A few months ago, Bernice Haman and Ricardo Van Lingen (the creative powerhouse duo and founders of the stylish online magazine “Knyslifestyle”) walked into the vacant Shop 45 at Woodmill Lane and their penchant for tackling creative projects was immediately ignited. The shop's paint-peeled exterior belied what lay beyond the front door - a double volume space which they knew would be the ideal base from which to realise their vision - “We want to inspire creative, successful and authentic living, for ourselves and for those with whom we interact.”
The potential was certainly there but the space required a total revamp and it took Bernice and Ricardo a month of hard work and several sleepless nights before they were able to open the doors to the public. Years of experience in the interior design and décor field clearly gave Bernice the edge when tackling this project because the transformation has been truly remarkable. In early December they opened the doors to the AvoPomme Creative Hub - a bright, airy and aesthetically inspiring creative working space in the heart of Knysna.
Woodmill Lane was built on the old Geo-Parkes mill-site, which is an integral part of Knysna’s timber heritage, and the prominent features of the original structures still form part of the centre. This is essentially what gives these shop spaces so much character. It has a staircase leading up to an open-plan mezzanine level, which is lit up by a series of large, antique timber-framed windows. Exposed beams throughout lends a real industrial ambience to the interior.
AvoPomme is already buzzing with collective local talent. The first floor boasts the Urge Urban Café, which serves up a really decent cuppa joe, as well as freshly squeezed juices alongside a range of deliciously wholesome food fare. Their defining ethos is to tread lightly on the planet while fulfilling their creative mission, so they recycle everything and all the vegetable scraps are used in worm farms and also sent to a local pig farmer. They are busy setting up their retail project called Bananalism (which will also eventually be an online store) and which will sell cool, beautifully made items. They aim to showcase the work of as many local artists as possible.
In the far corner of the ground floor there are the creative work stations of Bellwether leather artisans and Jason Springer, a talented graphic designer. Upstairs there is a tattoo studio along with several creative work stations which have been rented out to local artists, including well known wedding photographer, Jacey Searra. Well known local Hannelie Berry, the organiser of the Local Food and Design Market has also moved her office into their hub (the market has recently relocated to Woodmill Lane.)
For the past 6 months Knyslifestyle has been hosting a wide range of creative workshops at venues across Knysna. Now they will have this one central space in which to do this. Their workshops have proved extremely popular with locals and have included pottery, knitting and creative writing and they are taught by passionate, talented people in each field. “Many people have the urge to constantly learn and grow, and these workshops provide the perfect platform for them to do so”, says Bernice. They have some really interesting workshops lined up for next year, so locals must keep their finger on the pulse for what's in store. Get ready to let your creative juices flow.
For more information visit www.avopomme.com and their Facebook page for current happenings: www.facebook.com/AvoPomme