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Fit for a Billionaire

A unique collection of South African art takes pride of place in a luxurious estate perched above Cape Town. 

A suite at the Owner's Villa

Set on the crest of the panoramic Helshoogte Mountain Pass just above Cape Town, the Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa estate was set up as a stylish getaway from the city. Overlooking the Stellenbosch wine lands, the estate offers architecture by Pierre Bories; decor by David Collins; and a unique collection of South African art.  

Encircling Dutch-inspired lodges and flowered gardens are high-altitude vineyards thriving on reddish soil and a state-of-the-art winery that produces some of the best wine in the country. But that wasn’t enough for jeweller Laurence Graff. The new addition to his estate is the Owner’s Villa.

The Owner's Villa lounge

Graff says: “The Owner’s Villa has been a very personal project for me. It is an extension of what we already offer at Delaire — fabulous service, exceptional art, the finest South African hospitality and the most incredible views — but with even greater levels of luxury and privacy.”

Surrounded by steep vineyards and hectares of fragrant gardens, the four-bedroom Owner’s Villa overlooks the entire valley, offering uninterrupted views all the way to Table Mountain. Completely secluded, the 660-square-metre interiors offer all the creature comforts, as well as a gym and an outside heated swimming pool, a private butler and chef.

The dining room

The selection of artworks at the Owner’s Villa has been personally curated by Graff from his private collection; some 70 original artworks by some of Africa’s most celebrated modern and contemporary artists are staged around the rooms. Other design pieces and sculptural works were handpicked from Southern Guild, a gallery in Cape Town that celebrates and promotes the talent of South African artists and craftspeople. “The collectible design and decorative artworks chosen from Southern Guild inside the Owner’s Villa at Delaire Graff draw on the diverse narrative strands and craft traditions that characterise South African identity,” says Trevyn McGowan, CEO and co-founder of Southern Guild. 

Works such as Madoda Fani’s two-armed Impondo vessel and Chuma Maweni’s Imbizo side-tables invoke the bold forms and intricate carving of smoke-fired Nguni pottery; both were hand-sculpted by two of the most interesting ceramic artists working in the region. “In the selection made, there is a sensitivity to raw materials placed in conversation with fabricated or found objects, seen in the timber and steel benches by designers Heino Schmidt and Laurie Wiid van Heerden. These are African-inspired objects that belong in a globalised world — as the light-hearted pop-culture references in Dokter and Misses’ LALA Noise Server and Justine Mahoney’s Initiation bronze sculpture illustrate,” adds McGowan.  

View from the pool

Mahoney’s bronze figures juxtapose Western pop culture and African representations. Initiation depicts a young girl sculpted in dark patinated bronze: if her body mimics traditional African tribal sculpture, she is crowned with a headdress of Powerpuff characters painted in candy colours. 

Although a secluded retreat in a country known for its inequalities, the Owner’s Villa reflects, through its bold art collection, the time we live in and the artists that show us an alternative way forward.    

This article originally appeared in Billionaire's Explore Issue, Autumn 2022. To subscribe contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.