WORK SHOP NEW TOWN celebrates culture and legacy while re-inventing the Johannesburg shopping experience
Launching in the former Market Square, WORK SHOP NEW TOWN joins a cultural and architectural history that has made Newtown a Johannesburg landmark. Drawing on multiple inspirations from the past, the retail project, which will house over 100 local fashion, design and lifestyle brands, pays respect to the site’s heritage with cutting-edge design that will provide a marketplace for generations to come.
“Working within a heritage space, you’re given the rare opportunity to take something old and familiar and create something exciting, new and relevant. But the trick is to add to the story and not just re-tell it,” says Adri van Zyl of Atelier Interiors, who created the architectural concept with Source’s Julian McGowan.
“The Potato Sheds built in 1911, and the surrounding neighbourhood, are steeped in significance and our goal was to celebrate that within this listed, magnificent structure,” explains McGowan.
“We wanted to confront visitors with a sophisticated homage to past glories and this ground-breaking retail environment is divided into designated areas, shops and booths that pay tribute to the goldmines, markets, livestock stalls, cultural icons, industry and office workers that made Newtown the gateway to the city over 100 years ago.”
The Potato Sheds were an integral part of Newtown for much of the last century. The bustling market was a well-known hub for business and entrepreneurial success. So much so, that during its heyday, traders who’d achieved success were awarded a fictional ‘University of Newtown’ certificate by the community.
WORK SHOP NEW TOWN strives to re-create that commercial achievement by offering a dynamic retail space for the country’s leading brands in an energetic, collaborative environment. Many of these businesses have similarly grown from young entrepreneurial ventures to become well-known and coveted labels, including Black Coffee, Kat van Duinen, Kisua, Wolf and Maiden, Pichulik and Unknown Union, amongst many others.
Established adjacent to the Newtown Junction shopping mall, part of an extensive regeneration development from Atterbury and Attacq, WORK SHOP NEW TOWN will benefit from the vibrant retail atmosphere, secure parking and facilities, soon-to-be finished hotel and regular events.
“The heritage-inspired design retains and restores the historical landmark, while transforming the iconic potato sheds into a modern-day marketspace, and reinforcing Atterbury’s vision for it to be a cutting-edge blend of art, design, fashion, heritage, inspiration and leisure,” says Johan Roets, Director of Leasing at Atterbury.
The design of WORK SHOP NEW TOWN, with its combination of enclosed and open-plan stores and a layered design concept, immediately sets it apart from conventional shopping experiences, says Van Zyl. “At a fundamental level, it’s a lifestyle destination based on Africa’s emerging design culture, curated to the best international standards,” she says.