Container Space: The New Spinach King

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring

Cape Town-based studio JesseJames has designed a cool container space for Lufefe Nomjana’s popular Spinach King franchise in Khayelitsha.

What started as a Spaza style bakery on Spine Road has turned into a growing local business – and it’s happening fast. Later this year, Spinach King will make its way to Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

Inspired by entrepreneur Lufefe’s vision to change unhealthy eating habits, the team at JesseJames began work on a new space outside Khayelitsha Mall. The Spinach King Healthy Food Café is now housed in a 40ft shipping container, sponsored by Safmarine, the exterior of which was designed by Tsai Design Studio. Virgin Active, who initially came to JesseJames with the idea, sponsored the costs of the build and interior design, while Kauai sponsored the bakery equipment.

“We paid particular attention to his story and wanted the space to respect his virtuous vision,” explains James Bisset, of JesseJames. “We wanted the fact that it was a bakery to be communicated through the design, making it authentic. An important inference point we focused on was producing a design that was culturally relevant, such that it would be familiar and approachable in its context.”

The craft of weaving became an important inspiration in the design of the bakery, as seen in traditional African baskets, as well as bread baskets. You will notice weave elements throughout every touchpoint of the space,” adds James. “The floors are wooden panels cut and painted such that they interweave, the facade is essentially a giant basket woven with birch plywood, the paint work is a weave effect, and the lights themselves are baskets.”

Keep up to date with Spinach King on Facebook and view more of JesseJames’s work at