Sea Point Apartments: The Flamingo

WORDS Lynette Botha PRODUCTION Annemarie Meintjes PHOTOS Dook

The Flamingo looks absolutely nothing like anything else on Sea Point’s Regent Road… but then again, what would you expect from the team who designed it?

Situated in the middle of Fresnaye and the Sea Point Promenade, and wedged between a combination of dated flats, same- same modern apartment blocks and an excess of commercial entities, is The Flamingo. As with all structures designed by architects extraordinaire Robert Silke & Partners, nothing about this building is ordinary. Known for his love of Art Deco, Modernism and PoMo, Robert refers to The Flamingo’s aesthetic as “Bauhaus on heat”. Unlike the uninspired steel-and-glass high-rises infiltrating Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard and CBD, The Flamingo – similar to the architecture studio’s Tuynhuys apartments in the city centre and Anew Hotel in Green Point – is a breath of fresh air, with curved white walls, black accents and a spectacular glass-bricked eight-floor stairwell that makes you want to up your step count rather than take the soundless and speedy lift.

READ MORE: Architecture Round-up: 6 Outstanding Projects by Robert Silke

Commissioned by Signatura, with whom Robert has worked before, the brief was to create something compact and fun. “They came to us because they’re familiar with our work, and they knew we would give them something completely different from what is generally built in this area,” he says. “The development’s main goal was to be able to offer modern, exciting, fully self-catering micro-apartments, predominantly for holiday rentals and the Airbnb market.”

The Flamingo by Robert Silke
The Flamingo’s classic lines are evocative of Tel Aviv Bauhaus and, at the same time, reminiscent of the uniform of a Star Wars Stormtrooper. Architect Robert Silke (centre) and his team also applied appropriate nautical themes throughout, from portholes to gantries, silos and decks.

Each of the building’s 71 units has been smartly designed to be as compact as possible, with clever space-saving solutions and all the essentials required for a fully functioning apartment. Every unit has a sitting area, a kitchen (with glass hob, stove, microwave and fridge), a sleeping area, a bathroom with a shower, and a tiny balcony. With the primary studio apartments (there are a few one-bedroom units too) measuring only 25m2, the word “micro” is not being used lightly. However, thanks to their shrewd design, the spaces do not feel cramped. All front-facing units are cranked at a 45-degree angle to maximise views across Fresnaye and towards Lion’s Head, while the 16 sea-facing ones benefit from views towards the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to framing the vistas, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in each unit allow light to stream in from the balconies, which are staggered and cleverly concealed from neighbouring apartments for complete privacy.

Another notable attribute, inspired by the building’s namesake, is the muted shade of pink that ties all the components together – from walls painted in Plascon’s Grandma’s Pearl to soft furnishings that mimic the colour. The team from Weylandtstudio were commissioned to create all the custom-designed furnishings, working together with the architects to execute their vision for the interiors.

And while The Flamingo’s insides are undoubtedly stellar, its facade is simply something else. “Creating five identical, perfect silos using square bricks and plaster is no easy undertaking, but these cylindrical shapes are a defining feature of the block,” says Robert of the exteriors. “The builders, Alpha Omega, called on Mogamat Jamie, an experienced plasterer, to achieve this – and he did a phenomenal job. The Flamingo is now the pièce de résistance in his legacy of work.”

Standing on the sidewalk taking it all in, you’ll notice that Sea Point’s newest arrival certainly captures the attention of passers-by, almost all of whom are delighted by its futuristic fabulousness. Unfortunately, since all of the units were sold pretty much immediately, a fleeting look from the outside is all you’re likely to get… unless you make a booking on Airbnb.

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