Few transformations this year are likely to be more radical than turning a defunct industrial grain plant in Cape Town into a five-star hotel. The Silo opened on March 1 after a three-year redevelopment and was masterminded by renowned British architect and designer Thomas Heatherwick. It joins an exclusive collection of acclaimed South African hotels operated by family chain The Royal Portfolio.
Located in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A waterfront, and occupying six floors above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) this September, the hotel is itself something of a cultural artefact, preserving what was once the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa.
Heatherwick’s design is breathtaking. It centres on the former storage annex, comprising six rows of seven silos, each of which has been hollowed out and sculpted to create an extraordinary skyward reaching atrium. His design also features a series of avant-garde pillowed glazing panels, which swell outward between each floor of the former elevator house as though cushioning the hotel, transforming it into a giant glowing harbour-side lantern during the evenings.
The hotel has 28 rooms, ranging from the entry-level ‘Silo Rooms’ at £740 per night, to two Royal Suites (£2,500) and a monolithic top-floor 211m2 one-bedroom Penthouse (£4,600), facing Table Mountain with triple-aspect views over Cape Town. An example of contemporary design at its most thought-provoking and original, The Silo is as much a triumph of architecture as one of this year’s most attention-worthy luxury hotels.