Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town: The Old Foundry reinterpreted

Posted on 31 August 2021

Written by Ryan Enslin

Ryan Enslin pops into Cape Town to explore the city’s oldest commercial foundry which has been given a contemporary make over, finding inspiration amidst fellow misfits and typewriters mounted to ancient walls.

I love old spaces. Places with history and texture that speak into the city which frames them. Spaces that hark back to another time, a bygone era.

Repurposing such old spaces provides exciting opportunities to redefine the space. Match that with the imperative brought on by COVID-19 to rethink just about everything we know, and exciting opportunities await.

Take for instance Cape Town’s earliest recorded commercial foundry, dating back to 1876, known today as The Old Foundry. How could this space be reinterpreted today? Let me show you what the creatives at the Ideas Cartel have done.

A well-crafted fusion of old-world sophistication and contemporary elegance has resulted in a rather inspiring space, with multiple functions.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

The Old Foundry Hotel

Attention to design detail takes on a whole new meaning in the 24-room Old Foundry Hotel. With an offering ranging from studios to master suites, the hotel caters to all needs in this 140-plus-year-old building. Typewriters mounted to the wall in my room could not have been more suited to this wordsmith, creating a rather inspirational space in which to apply my mind to some outstanding writing.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town


Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

Each room is individually appointed in a unique style which ensures no one’s stay is ever the same. Common areas to continue the theme of contemporary elegance. The Old Foundry Hotel offering continues with an in-house gym, the Cartel Café for breakfasts, or that quick coffee, plus a golf simulator.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

Co-Work Your Heart Out

The Ideas Cartel offers co-working spaces spread throughout the Old Foundry building. Ranging from day-to-day, monthly, and even dedicated desk options, I really enjoyed working in this space. There is something to be said for the texture that this old space emits, which fuels the creative process.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

Misfits Unite

The latest addition to the offering at the Old Foundry building is Misfits by Ideas Cartel. Styled as a restaurant, sports bar, space available for venue hire and members club, the golden thread of contemporary elegance runs in its very veins too. Community events are also hosted in the space in line with their ethos. While I was staying at the Old Foundry Hotel a wine tasting evening took place at Misfits, which led me to some rather interesting new discoveries.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town


Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

Misfits are officially launching their new space this Friday, 3 September 2021. If I’ve learned anything about The Ideas Cartel, it’s that they innovate. The launch event should be spectacular!

A Space Redefined

Sitting back I reflect on what used to take place between these old walls. And what takes place now. Engineers and iron founders may no longer bend metal but I can tell you that sparks still fly in this space. Only now, they are sparks of inspiration emanating from space so well reimagined.

Finding (re)purpose in Cape Town

Pictures: Ryan Enslin

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