Artist, avid cyclist and nominee for the Cergy 2012 Paris Ateliers competition, Lucie de Moyencourt has been working on a design park precinct in The Fringe – in her capacity at local architecture firm DesignSpaceAfrica. City Views put her in the hot seat about public space and what in Cape Town’s public life made her move back home.
CV: What is your background and where in Cape Town did you grow up?
I was born in Paris, to a ballet dancer mama and an eclectic antique dealer papa. We moved to Cape Town, where my brother Tommy – aka TommyGun, a financier and famous DJ – joined us, and where we all still live happily today. Tommy and I grew up in a Victorian house on Buitenkant Street and we used to walk to the French School on Hope Street holding hands. After studying architecture at the University of Cape Town, I went to Paris to paint, and spent time living in London, and I returned to SA in November last year.
CV: What made you return to Cape Town?
I decided to come home after seeing a World Design Capital 2014 promotional video. It made me cry. Cape Town, you are my obsession! I wanted to feel connected to public life and contribute to urban transformation by building inclusive popular public spaces here. After living in Paris and London I realised that I could not live without a bicycle. I moved to Sea Point and it’s a dream! Palm trees, glamorous grannies with tri-colour hair, and every type of international restaurant. I wake up to the enchanting sound of seagulls crowing at each other in screechy voices and spy on people in neighbouring flats.
CV: Is the Central City generally bike-friendly?
Cape Town is so small – in 15 minutes you can be anywhere – and I am always elated by night cycles. It’s so beautiful!
CV: What sort of work are you doing at the moment?
I’m currently working at DesignSpaceAfrica, under the visionary architect Luyanda Mpahlwa. For World Design Capital 2014 we’re cooking up a storm for the Design Park Precinct in The Fringe, and we’re exploring temporary and long-term interventions to activate Harrington Square into a great public space. I’m drawing and painting and selling my work on the side, which I’ve been doing for years – and I’m about to jet off to Paris for two months to join a team of interesting thinkers from opposite ends of the world at the Cergy 2012 Paris Ateliers workshop …
CV: Can you tell us a little about the application that meant you’ll be participating in the Cergy 2012 Paris Ateliers competition?
The topic – Revealing and Staging the Metropolitan Landscape – was broad so I developed a concept in which Table Mountain is portrayed as a famous metropolitan actor, and the city as two theatres –the city centre, and the Cape Flats fringe – from which the mountain is viewed. The basis for the entry is an interview with Table Mountain on his illustrious career, in which he recounts the history of how the city developed and its aspirations for the future.
CV: Is there anywhere in particular in the CBD that always makes you want to whip out your sketchbook?
The Company’s Garden, the Grand Parade and Artscape. I also have an infatuation with The Fringe precinct with its grunginess and loads of uncapped potential. I also find great inspiration in the pasteis de nata served at 07h30 at Giovanni’s deli, and Haute Antiques – my dad’s shop on Albert Road – is a constant delight.
CV: What is your vision for Cape Town in 2040, and what does the city have to do in order to achieve it?
Bike, bike, bike! Also, by 2040, I look forward to hanging out in townships that have been transformed into commercial centres.
Want to see more of Lucie’s work?
Find out more about her in a personal capacity at www.luciedemoyencourt.com, her professional capacity at www.designspaceafrica.com and then look for the stage version of her Cergy Paris Ateliers 2012 entry – Table Mountain Confidential – on YouTube.