Workshop Newtown | Work It
It wasn’t long ago – just over two months, in fact – that Trevyn McGowan of Source (exporters of SA design worldwide) and Maira Koutsoudakis of the Life Group of companies (interior designers, architects and restaurateurs) announced to an industrial shed full of designers, members of the media and urban aficionados that they were going to launch a chic local design market with an emphasis on fashion.
The shed was a beautifully restored century-old historical railway shed on the square of Johannesburg’s Newtown Junction, a new shopping mall, which would house the market. Source would curate it, and adjacent to it, Life would open an artisanal restaurant, which they would also design. At the time however, it was just a shell. It was hard to believe that they’d have it all ready, designed, built and bustling with tenants before November was out.
Yet, true to their word, this week they launched Work Shop New Town – complete, filled with design stalls including the likes of Joburg’s Black Coffee and Love Jozi, Maria McCloy, Kisua and many more. A host of Cape Town-based and other labels such as Wolf and Maiden, Pichulik, Kat van Duinen, Unknown Union, Vernac and MaXhosa by Laduma from Port Eizabeth enrich the mix, giving the market extra variety and depth not found elsewhere in Joburg. Between there are stalls with traditional African design, art offering from the likes of Assemblage, local skincare and jewellery brands.
The fashion slant of the tenant mix differentiates it nicely from the nearby markets in Braamfontein and Maboneng. It’s a high-end local design market, making Work Shop New Town a design destination showing local at its best, and repurposing that historical railway shed for a new era of Joburg commerce with an authentic design angle.
The restaurant next door, called the Potato Shed after the original use of the shed a century ago, is also beautifully designed, like the market, complementing the historical building, and serving delicious artisanal fare, which chimes well with the design offerings. In February, a food Afro-Asian fusion offering called Town by media veterans Gary Cotterell and sisters Zanele and Zodwa Kumalo will open in the market, and Life’s molecular mixology bar in the nearby Edwardian men’s Room will open too.
WORK SHOP NEW TOWN will be open seven days a week.
Monday to Friday 11am – 7pm
Saturday 10am – 7pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
Text and photographs: Graham Wood