Cape Town on Foot: Castle to Slave Lodge
Art Deco buildings
Stop at this set of traffic lights and turn to look at the block of buildings you just walked past.
On the far left is an art deco styled white building with red and grey trim. This is the Scotts Building, designed by W.H. Grant and completed in 1933. It stands on the site of the former Tivoli Theatre.
Its neighbour to the right is the Wellington Fruit Growers building, which exudes a quaint Victorian charm. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and his associate, Masey. The terracotta facings and ornamentations were produced by the Royal Doulton Company of Lambeth, in collaboration with Burman Tofts of Leeds, and shipped to the Cape.
Today it's home to the Eastern Food Bazaar. If you're hungry, pop in there after the tour and you'll be able to buy huge portions of good quality food at very reasonable prices!
Next door, on the right, is another formidable art deco building, Mutual Heights. Its expansive bronze doors open to a vestibule clad in chromium, white and gold veined onyx and the 15m high gold leaf ceiling. When it was completed in 1939, as the headquarters for Old Mutual Insurance and Financial Services, it was the tallest building in Africa.
The architects, Louw & Louw, in association with F. M. Glennis, enhanced the feeling of height by including long, thin prismoid shaped windows.
If you look up at the cornerstones on each level, you can do a bit of game spotting: heads of lions, baboons and elephants keep watch over the street, so you don’t have to go on safari!
Towards the bottom you will notice a remarkable 118 m long frieze wrapped around the building, unfolding major historical events. It was designed by the South African sculptor, Ivan Mitford-Barberton.
Now, cross over Darling Street and I'll meet you on the opposite street corner next to the Mutual Heights building.