CODE_Coffee Power Station

The making of a modern market – our makeover of the V&A Food Market

When CODE was commissioned by the V&A Food Market to oversee the creative rejuvenation of the space, our approach was to embrace the aesthetic of what the venue was back in the day – the old Cape Town Power Station – and to simply add new light and modern touches.

Much of the original steel work, like the gantries, I-beams and pulley systems, were retained from the old building. We created new steel structures for the central ground-floor vendors, designed the Coffee Power Station, The Trading Co. Deli and the Wicked Waffles stand.

A key focus of the brief was to open up the space and increase the visual depth and to allow more light in. We opted for a multi-tiered approach to this. Firstly, the branding on the individual stands were taken up to fixed panels at the top of the structures, nudging visitors to look up for wayfinding. A customised steel mesh was included in the structures as a division between the various vendors. With the mesh the view is not obstructed, which means you can see straight through, inviting patrons into the whole market as you can now easily see the variety on offer.

We opted for a mild steel that’s been clear-matt epoxy coated, which allowed for the authenticity of the metal to be retained. Upon close inspection remnants of the metal manufacturing process can still be seen, adding to the authenticity of one’s experience with the material.

Lighting is always key to creating the right atmosphere in a space. We installed elegant spotlights into the top of the steel structure, which worked as both minimal and concealed lighting and an effective way to illuminate chosen aspects of each stand, such as the counter or overhead branding or menus.

Ensuring that all the stands in the space maintained their uniqueness, while housed in the same sleek structures, was an interesting design challenge and one that we embraced wholeheartedly. It’s an approach that we continuously strive for in our ongoing work with the V&A Food Market.