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May 6, 2019 | Design, Featured

Modern interiors designed with flexible formats for multiple user types are on the rise. Cape Town’s newest rooftop space fills a niche for those needing a breakaway destination

Content provided by partner Business Day HOMEFRONT magazine

WORDS: KIM MAXWELL | PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Located 16 floors above Bree Street and the downtown businesses in Cape Town’s CBD, 180 Lounger offers a versatile business model. It hosts individuals who travel for work or leisure in two hour stretches, attracts locals for sunset drinks and can be booked for private parties or corporate events.

An awesome urban view with city sounds is the drawcard: visitors stepping out on the rooftop of The Terraces building can take in a 180˚ visual sweep of Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront and the Bo-Kaap below Signal Hill.

French owner Christian Halm based his leisure concept on the idea of “expanding your peripheral vision during your downtime”. The numeral eight in the branding is relevant, representing an hourglass in a world where “an unforgettable experience can maximise an individual’s time”.

Halm worked in the airline industry for 17 years, travelling frequently to global destinations. While visiting Cape Town for business, a frustrating travel delay got him thinking. “I had finished my meetings. Then my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for very late in the afternoon,” he says. “I wanted to work. So I came up with this idea: a place where you could chill in the city.”

Launched in September 2018, 180 Lounger is slowly building traction in three flexible formats:

180 Rooftop Venue

The space can be hired for private parties or by corporate clients and offers city and Table Mountain views, 16 floors up. “We host exclusive corporate events, business forums, product launches and private functions in this space,” says Halm.

180 Rooftop Chill

Between 5pm to 8pm every Thursday (not only on monthly First Thursdays Cape Town social evenings), a cash bar attracts locals for drinks while the traffic eases.

180 Lounger

Capitalising on Halm’s initial idea as a frequent flyer, an upmarket lounge is aimed at local and international business and leisure travellers with a few hours to kill in the Mother City after a hotel checkout or business meeting, or after an early morning arrival, before their hotel room is ready.

The facility has no membership system. For access control, two-hour slots are booked online only at R590 per adult and R245 per supervised child. The rate includes snacks and limited wines, beers and soft drinks. The lounge operates daily from 8am to 6pm, although guests who have booked in have the option to extend their visit or request a checkout at 10pm.

Halm describes 180 Lounger as an improved airport Slow Lounge-type offering in the city. “It is important to feel like a VIP even if you are not one. The Slow Lounge airport concept was supposed to be quite exclusive but nowadays it often isn’t,” he says. “We’re offering a better environment and a different experience to staying in your hotel lobby to work. We’re saying, if you check out at 11am and have a late-night departure, what can you do with your time?”

DÉCOR

The lounge is shaped in a 180˚ arc, with pale blue, grey and white hues on interior walls, and décor and lighting accents in charcoal and copper. Existing curved continuous glass panels surround the lounge rooftop space to dramatic effect, meeting Halm’s specs to maximise the scenery from the outset.

Stylish armchairs are scattered indoors but one of the high-backed cocoon chairs would be my pick for appreciating the views from inside while slouching into a more restful state. Uncapped Wi-Fi allows guests to work or relax. The rooftop’s outdoor space also offers comfortable circular day beds.

“I wanted to offer a new type of traveller experience. If you come to 180 Lounger, you are in the city without being in the city,” says Halm. “The feeling is of being free; you can re-energise and freshen up, then enjoy a beautiful view.”

180lounger.com

MULTI-USE FLEXIBILITY: THE LATEST TRENDS

Multi-use spaces are driven by the need for flexibility, developments in technology and connectivity, and the trend of experience driven offerings.

Furniture: modular designs that can be configured in different ways lend themselves to a variety of applications.

Airports: a sharper focus on retail and dining, with more comfortable spaces where travellers can relax or work. Wi-Fi connectivity while shopping, working or dining is key for travellers. Green wellness spaces are proliferating. For example, Heathrow Terminal 3 has a glazed façade for more natural light, indoor trees and a small park.

Hotels: a move towards creating welcoming, flexible spaces and reinventing the hotel lobby as an area where guests can catch up on e-mails, have meetings or grab a coffee by day, and that can be transformed into a function space in the evening.

Retail: a more considered approach to outdoor spaces serving multiple functions at shopping centres — somewhere a concert can be staged or where shoppers can take a fresh-air break. Child-friendly amenities with play areas are located near seating at dining outlets. Interior landscaping and water-feature elements are becoming more popular around the world.

Business lounges: adopting the “resimercial” trend, these areas serve multiple functions but feel like living rooms, with an emphasis on comfort, beautiful furniture and design, drawing on the location for inspiration. May include a gin or champagne bar.

Source: Emma Luyt, MD of Tétris SA

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