The Norval Foundation: Where the visual arts and nature meet

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The Norval Foundation

The Norval Foundation, situated in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, next to Table Mountain National Park, combines art and nature.

A centre for art and cultural expression, as they explain on their website, the Foundation is dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond.

A sculpture garden, outdoor amphitheatre, purpose-built exhibition spaces and a research library are only some of the spaces for visitors to explore.

Luke de Kock, marketing and communications manager of the Norval Foundation, tells us more.

When was the Norval Foundation opened?

It was opened on April 28, 2018.

Please tell us more about the founders and why they established the Foundation?

The Norval family are the founders and initial funders of the Foundation. Their aim is to make art widely accessible to local and international visitors by creating a self-sustaining centre for art. The proceeds from capital donations will be used to secure the Foundation for future generations.

The exterior of the Norval Foundation

What can visitors expect?

We aim to create high-quality exhibitions and public programming to broaden our understanding of the visual arts. Our sculpture garden and purpose-built exhibition spaces are situated in a unique setting in the Constantia Winelands and offer visitors a multisensory experience. This is complemented by the Skotnes Restaurant and Bar, a bespoke shop and a children’s playground.

Sculpture Garden

Please tell us more about the interesting architecture of the Foundation?

The Norval Foundation was envisioned by DHK Architects as a modern pavilion for art. Set against a mountain and vineyard landscape, it is a pure expression of form.

The building is constrained by its linear site, between a busy road and an existing wetland. The linear shape of the building is a direct response to this, with the galleries and public spaces facing the natural landscape, capturing framed views of the wetland, vineyards and mountains beyond.

The building therefore shields the wetland, creating a private space for the sculpture park, forming a threshold between public and private zones. A triple-volume atrium establishes a deliberate visual connection between these zones, one urban, the other natural, and provides a physical transition between contrasting environments.

The Norval Foundation is situated in the Steenberg area of Cape Town

A visit to the Foundation is experienced in a linear sequence: Visitors are greeted by a triple-volume restaurant with a gift shop beyond, flanked by a generous reception area which calmly directs guests to the central atrium that introduces the main galleries.

The gallery spaces comprise a large exhibition venue and a series of six small galleries, culminating in a dramatic triple-volume sculpture gallery. The upper level accommodates offices, library, bar and artists’ residence. Externally there is a large sculpture garden, with an amphitheatre, picnic area and timber deck serving the restaurant.

The Norval Foundation is a celebration of art, architecture and landscape.

What collections and exhibitions are currently on display?

  • William Kentridge: Why should I hesitate – sculpture (till 25 May 2020)
  • Sculpture Garden

Also take a look at the upcoming exhibitions opening February 8.

The Foundation is dedicated to the exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art

What does the future hold for the Norval Foundation?

The future entails much more growth, and continuing to host world-class exhibitions and making them available to local and international visitors.

The Norval Foundation combines art and nature

Admission to the Foundation is usually R180, but because the current exhibitions are closing on 7 February to make way for new exhibitions opening on 8 February, general admission is half price (R90) until 7 February.

  • Photos: provided
Buro: MvH
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