Plascon colours refresh Cape Town City Hall for art biennale

This year Plascon continues to support the arts through various corporate social investment projects and donations. One such project is the restoration of the Cape Town City Hall for the Africa Centre’s Spier Contemporary 2010 art biennale, which opens on 14 March 2010.

Johannesburg-based architect, Nabeel Essa, has been appointed to convert the Edwardian décor of the City Hall into an edgy, contemporary art space. With colour, Essa transformed the faded backdrop of the unused City Hall into a bold art space that distinguishes itself from the traditional white cubed space.

Patrick Seager, CSI and PR manager at Plascon serves on the board of the Western Cape chapter of Visual Arts Network South Africa (VANSA) and has a passion for supporting the arts. “I realised that an art space needs a paint canvas as a backdrop. By supporting the Spier Contemporary 2010 Art Exhibition and Competition, and the Cape Town City Hall, we at Plascon not only encouraged a platform for artists but also assisted with the restoration of a grand old building that is a major part of our historical heritage,” says Seager.

Plascon sponsored all the paint for the project and even mixed a Pantone colour for the signature Spier Contemporary orange. The donation from Plascon ensured the restoration of the two floors on the Parade Side of the City Hall for the two-month long exhibition of 101 artists from across South Africa.

The use of paint was extensive and amongst the products used to restore the building built in 1908, were; Plascon RemovALL to strip glue off the floor, Plascon Professional Low Sheen Pure Acrylic paint for the walls and ceilings of the exhibition area and related corridors, and Plascon Velvaglo for the skirtings.

“The challenge was to try and make this grand Edwardian building engaging to the ambience of art,” says Nabeel Essa from architectural firm o24-7 office twentyfourseven. The rooms have large volumes and elaborate detail and Essa wanted to maintain the layer of this spatial experience. The walls and ornamentation were painted one colour whilst the floors and ceilings were left to highlight the age of the building.

The central hall walls were painted a warm grey brown (Plascon Underground O1-E1-1) to match the elaborate timberwork and to create a harmonious capsule in a singular tone as a backdrop to performance art.

In the other rooms a series of specially mixed greys were used to create a rich neutrality, whilst the skirtings were also painted grey to further exaggerate the height of the tall rooms. The architectural detail were flattened to one dark base colour thereby energising the space as a backdrop for the artworks, performances and audiences.

“The concept of the energy of the city acting inside the building is further conveyed through two vividly coloured rooms,” says Essa. Plascon Indo Grotto B2-B1-1 is used for a vibrant turquoise room that offsets well against the gold of a particular artwork and Plascon Ginger Biscuit O1-C1-1 is used for the orange room that allows for punctuation amidst the grey rooms. New dry wall insertions were minimal and painted to be read as part of the exhibition infrastructure and shades of warm grey were specially mixed to achieve this effect.

“We are proud to have played an integral part in creating an exciting space to showcase contemporary South African art and hope all visitors have a wonderful experience in this visually pleasing space,” says Seager.

For more information, contact the Plascon Advisory Service on 0860 20 40 60 or visit