Tamboerskloof Victorian Semi

PHOTOS Jan Ras PRODUCTION Sumien Brink WORDS Lauren Shantall

The owner of a semi-detached Victorian in Cape Town has infused elements of his character and family history into his stylish city pad.

If you could conjure up a suitable portmanteau to describe the home of the authentically stylish Mr Adam Hoets, the dictionary might just sit up and applaud you with flapping pages. For now, I am forced to settle on the very clumsy “glaft” or, even worse, “cramorous” to characterise the interior of his semi-detached Victorian home – both options the awkward and inadequate offspring of a forced marriage between “craft” and “glamorous”.

The glamour of contemporary craft, the allure of a traditional form that has been raised to the level of a fine modern object through tasteful design, is evident throughout his home. And indeed in his own work.

Better known as the owner and creative director of award-winning lighting company willowlamp, Adam Hoets lived a former working life as an architect of eco lodges for Wilderness Safaris before surrendering to his passion for product design. He is a man of many and considerable talents, but credits his respect for craft to the fact that he comes from a line of artisans.

“I have always been surrounded by beautiful craft that is very much about the authentic way in which it is made. My father, Digby Hoets, is a respected potter; in fact, most of my family members are potters. Most of them are steeped in a particular tradition, and my father is influenced by traditional Japanese forms. This kind of sensibility permeated my upbringing. So when I surround myself with objects they have to be of the same authenticity that comes from a traditional background rather than some instantaneous, ready-made sensibility.”

You can see this clearly. Virtually all the kitchen crockery, lovingly displayed on open shelves, were fired in a kiln. Some of these pieces he made himself. A strikingly beautiful shui gang – a traditional Asian water jar – greets visitors at the front door. It was made by Adam’s father, as were most of the other large pots that adorn the interior, exterior and courtyard spaces. There are traditional African and Indian pieces on display that please his sensibility because they arise “from such ancient cultures. There is a palpable authenticity to an object when it arises out of a place that is so ancient and spiritual.”

These smaller and slightly more flamboyant pieces temper the larger items of furniture. For the broader brush strokes, Adam favours “modern, minimal, monumental, bold and strong pieces” – hence the uber-sleek couch and formidable dining room table. Alone, they would be too clinical for him. “The objets d’art that I surround myself with often have a bit of a glamorous quality,” he admits. “If everything were stark, I would find the space intimidating and unfriendly. But I would never go for a glitzy-looking couch. I like the larger backdrops to be open, expansive and clean.”

They create a complementary canvas for Adam’s collection of objects, and also, lest we forget, for his very own willowlamp chandeliers, seductive swathes of metal bead that drip from the ceilings of the dining room, hall and bedroom. These borrow from the traditional pendant form yet have a timelessness that encapsulates Adam’s aesthetic concerns about authenticity and beauty. The hanging lamps add infinitely glamorous depth at the flick of a light switch.

View willowlamp’s beautiful designs at willowlamp.com.