Union House


Yellowwoods Arts and its various enterprises - the Spier Arts Academy, the Creative Block and the Qubeka Bead Studio - are just a few of the creative initiatives and companies that operate from Union House, a beautiful 19th century industrial building in Commercial Street in Cape Town’s CBD.

Union House is a home away from home for Spier staff and an intriguing venue for    visitors interested in Spier’s many visual arts activities. The distinctive building has become integral to its neighbourhood, the Fringe – Cape Town’s creative district.

House & Leisure Article | July 19th 2011

In a rare South African collaboration between art and business, Union House in Commercial Street, Cape Town, is a space that nurtures crafts and enterprise. The closed façade of the three-storey canary-yellow heritage building conceals an air of enviable creative industry. Its soaring interior is a stimulating space of original timber flooring and ceiling beams, industrial structural elements and an ever expanding whimsical collection of eclectic vintage furnishings, increasingly from the mid-20th century. The building itself predates this era, harking back to 1895 and a chequered history as a warehouse and factory. In its cathedral-like interiors, artists, crafters and industry professionals practice their skills.

Union House is owned by Spier, whose arts patronage has brought Cape Town the Spier Festival and the Africa Centre – initiator of public-art events, like Infecting the City and the biennial Spier Contemporary Arts Exhibition. The building is home to the Spier Arts Academy, which trains talented emerging artists in ceramic and mosaic art, and the Architectural Arts programme, which gives students opportunities to work with seasoned artists on art and architectural commissions. Because these students are expected to be the art entrepreneurs of the future, they also receive extensive business-skills training. Synergy and collaboration feature as heavily in Union House as they do in conversation with Blignaut.

Further Resources