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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MINT (article first published : 2007-10-9)

Situated in the heart of Glenwood and next to The Corner Cafe, Mint is a décor shop with a difference. Specialising in smalls and furniture, it's the perfect place to find unique signature décor items that feel like home.

The idea behind the shop is that old things were made to last. If you buy something today it might be pretty but it probably won’t be around in a decade’s time. Before the concept of built-in obsolescence was incorporated into the modern economy, attention was paid to both design and durability. Another part of the Mint aesthetic is the recycling principle to which the Corner Café is also paying attention. Instead of adding to the planet’s ever-growing mounds of plastic, Mint finds beautiful objects from the past and restores them.

The germ of the idea started when Kirsten Machen moved into her own house and decorated it entirely with restored retro items. Visitors were inspired by the way that she had decorated her home and wanted to know where they could find similar stuff.

Mint sells everything from ice-cream scoops to light-fittings to dining room tables, with the idea that everything in your home should be beautiful, functionality never being enough.

Kirsten also sees her shop as a showcase of 20th century design, reflecting a time when everything was designed with thought, consideration of style. The items on sale are mostly from the early age of mass-production when quality and durability were more important variables than cost, not just for the end-consumer but also for the pride and reputation of the manufacturer. She points out that few of today’s mass produced items will make it into the retro markets of the future, with everything being designed to self-destruct.

Finally, although the store is full of deeply beautiful objects and infused with Kirsten’s own innate sense of form and style, she emphasises that the store is not a typical highly stylised décor store. Instead, eclecticism is the order of the day and design harmony is achieved through many discordant elements. Kirsten quit the corporate world to follow her passion, so that she could wake up every morning and do something that she loves. This sense of passion and commitment flows through the shop and all its contents, reflected in the sacred heart symbol which adorns the shop’s exterior.

Mint is located on the corner of Brand and Cromwell Roads in Glenwood, Durban. More information from Kirsten Machen on 083 778 3666 or email: mint@minttheshop.com




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