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Coffee and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A new global concept store that drives the combination of motorcycles and café society is set to supercharge Cape Town

BMW Motorrad

The rise of the customized motorcycle is the rise of personal freedom. The machine beckons as one of the last bastions of liberty in an over-regulated, demanding world of “always on” connections, CCTV cameras and facial recognition software. The open road pulls; the cellular towers recede, and the supercharged joy of adrenalin follows. The machine itself – defined by choice and formed by a craftsman’s talents – is an object of beauty. The ride, poetry in petrol… You’d be forgiven for thinking this to be the superlative experience. But now add coffee. Aromatic, artisanal coffee with a well-designed roast profile, ground just moments before being brewed into a deep brown with a heady crema… You’re feeling it, right?

This powerful combination of pleasures has seen motorcycles and café culture gain ground as a global lifestyle direction. Countries and places such as Australia, Bali, Los Angeles and Milan boast go-to hotspots for all things bike and barista. The renowned BMW Welt in Munich, for instance, is a prime example of a world leader in this space. With Cape Town being the international hub that it is, this new “biker chic” trend has naturally made itself known, placing the Mother City on a global continuum.
In line with a new worldwide brand direction that centers on lifestyle, versus an earlier focus purely on technology, BMW Motorrad, together with dealership owners Leon Potgieter and Mark Philp of Donford, have pioneered a new destination store in none other than Cape Town. In addition to a full customization service, the new large scale showroom features lifestyle accessories such as clothing, helmets, new and used BMW motorcycles and parts, servicing and workshop facilities – all presented in an immaculate concept interior that has been designed by BMW’s German team. Leon Potgieter and Mark Philp, who already own a BMW Car Dealership in Stellenbosch, are thrilled to be expanding in this way and adding a lifestyle element to the new premises.

BMW Motorrad + Coffee

And to further fulfill that lifestyle promise they have creatively collaborated with local trailblazers Jake Easton, Kate Nero and Bradley Juter of Tribe Coffee Roasting. The new Donford BMW Motorrad is located at 112 Buitengracht St and launched on 26 November 2014. It sports a spectacular, precedent-setting space for BMW Motorrad that occupies the majority of the site and is enhanced by a designer café located on the premises. Tribe conceptualized the cafe in association with interior designer Michelle Trimborn of Design Quarters.

Leon Potgieter is enthusiastic about Tribe as the preferred partner for this venture because “we always look for people with a can-do attitude. Plus, the people at Tribe are creative, and a creative partnership will always take things that one step further. It was also very important to us that whomever shares our space, shares our philosophy of excellent customer service. And on top of that, they make great coffee.”

For Tribe, the venture presents an excellent opportunity to expand upon its existing café and roastery in the Woodstock Foundry, move into the City Bowl and go beyond. “We had been looking to open an iconic space in town for a while,” explains Kate Nero, “when we met Leon. For us, this is a perfect relationship between one the world’s leading motorcycle brands and our rising lifestyle brand.”

In the new space, Tribe’s Jake Easton collaborated creatively with Michelle Trimborn to create an organic industrial aesthetic that retrofits elements of 1950s and 1960s styling. The end result elegantly recalls the biker subculture of that era. This is not a mid-century modern paean, however, but rather a sophisticated contemporary take on the past.

Tribe’s trailblazing coffee will be on offer to supercharge visitors, with the addition of café-style menu crafted by industry darling chef Maureen Muller – a fresh voice on Cape Town’s haute cuisine scene.

The café interior is finished in deep leathers, smoky colours and dark and raw wood to give it a sexy, masculine effect. The use of natural materials, particularly, glass, metal and wood, and the incorporation of hanging plants by Opus Studio, softens the mechanical emphasis that would otherwise predominate on the showroom floor.
Within the café, motorcycle culture is honoured in the form of delicate pendant light fittings that have been ingeniously fashioned from motorcycle engine parts and a glass-topped coffee table supported by two iconic 1200cc Boxer engines. The visual appeal of the café will change constantly through a small but edited display of collectible, vintage motorcycles.

The motorcycles are a nod to the nature of the showroom and reflect the spirit of adventure, which is further given pride of place through a dedicated back section featuring a collection of world maps, route charts and National Geographic magazines that visitors can use to both imagine and plot their trips.
All in all, the new destination promises to ignite the engines of all lovers of adventure – whether they be coffee professionals, ardent bikers, or merely admirers. According to Jake Easton, “we have created a space to transport you into adventure… an adventure you can taste, see and ride…”

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