When Molori launched in 2007 it was the epitome of the ‘glamofari’ – a no-expense private villa bolthole that raised the bar and then some, luring the likes of Kate Moss, Nicholas Cage and John Travolta into the Big Five malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve.
Eschewing the traditional safari ‘look book’, the owners stripped away walls, using floor-to-ceiling fold-away glass doors, and dressed their shaded platforms in bold contrasting pieces: a modern motorised Fendi chaise lounge with vintage Louis Vuitton bar cabinets; custom Ethiopian beaded chair with antique Chinese drum; crystal chandelier with Philippe Starck bath. Over time, Ichikowitz added contemporary art to this eclectic mix, with covetable works by Walter Battiss, Edoardo Villa, Lady Skollie, Angus Taylor and Norman Catherine on display.
With the latest refurbishment, interior decorator Andrea Kleinloog pushed the art envelope further. Turning a lack of usable wall space into an opportunity, she approached artist Koos Groenewald to ask if he would consider making 'art rugs'. Groenewald suggested they expand the brief to include a diverse array of internationally-recognised contemporary South African artists: Athi-Patra Ruga, Cameron Platter, Jody Paulsen, Maja Marx and Nabeeha Mohamed. It fell to Michael Brabetz and his Durban team to translate the six artworks into large-scale hand-tufted rugs.
The results surpassed expectations: from the intensity and vibrancy of colour, to the use of different pile heights and materials to simulate thicker brush strokes, each art rug is both highlight and cohesive anchor for the space. A marvellous collaboration between owner, designer, artists and master craftsmen, the transformation of two-dimensional paintings into highly tactile and inviting rugs is not the only reason to visit (game-viewing, cuisine, service are all top drawer) but it sure encapsulates the Setswana meaning of Molori: ‘to dream’.