Ahead of the Curve

WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Sarah de Pina

Tucked in the Onderstepoort veld just outside Pretoria, the stylish but laid-back De Harte puts other event venues to shame.

Who hasn’t had at least one run-in with a bad event venue? Faux-Tuscan trauma, sad finishes, and bathrooms that went out of fashion with VHS tapes are etched into the collective wedding and celebration psyche of many South Africans. But praise be, De Harte is breaking that mould: this complete package of eventing offers 10 rooms, a chapel, a reception area, even a restaurant. And here’s the kicker – they’re all a delight to behold.

They’re the newly completed creation of design duo Llewellyn Steenkamp and Henk Henderson, co-owners of local furniture and homeware brand Dekas & Co. Theirs is a thoughtfully designed environment, where the lines between interior and exterior blur. They’ve paid homage to nature by introducing natural materials, textiles and botanical motifs, but it’s a series of open-area archways that lets the setting connect through windows of playful vantage points and careful moments of concealment. Rooms, verandas and walkways are always in conversation with the property’s established trees and grasses, and the brilliant blue sky. What bride and groom wouldn’t want this as the backdrop to their big day?

De Harte
Whitewashed brick, curves and angles at the reception and eatery entrance are indicative of the venue’s architecture.

“We wanted it to evoke bold design with heart and soul,” says Llewellyn about the project. “Our aesthetic is about combining clean, confident design with the raw, authentic textures of Mother Nature.”

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The architectural work of SCULP Architecture and Design brought the build to life by using linear geometry, rounded corners, curves and bold, black steel detailing that contrasts with the bag-washed brick. The result is contemporary, but with a nod to both mid-century Highveld vernacular architecture and the bucolic setting. And for a touch of luxury, gold finishes are dotted throughout the interiors.

When brainstorming the architectural brief, Llewellyn and Henk’s idea was to create a space just outside of Pretoria that has the feeling of a Cape country escape. We think they’ve taken this a step further – harnessing all the serenity of a farmland getaway, but in a way that celebrates its Gauteng setting beautifully. More like this, please!

For more information on De Harte, visit deharte.co.za.

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