DJ of Ghost Fountain Design tells us about his inspiration and process for the restaurant and tasting room
By: Susan Tissiman
The Spookfontein cellar, restaurant and new tasting room site was always destined for its extraordinary vantage point. “From day one, when Spookfontein vines were newly planted and the restaurant just an idea, the owners had always envisaged it being right here.” says DJ Carr, the architect who lives his everyday dream as resident on the Spookfontein farm itself.
The site itself was chosen not only for unexpectedly breathtaking views across the vineyards, and mountains, but to align with the general farm ethos towards harmony with the land and nature. “This was already a disturbed piece of land, a burrow pit. It was no brainer to use this site, to avoid having to destroy the natural fynbos on any other, non-disturbed area.” Nestled into the hillside, a natural coolness is built into cellar, further aligning with farm owner Mike Davis’ environmentally conscious ethos.
Like a good wine, the design process and evolution from burrow pit to restaurant, cellar and tasting venue happened slowly and organically. “There was no big commercial push, unlike what one can tend to see in the valley now” DJ rather describes the design and construction as a gradual and deliberate journey, allowing him to really take time with the creative process.
Speaking to the curved edges and shapes, and pared back materials of cement, stone, wood and locally-sourced bricks, DJ again highlights the design process as being a continual evolution. Some elements of the design blend into nature even better than envisaged – whereas other elements have been very deliberate and intentional. “Like the pointed corner on the concrete slab above the newly added tasting room. The raised edge points to the Babilonstoring mountain range – paying homage to nature, and gently nudging guests to pause and look at these magnificent mountains.” In numerous ways, the buildings draw clear inspiration from the valley and nature itself.
On the final impact of the beautiful, exposed brick, concrete and glass structure itself, DJ loves the surprise element. “What makes the architecture so spectacular is how it blends into nature and then how unexpected it is to visitors when they drive up to the entrance. You really have to look for the restaurant from the road, you almost miss it.” Guests are then wowed by curved lines and dimensions that speak of artistry and harmony with natural elements. It’s something unique, while remaining completely rustic and welcoming.
Visit our restaurant (Tue – Sun, 12pm – 3:30pm), or tasting room (Mon – Sat , 10am – 4:30pm, Sun – 10am – 15:30) to experience our architecture firsthand.
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