Neil Roake
Neil Roake
Image: Simon Deiner

The multi-accomplished Neil Roake is something of a food, design and retail legend in South Africa. And the man behind The Space concept store, countless restaurants and award-winning cookbooks is doing it again.

Roake’s Cape Town design space NOW SHOWING opened with the Dark Side theme for winter. With the sun high in the sky, the theme has changed to the Light Side and there’s a whole new selection of fashion, gifts and collectibles – an exciting new retail concept that we’re sure the holiday crowds are going to love.

The NOW SHOWING complex on 109 Waterkant Street in the ever-bustling De Waterkant quarter sits on two levels, with downstairs housing The Space’s concept clothing store teeming with an eclectic mix of young and established designers. These include popular local fashion names Colleen Eitzen, Amanda Laird-Cherry and Leigh Schubert, as well as Laird-Cherry’s recent brand ALC and Cape Town menswear brand Zeitgeist.

The upstairs department is where Roake allows his inexhaustibly creative mind to go wild. Where The Dark Side once lived, the space has been renamed to herald the arrival of summer to The Light Side and along with the name change came a total reimagining of the space.

The charcoal black walls have been livened up to a vivid coral pink and the dark nuances of lust, potions, leather and sensual perversions have been turned over for bright summer accessories such as caps by HEMPorium, sunnies by Izipizi, Shearer Candles and candy-coloured beauty cosmetics and hair products by evo.

The homeware range is an assortment of household favourites such as resort wear by Luanne Toms, botanical prints by Clinton Friedman, locally produced stationery from Party bunch & Co to pottery from Jade Snell.

The ease and eclectic nature of the treasures belies their truly artisanal and artistic pedigree. This is not where you come to collect random tchotchkes but, rather, to acquire small gems for your home or a well thought out gift for someone with a penchant for design.

The Light Side cafe is open from 7am and will be serving various breakfast bruschettas on sourdough with FD coffee and pressed juices. During my visit, Roake was head bopping away to the addictive Littlegig 2017 playlist to give you an idea of the quality tunes and vibe. Starting at noon – the lunchtime service is the main affair – Roake will be plating a four-course vegan tasting menu that comes paired with a Provence-style glass of Rosalie rosé.

Much like an art exhibition, the The Light Side installation will not be around for long and, come January, there will be a totally new transformation. This upstairs section, will continue to mirror Roake’s moods, inspirations and sensualities, and will be matched to the passing seasons.

The Light Side is enjoying an enthusiastic response from the creative troupe and there’s serious anticipation for what the 1st of February will bring? A little birdie hinted at an Afro-centric collaboration between Roake and renowned colour-crazy Durban artist Derrick Nxumalo – so watch this Space.

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