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.
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