When the Bouma family wanted to reinvent the existing restaurant on their wine farm Anura, they enlisted the help of Creative Director Aidan Hart of Inhouse Brand Architects and his wife Brenda Hart of 89 Interior Design to bring their vision to life. What was previously a more formal and traditional restaurant, Wagon Trail Brewery, has been transformed into a directional and contemporary destination that houses a new 500litre microbrewery.
In addition to the brewery and brewer’s laboratory in full view of visitors, an on-site deli is near to completion and will make Anura’s own wines and cheeses available alongside a selection of fine cuts of meat from 12 Pigs charcuterie. The brewery itself features a variety of lagers and ales brewed by Lance Bouma.
“I always wanted to try brewing beer and after seeing the craft beer equipment at a show overseas, I took the plunge and ordered it,” he explains.
“There was a lot of brainstorming about where to put the brewery and how to sell the beer,” he continues. “We then had the idea of closing our original restaurant, and starting afresh – with the brewery, wines, cheeses and charcuterie being the focal point of the restaurant. We wanted something fresh and relaxed rather than the old white tablecloth-type restaurant we had been operating in the past. We also wanted to showcase all the products produced at Anura. That’s when we approached Aidan, after seeing some of his other work in Cape Town. And after we briefed him on the new project, a few months later, here we are!”
For Aidan Hart this productive working relationship with the Bouma family is one of “mutual admiration”. “It is an unusual project,” he says, “because Lance and his father were heavily involved in the actual building process. They built and installed much of the interior by hand.”
Hart explains how the family went and chose the iroko wood panels for the extraordinary timber feature walls that are a standout feature of the interior, and that all the steelwork was done on the farm. “Their passion for quality is clear,” he states.
Inhouse’s input was strategic and directional: the firm supplied concept and design drawings and coordinated certain elements of the interior, while the Bouma family handled aspects of the build. 89 Interior Design then assisted with decor finishes and details on the project.
The Interior of Wagon Trail Brewery
Inhouse’s design methodology was to split the space into separate areas in order to create a greater sense of intimacy. This was done by raising the floor levels and creating two stepped platforms. Hart allowed a warm “organic-industrial” aesthetic to govern the execution. The resulting interior is honest and reveals the day-to-day operations of the brewery, yet this is softened by the use of timber throughout and generous doses of creative flair.
The beer kegs and stills that are part of the beer making process were allowed to remain on display, while laser-cut screens partially obscure the storage area for bottles. A large screen made of out of stacked bottles exudes a soft amber glow thanks to hidden LEDs. Similarly, the bar area is lit by a series of hanging Wagon Trail bottles that have been transformed into pendant light fittings.
Earthy, elemental touches and natural materials have been emphasized. Granite stone slabs form the bar countertop and a beautiful, generous fireplace marks the entrance. The lounge area that overlooks the brewery will also double as a stage for live music.
To the right of the brewery, a new deli is underway and set to open shortly, and the big cellar doors spill out onto a deck area overlooking a dam. It’s a near-perfect spot to witness the beer-making process and then unwind with the end product itself; a beer that was brewed on the very site of the old route used by oxen to transport fresh produce from Franschhoek to the trading post at Cape Town Harbour in 1819 – hence the fitting name Wagon Trail… Make tracks!
Call Wagon Trail on +27 21 875 5360 or visit www.anura.co.za.
For more info on Inhouse, visit www.inhouse.ws