Modern Icons in the Mother City: Inova Concept Store

WORDS Steve Smith PHOTOS Paris Brummer

With its beautifully restored heritage building and strikingly modern furniture and lighting on offer, the Inova Concept Store is well worth a visit.

With a storied provenance and a trending location, Inova Concept Store is the most recent addition to the Cape Town design scene. A glance through its large street-facing windows on the Mother’s City’s bustling Harrington Street reveals a space stocked with some of the world’s iconic furniture, lighting and accessories brands – we’re talking HAY, Moooi, Arflex, Audo Copenhagen, Arper, Magis, Pedrali, Miniforms and, coming soon, Memphis Milano. You’ll find some local products too – planters from local ceramics meisters Vorster & Braye, and bespoke mirrors by +27.

It’s a smart choice of location – there’s a lot going in Harrington Street these days, with new retail spaces opening up all the way up the road – and it was a smart choice to employ architect Robert Silke to refurb the frontage and interior of what was the kind of nondescript old heritage building that never registered on the eye. It’s thanks to Robert’s heritage sensibilities that the character of the building remains firm while being granted new life as a functioning space in 2023.

Inova Concept Store is the brainchild of Brent Weldon – and yes, that surname and orange semi-circle logo painted on the side of the building will likely jog the memory of some of VISI’s older furniture aficionados. You may recall a store called Innovation back in the 1980s/’90s that was initially in Loop Street, and then at The Foundry in Green Point. Started by Brent’s dad, Innovation was a pioneer in importing high-end, mostly Italian collectable furniture for a discerning clientele. In subsequent years, Brent focused more on supplying large commercial spaces with luxury furniture and lighting, but he’s now also back in the retail space with the Inova Concept Store.

Inova Concept Store
The Inova Concept Store occupies a 19th-century corner building in Harrington Street, Cape Town.

“The ethos of the Inova Concept Store is to promote design in Cape Town, and to really make design accessible,” he says. “The intention is for us to work with local and international brands in order to showcase how well our local brands sit alongside the internationals.” And they’re doing this in a particularly engaging way. Thought and consideration in the way the store has been laid out results in intentional moments everywhere that give you a sense of how the pieces will fit into your home.

“We want people to immerse themselves in the showroom, to touch and feel and be inspired,” says Brent. “We’ve tried not to make it look like an art gallery, with products up on plinths or on walls. We want people to come and kuier. Too many stores become showrooms – we want this to be a lifestyle space.”

As mentioned, there’s more exciting news on the way, with Inova Concept Store being the sole distributors for influential ’80s Italian collective Memphis Group’s designs. “We all know how influential the Memphis Group has been, but a trip to the Salone del Mobile recently really gave me insight into how deeply embedded it is in the DNA of Italian design,” says Brent. “The colour, playfulness and geometric shapes were such big influences on the designs we saw in Milan. We’ve just placed an order
for some items, and in a few months’ time we’ll have a special Memphis launch – it deserves its own airtime.” And you can definitely look out for that in a future issue of VISI.

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