The online portfolio and whimsical ramblings of Robert James Page

Durban Beach Front (Curio Stalls)

A staple of the Durban beach front has always been the pavement market stalls, with sellers of African beadwork and made-in-china toys and curios. Although, perhaps not always the most authentic of African phenomena, these people certainly make their living selling tourists the kind of sculpture and paintings they need to give their Californian houses just that slight ethnic touch.

Either way, as part of the redevelopment project, the old tattered thatch and wattle pergolas have been pulled down from the pavements and some rather attractive new timber and galvanized steel ones erected in their place.

I noticed two distinctly different designs: one at Bay of Plenty, and the other further along, just above the new fan park. The former strikes me as the better considered of the two, a single support element acts as light fitting, down pipe and structural member. A simple concrete storage space is provided for the venders which can be locked at night. The stalls are arranged ad hock, funneling traffic between them, giving an organic market feel to the space.

The second set of stalls are arranged in a line against the edge of the pavement allowing traffic to move past each stall, and although this gives each of the sellers street access, it doesn't encourage any of the interacting the Bay scheme does. The design is not as concise as the previous one, with separate light fixture elements and down pipes, and timber clad storage cells. Although the two clearly speak the same language, these feel a lot more chunky and disproportionate, and seem to cluster uncomfortably together.

Its hard to believe the World Cup is nearly over. Two more days and we'll have a winner, the crowds of foreigners will be gone, and we can start to see the real impact that's been had on our beautiful city.

Durban Beach Front (Addington)

Every now and then I get a bit sentimental and think that, since I've lived in Durban my whole life, I really SHOULD be able to surf.

I own a surf board. Kinda. So yesterday was one of those days, and I headed down to Addington Beach, where the waves are small and manageable and had a go. Suffice to say I had a good time, the details aren't important.

The upgrades to beach down there are pretty damn awesome though. They've built (or rather, are finishing building) a new surf lifesaving and medics' building. I'm really liking the concrete/brick/aluminium materiality that runs through most of the new interventions. This one brings in an extra, feature element of coloured bricks, which I think looks really great!

The bathrooms are really well considered. The cisterns are built into the walls, there are no seat covers to broken or stolen, and pretty much everything looks as if it can simply be hosed down in one go whenever they get dirty, which, if you've ever used a beach front public toilet, you'll know to be a very important scheme.

Quick music recommendation: Johnny Flynn. I'm really into the whole London Folk scene at the moment. There are a lot of really great artists coming out of there. There's something special about folk artists from big cities. Check him out. Really good stuff.