Each year in Cape Town, creatives of all types—architects, chefs, musicians, techies—gather for Design Indaba and its intense program of energizing talks and expo. After a few days, most participants then head back to their homes across the world.
But when Thomas Heatherwick of London’s Heatherwick Studio visited nine years ago, he made lasting connections that have led to the 2014 Indaba’s big reveal: He is leading the team that will renovate Cape Town’s old Grain Silo into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Africa (MOCAA), the largest and most ambitious collection of its kind on the continent. Trained as an architect, Heatherwick is known for an eclectic portfolio of innovative public pieces small and large, as seen here in the slideshow. We sat down with Heatherwick in Cape Town to talk about how he intends to transform an abandoned building that nobody could figure out what to do with into a museum unlike any we’ve seen before.