The latest issue of the Podcast Sessions digital magazine – featuring the co-hosts of the Netflix Never Late Africa Time podcast, Andy Maqondwana and Zweli Mbhele – has been one of our most popular issues to date.
One thing many people have praised is the exquisite location which boasts incredible light, design and artwork. For this issue we shot the cover at Workshop17 The Bank, located in Johannesburg, who came on board as our location partner.
The Bank is an impressive 12-storey mixed use building developed by Blend Properties and brought to life by Daffonchio Architects. Located in the heart of Rosebank, it combines restaurants, a hotel and three floors of shared work and event space for Workshop17.
Nisha van der Hoven, founder of Hoven, a Johannesburg based design practice, and lead designer for all Workshop17 spaces, is passionate about design and how it translates into a positive experience for those who use it.
Good design, she believes, should create healthy spaces, a seamless user experience, comfort and a sense of pleasure. Tasked with the interior fit-out of Workshop17 The Bank, Nisha discusses the details behind the design and functionality of Workshop17 The Bank.
Nisha describes Workshop17 The Bank as, “a fluid eco-system of mixed use space, integrating live, work and stay, day and night into one concept. From café, co-working, dedicated offices to bar and hotel. The intention of marrying functionality, flexibility and beauty is lived out in a fully curated experience for the end user, from the start of their visit to the end.”
Reflecting on the project, she explains that the disruption and constraints of Covid, not only pushed the proposed launch date of July 2020 to March 2021, but drove the team to rethink and reinvent the initial open space design.
Drawing from lockdown work from home (WFH) days and the home office environment, the team introduced a more cellular approach, shifting from larger open plan areas to more private spaces. Including more VC booths, consultation rooms and more one on one spaces. Breaking away from the out-dated tradition of austere conference rooms, they adopted the approach of flexible and agile spaces.
Two seminar rooms which easily transform into multi configurations – from comfortable lounge seating to flexible breakaway areas, allowing for comfortable conversations and connections to evolve naturally.
By pairing the old and the new “the design conserves the heritage and integrity of a bygone Art Deco building – with a concrete structural heart, offset by warmth of timber and terracotta skin,” explains Nisha.
The history and structure of the original building were carefully considered, dominant angular forms of the building were offset by curved walls allowing for transient flowing passageways.
The incorporation of communal rounded tables in open spaces offers a sculptural finish to open space areas, while a softer palette creates a more feminine touch to a typically masculine office space. The team created a warm tactile space that brings the vibrancy and energy of Rosebank into play, with use of exterior materials, earthy shades and colours of the outdoors.
Nisha’s design team were involved from the start of the construction, the ‘grit and guts of building’ of the building, all the way to the final curation of artwork – the finale of the design journey and closing up of the space.
Limited edition fine art prints were generously provided by David Krut Gallery and curated by his team, Amé Bell and Britt Lawton. The artworks of emerging to established artists were strategically placed to work within alcoves, or larger open areas to inspire creative interactions within the business space, creating a 3rd space gallery.
The final design, Nisha believes, is tranquil, functional and aesthetically beautiful, a workspace redefined.
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