Untitled Document

604 - 47 on Strand, Strand Street, Cape Town.



The creative dialogue between east and west is as old as the trade routes.  Strong links and comparisons can be drawn between the development of modern architecture and the traditional pavilions of Asia and Japanese styles.  I have formulated the concept and idea of the studio gallery, home and salon Privé restaurant, based on the minimalist approach of some of the Asian countries, especially Japan that I find alluring in its simplicity.  The lifestyle concept must be easy, relaxed, crisp, cool and smart, in harmony with the elements of air, earth, wood, fire, and water.  Asian and Japanese pavilions evolved organically reflecting practical needs, social aspirations and religious beliefs.  Modern architecture shares a fascination for the timeless vernacular of these traditional dwellings.  Incorporating both worlds, I will be creating a concept that holds the basic character and personality of the standards and precepts of my thinking that is true to my creative aspirations and spirit.

Today my true aesthetics incorporates the best of uncluttered living and technology with a softer modernism, to satisfy my sensual needs through the inclusion of natural elements and organic forms.  I want to create a tactile harmonious living and working environment, reinforcing my connection with nature and adding softness to harder, unyielding surfaces.   Warm sandstone, marble and smooth wood surfaces like beech wood set against glass, paper, bronze and pastel shades of cloth, offset with dramatic colours as a contrast.

Where did my true ideology of living stem from?  I have always been fascinated by the history of the Japanese culture and its evolvement, especially on how the Japanese period of Wabi emerged.  The spirit of unostentatious refinement evolved as a reaction against the opulence and extravagance of the Momuyama culture at the end of the 16th century.  In rejecting the gift and glory of decoration of this period of Japanese history, the spirit of Wabi, meaning “quiet taste” or “sobriety”, which I aspire to, looking for beauty in plain materials, that resonate with purity and truth, unified by an appreciation of uniquely beautiful natural materials and horticulture, a restrained decorative style, a less is more attitude of minimalism emerged.  Using the basis of the Wabi ideology I would like to create the studio gallery/salon privé restaurant/home concept as an essential haven of peace, a private sanctuary of creativity and harmony away from the chaos and hectic pace of the outside world.

I have included a personal interpretation of my true aspirations in the design of a pavilion to reflect the marriage of five diverse elements of air, earth, wood, fire and water that I consider relevant.  I have now succeeded in creating a distillation that is the essence of a natural and harmonious style that fits into my personality, character and spirituality for the future of my creative life.

Air is omnipresent and vital, when clean and pure it is life enriching.  At times still, or in violent motion, suffused with light or pitch black, filled with sound or not quite silent, air is an unpredictable element.  While the weather is synonymous with air, so are light and space.  They are the black canvas, which forms the basis of any successful interior.  The interpretation of light and space in Asian or Japanese style can provide valuable ideas in interior decoration.  It can be limiting to think of space literally as emptiness.  A room that is satisfying to look at, and relaxing to be in, reflects a considered balance between positive and negative space.  In Japanese Noh Drama, a drumbeat followed by silence is distinctive and unique, the sound and the silence are opposite but equal.  The silence is not just an empty space; it is the space that gives shape to the whole.

A tangible connection with nature is a defining aspect of Japanese and Asian living, with the division of inside and outside space less clear in the West.  Light is by far the most important element, without it there is no visible perception of space.  Contrasted light and shade create complexity and depth, defining space and form, and bringing texture and variation to interior space.  No space architecturally is space unless it has natural light.

The element earth is the opposite of elusive air.  It possesses tangible qualities; it is tactile, sensual, imbued with colour, even smell.  Earth is organic and alive, a source of nutrition for crops and plants.  It is changeable, cool, rigid and hard, or warm, malleable and soft.  Earth materials such as clay and stone become more beautiful and alive with age, made characterful by the passing of time and onslaught of the elements.

While early man lived in harmony with the earth, our modern society is now removed from it.   It is only in the garden that one has a harmonious connection with the living area, where man rediscovers his natural roots, satisfying a primal need to be connected with nature.

The reason why I gravitate to the traditional Japanese garden is because it is an exercise in wildness and control.  The master gardener uses the scale, proportion and balance of carefully placed plants and trees, moss, rocks and water to create an impression of distant vistas in the limited space of the combination of a formal garden and home.  Colour is also controlled, allowing the leaf shape, scale and shades of green to provide textural interest.

Often only red flowers are included, as red is the complementary colour to green.  Pathways lead through bamboo groves or indigenous trees, winding through carpets of moss, and past thickets of trees.  The walker is given tantalizing glimpses of what lives beyond.  The views deliberately obscured until a point where the vista opens up, allowing the walker to see for the first time the perfect view the gardener has planned.

While most of us have no choice but to exist in an urban environment, I still have the desire to feel close to nature.  By surrounding myself with earth materials in my home and garden, I come a little closer to satisfying this innate desire within me of being in harmony and at one with nature and the universe. 


Wood to me is the living natural element; it is versatile, organic and diverse.  In it’s natural state wood symbolizes growth.  When I was a young boy in Kenya I always remembered the teachings of the Masai headman who lived with his nomadic tribe in their Manyatta.  At one of my many visits to the Manyatta the headman pointed out to me the fever tree.  He said and I quote “see that tree, and the many branches full of leaves swaying in the morning breeze, you must grow tall and strong like the branches, and always keep your mind and thinking open as the leaves of the tree, for when the leaves fall, new ones will take it’s place, so it is with the mind as seasons come and go, renew your thoughts to new ideas, like the leaves that sprout in the new season.  Most important of all, under the ground which you do not see are the roots that keep the tree stable for many years.  Do not forget your roots and where you come from, for that is where your destiny lies and where your stable beliefs are born to endure many generations ahead”.  This is one of the reasons why wood is so important to me.

Every centimetre of a length of wood is unique, it’s grain and depth of colour is constantly changing.  Wood brings the relaxing tones of nature into the home, from translucent rice paper to dark ironwood.  Without wood, a home would be without a soul.  From furniture to buildings, paper to textiles, it is the living aspect of wood that appeals to me in today’s hard world.  I need the warm, comforting and sensual element that wood brings into the pavilion and home.

Fire is the illusive, powerful element.  Both terrifying and inspirational, fire is at the heart of civilization.  Its power of transformation provides the means to change.  Sand to glass and ceramic, ore to metal, turn cold inhospitable environments to warm inviting ones.  Fire, enables us to transform food.  Kitchens are frequently open to the elements and simply equipped with a stove, preparation table, water tap and a series of large containers in which to wash food and equipment.

I enjoy entertaining from my home and from my kitchen, hence the restaurant concept for the studio.  Food is often imbued with ritual and ceremony and cuisine allows the perfection of simple ingredients to be fully appreciated.  The relationship between food and the way it is displayed is paramount, with each dish constructed like a painting.  Five methods of preparation are used (raw, steamed, grilled, simmered and fried), and five colours (red, blue, green, yellow and black), and five tastes (sweet, sour, hot, bitter, salty) the art of preparing a meal lies in a carefully considered combination of tastes, textures, colours and smells, at once contrasting and harmonious.  Eating should not be a daily necessity but a unique celebration of life.

Water is a symbol of purity in many cultures.  Constantly changing, water can be dark, silent, still and oppressive, or light, vibrant, energetic and joyful.  Although opposites, there are similarities between the elements of water and fire.  Imbued with cleansing and regenerative powers both can also be uncontrollable, destructive and terrifying.  It is a primal human desire to live near water.  To live with water is calming, soothing and meditative, but living near water today, or having water in your home, nevertheless implies status and prosperity.  In order to sustain life man is dependant on the availability of and easy access to fresh water.

Waterside landscapes I find are rich, varied and desirable.   Water is important to man in many ways, not least in our home environments.  Visually, water lends an extra dimension to gardens, either moving, as in waterfalls and fountains, or still, as in pools and ponds.  When water is brought inside the home it creates continuity with the natural world, and introduces the calming and cleansing properties we associate with it.

When water is combined with architecture, the interplay of fluid and solid planes adds an extra dimension that can be dramatic and enticing.  We have an instinctive yearning to surround ourselves with the soothing, healing properties of water.  Looking to the East we learn to take time to enjoy the simple pleasure of bathing.  Asian and Japanese bathrooms combine natural materials, stone and wood, and care is given to place the room so that it has a view outside.        

Taking all the above into consideration I have formulated the concept of a style of living and working environment that combines the essence of my character, personality and creativity.  The approach of how I would like to create the pavilion incorporating studio gallery, exhibition hall, salon privé restaurant and home is strongly influenced by the Asian and Japanese way of life.

I am introducing Simplicity, Functionalism and Minimalism, being three of the most important elements of the Asian and Japanese style of design and have added an element of western influence.  I want to create a pavilion between traditionalism and modernism, between East and West, reflecting traditional Japanese sensibilities and the awareness of the natural world, wherein the pavilion is regarded as one with the garden and the garden as one with the pavilion.  Harmony and timelessness are important factors in the perception I have of the physical world I would like to live and create in.

The pavilion will follow the traditional style of the Japanese culture, which perceives and pursues beauty in its perfection.  There are two ways of perceiving beauty.  As natural accidents performed by nature and as the perfection of man-made type.  It is their simultaneous cultivation and conscious superimposition that best characterizes the traditional Japanese perception of beauty.  In the delicate proportions of the paper screens, the wooden lattices and sliding doors of traditional town pavilions, and the clear linearity of the modern system of classic Japanese architecture, the constructed pavilion or artefact is viewed as a sort of building set, whose individual blocks are combined according to fixed rules with ever greater functionality and aesthetic perfection.  I see this overlapping of the rational and the random, the right angle and the natural form, occurring at all levels of Japanese design.  These two opposites of random and imposed order, complement each other like the Chinese principles of Yin and Yang.  Each loses vibrancy if taken separately from the other.  Without the contrast provided by the rectangular visual frame or rectilinear background, it would not be possible to recognize a handful of boulders, however carefully selected in a garden or a composition of natural, moss covered rocks viewed through the rectangular frame of a traditional paper-sliding screen.  The fortuitous order of nature serves to reinforce the rational order imposed by the right angle, and visa versa.  It is the quest for the perfect fusion – physical and intellectual.

The studio will have as few walls as possible, with sliding doors of wood, glass and paper that will slide into the masonry walls to create openness into the garden.  The floor will be of light wood and there will be as few inner walls as possible, allowing the space to be divided by sliding screens attached to runners in the ceiling which can be manoeuvred to create one, two, three or more intimate rooms, especially in the exhibition hall for private exhibitions.  From the exhibition hall one is led into the library, coffee, tea and wine bar with it’s library of art, architectural and related books.  This leads to the main showroom where all the art, sculptures designer gifts and jewellery are displayed.  In the evening the showroom is turned into a salon privé restaurant four nights a week.  Following this is the wine cellar; a humidor, the chef’s kitchen, ladies and gentlemen cloakroom and servants pavilion.  The artistic and limited edition workshops, offices and foundry lead off from the showroom and towards one area of the Studio.  There will be private quarters and a working art studio with walk-in cupboards and bathroom.    There will be a veranda not less than three metres wide around the pavilions this affords space to view the gardens.   There will be a Zen style garden with indigenous plants, moss, rocks and trees on the land on the edge of the property, wall and veranda.



The design of the studio showroom will facilitate the sale and marketing of all the designer gifts, jewellery, art and sculptures of the JK brand and the salon privé restaurant will become a part of the marketing process.  The idea of the salon privé restaurant is to help with the marketing of the Klynsmith Studio brand.  This will be a part of the show room and it will be serviced by a kitchen, wine cellar and humidor.  A full time chef will prepare haute cuisine dinners five nights a week.  Next to each table there will be a showcase of jewellery or a plinth for a sculpture or an art painting hanging on the wall next to the table.  There will be a three course set menu with a maximum seating for sixteen people.  The menu will change every day at the discretion of the chef and guests will expect the unexpected in the wonderfully prepared cuisine.  It is always a good marketing practice to entice clients to purchase in their most agreeable, mellow disposition – imagine the whispered conversations of the exquisite brigade of guests and friends dining in their own intimate circles.  The atmosphere is conducive to encouraging clients to purchase at the time or to invite them back for a private appointment sometime in the future.  One can retire after the meal to the veranda and enjoy a cognac, port, coffee or a cigar chosen from the humidor, whilst watching the moon cast its magic light over the still waters

The kitchen will be run by a chef who will be responsible for the preparation of the haute cuisine dinners for the restaurant, catering for functions or exhibitions that the studio will hold and also be responsible for the stocking of the wine cellar and humidor, as well as the library, wine, coffee and tea bar. 

As in art, music, and fashion, there are all sorts of different tastes and viewpoints regarding wines.  A young wine is like a child, exuberant and joyful.  A mature wine becomes more smooth, complex, and nuanced, after a certain time.  The dinner guests will have the opportunity to walk into the cellar and choose their wines at leisure from a well-stocked list. The same goes with the humidor with those wonderful cigars from around the world to choose from.

In the midst of the studio gallery there will be a library, coffee, tea and wine bar where clients can relax on comfortable couches and peruse the many art, architectural and related books and magazines from the studio library, while enjoying a glass of wine or a good cup of coffee, all with the compliments of the Studio.  The studio gallery will therefore have a steady flow of clients and guests who are given the opportunity to purchase jewellery and art works whilst enjoying or relaxing in the library, coffee, tea and wine bar in an environment that invites elegance and inspiration.

A large rectangular room will be divided into different sized rooms up to a maximum of six rooms, by hanging screens that slide across the ceiling on runners.  This area will have hidden spotlights that will illuminate the sculptures, art and artefacts in an ethereal light with piped music that is uplifting and magic.  This area will be used for large exhibitions, cocktail exhibitions, private exhibitions, fashion shows, and any promotions that are art related.  One can also use the area for private auctions and dinners serviced by the studio kitchen.  One can also slide the “walls” to view the garden and lake in all its tranquillity.  Concealed in the ceiling of the hall will be a long rectangular platform 1.5 meters wide by 10 meters long that can be lowered to the floor and used either as a catwalk or a table for functions.  


The storeroom will be a space of 4.4 sq metres, which will act as a lift to the attic where all the 100 chairs that is used in the exhibition hall will be kept and any other item that needs to be stored until needed, such as stock and records

Leading off the exhibition hall through glass doors will be a glassed atrium with a stream meandering through the garden.  The atrium will be a quiet tranquil minimalist garden with plinths that will hold larger sculptures amongst the verdant plants, moss and rocks that hug the stream.

John Klynsmith Residence
- This will be the private residence of John Klynsmith with the art studio attached so that John can continue to create his wonderful works of art and enjoy his quiet moments.

This is where the creations start – An artistic workshop where the craftsmen and goldsmiths will work on masterpieces of jewellery for the showroom and clientele.   There will be four work benches in one area of the workshop with seven cubicles following, each one used for a specific function such as enamelling, plating, wax carving, wood carving, small casting, polishing, assembling and sorting.   

This specific pavilion will be used for the manufacture of limited edition items with full casting equipment.  Here the limited edition animals and designer gifts will be manufactured and assembled.  I do not believe in mass production but I am willing to create a limited edition of 100 as a maximum to keep the uniqueness and value of each design i.e. create 100 elephants in a particular stance, then destroy the mold and create a new elephant in a different pose, manufacture limited edition jewellery for a fashion house, manufacture designer gifts such as candlestick holders, bookmarks, tableware, silver and gold boxes, and many other interesting artifacts.


The administration pavilion will be fully computerised to cope with the running of all the various management departments of Klynsmith Studio such as financials, administration, stock records, and keeping the wheels turning so that Klynsmith Studio can keep on creating wonderful artistic artifacts.   

This will be a large walk in safe to keep all the valuables. 


This will be designed to accommodate the staff dinner guests as well as all visitors to the studio.  It will incorporate hanging cupboards for coats and hats, individual hand cloths that are discarded into wicker bins after use, perfumes and aromatic soaps and a couch for that last minute gossip before leaving the room.   

A designer parking area will accommodate at least twenty vehicles with a security gate entrance and manned twenty-four hours a day.

The garden surrounding the Studio will be a 2.5 metre wide.   Using indigenous plants and trees I hope to attract a variety of bird life to the garden and lake.  The question is, why were gardens and water features created, and do we still create them for the same reason today.  The garden could be said to stand at the crossroads of nature and culture, of matter and consciousness.  It is neither purely one nor the other.  It discloses both in the form of human art.  No doubt the making or mere contemplation of a garden fulfils a deep longing in us, a conscious re-union with nature, a longing to be whole again, even to be holy.   Thus a garden can, at any moment, provide a bridge between us and nature and links us to our origins and to our future.      

My quest is to live within an environment that inspires creativity and joy not only for myself but also for others who will be privy to this unique tranquillity in a chaotic, fast and frantic world.