Blok presents urban living in a new and exciting way in Cape Town

As someone who was born and bred in Cape Town’s CBD, I’ve always thought that there’s something quite alluring about living in the heart of the city. There’s nothing quite like being 5 minutes away from a new restaurant, theatre show, gallery opening, or music event. Living in the city is quite literally being plugged into its culture.

One thing there’s not enough of in the city though, is space, which is why the theme of this year’s Decorex was so poignant. “Designing For Impact” – it’s a great slogan but who are its pioneers in the Mother City.

Blok position themselves as “a property development brand with a difference”, rooted in the foundation of their three pillars: urban homes, urban living and design. Blok have partnered with Young Urbanists (a platform which has championed urban design’s transformation in our city), and Urban Think Tank Empower (an NPC delivering real solutions to SA’s housing crisis) to empower communities through innovative design solutions that transcend private spaces and shape inclusive public realms.

What’s great about this partnership is that it extends beyond Decorex, as all parties are deeply invested in creating safe, exciting spaces in and around the city.

For anyone still unclear about the work that Blok do, their CEO, Jacques van Embden, explains, “We’re urban apartment developers that focus on making great places for people to live, but also contributing to the suburbs that we’re passionate about. So it’s about trying to make the suburbs better, not only for the residents of our buildings, but also for the transient visitors and people who are around are buildings as well. We say, ‘Home doesn’t stop at the front door,’ which is a nice way of challenging the boundaries we have.”

We caught up briefly after an engaging panel discussion at Decorex, facilitated by Roland Postma (Young Urbanists), and featuring the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, and he was keen to explain that Blok’s intentions are only pure. Sometimes people tend to fear or oppose what they don’t understand, which is why the transparency about Blok’s intentions to better public spaces is so important.

As far as what’s in the pipeline for Blok, Jacques divulged a few details about an upcoming project that’s been immensely rewarding, saying, “There’s a project of ours on Main Road Sea Point that quite an old, well known retail point, and it’s got one of the widest pavements in area. It’s about nine metres from where the cars park to where the building starts. So we’ve just finished with our application to the city now to really try and push the boundaries around how those cafe tables are places for kids to play, seating that’s free, and then seating that’s serviced. We want to show people that you can have beautiful high street experiences in Cape Town. It’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to be friendly to diverse ages groups, which I think it very important.”

From their colourful addition to Sea Point main road, to their trash initiative in partnership with Pristine Earth Collective, Blok are making a difference on the ground and I’m here for all the ways that they’re about to make my city living experience that much better.