When Norval Foundation opened its lofty doors in April 2018, arts and culture enthusiasts sat up and took notice. Located in the serene Steenberg wetlands, with sweeping views of the vineyards and Table Mountain National Park beyond, the majestic, modern glass-and-metal structure matches the splendour within – offering an intriguing hint at what’s to come.
Founded by the Norval family and designed by DHK Architects, the museum is home not only to world-class, purpose-built galleries, but also a sculpture garden, outdoor amphitheatre, research library, restaurant and bar, shop, and children’s playground, too.
Dedicated to showcasing art with global appeal in an environment that fosters an appreciation for nature, Norval Foundation is a welcome addition to the homely ’burbs, and is another well-deserved feather in Cape Town’s ever-expanding culture cap.
Under the guidance of executive director Elana Brundyn, each exhibition is curated with the utmost care and attention, resulting in unique, contemporary and varied displays. The most prominent The Homestead Art Collection is a leading 20th-century South African collection assembled by the Norval family themselves, and features work by artists such as Deborah Bell, Peter Clarke, Dumile Feni, Trevor Makhoba, Cecil Skotnes, and many, many more.
Bruce Campbell Smith’s Revisions Collection is also worth a browse, not to mention cultural performances in the amphitheatre curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa, Owen Martin, and Portia Malatjie.
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The Skotnes Restaurant & Bar
And, like all world-class galleries, Norval Foundation has a contemporary restaurant attached to it. Named after legendary local artist and teacher Cecil Skotnes, it overlooks mountains, vineyards and the impressive sculpture garden. The bistro-style menu pays homage to traditional South African dishes, but with a modern twist on flavours. Open for lunch and dinner, The Skotnes Restaurant and Bar is a decidedly civilised way to end an exhilarating outing.
The beautiful grounds were landscaped by Keith Kirsten International, and are not only stunning to look at, they’re also environmentally sensitive. By removing all alien and invasive plant species, and replanting indigenous fynbos, the area has been revived – making it a safe home to the endangered western leopard toad. The striking sculpture garden does double duty as an attraction for insects and birds, as well as a place of contemplation and learning.
The foundation is also powered by an array of solar panels, which, together with a grey-water purification system, ensures the museum is doing its bit to reduce its carbon footprint.
A wonderfully welcome addition the southern suburbs!
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