Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Party at the Old Park Station-you have to see this!

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to my cousin's husbands 40th birthday at the Old Park Station concourse.

If I had to describe the party and the building is one word, it would definitely be WOW!

My cousin Margie's husband Eric is Lebanese so the party had a "Lebanese theme" which this building is perfect for! Think Arabian nights, with smoke machines, low tables, red velvet and stunning mood lighting. The food was also great- humus, flat bread, couscous...all my favourites. The alcohol flowed freely and the DJ was awesome. In my opinion a successful party needs a few things: great music, fab food, lots of booze and fun people, and this party had all those things in abundance.

I have heard about how fab this building is before but no pictures or stories, did it justice! You walk in and its like you have stepped back in time. The old shop fronts are still their are look like they have just closed up for the night.

Designed by Gordon Leith and originally decorated with 32 J.H Pierneef murals, Clive Chipkin describes the station beautifully in Johannesburg Style (1993)

"behind the main exterior of Park station is the great sunken station concourse-magnificent, like vast Roman thermae. The floor is three and a half metres below street level, but the stunning intersecting barrel vaults and lantern clerestories rise up nearly 15 metres above the floor level in a controlled explosion of public space".

Chipkin also says that at the time, the concourse was so popular that it often appeared in short stories and novels:

"Jill Westcott ran down the marble steps of the Johannesburg Railway Station into the blue-dome vault with the sunken goldfish ponds and the murals. The clock said she had 15 minutes to catch her train, and she slowed to a sedate walk. She told herself she had nothing to fear. He hadn't rung up and after last night he certainly wouldn't have the nerve to come to the station" Fell Purpose by A. Campbell

What is so great about the station, is that it looks like someone just closed it up one day and never went back. This is not entirely true as it is an event space and I have heard was a really popular spot for raves in the 90's. We explored all the surrounding rooms (they were once restaurants or bars) which was fantastic!
 Even the bathrooms are stunning and totally old school! One of the most remarkable rooms is the "Blue Room" which is a completely tiled in "delft" style tiles each with a completely different South African Image on them from Rock Art, to the Castle in Cape Town.

But believe me we weren't only looking at the architecture...this was a party of note! We danced and drank and were maybe a little to merry! Justin (AKA Monkey) passed out on a police car (the police were not around at the time) afterwards! Good Times.

A huge thanks goes out to Margie and Eric for such a fab party!

Ill write again soon xxx