There is nothing more exciting than getting into the mind of an artist even for a little bit and getting a glimpse of how the world looks through their eyes.
And so I was delighted when SAOTA’s Greg Truen agreed to give me some insight into what makes the architects at SAOTA tick. Anyone who has been to Cape Town would have seen examples of the SAOTA homes in the poshest of Atlandtic seaboard addresses. Nettleton road is a living show room for some of the most extraordinary SAOTA creations in the Cape. With its roots in South Africa, SAOTA now has an international footprint with projects on five continents. Their work extends from residential to Hotels and resorts, commercial and retail, public and cultural. Despite the vast scope of their projects there is a thread that runs through all their design. Their work is informed by a rich tradition of regional modernism and is inspired by architects such as Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil, Luis Barragan in Mexico, The Case Study Houses in California, Paul Rudolphe in the NY and Gawie Fagan in Cape Town.
What is the SAOTA design aesthetic?
“We try to create simple layered spaces that engage with their environments and celebrate human life.”
What role do you see a home fulfilling for its occupants? As in what ingredients create a successful living space?
“People are interested in quality, excellence and an architecture that has a personality and identity. These are universal concepts that are understood by everyone regardless of where they live in the world. We live in buildings for most of our lives, building relationships and families, learning and playing and living. The quality of these buildings has a profound effect on our ability to imagine a better future, to grow and to make a success of what we do with our lives. It’s a key building block for a healthy society.”
You are front runners in your field with properties the world over. What is the secret To your ongoing success ?
“At SAOTA we understand our clients and their aspirations, lifestyles and needs. From this emerges design that connects built space to external space, the landscape and the view; powerful buildings that delight yet are firmly grounded. Our projects exhibit sophisticated use of materials, precise attention to detail and a refined interpretation of contemporary global luxury, which translates into edgy, yet livable buildings that are without artifice and are, essentially, timeless.”
What do you see as the future of architecture ? What will it look like?
“Good design right now is not about trend or style but about a design approach that fully analyses the context of a project and encompasses a design that optimises all aspects of the site, views, climate, brief, budget and lifestyle. There is an approach of using more tactile and natural elements. I really like the current trend to integrate nature into buildings and to make more use of natural light. We want the earth to touch our architecture and this is reflected in the raw elements and finishes being used.”
Its difficult to say too much about these astonishing works of architecture as they essentially speak for themselves. To me they speak of beauty, of power, aspiration and synergy. They look like the dwellings of Masters of the Universe – And often they are.
One of SAOTA’S great architectural inspirations is Oscar Niemeyer who says it so perfectly and its so applicable to the work of SAOTA; “ My Architecture is easy to understand and enjoy, I hope it is also hard to forget.”
For me the interest in architecture and design is how it informs our lives. A building – be it a home or a public space creates a stage on which we act out the dramas and the comedies of our lives. It is an essential component in our story, creating a context and an ambiance that can set the scene for anything from Iron Man to Death of a Salesman. These buildings set the scene for an optomistic and beautiful future.
Remember if you have a beautiful property – be it a home, office, garden, store and would like to offer it as a film or stills location or for short term accommodation or events please get hold of us. We would love to work with you on creating extra value in your property.
All the Best from the girls at Shoot My House – Jeanne, Sharleen and Liz