In our article on the Love Story of marble and granite in Tashas Cafe’s we concluded by saying that “a new Tashas Café will soon be opening in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, where up to 90% of the interior will be covered in marble and granite.”
Natashas own comment in an interview with Alec Hogg of Biznews.com in April 2015 was as follows: “Nelson Mandela Square is coming, which is going to be an iconic site for us. It’s definitely the flagship… and it’s a really big site. It is Nelson Mandela Square and we’re doing something spectacular on the piazza.”
What an exciting journey the last six months have been for the team at Sangengalo Marble & Granite, as we sourced, processed, and installed granite, marble and onyx from all over the world for this prestigious project. The journey began by Neville Owen of Sangengalo Marble & Granite flying over 30 000 kilometers – with a brief from Natasha Sideris and Interior Architect Neydine Bak in terms of the specific material they were seeking. Neville successfully sourced fifteen different types and colors of granite, marble and onyx from all over the world, and it was exciting to eventually have the first site meeting at Nelson Mandela Square. The photo below records the event, with principal Interior Architect Neydine Bak, Neville Owen, Natasha Sideris, and assistant Interior Architect Elonah O’Neil Reid. The photo was taken in the vacant area which today houses Tashas Cafe’ Nelson Mandela Square – widely acclaimed as South Africa’s foremost marble & onyx installation for 2015. This is a great achievement for Neydine in terms of her stunning and detailed designs, Natasha in terms of her vision for the flag-ship of the Tashas Cafe’ franchise brand, and Neville and his team at Sangengalo Marble & Granite in terms of their execution of this aspect of the project.
Installation of the complex and unique flooring was an absolute priority, in order for other trades to be able to proceed with their work. The 900 scallops to the Flamingo Room floor comprise of six materials; Persiano Onyx, Lepanto marble, Rosa Tea marble, Pearl White marble, Rosalia marble and Rojo Alicante marble. Each piece was carefully cut, crated, and transported to site in readiness for installation – with configuration of the pieces specified by Neydine. The entrance from Nelson Mandela Square has imposing red Lepanto marble floor slabs, adjoining the scalloped floor with a curved 60mm solid brass border between the areas. Both the scalloped floor and the Lepanto marble flooring adjoin an inter-leading area in Pearl White marble. The concrete column in the Flamingo Room needed to be clad in marble too, and the skilled artisans of Sangengalo Marble & Granite attended to this detail.
A close-up of the scalloped marble & onyx floor to the Flamingo Room, carefully laid by the craftsmen of Sangengalo Marble & Granite. While their factory is Cape Town based, their motto is to “Passionately meet the needs of discerning clients around the corner and around the world”. This motto has proven to be true again and again, as they regularly complete projects around the globe.
The red Lepanto marble slabs lead to the outdoors seating area, and adjoins the Champagne Bar area.
The next task for the Sangengalo Marble & Granite team was to install the main bar counter tops. Visually the casual observer would not consider the fact that the upper bar counter completed in Onyx Miele’ had curved corners, with the whole upper level mitered to a vertical fascia. This allows for back-lighting to bring the natural hues of the onyx to life. Each foot of the Duck’s Feet lamps had to be individually fixed through the onyx. Persiano Onyx was utilized in the bar’s central unit, with under-lighting emphasizing the natural green of the onyx and casting its spell through the glasses and bottles standing on the counter. The Caesarstone lower counter compliments the burnt orange of the Onyx Miele’ on the upper level.
With the main bar counters completed, attention was focused on the Champagne Bar. The sheer weight of the individual pieces of stone which form this unit took some clever maneuvering to get them into position. The front and sides are carved and flamed African granite, with the upper and lower counters in honed Zimbabwe Black granite. These counters are mitered to an impressive 100mm in thickness. Solid brass decoration was fixed to the front and sides of the Champagne Bar, before the lighting was completed.
Get It (Joburg North) describes it like this; “We wouldn’t all be Joburg North darlings if we didn’t have our favourite girly-spot. The new Tashas at Nelson Mandela Square has the same glamour we know and love … with an African twist. Sip a glass (or two) of Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Rosé Epernay (R6000 a bottle) while enjoying one of the carefully crafted dishes. If the venue, champagne and cuisine don’t leave you feeling as glam as Elizabeth Taylor, nothing else will.”
Interior Architect Neydine Bak’s detailed design packed into the relatively small area of the unisex WC is astounding. The book-matched Black Cloud Onyx slabs to the floor as well as to the walls of the toilet cubicles provides an impressive back-drop for the rest of the decor. It is indeed a privilege to enjoy such incredible beauty in an area as potentially mundane as the WC, and any visitor to this area would be forgiven for pausing a little longer than expected!
It would be incredibly difficult to high-light a single item in the decor or furniture items which can be described as the piece de résistance of Tashas Cafe Nelson Mandela Square; but the shattered glass table, with Persiano Onyx legs, and brass trim probably comes close. It is a unique masterpiece, which coincidentally serves the purpose of being a table. This is indeed a worthy complement to the culinary fare prepared in the kitchen of Tashas Cafe Mandela Square, and yet another tribute to Interior Architect Neydine Bak.
The Welcome Desk is finished in flamed Namibian granite, with a solid brass writing top, and serves as an hor d’oeuvre to the granite, marble and onyx which dominates the decor in Tashas Cafe Nelson Mandela Square.
This three metre long Rosa Tea marble table which seats 8 guests has its twin legs also shaped out of Rosa Tea marble. It is a structural mystery how Sangengalo Marble & Granite were able to have such a long span in such fragile marble. But they did it! The pink hues of the Rosa Tea marble provides a subtle pointer to the theme colour of the Flamingo Room, situated behind the main bar counter.
The decor theme spills over into the Take Away section, with Persiano Onyx used as counters to the back units, and solid brass to the front. The Onyx continued between the counters and the upper cabinets in breath-taking wall cladding, providing the hurried client with a glimpse of what the remainder of Tashas Cafe Nelson Mandela Square holds within.
The outdoor area is bordered by a generous number of granite planters, elegantly drawing the core theme of the restaurant outside. Flamed Namibian granite was used by Sangengalo for the planters, providing a contained dining space.
It was a real privilege working alongside all those who played a part in putting this amazing restaurant together, including the factory team at Sangengalo Marble & Granite – ably managed by Brent Owen and the installation teams, just as ably managed by Jeff Owen. The artisans in each trade were obvious craftsmen in their area of specialization; passionate about what they do. It is this passion which makes Tashas Cafe Nelson Mandela Square and every other Tashas Cafe what it is today, initiated by the passion Natasha Sideris has for her industry, and indeed for all that she does.
Neville Owen – Founder & Owner of Sangengalo Marble & Granite.
Photos by Jacque Le Roux (Omega Photography) & David Ross.