Playful use of culture, adaptive re-use, recycling and the championing of local art creates an intriguing and definitive look for Odd Café that gets people talking and puts Greenside’s newest eatery come art house come café on the map.
Old meets new and is reborn at Odd Café in Greenside where green, recycled and adaptive reuse were the watchwords of the art restaurant’s décor. “Adaptive reuse puts a refreshing new tone on today’s design,” says Christina Patricios, founder of Odd Café that is situated in Greenside Johannesburg. “From Newtown to Braamfontein what we are seeing is that instead of bashing old buildings down, they are being reused, refreshed and adapted for modern use. Adaptive reuse is all about respecting and working with the old, but changing it in ways so that it is right for modern living.”
Odd Café is fast becoming a favourite on South Africa’s cultural and foodie map because of its imaginative décor and because the Greenside café promotes emerging local art forms and artists. It’s also finding favour because it appeals to environmentally conscious consumers. “At Odd Café we were very careful about not just taking the easy route and getting in new shop fittings and furniture. I’ve always been fond of earthy things, wood, old things and combining old and new. In the café we use old milk pails, old tea cups and I find it is important to bring these elements into an environment where they will be used instead of sitting on shelves, collecting dust.”
Another area of reinvention for Patricios was the quirky use of decoupage on Odd Café’s tables. “Decoupage has a very old fashioned connotation, but instead of using the classic style we got fun comics and used this in our decoupage which lends a funky, humorous and quirky look into the café.” Another talking point at Odd Café is a big, red telephone booth waiting for Clarke Kent types to re-imagine themselves. “The telephone booth speaks to our brand and is reminiscent of Lady Gaga and her ability for reinvention. It’s whacky and out there and that speaks to who we are as a brand,” says Patricios.
A split level café walking down the stairs there’s a balustrade that screams Bez Valley chic. “What we did for the balustrade was to trawl Bez Valley until we found these garden gates that dated back to the sixties that we absolutely loved. It brings good old Jozi culture right into the heart of our café.”
Odd Café’s shelving has been created with old industrial pallets that have been erected with chains, and the café’s bulk heads were all reclaimed wood that had been gotten from scrap yards and repurposed. “Even the parquet flooring was second hand and came from an old shop. We just found it, collected it and then repurposed it so that it could live again.”
An eatery come art house that promises to show people how to live a delicious life, Odd Café is all about tasting new flavours while remembering soul food that makes you feel good. “Its about coming into a place and feeling yourself again, about savouring the flavours and smells of home but at the same time discovering gorgeous new art, design and music. We wanted Odd Café to be a place where people could bring old friends and discover new ones and experience all the deliciousness that life has to offer.”
Other décor features at Odd Café is a bench made out of recycled paper that can be moulded into six different styles, and chairs that are over fifty years old and have been freshened up with bold new colours. The outside of the café is studded with coloured potted herbs that are used for cooking and garnishing, and which lend colour the pavement.
Then when you move inside there’s graffiti and a wall that has an inventive language chiselled into it. This is what Odd Café calls ‘Odda Tala’ or the odd language that is spoken in the café. “People love this and they say that it inspires them and motivates them because together with the décor it sparks new ideas. People see it very much as a place with a creative buzz.”