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Stil: a celebration of South African sculpture and design in Montagu

Minimalist, considered, curated – these notions have all become design shorthand, but few places deliver on these concepts in their very makeup as much as STIL in Montagu. We asked owner Martli Calitz to tell us more…

The sculpture collection is almost a part of the design – what did you want to achieve with the use and placement of the art?

Art was part of the DNA of STIL from the beginning. We have come to realise that having beauty surrounding us plays a key part in our emotional wellbeing; we wanted guests to experience the same awe and wonder, and feel inspired and ‘lifted’. Each piece not only interacts with the space but speaks to the viewer by evoking an emotion, an internal dialogue.

What are some of the activities in Montagu that complement a stay at STIL?

Our team has the inside track and so we curate special experiences around our guests’ needs, interests and preferences before they arrive so that all the decision-making is taken care of and they can just arrive and relax. Our innovative experiences and themed excursions include anything from three-course candlelit dinners in the privacy of STIL to dining out at an award-winning restaurant, to wellness treatments, guided hikes, rock climbing, art classes, garden tours and medicinal herbal outings, wine tasting and more. And for those who want to explore on their own, we provide detailed maps of Montagu as well as the surrounding villages, with all our insider tips.

The architecture and artwork all have a quiet contemplative feel: were the works chosen to emphasise the location?

Anton Smit, our primary featured artist, and his wife, Roelien, visited during the final phase of building and were entranced by its serenity. His works have that quality, too – and he felt an affinity. His suggestion to place some works in the space is a wonderful collaboration and guests appreciate the unique combination of art, nature and lifestyle.

What were the first pieces of art you acquired for the space?

A collection of art pieces with personal sentimental value to me: a beloved small statue made by Laurika Postma, my grandmother’s sister and one of the first female sculptors in South Africa. Also a photograph by the phenomenal photographer Sam Reinders and a fabulous print of Montagu by Joshua Miles.  

How were the furniture designs conceived – what inspired them, and what did you want to achieve with them?

We were clear that we only wanted to use South African designers and artists, as we believe they are incredibly talented and world class. It was crucial for us to have furniture that is both beautiful and practical! We also wanted pieces that were unique and inspiring, and so we custom-made a large percentage of the pieces specifically for certain spaces.

Book Stil, this peaceful country retreat with us and we'll coordinate some wonderful experiences for you. Read more here.

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