The unveiling of a Slick 360 aerobatics plane bearing the insignia of luxury timekeeper Bell & Ross called for an edgy event to celebrate the brand’s bold unconventionality. Bell & Ross’s association with the aviation industry is deeply entrenched in their chronographic history. A private airstrip in Hekpoort proved a fitting venue where guests of Bell & Ross were able to take to the skies for exhilarating aviation adventures, while a sophisticated and elegant outdoor lunch experience by 2014 Masterchef SA semi-finalist Chef Mohammed Azhar Osman awaited them on ground.
Naqiyah styled and co-ordinated the day’s events to capture the adventurous Bell & Ross spirit down to the finest details.
High profile South African retailers and journalists were received at the Bell & Ross boutique at Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, handed their boarding pass-styled programme along with a goodie bag and shuttled to the mystery location 80km out of Johannesburg.
Guests were first greeted with ‘The Breakfast Board’, a concept designed to allow them the opportunity to conservatively enjoy breakfast without having to pick up food from a buffet. Buffet concepts are dating, due to wastage and guests often shy to fill up their plates. The natural colours of the serving board picked up on the tones of the landscape surrounding the airstrip. Each board featured a paper wrap printed with the breakfast menu, removing the guesswork for guests on what they were being served. The idea was to include a meal substantial enough to pull the guests through to lunch time without it being too heavy for those guests doing the aviation activities. It is for this reason that milk products and seafood were omitted.
The aviation activities on offer included flying in one of the vintage aircraft on show; the T28 Trojan, the T-6 Texan (also known as the Harvard) and the Waco. Daredevils selected tandem skydives with Graham Field and his team.
Naqiyah created multiple lounge areas for guests to utilise when they weren’t doing any of the aviation experiences. Snack packs included biltong, nuts, dried fruit and sweet popcorn. These were displayed in clear boxes with a label. To further create a lounge feel, Naqiyah displayed watch and aviation-related magazines along with small florals and bottled water. Seating was positioned to allow guests to watch the airplanes take off.
Using her location as a cue, Naqiyah came up with a tablescape concept using model aircraft to co-ordinate with the colours of the planes in the hangar. A laser-cut facsimile of the Bell & Ross watch mechanism brought the aviation and chronography themes together. She softened the look by adding minimal floral decor. Using a natural colour palette, Naqiyah brought the elements of the outdoors in with the wooden chairs and linen cloth. The striped napkins added a slightly offbeat edgy feel to the table, which carried over to the stripes on the name badges. To avoid the tablescape from looking too vintage, Naqiyah tried to include as many modern elements as she could. The idea of paper planes was sparked by her son and husband.Sa’eed loves making paper planes, and after watching him play one evening, Naqiyah knew it would make for a great place card and designed a special print-and-cut template for it.
Mi Casa’s J-Something and Carlo entertained guests with an eclectic acoustic performance, delighting all with their rendition of the current radio playlist favourite, including a cover of Brenda Fassie’s Vulindlela.
Chef Ozzy delivered a stellar three-course fine-dining experience for lunch. A real feat considering that the location had limited kitchen facilities (there were no stoves or functional cooling) and Chef Ozzy had to bring in as much equipment as he could and pre-prep elements ahead of time.
The client had requested a South African-influenced menu incorporating tradition. It doesn’t get more traditional than a braai and guests were able to select their cut of meat and choice of basting. The prepared meat was plated with the Chef’s recommended veg and sauce combination. Instead of a braai buffet, each meal was plated in Chef Ozzy’s signature style.
Search #AviationAdventure on Instagram for guest images.
Concept, styling, management and tablescape: Naqiyah Mayat
Tent, table, glassware hiring logisics, floral decor faciliatation: Just Good Occasions (Instagram: @farhanafazela)
Catering: 2014 Masterchef SA semi-finalist Chef Mohammed Azhar Osman assisted by Kgalemo, Saddam, Taahir, Abdool and Garth Groep.
Cold and Hot beverages: Liquid Chefs
Laser-cutting (watch mechanism table decor): Sharona Dada 0827078630
Photography: Saaleha Idrees Bamjee and Naeem Mayet for ShootCake