La Motte Artisanal Bakery and Garden Café
Stepping onto La Motte Estate, tradition welcomes each guest, inviting them into the restored heritage sites that characterise this comforting haven in the iconic winelands of Franschhoek. Celebrating the expertly crafted wine, patisserie, and culture that await each guest, the buildings speak the loudest, carrying stories from centuries gone by. Looking to honour this history and spread the invitation to locals and visitors alike, Malherbe Rust Architects accepted the challenge with enthusiasm when owner Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and her family asked them to bring the goal of expansion to realisation.
La Motte’s owners approached the journey of a revamp with a vision to further the estate’s award-winning site in the spirit of sharing their family’s fondest memories of an enriched life on the farm. Recalling a dynamic history of growing up in a holistic lifestyle, the goal was to repurpose Jonkershuis – originally built in 1752 – which in recent years served the purpose of guest accommodation. The requested transformation proposed to Malherbe Rust Architects required redesigning within the obligatory regulations applicable to historic buildings while creating a working bakery, as well as a kitchen, storage space, and scullery for the new café operations.
Inside the heritage
The historical ‘werf’ of La Motte Estate is a proposed grade II heritage site in the Western Cape and was declared a national monument in 1975. Looking to revive the lesser-known historic farmyard and buildings, the first phase of the redevelopment envisaged the re-establishing of some of the daily activities that would have been associated with the historic mill by introducing an artisanal bakery as a warm and inviting space. The essence of the concept was that of an outside wood-fired oven reminiscent of a ‘komyntjie’, along with a light glass and steel structure, echoing the same width and length of the old building in order to maintain elements of the original design structure.
The first phase of the future
The La Motte Artisanal Bakery and Garden Café project was the first phase of the larger site development plan for the wine estate, which aims to keep transforming the estate into an inspired space of solace. After the demolition of the modern addition and removal of plaster on the inside of the historic building, site preparation followed and it took a determined but successful 4-month construction period until practical completion was achieved.
The woodfired bread oven – the essential contribution to the new bakery – was custom designed and produced in France before being sent to the site as a classic yet modern upgraded feature for the confection that would place this bakery on the map. Although minor adjustments had to be made to accommodate the final design and technical specifications, the result is a worthy highlight of the estate and its delectable produce. The solid form of the oven made it possible to anchor the bakery visually at the one end, with a low stone wall defining the site’s boundary. The old house and new addition are coupled with a light glass link and two courtyard spaces which furthers the effortless connection between spaces.
By holding onto Jonkershuis’s traditional aura of a farm abode, but still implementing updated technology in subtle and natural ways, Malherbe Rust Architects found the sweet spot in the amalgamation of old and new, historical and modern, nostalgic and visionary. With a bright future ahead, La Motte’s refreshed site continues the legacy of the farm while pursuing its potential to the fullest.