a water trough and name plaques list the plantings on the roof at that time.

2. THEATRE

Theatre plays a vital part in the success of the restaurant, in its aesthetic and in the way that it gets under your skin. Customers are at once greeted by a contemporary iteration of a food cart styled up with whatever's seasonal at the time, be it spinach or lemons.

This area also forms a base for the maitre d' to welcome guests on Sundays and is intended to pull passers-by into the space.

Further into the restaurant your eyes will rest on a pastry table laden with baked and sticky delights. Above it, an eye-catching floral arrangement is styled with flair and will change with the seasons.

The sculptural klompie brick and marble water trough in the courtyard is intended for washing the harvested veg and is a beautiful ode to the working element of the rooftop farm.

3. CUSTOMISATION

"We wanted as much as possible to be of handmade origin, of good quality and for it not to reflect a mass-produced mentality," explains Stegmann.

Bold vegetal and botanical wallpaper by Cara Saven features repeatedly, linking back to the restaurant's harvest thread. The tiles that decorate the walls throughout the space in various naturally dyed shades from guava to pumpkin feature a knob from which woven baskets hang.

The custom Cara Saven wallpapers were inspired by vintage postcards collected by the interior designers and are a reminder of the store's harvest theme.
The custom Cara Saven wallpapers were inspired by vintage postcards collected by the interior designers and are a reminder of the store's harvest theme.
Image: Chene Steyn

Most of the furniture was designed by the sisters, including the art deco-inspired, round-legged pastry table in solid oak, cafe tables, lighting and the cane barstools which have received glances of adoration from sharp-eyed aesthetes.

Take note of the row of brass reading lamps with their spherical opal bulbs that line the street-facing counter.

The geological tapestry of the Melville Koppies was produced with Karoo Looms.
The geological tapestry of the Melville Koppies was produced with Karoo Looms.
Image: Chene Steyn

4. CELEBRATING MELVILLE

Representing the neighbourhood's unique history and setting was of utmost importance to Divan and partners Braam Heiberg and Suzanne Botha.

With this in mind, Stegmann and Kruger worked closely with Wendy Carstens, chairperson of the Melville Koppies nature reserve, to learn about the floral diversity of the koppies.

Together they sourced clippings of indigenous plants that have been pressed into a seedling screen, forming a delicate partition that divides the main area of the restaurant.

To the rear, a hand-spun mohair tapestry was created by Karoo Looms which maps out, in an abstract manner, the Melville Koppies as seen in an archival geological map that Stegmann and Kruger sourced.

Visit The Whippet in Melville Harvest Store at the corner of 7th street and 3rd Ave, Melville, Johannesburg. See thewhippetcoffee.com


X