Acclaimed restaurant La Colombe's new look is a tree house-inspired haven
Bone Design, the talented, young interior design duo comprising friends Hayley Turner and Nicola Orpen recently completed the renovation of the La Colombe restaurant on Silvermist Wine Estate in Constantia. The pair, who have worked their magic on establishments as notable as Kauai, Ou Meul Bakkery, Charango and Foxcroft, as well as a host of other residential and commercial projects, is rising to stardom and La Colombe, which reopened a couple of weeks ago, might be their finest project yet.
The award-winning restaurant needed an updated look to match their renowned food, made under the guidance of executive chef James Gaag. Its location, up high among the trees of Silvermist, informed much of the interior designers’ approach. It’s here that the notion of a “refined tree house” came into play. “La Colombe is known for their gourmet food experience, so we didn’t want the environment to compete or overpower. We feel the space allows the food and surroundings to be the feature,” Turner notes.
Because Bone Design overhauled the interior, redesigned the kitchen, pushed out the front boundary and lifted the roof to bring a sense of spaciousness, La Colombe appears lighter, fresher and more sophisticated. Thanks to the generous use of oak flooring laid in a herringbone pattern, travertine tiles and lashings of fresh white paint, the space breathes light and little distracts from the exceptional canopy views.
Spatially, they’ve worked wonders with the old floor plan, incorporating the balcony into the interior, with a glazed wall that maximises space, and moving the bar to the back to give diners the best views.
“The site for La Colombe sits amongst the trees and so, to highlight this, we wanted to mirror that view on the back wall, but in a more stylised manner than with generic wallpapers,” Orpen explains. In order to capture this, artist Lucie de Moyencourt meandered among the trees and sought the inspiration that allowed her to portray an authentic sense of natural wonder in her artwork, which has been converted into wallpaper. Here, jade green is used in a leafy and loose hand-drawn representation of a gum-tree forest. This luscious shade appears again in the heavy velvet curtains which soften the interior. Elsewhere, the palette is neutral, calm and clean, including glints of brass that come into play in the contemporary lighting and finishes.
For Turner and Orpen, working alongside local artisans is paramount to a successful project, hence their collaboration with De Moyencourt on the custom wallpaper. “Celebrating local artisans in our designs is both a cultural responsibility and a creative necessity. The most successful projects are always the ones born from collaboration and luckily South Africa has creative talent in abundance,” Turner says.
They also commissioned Cape Town artist Lameck Tayengwa to carve the flock of doves which appears among the ceiling beams, bringing home the translation of the restaurant’s French name: the dove. “Lameck often sits at Heartworks in Gardens Shopping Centre and carves his beautiful wooden animals, providing a visual feast of his intricate detailing and skill. We just knew he would be perfect to provide the doves to the space,” explains Orpen.
Overall, the aesthetic is chic, contemporary and organic - everything a celebrated restaurant should be. “We hope it brings a sense of calm and sophistication and that it complements the incredibly intricate and dynamic food experience,” Turner says.
LOOK A selection of delicious dishes that can be enjoyed: