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O C T O B E R 2 0 2 1 | R E TA I L I S S U E

ED's NOTE Welcome to our October Retail Issue of Pro Landscaper + Architect.

There's a Celtis africana outside my office window. I often catch myself gazing through this grand old window and admiring what we call 'our office tree.' We love its colour, the chirping birds we contend with daily whilst on the phone, the giggly after school meetings that take place beneath it and buskers that take refuge under its dappled shade. There is also the obvious climate aiding benefit - but I digress. I can always tell the season by 'our office stinkwood' and after a cold, seemingly unending winter, it’s been a joy to look out of the window and see that -almost overnight- spring has arrived. With this new season, its new beginnings, and the adjusted alert level one, we are hopeful for the season ahead and looking forward to setting the wheels in motion with some great new initiatives and our much-anticipated trade show in the works (more on this soon). @prolandscaperafrica

@Pro Landscaper Africa Download our Pro Landscaper app

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Our October issue is themed around retail spaces. We have curated this issue to focus on two different elements of retail… The higher traffic shopping mall with some great features on new retail builds launched within the past year and the more romantic side of retail with a focus on café’s, salons and restaurants - their aesthetics and their finishes. Our interview this month is with the renowned GASS Architecture Studios and we look to resident writers Deon van Eeden and Marijke Honig with thought-provoking features. For those attending the online conference hosted by ILASA in conjunction with UDISA and the IFLA a little later on this month, we are presenting the influential speakers and the full timetable here, so save the date and book your space!

Welcome to the world of retail.



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38 – Focus: Enhancing iStore's retail

08 – ILASA News:

Health & Vitality Conference 2021

10 – Making the Change

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By Marijke Honig,

Landscape Designer

By Deon van Eeden,

40 – Rustenburg Mall

By MDS Architecture and

Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects

46 – Mall of Thembisa

Vula Environmental Services

23 – How Long Will it Last?

By Fourways Samsung

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17 – The Long and Winding Road

Experience with Air Conditioning

By Danielle Harcourt, Classic Stone

By MDS Architecture and

Bertha Wium Landscape Development

55 – Inoar Lifestyle Centre

By Earthworld Architects and Inside Interiors

62 – Good Morning Vietnam

28 – Meet the Maker:

32 – 30 Minutes With: Georg van Gass,

Laurie Wiid van Heerden, Wiid Designs

GASS Architecture Studios



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By Yên Architecture

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66 – Site Visit:

Floriculture Wholesale Nursery

70 – Focus: Home is Sanctuary

021 903 0050 |

By Indigenus

A joint conference organised by the Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA), in partnership with the Urban Design Institute of South Africa (UDISA), the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA Africa) and valued primary sponsor, Corobrik. With Climate Change being taken now as a given fact, how do Landscape Architects and Urban Designers respond to these localised challenges, co-create resilient, healthy and vital urban places and cities, with Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation measures as cornerstones of advocacy, local policy, and actions? You’re invited to join the conversation!










URBAN HEALTH & VITALITY IN PRACTICE By showing us your beautiful projects in the north, can you suggest ways these ideas migtht apply in the context of African cities and towns.






APPROACHES TO URBAN ISSUES IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT What is the African context? Is it unique? Do other places have experiences as Africa (and the Global South).


HEALTH Can we create healthy cities that are also healthy for the Earth? What is being done now in your expereince in Africa and other underdeveloped urban spaces?










NORTH/SOUTH CONVERSATIONS What is the appropriate city building model after colonialism, capitalism and the pandemic? What is your experience in living and working in this context having received a similar “Northern” academic training?


VITALITY- WHAT IS BEING DONE What are the components of an urban space which enable a power of giving life to everything- biodiversity, people, plants, animals, insects...?










APPROPRIATE CITIES What is the appropriate city building model after colonialism, capitalism and the pandemic? What is your experience in living and working in this context having received a similar “Northern” academic training?


HEALTH & VITALITY: HOW TO MAKE WORK? How have you survived in a professional capacity and as a firm? What does this mean for young professionals now starting their careers? How to get work?






























































By Marijk eH on ig


limate change, global warming, carbon footprint – we encounter these words almost daily, and the dire consequences we face on this planet. On social media there are hundreds of campaigns to raise public awareness: Save our Soil, Save the Oceans, Slow Food, Fossil Free, to name a few, and the sense of urgency is hard to ignore. Many articles have been written on what needs to be done – how to build sustainable cities, lower carbon footprints, reduce waste and cut carbon emissions from transport. My sense is that we know enough about the critical issues and what to do. And yet change seems slow: words are not translating into actions. Why is this? Understanding this question may enable us to unlock the current impasse and deal with the problem more effectively. Why are we not making real changes and consuming less? I believe the reasons are varied: •

‘Doom and gloom news’ is depressing – it does not inspire change, rather it just makes you feel bad (and eat another cookie/drink more wine).

The problem is complex and intractable – leads to feelings of being overwhelmed and paralysed (more cookies and wine).

We wait for government/institutions to take the lead (e.g. banning single-use plastic? May as well watch paint dry).

Changing personal habits and behaviour is difficult (now we’re talking).

Lowering footprint can involve choices that reduce convenience and lifestyle (that overseas holiday that comes with the massive carbon tag….).

In this article I would like share some inspiring reads that have offered fresh insights, and fundamentally changed the way I look at the world and my work. These authors have done research and have fascinating stories to tell. I cannot do them justice here, this is not a proper book review. I will simply pick on a few things that challenge and motivate me, and leave me feeling upbeat about the future.

Build soil fertility by sowing cover crops and legumes - this introduces masses of organic matter onto site for a fraction of the cost of compost, with no transport carbon footprint, and it’s great habitat for bees and other wildlife.



Zero Waste Chef by Anne-Marie Bonneau (2021) Did you know food is one of the top four contributors to carbon emissions? Simply reducing food waste will make a massive difference and it’s something we can easily do. Bonneau offers hundreds of practical ways to reduce food waste in the kitchen, which has the extra benefit of reducing consumption and saving money too. If ‘zero-waste’ conjures images of people on social media holding the trash they have accumulated over a year in a single glass jar, don’t let this put you off. On the contrary, my take home from this book is this: if everyone reduces food waste by 10% the positive impact is WAY bigger (ten times) than if 1% drop to zero waste. All our small collective actions do matter. A lot. So don’t feel paralysed: do one thing to cut waste (pack your reusable shopping bags), and then another, and chances are you will find more ways, and before you know it you will be making a genuine and significant difference. Factfulness by Hans, Anna and Ola Rosling (2018) This book is an eye-opener and reason to be optimistic. Rosling shows that when one examines the facts the world is in a much better state than we think: access to basic healthcare, education, average income and life expectancy are all improving. He calls it the ‘secret silent miracle of human progress’ and shows how it follows a predictable pattern and that progress is often faster than we imagine. There are still 800 million people living in extreme poverty and they need to have access to a decent life quickly, but we know what needs to be done.

put money and (informal) education into lower income groups, so that they can prosper and become economically more active. Everyone is a future client.

ground, not to mention the energy and water costs. Truth be told, the only green part of the industry lies in the plants (ignoring the plastic bags and labels)!

One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka (1978) The author of this book is a Japanese farmer who noticed that many farming (and landscaping) practices have unintended consequences: for example, adding fertiliser results in faster growth, but weakens plants, which become more susceptible to pests and diseases. When spraying these pests with pesticides this also kills the natural predators which leads to more disease. I suddenly realised that this is how farmers and gardeners lock themselves into a perpetual maintenance cycle of effort, material and chemical inputs.

So, let’s ask ourselves ‘what can we not do?’ What if we build soil fertility by sowing seeds and using pioneers? What if we don’t irrigate, and design landscapes that can survive on rainfall only? Even if we set this design challenge for half the area, this will reduce irrigation material inputs and maintenance by half. How can we not import truckloads of mulch? Perhaps by planting trees that are harvested and chipped on site.

Rosling is puzzled as to why people have a pessimistic worldview when the data shows there is progress. He points out that having an emotional, dramatic worldview leads to feelings of stress, hopeless and inaction. “When we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the issues that threaten us the most”. Facts and critical thinking can help us to make good decisions and take action.

By careful observation of his orchards and fields, Fukuoka developed a ‘do nothing’ method of farming which is simple and works in co-operation with the natural environment. There is no cultivation (ploughing/soil turning), no chemical fertiliser or prepared compost, no weeding and no chemicals. However, he does build soil fertility by sowing clover seeds in clay pellets and putting down the straw of each crop after harvesting. Practising this ‘natural method’ he achieved the same yield of rice and winter wheat crops as neighbouring commercial farms, with a fraction of material inputs and labour. So, his method is both highly productive and cost effective.

So now, when I read yet another urgent message about rapidly disappearing rainforests and polar bears, I push back the feeling of hopelessness and focus on what is within my area of influence: I can vote with my wallet, buying local clothing, food and shoes, and keep in mind that our best investment is to

To me this is fascinating and speaks directly to the landscape industry. There is no doubt that our industry has a significant carbon footprint – think of all the concrete products that we use, the carting around of compost, fertiliser and mulch, and the kilometres of plastic pipe and electrical sleeves that are inserted into the


I believe there is a lot of scope for reducing our carbon footprint and associated business opportunities. Garden renovations and makeovers tend to be an exercise of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. A lot of old pavers, pots and plants go to the dump. What if there was an e-market place for used materials, a kind of Gumtree for landscapers? What if we challenged ourselves to re-use and upcycle everything on site – the rubble, old pavers, plants, tree trimmings, everything. As much as we love the contemporary clean look of concrete pavers and exposed aggregate, the carbon footprint is problematic. When I wander the cobbled streets of towns in Europe, and feel the presence of stone that has been around for centuries. I wonder why we hardly use natural stone? There are many wealthy clients who can afford stone pavers, but I think we tend to default to what we know. Let’s visit local quarries and stonemasons, educate ourselves about what is locally available and actively promote natural materials. In our enthusiasm we often forget that nothing stays the same for long: people and needs change and so urban landscapes need to evolve and adapt too. Think of a residential property which may be sold after only five years, or a community park. So, when you’ve completed your landscape design, ask yourself: how much of this landscape is flexible, can it easily be repurposed for a new owner or need? How to Change by Katy Milkman (2021) I have always wondered why it is so difficult to change behaviour and make lasting good habits. I am super motivated to reduce waste, so why do I forget my reusable shopping bags and travel cup?


Shopping at markets is fun, it supports local farmers and cuts out a lot of packaging waste.

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Create systems to support good habits: Pack an ‘on-the-go’ kit in your car, with a water bottle, coffee cup, serviette, and reusable shopping bags.

t On



What is your composting system?: composting is easy when you have a compost bucket in the kitchen, and a regular system to transfer contents to a worm bin / compost heap nearby.

Milkman is a behavioural scientist and her research cuts right to the core of the issue. She identifies the most common reasons why we make poor decisions/choices and yes, forgetfulness is one of them. Not surprisingly, laziness is another. Citing fascinating research and real-life examples she goes on to explain how one can effectively nudge good behaviour and create good habits. It turns out that laziness has an upside too, we can work with it by setting good defaults. For example, the University of Pennsylvania Medicine has an interface used by doctors to prescribe medicines. When a software engineer changed the default to ‘generics’ instead of brand name medicines, they saved $15 million virtually overnight. Creating systems where we set good defaults is a powerful way to make lasting change. Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (2015) Here is another book that introduces a ‘do less’ type of landscaping, coming from another angle. The authors point out that designers should consider stress as an asset because environmental constraints are often the very qualities of the site that will create a unique sense of place. They point out that our initial instinct is often to eliminate the constraints that will limit plant growth: we break up soil, make it richer and install irrigation to provide constant moisture. “Traditional garden lore teaches us that any soil that is not rich, black loam needs to be improved. Tell that to the wildflowers that thrive

Make your own household cleaner: add your citrus peels to a glass jar of cheap vinegar, and leave for a month. Strain off the citrus oil infused vinegar, dilute by half and put into a recycled spray bottle.

in some of the world’s most inhospitable soils.” The need to add compost and fertiliser is so ingrained that we hardly question it, even when it shortens the lifespan of plants. For example, in the Cape most species are adapted to sandy, nutrient poor soils. Instead of embracing this quality of fynbos and strandveld, we compost and irrigate these landscapes and as a result plants grow too fast and often die within a few years. Many pioneer species and grasses also require unamended soils. I’m not suggesting that we never use fertiliser or compost, just that we rethink its use and aim for sustainable plant growth. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (2010) Every year, seven million people die/become disabled due to complications during surgery. The author was invited by the World Health Organization to improve the safety of surgery around the world. He looked at how the aviation industry and NASA use checklists to improve safety and efficiency. Then he developed a simple checklist for the surgical team to complete before they start operating. They tested the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in various hospitals and the results were staggering: infections fell by almost half and deaths fell 47%. They found another benefit was increased communication and teamwork – both are key ingredients to success. Utilising this for the landscape industry This got me thinking how we could apply this to

the landscape industry. For example, a one-page checklist of resilient design principles would ensure resilience becomes part of our way of thinking, designing and working. A checklist for water-wise design means all landscape plans and irrigation designs will have clearly marked hydrozones. It is a simple practical tool that can make a big difference. For me, living a conscious lifestyle is about asking questions, informing myself and making the best choices I can. It is about trying new things and sharing/ learning from others. Thanks to my friends we now make household cleaner (citrus peels and spirit vinegar), firelighters (dry tea bags soaked in meths), and eggs shells are baked, crushed and put onto the compost heap. This may sound onerous, but it isn’t when you create good systems and involve family and staff to make recycling and re-using materials a team effort. In my opinion, you can only manage what you have measured. We have meters on electricity, a recycled water and rainwater system and the housekeeper takes daily readings. This gives us valuable feedback. Gathering data is not only informative, it can help guide your actions. Involve the family and household staff to create systems and set goals – and very important: celebrate your wins! Good luck on your journey.


THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD Cogmanskloof - Montagu pass, long and winding road to restoring the road upgrade impact By Deon van Eeden, Vula Environmental Services



oads run throughout just about every country on this earth. They connect friends and family, home and work and take us on journeys that inspire our lives. Some roads wind through places that are more spectacular than the destination and these roads we can travel dozens of times and still be in awe. Many passes in South Africa feature in the “little black book” of places you simply MUST visit more than once – in fact, more than once a season. Such a pass happens to wind through the sandstone folds of the Langeberge range, between Ashton and Montagu in the Western Cape. Cogmanskloof Pass was opened in 1873 and surfaced in 1931, but the increasing traffic volumes necessitated an upgrade. The design aimed to create safer driving conditions for more vehicles and required considerable widening of the pass in suitable areas. This in turn required disturbance of the unique rock formation and vegetation of this beautiful valley. Roadside rehabilitation in this environment was rather challenging as the pass offers limited opportunity for widening of the road. This, in turn, requires creating slope angles steeper than what is considered ideal. The pass also meanders through complex geology that over time has resulted in complex soils and, combined with the topography, created greatly diverse vegetation along the route. Cutting into the landscape and filling in to the valley to accommodate the road added another layer of complexity as the new strata varies from the original. Careful consideration was required when approaching the task of rehabilitation – for example, seed mix had to be used as foundation for the new vegetation and plants had to be propagated to establish a greater diversity and vegetation structure. Rehabilitation commenced with “search and rescue” for all species of conservational concern (as well as bulbs and suitable plants) were harvested and grown in the nursery. This was followed by seed collection and plant propagation in a sequence determined by the construction program, with consideration to the very important aspect of the seasonal window of opportunity. It was vital to have strong, actively growing plants representing the vegetation structure and composition ready for planting, which took place between May and July. Horticultural perspective From a horticultural point of view, there were several challenges to overcome and many of



these related to the unexpected extension of the contract period from three to six years due to the unfortunate insolvency of the initial main contractor and then the earth-shaking COVID-19 pandemic. These events resulted in the seasonal windows passing without significant work being implemented, causing the dominos to fall. When a planting season is missed, along with a four to six week seeding season, an entire year is lost. Further uncontrollable variables that impacted progress include significant variation in climate patterns. Late and low rainfall, lower minimum and higher maximum temperatures, influenced the availability of viable seed and cutting sources for propagation and seed-based rehabilitation during 2018/19. Seasonal rainfall was between 40% to 50% below long-term average. Also, heavy frost at the nursery resulted in unexpected mortalities during winter, followed by rather warm summer temperatures, with 42oC days being common throughout January and February. Given these challenging climatic conditions,

one needs to become creative in their thinking and adapt standard approaches to new and lean conditions. Seed collection was planned and programmed to optimise collection of the few plant species that do flower and seed, without over-harvesting scarce resources. The same principle applies to veld harvesting for cutting production where, due to the lack of rain, the collection window is extremely narrow, and production has to be planned months in advance with continuous monitoring of the vegetation and adjustments to the programme. Both these activities demand you to scale the steep mountain sides to collect seed and propagation material – not a quick and easy job. Seed of opportunistic species from other regions are transported inadvertently by vehicles, in tyre treads, radiator grills, mud on wheel flaps and even as cargo. Roads, being corridors of transport, and disturbance caused by construction, form ideal breeding grounds for weed infestations, creating a mammoth task in controlling the spread throughout the project from day one of construction until the rehabilitated vegetation is able to outcompete the incoming

threat. This aspect is often overlooked in planning stages of projects but in this case between seven and ten controlled interventions were allowed for, enabling good suppression. Unfortunately, the adjacent conservation area is invaded in part and serves as a seed reservoir for re-contamination, resulting in what will be perpetual requirement for control. A big challenge with search and rescue is the difficulty of coordinating construction works throughout the year. This approach is somewhat flawed in that almost all geophytes are restricted to be present above the soil level and actively growing during the middle of winter into early spring, and this leads to us being inhibited in the number of geophytes we can then remove and replant back into the rehabilitation areas to mitigate the effects of the civil works and geophytes adds quite a significant contribution. Rehabilitated areas require care for at least two growing seasons in order for the slower growing seed introduced species to establish. Ideally, continued weed control to prevent seed build up in the disturbed areas should be allowed for.



This long process of restoring integrity to the impacted roadside becomes a long and winding road with many unexpected turns, challenges, opportunities and rewards. More awareness should be created around the value of rehabilitation works in the civil sector as the lack of interest shows in the actions of staff on-site and the harsh negative impact, they have in the sensitive biological areas in which they carry out their work. As a horticulturist it is an absolute privilege to be working in such a diverse and rich biome where you find yourself caught between a stunning mix of fynbos and renosterveld adjacent to meandering riparian vegetation. Good seasonal rains combine to create a breathtaking scenery of colours and textures and as you progress through the pass being able to observe the different rock formations filled with many different forms of wildlife, ranging from the dassies and klipspringers clambering into the heights, the baboons and tortises feasting on fruits and berries along the road verge and a fish eagle calling from above with its iconic sound.


Renewable-Technologies-186-x-118mm-Ad.indd 1

2021/07/26 10:44:56

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If you bought a new home today, how long would you expect it to last? Well, forever, obviously. That’s why you took out a bond and agreed to pay the bank a frightening sum of money for the next twenty years. But if you did nothing to that house – you simply locked the door and walked away, how long would it last, really? The earth has a way of slowly consuming things. Sun, wind, rain, fungus, and beetles; in a hundred years, perhaps all that would remain is the plastic gutters and fascia boards. Plastic woes are a topic for another time, but for now, we want to talk about systems. About how great, enduring design can only be the result of thinking about landscapes and their man-made complements – pots and furniture specifically – as entire systems. And how, when you think about these things as living systems, the answer to “how long will it last” is quite simply: “how long do you care to keep it alive?” “I remember thinking, hell, that’s a big pot” These are the words of Tim, director and designer of Classic Stone, when reflecting on one of Classic Stone’s earlier projects in the late 90s. The brief was for large pots – the biggest yet – for a now-famous South African entrepreneur’s traditional Cape Dutch home. Two planters, one for either side of the front door, each two metres in diameter. That sized pot wasn’t available in South Africa at the time, but Classic Stone was already manufacturing a planter with a 1.4-metre diameter; what was an additional 600mm? A lot, as it turns out. “You draw it on a plan, including elevation, and it looks perfect. But when you see it play out in real life, you realise that the scale can be difficult to envisage on paper,” says Tim. You can see a few images of this original design process involving a large steel potter’s wheel, custom-built to turn over a ton of clay. In case you need to sense check that number, it’s a little less than an average female hippopotamus. Also, if you Google “average hippopotamus”, you’ll likely get distracted by an (unfathomably popular) children’s poem. Save yourself some time and trust us on this one. When the extra-large pots arrived on location, it was clear that they were too big. All that effort, and it came to nil. Well, so it seemed, at first. They were successfully used elsewhere on site, but the disappointment that they could not serve their intended purpose was palpable. As Anthony Wain of Planning Partners now remarks: “It doesn’t matter how high the thread count of your Egyptian cotton shirt



Century City – if it doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it.” Anthony’s approach is to always ensure that the final call is made on site on the day of installation. “It’s pointless to be hard-headed about sticking to a plan, and it’s easier to persuade everyone involved when you are on site looking at the product in context.” Two years later, Steve Thompson-Evans from OvP Landscape Architects contacted Classic Stone to discuss large scale planters required for the Century City Development. This time, learning from past mistakes, the plan was refined to the minute details, to understand the location, the substrate, irrigation, installation, and planting material. Over twenty years later, these planters are still in good nick, as you’ll see in the above photo. A living system “You have to think of it as an entire system,” says Anthony. “There’s no point trying to take short cuts; you need to work together to deliver a product that can fulfil the intended purpose.” Several years on, Classic Stone and Planning Partners have collaborated on many projects. “These are great products; state-ofthe-art polymer fibre-reinforced reconstituted sandstone,” says Anthony. “If you have a clear

Parliament Street brief, and then continue to maintain the planter as a living system, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t last as long as a house. In some ways, it’s magical. Together you can create something truly original; something that didn’t exist before.”

25 years ago,” says Tim. The brief was clear, and Tim’s first proposal, which included hand-drawn designs, was accepted. “That’s because Tim knows what he is doing, he understands how good design works,” said Tanya.

And it really helps when you’re working with people who know what they’re doing. “The experience isn’t mine alone,” says Tim. “For example, Peterson Mjayezi has worked with us for over 20 years, has ownership in the business, and leads a team whose skillset and collective experience makes it easy. It certainly wasn’t always like this, but we’ve done the hard yards now, and technology has helped us improve the process. The team understands structural integrity, and the necessary mixes and ratios to produce a product that is consistenly up-tostandard,” says Tim.

Looking at the images of the new Cee Bench 4, we can’t help but agree with her. The purpose of the item was also clear; a schoolyard, where children will test the boundaries of structural integrity. The hand-drawn proposal was refined using software, and a mock-up was made (with the assistance of 3D milling) to test for seating comfort. After all, if it’s not functional, everyone has entirely missed the point. If it doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it.

Collaboration alone isn’t enough, you must understand good design More recently, Tim worked with Tanya de Villiers of cndv landscape architects on a requirement for a private school project. The theme was 'seashore' and they needed a bench that was elegant but strong. “Technology has moved on, we no longer need to turn a ton of clay, but the design process is no less essential than it was

Once it’s born, you need to look after it Once you’ve achieved the perfect fit, you need to maintain the system. In Cambodia, the builders of the magnificent Ankor Wat temples considered the risks to their eternal future: elephants and invading hostile hordes topped the list. In the end, it was the minute seed of a fig tree that would slowly orchestrate their demise. Tons of stone were toppled by tree roots; simple maintenance let them down. Trees aren’t like fish, their growth isn’t constrained by their pond size. It requires deliberate design and



maintenance to ensure the system can endure the test of time. Don’t stick to the instructions on the label It brings some delight to see a product designed for one application successfully transposed into a different context. For example, an extra-large Classic Stone pot is used as a jacuzzi tub in an upmarket home in Kalk Bay. Anthony was right when he spoke about the magic of creating something new, and newness can also come from the thoughtful repurposing of the old. “Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows” So, says Sun Tzu, shape your approach to victory in relation to the foe you are facing. For years, Tim grappled with the tension of trying to make Classic Stone products indestructible, without losing the classic aesthetic and the advantage of lighter-weight GRC items. “It’s because I did tend to prefer working in a silo,” says Tim. “A couple of decades down the line, I’ve come to terms with collaboration not only being the key to long-lasting products, but it’s also a lot more rewarding.” Houses, ancient temples and planters – perhaps it’s all the same. If you recognise that it’s all part of a living system, they will last as long as you care to keep them alive.

The Cee Bench 4



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We sit down with the man who uses cork as his medium... Experimenting with, developing and creating some of SA’s iconic design pieces. We were excited to catch up and chat about his process and plans for the future.

Large Cork Pendant


Q: What is the process behind designing sustainable furniture? There are many processes when designing and developing products, as there are so many different materials to choose from, it therefore all depends on the material you choose to work with. Cork is certainly one of the most sustainable materials in the world with a large variety of applications and available grades. Adding to the innate natural sustainability of cork is the fact that we use recycled cork for all our products.


This unique material is not often seen or used within high-end product design, and it is important to me to explore the various grades and to learn how we could incorporate it within our concepts and projects. Cork is biodegradable, renewable, recyclable, reusable, lightweight, waterproof, elastic, compressible and resistant to wear and tear, making this unique material very versatile. I have never come across such a versatile natural material before. Cork adds a great value to my work, including a very strong message about luxury and sustainability. Q: What are some new materials you have been working with? My studio is constantly experimenting. We are always developing new and custom products for our existing collection and for new projects. Not all custom products are documented – this is mainly due to lead times and tight deadlines – but through all these processes we learn a lot of new things. With product development, it is not always the “new” material that is important, but instead how to incorporate existing materials with others in a practical, original, and aesthetic way. Our MELD bench is a good example of how materials can be tweaked to form something new and interesting. Steel, stone, and cork is also one of our core combinations including recycled glass and ceramics. Q: Will furniture design change after COVID? Yes and no. There are always many factors that govern the requirements of consumers.

Ash Trestle Table and Cork benches, stool and pendant



MELD Bench

Ash & Steel Bench

From a design perspective relating to a public space and COVID-19, there are basic and almost obvious requirements a designer needs to consider. When there is a shift in the market, designers need to adapt. Luckily, most creatives flourish when there are new challenges and change. With COVID-19, we have experienced that clients have different requirements, specifically in the corporate market. I hope that sustainability will be more relevant now as we all know how fragile the word is – not only nature, but also the human race. Q: When designing for a space (like a mall), what aspects do you keep in mind? It all depends on the brief. For example, if lights are required, then volume is generally important as malls have such high ceilings, therefore cluster lights or large-scale pendants are favourable. When considering furniture for a mall then durability and easy cleaning are most probably the first two things that come to mind. Our 2m Terrazzo benches have been used in many public spaces, as this product is specifically designed to handle wear and tear well. Additional products that can be considered are planters. Our planters have been extremely successful within public spaces including malls, hotels and airports all around the world. It is very important to incorporate natural elements


such as greenery, thereby bringing the outside indoors, creating almost a conservatory by using lots of natural light. Misters or drips can be used for soft irrigation in combination with beautifully designed elements such as seating and lighting. Finally, soundproofing and public safety. With large spaces sound travels and malls can sometimes feel quite cold and hollow. Cork is excellent for thermal and acoustic insulation; it is also a very good fire retardant. Cork can therefore be used as decorative exposed wall panels and even used for exterior facade cladding. Adding sustainable and natural elements but also providing a warm and safe space for the public. Q: How do you see recycled materials making their way into furniture design? There are more and more companies incorporating sustainable elements into their products. There are also many original design studios who spend a lot of time developing products from upcycled materials. Our studio, Ngwenya Glass, Sealand, Heath Nash and Ronel Jordaan are a few good examples of local businesses that use recycled or sustainable materials. EcoBirdy in Belgium, MUJI in Tokyo and Amorim Cork in Portugal are just a few international examples. There are truly many international brands that make it their core business to only use natural and sustainable materials.

I find it sad that so many businesses, both locally and abroad, take the easy way out and stick to what is seen as the norm – waste, plastic, cheap products and mass production. I truly hope that change will come about sooner rather than later; generally it is usually the large corporates that govern change and can make the biggest impact. These corporates must be the driving force behind a sustainable revolution. Q: What is your inspiration for furniture design? I am inspired by nature, antiques, vintage finds, markets, people, travel, and cities. There are so many elements that drive my creativity and it can sometimes just happen, I guess it’s the same with any artist or creative. I am constantly involved in my work and sometimes it’s difficult to step back and look at what has been created and in what style. Therefore, the design process is a natural process for me, where I can express my personality and obsession to detail in my work; it’s a natural process and certainly not forced. It’s important that my products or style incorporates unique/original, honest, sustainable, tactile and natural elements. I love collectible objects and collaborating with other designers and artists, therefore creating pieces which transforms material into life-enriching and durable object art.

Terrazzo Bench and Indoor and Outdoor Cork Panels

Terra Planter

Outdoor Birdhouse

God's Window, Swellendam House. Image: Andries Joubert


GASS ARCHITECTURE STUDIOS Pro Landscaper + Architect sits down with Georg van Gass, the name behind the GASS Architecture Studios brand and one of the directors of this renowned firm, to hear all about their architecture portfolio and plans for the future.

One on Mutual

Jewel City, image: Louis van Zyl

One on Mutual

Kempton Place

Westcliff Pavilion, image: Bernard Viljoen


Q: When and why was GASS Architecture Studios founded, and how has it expanded since then? GASS started in 2005 as a one man show, but now boasts over 24 employees with two offices, one based in Johannesburg and the other in Stellenbosch. We started with a focus on single residential units, while pursuing and engaging clients/developers that work in the urban renewal/adaptive reuse market.


We landed our first urban renewal project, Kempton Place, in 2007 and since then have completed well over 4,000 residential units as part of our focused urban renewal approach. This also included a large number of retail and residential orientated mixed-use projects. We have also received a number of awards, ranging from the GIFA Awards, House & Leisure House of the year and the House & Leisure Renovation of the year, of which we have won twice, and a SAPOA award to name a few. We have completed a number of projects that we are proud of and are extremely excited for multiple projects that will be completed over the next few years. Q: How would you describe your aesthetics as a company? How does this align with your core values? We strive to ultimately to design timeless pieces of architecture. In this approach, we like to say that we design background buildings. This by no means insinuates that they aren’t relevant or beautiful. This implies that we design buildings that are beautifully crafted and speak to the ultimate user. It enhances the users and the consequential user's experience. We don’t believe in alien ships that land and occupy the space with no interaction with the surrounding area. Q: As you have completed many builds, what are your favourite spaces to design and create? I love the fact that we do a variety of buildings. This gives us the opportunity to implement our general design principles over far-reaching boundaries. If I have to choose one, it is where we make a difference to people who can’t normally afford an architect. These are the people who pass by our buildings or occupy the buildings and spaces that we have designed.


God's Window, Swellendam House. Image: Warren Heath


Q: With offices based in Johannesburg and another based in Stellenbosch – how do they differ from one another and how do you find the work scope based on the different provinces/cities? We work hard in creating one united family environment. We utilised MS Teams way before the pandemic, and this has made us extremely agile. Of the 24 employees, five are in Stellenbosch and thus the environment is different. We work hard at ensuring that the quality of the work and service is of a similar quality and ultimately ensure that the brand stays strong. Gauteng and the Western Cape are two different environments, but we also encourage it to be different, even if it is just the normal banter between the two offices. Q: What makes GASS Architecture Studios different from other architecture firms in the industry? I hope to think it is the quality of our designs and service. We like to set ourselves apart by ensuring that one of the principals of the company is always involved in the various projects, from start to finish.

Q: How important is public and green space in your builds?

Q: Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in the build industry?

The public and green space is extremely important. As architects, we believe that buildings are the most important elements, but at GASS Architecture Studios we realise that the spaces between buildings and build forms are just as, if not more, important.

Probably my father. He was also an architect and possibly the biggest reason why I became one. We had the privilege to work together for 11 years and it has left a lasting impact on my life.

Q: What have been some of your proudest projects over the years? Wow, it is difficult to choose. If I have to choose, I can say: • • • • • •

God’s Window – a house in Swellendam. Westcliff Pavilion – a mixed-use development in Gauteng. Kempton Place – an apartment complex in Gauteng. One on Mutual – a mixed-use development in Pretoria. Jewel City – a residential, commercial and retail development in Johannesburg CBD. Green School South Africa – located near Paarl in the Western Cape.

Q: Signage in your builds is often noticeable and interactive – why do you choose to add this as a bold element? (Like seen at Newtown City and Jewel City). I think it is important to interact with the users of the spaces. We started this trend in Kempton Place, by placing a number of sculptures in both public and private spaces. This has continued in other projects like One on Mutual and Jewel City. At the beginning it was to promote art and local artists, but this has grown to play to the time, where it is important to create an “Instagrammable” moment. At Jewel City, we did it with the large Jewel City sign/sculpture and then further having a number of murals by various artists around the precinct.

Kempton Place


Jewel City, image: Louis van Zyl

Q: Looking past COVID-19, what trends do you see arising for the architectural realm in terms of types of spaces and materials? How we are engaging with buildings is changing, but at the same it is staying the same. The projects that we are busy with at the moment have an emphasis on adaptation. Thus being able to adjust with the times. We are creating spaces that enhance peoples lives. This is done by creating liveable interior and outdoor spaces for residential projects and more interactive spaces for commercial clients. There is a great emphasis on creating friendly spaces that allow for open interaction between the inside and outside. Q: Who are your favourite suppliers to work with currently and why? I can’t choose one. I can say that suppliers that provide a good quality product, service and post-installation service are suppliers that I will always recommend and use. Q: What is next on the cards for GASS Architecture Studios? What can we expect to see next in our pages?

Georg van Gass

We have some amazing projects on the drawing board at the moment. Keep an eye out for the Green School South Africa project, which will be featuring in an upcoming issue of Pro Landscaper + Architect. We are also busy with two large affordable housing precincts, and a number of student housing projects, to name a few. One further project that we are busy with is the South African Reserve Bank Head Office Campus Redevelopment Project and we can’t wait to lift the lid and showcase the project, keep an eye out!


Smart Airconditioning Solutions

Enhancing shopping experiences all year-round. Appealing to the modern consumer means creating the best in-store shopping experience. Samsung brings you unrivalled performance and style with the 360 Cassette. It’s an advanced, bladeless air conditioner


Not only does it blend in with any interior design, but it is also powerful the air gently reaches every corner of the room, keeping your customers comfortable while saving you running costs. White






etail shopping experience is all about giving customers a comfortable environment so that they can browse products and engage with sales consultants without unnecessary distractions. In June 2020, iStore opened their flagship store at the eminent V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. The store is located on Dock Road in the city’s spirited and mixed-use district, characterised by landmarks, offices, and the harbour. Featured here is the fascinating iStore V&A Waterfront air conditioning project which was completed by Fourways Cape Town, SVA Architects and the installer Southern Air Conditioning (Pty) Ltd.

Image credit: V&A Waterfront

Rising to the ‘airccasion’ HVAC professionals were tasked with installing Samsung DVM S units to overcome the building heat load. Shopping is all about the in-store experience - from the products layout to the indoor climate. Discomfort builds up when you walk into a store that’s either too hot or cold. Across the country, in addition to supplying air conditioners to hundreds of shopping centres installers, Fourways also provides VRF design assistance. Using advanced design systems, Fourways strived to offer SVA the design flexibility to create a customised comfort in the building with less restrictions. State of the art air conditioning The iStore V& A Waterfront does not only look incredible but it also boasts wide open spaces, training facilities, and a repair workshop. It's interesting to think how a tech store turned into a building that consumers like to visit. Such a concept calls for only the best air conditioning systems and a credible installer. With the help of Fourways, Southern Air Conditioning rose to the occasion by selecting and installing the precise Samsung units to fit into this store while considering purified air as the fight with COVID-19 continues. The project was in essence a Samsung DVM S Eco (Heat Pump and Heat Recovery models) installation. The Samsung DVM S Eco is a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) outdoor unit which is connected to multiple compatible indoor units. The installation includes numerous

Samsung’s units: 360 Cassettes; a 4-Way WindFree™ Inverter Cassettes as well as an MSP Duct. The indoor units at the store are hosted by the outdoor DVM S Eco units, producing a total cooling/heating capacity of 100kW. Design & performance The 17 Samsung 360 Cassettes have an elegant modern that’s combined with powerful performance and effortless control. The circular design harmoniously blends with the exposed iStore ceiling while circulating air so that every corner has the same desired temperature. Its bladeless design allows for air to gently disperse and descend across the room allowing customers to feel comfortably cool without the sensation of a cold draft on their skin. The 4-Way WindFree™ Inverter Cassette assists with energy saving, air purification and a motion detect sensor among other innovative features.

By automatically using less energy when the store is empty, this unit detects if there’s no motion and switches to WindFree™ mode to save energy. If motion is detected, it returns to normal. This 2-step operation switching will assist the store to reduce energy consumption by up to 50%. This unit eliminates contaminants, mould, and bacteria. The structure of this iStore is large and it has wide open spaces hence the addition of the Samsung MSP Duct to deliver more air over the long distance. It’s designed to create great static pressure, silent operation, and simple maintenance. Now more than ever, air quality is crucial to businesses and the public hence Southern Air selected the 4-Way cassette to maintain a healthy indoor environment. With the MSP Duct purification system, dust particles, mould and bacteria are be eliminated to ensure that people breathe purified air.





Size: 40,000m² Completed: April 2021 Location: Rustenburg, North West Province After almost seven years of planning, Rustenburg Mall opened its doors at the end of April 2021. Designed by MDS Architecture, the development is a collaboration between Moolman Group, Twin City Development and JB Holdings. Pierre Lahaye, partner at MDS Architecture, says: “The design of the 40,000m² Rustenburg Mall is rooted in the context of its surroundings, both natural and developed. The renowned Rustenburg Kloof features dramatic rock formations and iconic acacia trees. The broader area has several agricultural businesses, and the site is located within 1km of the largest public transport hub in South Africa, which serves both taxi and bus commuters.” The form of the building mimics a tree. The tree symbol is so entrenched in the plan of the building that it also serves as the key design element in the logo for Rustenburg Mall, which is a clean and contemporary take on the revered acacia tree. There are over 120 stores in Rustenburg Mall ranging from popular national tenants to new stores such as Drip, Home Choice, Legends Barber, Sneaker Factory, Offspring by Uzzi, G-Star, Polo, Primark by Truworths, and Le Coq Sportif as a stand-alone store. Client brief The public transport hub and broader road infrastructure were important to consider in the design, as was climate control considering the high temperatures experienced in Rustenburg. Construction challenges The construction commenced in October 2019, however, the project faced various delays due to the six-week COVID-19 lockdown. Despite these challenges, in the end, Rustenburg Mall opened within a month of its original opening target. Pieter Lombaard, CEO at Moolman Group, says that the team worked tirelessly to make up the construction time lost during the lockdown. “The professionals rallied together to meticulously work out ways to complete the project on time despite the halting of all construction works. Their efforts have ensured that the Rustenburg Mall is yet another exceptional retail solution with incredible customer experiences – all within the planned time frames.”



New link roads connect the Rustenburg community with major arterial roads. A covered pedestrian walkway – one of the largest in the country – creates a convenient connection from the city centre and transport hub. It encourages commuters to explore the precinct and brings people into a world of retail. Pierre says: “The arrival of shoppers on foot or via public transport provides an opportunity for developments like Rustenburg Mall to become meeting places that create new city squares with retail offerings.” Structural design and exteriors Rustenburg Mall has three entrances which evoke inviting tree-like canopies as if to invite gatherings. Each entrance also features large sculptural signs made up of individual 2m-high lettering structures to proudly emphasise Rustenburg. The contextual rock formations and acacia tree inspirations have translated into the structural design and aesthetics of Rustenburg Mall. Careful attention has been given to bespoke features which celebrate creativity and mimic its natural surroundings. Pierre says that the design of the roofs at Rustenburg Mall are inspired by acacia trees and their symbols as expansive shelters for get-togethers. MEET THE TEAM: Owners: Moolman Group Twin City Development JB Holdings Developers: Moolman Group Main Contractor: Beckers Building Architect: MDS Architecture Landscape Architects: Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects

Exterior tactile materials like timber and steel are softened by vertical gardens which blend into the very fabric of the building. The interior Rustenburg Mall’s design offsets timber and crisp white features for a contemporary, organic experience. The ceiling features strategically integrated lighting – custom designed lighting features ribbon-like elements to guide shoppers through the building while allowing them to acclimatise as they cross over the various sections of the shopping centre. In addition, feature mobiles and abundant natural light create interest and ambience. The building celebrates artistic creativity while offering a wide selection of stores. Bulkheads are dark to integrate with the shopfronts in the shopping centre and serve to further highlight the artworks at the end of the mall. The developer contracted a curator to ensure diverse artistic representation, so we created galleries throughout the malls for unique graffiti and artwork installations by renowned South African artists. "The artwork is placed high up in the distance, creating an interesting urban art element,” explains Lahaye. The building features several subtle nuances and a sense of being inside the skeleton of the structure, which is emphasized by rib-like timber features overhead. “We liked the idea of showing the structure of the building in a neat and clean way,” explains Pierre. The colour palette – along with the changing patterned floor design – includes references to sunsets, the sky and forests at the promotional courts. The tiling patterns are intricate and were inspired by woven baskets and rocks. To avoid cutting tiles, patterns were pixelated. Angular shapes and distinctive stone-coloured flooring designs echo the renowned rock formations of the Rustenburg area. The ablution facilities feature warm timber and stones, while black tiles provide added texture. In the lounge area, patterned high-gloss metropole tiles provide a tactile and comfortable space to rest. The design ensures that Rustenburg Mall is a family-friendly space where shoppers can escape the searing heat in the area. The Marketplace The Marketplace is a multi-functional, central entertainment area and the perfect spot for



‘The tree symbol is so entrenched in the plan of the building that it also serves as the key design element in the logo for Rustenburg Mall, which is a clean and contemporary take on the revered acacia tree.’



socialising. Having its own entrance uniquely formalises activities for a rich, tactile, and unified experience. Several full-sized acacia trees take pride of place in the vibrant area, creating a physical tree canopy indoors. A massive LED TV screen adds to the audio-visual entertainment offering. The Marketplace offers pop-up stores, a giant chess board, two different children’s play areas and communal dining area to serve the nearby restaurants and takeaway eateries. Flexibility in The Marketplace was achieved by incorporating kiosks and tuk-tuks, bringing together bespoke, craft-like offerings with more mainstream food offerings. The future of retail MDS Architecture is at the forefront of retail trends. Pierre says that several emerging trends in retail design are showcased at Rustenburg Mall. Online shopping has increased with the emergence of COVID-19, so greater storage areas have been incorporated in the design for retailers. “Function and fun both have a role in the retail design of the future – but making them work together requires flexibility. The more flexible the design is, the more easily you can adapt to what will happens in the world. Outdoor lifestyle offerings are increasingly

important to facilitate social interaction, and accessibility is key,” he says.

to find an optimal mix to meet all of the quality specifications.

In addition to great shopping variety, easy access and a unique sensory experience, it seems shoppers at Rustenburg Mall are also getting glimpses of the future of retail.

Global Roofing Solutions (GRS) one of the largest metal roofing manufacturers in South Africa, supplied the Kliptite 700 sheeting profile for the roofing, which was installed by a longstanding Corroshield SA client. Corroshield SA supplied the Class 3 fasteners used to secure the metal roofing to the steel structure.

Starting out as a small hardware retailer in Centurion over 30 years ago, with a doorframe installation as its first construction job, Beckers Bouaannemers has grown into a substantial construction company delivering multi-million projects for its clients. “Over the years, we have built a good relationship with AfriSam,” says Becker. “We know we can trust the company to provide excellent service and quality products. It works closely with us during the construction phase to make sure our requirements are met.” Some 14,000m³ of readymix concrete was used for the various construction components, such as surface beds, columns and other structural elements, as well as ancillary work. For this project, the construction team chose a more environmentally-friendly concrete mix that used a slag stone as an aggregate option. This was selected in conjunction with AfriSam, who worked with the project engineer

SUPPLIERS: Paving: Corobrik – 011 871 8600 Concrete signage, benches and bollards: Gallo Precast – 012 546 6067 Readymix Concrete: AfriSam - 011 670 5500 Roofing: Global Roofing Solutions (GRS) Product: Kliptite 700 sheeting Rubberised flooring: X-tyre – 012 804 730 Tiles: RVV - 011 618 1340 Artificial green walls, trees and planting: Distinctive Spaces - 011 708 7878 Interior furniture: Badec Bros - 086 132 2332 Igneous Concrete - 082 443 0084 • • • • • •

Internal circular bins Triangulated benches with wooden slat inlay – with USB chargers Triangulated planters for mall passageways Arc benches with custom made arc planters Custom rectangular planters for bathroom alcoves Custom curved bathroom benches for waiting areas

Curved ceiling lights: Purple Dot - 011 492 2171 Tiling Adhesive: TAL - 011 206 9700 Sanware: Italtile - 011 510 9000 Product used: Laufen Taps: Grohe - 021 510 0970


QUICK FACTS: Size: 40,000 m (+/- the size of eight soccer fields) Bricks: 18km of bricks laid end-to-end Concrete: Afrisam Readymix (enough to fill four large swimming pools) Steel: Equivalent to the weight of 180 elephants Tiles: Over 94,000 tiles laid 2




Size: 44,746m² Completed: November 2020 Location: Thembisa, Gauteng Mall of Thembisa is Thembisa’s new shopping centre on the busy Olifantsfontein Road in the north-western quadrant of the growing township in Gauteng. The mall, which offers an expansive floorplan, serves as a catalyst to kick off further development in this underserviced portion of the township. Plans include high density residential and commercial elements in the long-term. MDS Architecture designed Mall of Thembisa for rural retail development specialists McCormick Property Development (MPD). Earthworks commenced mid-2019 and Mall of Thembisa opened to the public in late 2020. Louis Pretorius, partner at MDS Architecture, says that the double-storey rectangular building is centrally located on the site and is surrounded by 1,475 parking bays. The development includes a standalone Cashbuild and KFC, a taxi rank for 56 taxis as well as a community-based market garden initiative on site. Brief Jason McCormick, managing director of MPD, explains that a central tenet of the approach to shopping centres is to ensure that the social fabric of the community is fundamentally changed for the better. “We love innovating

and challenge our professional teams to create unique centres that speak directly to their communities. We want each centre to be an improvement from the previous one – we challenge the team to make them unique and to ensure that they boast elements that are specific to the community and area it will serve.” Site The presence of pockets of dolomite on the site created engineering and construction challenges which required the addition of specialist consultants to the project team. “Double-level malls are generally expensive to develop but this site had a significant fall and the difficult ground conditions required piling and subterranean elements to rectify this. However, this played into our hands, allowing on-grade parking on both levels whilst reducing the building’s footprint and the amount of piling required,” explains Jason. The design takes the slope of the site into consideration, as well as the building’s central location. Shoppers enter the building on lower ground level along the east façade; and upper ground level along the west façade, essentially giving the building two prominent front façades. Louis comments: “This positioning required strategic design thinking in terms of the placement of services and delivery areas, which are extensive components of any retail

development, especially one of this size.” In response, a services passage ensures easy access to multiple service areas, while design elements along the façade enhance the aesthetic and mask potentially unattractive aspects of service areas. The area experienced 150ml of rainfall between March and April 2020 which caused massive stormwater damage, in addition to the delays that were experienced as a result of the COVID-19 hard lockdown. The rainfall washed away half of the hill above the building and resulted in extensive repairs being done once the site was re-opened. Entrance canopies and façade The main feature of the external architecture is the distinctive entrance canopies which comprise columns in the shape of stylised tree trunks with branches and shield-shaped roofs. The concept of the shield was selected to represent the strength and protection that shield imagery evokes. The largest shieldshaped roof covers the external food court area and main entrance to the building, and the tree-trunk columns are a prominent design element throughout the building – in the double volume spaces in all three courts, as well as along numerous external walkways. The design element is also repeated in motifs painted on the building’s façade and it is what inspired the logo for the Mall of Thembisa.


SUPPLIERS: Lighting: Liquid Lighting – 082 758 6877 Regent Lighting Solutions – 011 474 0171 Paving and Kerbs: Technicrete – 011 674 6900 Tiling: Limegreen Sourcing Solutions – 011 325 2893 Fencing: Cochrane Clearvu Fencing Steel elements sub-contractor: Woodsman – 082 376 1431 Rubber flooring: X-tyre – 012 804 7305 Concrete work, play equipment and steel elements: Tswepelle Plants t/a Plantwise CC - 011 953 4540 Outsourced Landscape Production: Homegrown Studios - Hannes van der Merwe – 060 523 8177

Externally, the building is painted in monochrome colours with a pop of colour above each entrance. Leaves are referenced in the colour palette throughout, and mosaic tiling introduces lines of different colours. The anchor restaurant, Imbizo, is located on the most prominent north-east corner of the building. The circular, aluminium-clad, triple volume form takes full advantage of the magnificent views of the township beyond and forms a focal point of the building from the main road. The food court includes a children’s play area, central hand-washing station and al fresco dining options. Interior Given the anticipated footfall numbers at the mall, the brief was to maximise natural light and a feeling of space. The numerous pop-up roofs flooding the interiors with natural lighting through clerestory windows are a prominent architectural feature. There are also extensive openings in the upper ground floor slab, with glass balustrades creating double volume spaces which further bathe the building with natural lighting all the way down to the ground level.



The stylised motif of the tree trunks and branches of the external canopies and walkways have also been carried through to the inside of the building by repeating them in the ceiling design and tiling patterns. The monochromatic colour palette is also used consistently in the interior, allowing tenant merchandising and synergy to pop within the mall. Bursts of colour are introduced via the tiling, column cladding and hanging pendants, with colour changing lighting on the columns creating further interest in the various courts.

from which to trade, free of charge. Eleven local entrepreneurs were selected to trade rent-free for a year with a view to growing their businesses during this time.

A continuous signage bulkhead above the shop fronts and feature lighting bring unity to the interiors and add a sense of intimate proportion to an otherwise grand space.

One of the most exciting initiatives is the creation of a farming co-op on site. “I have been wanting to start a farmers’ market for 15 years and we have finally brought this to life at the Mall of Thembisa,” explains Jason.

“Timber elements and finishes are used in the toilet areas and the main court to further provide warmth and texture. The design and selection of finishes ensure intimate proportions in a grand space are achieved at Mall of Thembisa,” Louis says. Innovative local community involvement initiatives The Kasi CoLAB is a township designer’s emporium that provides local designers with a prime location within the Mall of Thembisa


The open-plan space located close to a prominent entrance includes a seating area and vibrant graffiti painted by local artists. The CoLAB has already seen the local designers growing from strength to strength with a number of them breaking their own turnover records on opening day.

The site is adjacent to a flood plain of the Kaalspruit where local farmers have been farming the land for years. A cooperative was formed with these farmers, Reahola, which grows spinach, cabbage, beetroot, assorted herbs and more on site. An offtake agreement that was facilitated with Imbizo (the largest restaurant anchor) determined the first seedlings that would be planted. The seeds were selected in order to

MEET THE TEAM: Architects: MDS Architecture Developer: McCormick Property Development Civil & Structural Engineers: SCIP Engineering Group Quantity Surveyors: Quanticost Quantity Surveyors Electrical Engineers: KKA Consulting Electrical Engineers Mechanical Engineers: Pretocon Consulting Engineers Wet Services Engineers: CKR Consulting Engineers Fire Consultant: Fire Safety Designs Fire Consultants Playground Light Designer: Paul Pamboukian Light Design Landscape Designer: Bertha Wium Landscape Development


cater to the needs of the Imbizo kitchen, which purchased its first crops from the co-op in late 2020.

THE CREATION OF MAGIC: THE PLAY AREA AT MALL OF THEMBISA The brief from McCormick Property Development was to design and install a children’s play area to enhance the food court area of the new Mall of Thembisa. Bertha Wium Landscape Development was responsible for the design and installation of the entire landscape project. The design was done in association with landscape architect Cornelia King. The success of the play area is in the ‘creation of magic’ combined with the achievement of safety and functionality of the various play elements. The undulations (mounds) throughout the area give movement and allow for challenges with various degrees of difficulty. Steel tunnels cut through the mounds; mounds; while climbing ropes and climbing grips allow for ascent onto the mounds, and the same climbing ropes and grips allow for descent from the mounds. The main element is a combination of birds’ nests of various heights and sizes – with the open nest protruding from a mounded area and forming the entry way into the closed nest structures. These nests form a sizeable and impressive focal element. The closed nests are wedged on angled steel posts and are compiled of cylindrical round steel rings, giving the nests an 'egg shape'. The smaller floor ring element widens to the centre ring of the nests and the higher rings narrow to form a pointed head area. The nests are linked with spiral steel tunnels and fitted with internal nets to allow for climbing through rounded openings. A slide and ‘fire poles’ allow for sliding down from the nests. The 3D steel rainbow has a depth perspective, created through the use of steel arches in various rainbow colours – ranging from the biggest arch closest to the building and the smallest arch at the furthest end. Extra-large Quercus nigra trees (water oak) provide shade to the play area. Overlapping pointed triangular shade nets were added to the top of the large birds’ nests to add shade, and give a sense of enclosure to the inside spaces.



A detailed and technical approach was necessary within such a restricted space, each element was specifically placed based on its action, intended use and space requirements, ensuring all elements were able to be enjoyed safely, namely: •


The formation of the mounds was achieved by using G6 material – or void formers over the basement slab area – which was then covered by a reinforced concrete shell. Jigs were also manufactured and used to create perfect rounded mounds.

The large sand coloured area is experienced directly upon entry – this surface was compiled of the mix of two colours of Spectrum safety rubber flooring.

Orange was incorporated as the vibrant contrasting colour - orange is repeated in certain steel elements

The flowing blue colour simulates the effect of a river with the mounds protruding from the green surrounds.

X-Tyre went to all extremes to select all available stock in the country and colour mixes allowed for colour variance and achieving quantities in a defined colour design.

The EPDM rubber granules of the safety flooring is underlain by a rubber shock pad of 30mm minimum depth (also wet poured). EPDM colour shades had to be ‘design engineered’ with only restricted colours available – no imports could take place (due to COVID-19) and the restricted time limit to install the project.

Tree rings are flush with the rubber surface and have uplighters shining into each tree.

Lighting The Paul Pamboukian lighting approach: 'Light-

ing is a crucial aspect contributing to the 'magic' of not only the play area – bringing the play elements to life, especially at night – but also lighting is able to communicate a message of comfort while simultaneously creating a festive environment.' Lighting was integrated into the ‘electric orange’ tunnels. Accent lights were placed on the trees, emphasising the majestic nature of these trees and adding ambience. A place of promise Thembisa is derived from an Nguni word meaning ‘promise’ or ‘hope’.

A visit to the Mall of Thembisa evokes the vibrancy and potential of the people of Thembisa and points to a promise of even greater things to come.

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s a Good i y H a a D

Inoar opens flagship salon and lifestyle centre in Pretoria


Completed: February 2021 Location: Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria Inoar South Africa is proud to announce the opening of the new Inoar Lifestyle centre, at 345 Dey Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria. Celebrating its 12th year in the South African market, the opening of this new lifestyle space, which includes a new flagship Inoar salon, is a seminal moment for Inoar in the country. Earthworld Architects and Inside Interiors have succeeded in making this an environment that brings the outdoors in and draws from the brand's Brazilian roots. Hendrien Kruger, owner of Inoar South Africa, wants this new space to truly be a haven for women. “Our vision for Inoar Lifestyle is that it will become more than a destination for its visitors. We want our clients to not only experience the best haircare products and aesthetic and beauty treatments, we want it to be built around women; supporting their dreams, aspirations and sense of community, as it certainly has done for me”.

The vision of the build was to create a space that was safe, tranquil and a true one-stop destination where women could come together and be heroed – and do this outside of a confined mall environment. That is why it was so important that the concept incorporated a

lot of different spaces and elements into the new space. An aesthetic centre, events venue, beauty bar, coffee shop, lifestyle retail space and of course, the flagship hair salon. About the new centre Visitors can not only expect to enjoy Inoar's oneof-a-kind haircare, but also a perfect synergy between the brand and the architectural design. Designed by renowned architect André Eksteen and project managers, Laurika Brümmer and Mieke van Rooyen of Earthworld Architects and Inside Interiors, the new space is also host to a coffee shop and a store retailing Inoar’s awardwinning hair care products and other home and fashionwear, as well as aesthetic and beauty treatment facilities, conference rooms and more. “The design draws inspiration from the brand's Brazilian roots and natural approach to beauty”, says André. “The colour scheme is reminiscent of a lush botanical scene with hues of floral pink and green, subtly layered on the surfaces of walls and in window and door openings. The materials of the bespoke furniture in the reception, café and salon consists of velvet upholstery, walnut timber and green marble, with fine detailing in brass serving as the 'jewellery' of the design items”.

SUPPLIERS: Terrazzo tiles: Union Tiles – 011 663 2000 Cast in-situ Terrazzo: Designer Floors Fixtrade 462 – 011 728 3868 Mosaic Tiles: Product used: Douglas Jones – 0861 667 242 Supplied by: Northern Wholesale Tiles – 011 803 9444 Lighting: Spazio – 011 555 5555 Paving: Stone Sensation – 0861 292 929 Coloured exterior wall surfaces: Marmoran coatings – 011 887 0536 Product used: Permasuede Custom hand wash basin: Concrete Corporation – 083 979 6016 Wallpaper: Fabric Bank – 081 720 8348 Mix Lab Countertops: Caesarstone – 012 803 5671 Manufacturing of custom furniture and joinery: Pro Timber – 012 653 1740 The Flying Dutchman - 082 591 0916 Outdoor tables: Notation Design – 079 772 9340 Outdoor chairs: Mobelli – 010 446 9899 Hairdressing chairs: Sharplines – 011 305 1600 Task chairs: Technochair – 011 624 1626




With Inoar guests’ wellbeing and relaxation in mind, the boundary between inside and outside is blurred, where doors and windows are carefully positioned to frame the trees and greenery surrounding the crown jewel of Inoar Lifestyle – the salon. Pro Landscaper + Architect catches up with Earthworld Architects and Inside Interiors to hear more about their involvement on this flagship project. Q: What was the brief from the client? The client’s brief called for a renovation and reappropriation of a house and garden flat previously used as a psychiatrist’s practice. The majority of the house was to serve as offices with a portion of the building and the flat becoming Inoar’s new reception, retail space, café and salon. Thus, the creation of a whole lifestyle centre. Q: What made you incorporate so much greenery and colour into the build? The client shared details regarding Inoar's brand vision with us and we were very inspired by the natural, floral, botanical nature of the brand. The design’s colour scheme is reminiscent of a lush botanical scene with hues of floral pink and green subtlety layered on the surfaces of walls and in window and door openings. Q: How important was it to keep the surrounding nature untouched? One of the main design informants were the existing trees on site and large windows which were punched in the existing built fabric to frame views of the trees. The concrete roof that spans over the courtyard is pierced with an opening for the frangipani tree to prevent a hinderance of its growth and a low-wall folds gently around the tree in an intimate meeting between nature and built fabric. MEET THE TEAM: Client: Inoar Architects & Interiors: Earthworld Architects and Inside Interiors Main Contractor: ShazaWorx Landscaping: By client Images: Ian McRobie

Q: What was the site like before your involvement and did you come across any issues? The layout of the house and garden flat had to be altered to accommodate the new functions. The spaces were quite small and dark, so we used every opportunity to open the interior to the outside with the layout and introduction of more windows. One of the issues we came across was that lightning had struck the big tree on the street boundary of the site, and a large portion of the tree unfortunately needed to be cut away. A challenge was working with the old built fabric in a sensitive manner and the careful introduction of the new design.









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Project Name: Bonte Café Completed: 2021 Gross Built Area: 180m² Location: 99 Lê Hồng Phong, Hội An, Vietnam Architects: Yên Architecture Vietnam is a developing country; urbanisation is happening rapidly and it is driving people away from nature. The buildings around us are becoming more concretebased and negatively effecting our living environments. Yên Architecture used these cues and hopes that through this project, people will be able to reconnect to nature. Bonte Café is located on the outskirts of Hội An, 2km northwest of the central ancient town, the area is adjacent to the old town and a new residential area. The desire was to bring nature into the project, where people can touch the leaves and flowers and interact with wild nature. The building is covered by tall trees and smaller trees, which all have flowers, shrubs, and some types of vines. With layers of vegetation, the problem of heat and humidity is solved – the trees provide both moisture and oxygen in the air that makes the environment cooler and cleaner. During the rainy season, the amount of rainwater is returned to the soil through the garden, ensuring the cycle of water and carbon remains in nature. The door system with a folding option can be maximised to form the roof, and at the same time blur the boundary between the inside and the outside with air circulation bolstering the space's sense of size and openness. In the midst of this open space, a cup of coffee acts as a catalyst to help people become closer to each other. Bonte Café has three stories, with a staircase to connect the ground floor to level 1 – making the interaction between floors easier, customers can easily choose a good place to sit and enjoy their drinks. Level 3 is quieter and more secluded to work and study. A number of tables have been arranged for group seating, and a few English learning groups have recently chosen this space as a study place. Not many materials were used in this building but those that were used, were kept to their true nature. The architects kept the natural colour of concrete, timber, steel and grindstone. They highly appreciated the local craftsmen who, although were lacking access to modern machines, had great minds and hands, making the surface of the material emotional and attractive.


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Likhutsa Nursery is a thriving wholesale and retail nursery that propagates ornamental bedding plants, shrubs, groundcovers and trees, as well indigenous and exotic plant types. We are well versed in all aspects of our trade and take pride in providing all clients with our knowledge and plant information. Portion 52 (Portion of Portion 9), Burgershalle farm, Kiepersol Iswell Thabethe : 083 689 9581 | 013 591 2569

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Mnandi F E AT U R E


ith more than 30 years of experience in the green industry, Floriculture, based in Centurion, is one of the top wholesale nurseries. We chat to the owner, Jaco Mare to find out more about his nursery. How big is your nursery, where is it situated and which types of professionals do you open your doors to? From its humble beginnings in 2015, Floriculture, a proudly family-owned business, has grown from one delivery vehicle on a small rental property, operating mostly in the Gauteng region, to a high-capacity wholesale grower suppling to all provinces. Since then, Floriculture has bought the original rental property which has now become our headquarters and we have just celebrated our sixth birthday. Floriculture has expanded and bought additional land in the Knoppieslaagte area which became the growing farm. We have a total of 7.5 hectares under production. We are a wholesale nursery, and do not sell to the public.

How many staff members do you employ on site and what are the different roles you have set out for these members? Floriculture is home to 40 permanent staff members. Our headquarters is managed by Morgan, who has been a part of the company since day one and has grown to become a real asset to the business. As a family-run business, the family is hands on, and this includes: Jaco, the owner, who is a passionate grower and his main responsibility is the production of quality plants; and Leoni, who oversees the sales and marketing. Recently they were fortunate enough to be joined by their two children, Megan and Wiedrich, who are helping to build and continue a great future for Floriculture. Which areas of South Africa do you service? Currently, Floriculture consists of a wellmanaged fleet of two Quantum sample trucks that display samples to our clients, as well as six delivery vehicles supplying quality plants to clients across all provinces in South Africa. We also specialise in exporting to all our neighbouring countries, like Namibia.



What would you say Floriculture Wholesale nursery is best known for growing? We believe in growing plants that are gardenready, can be grown in full sun or shade, and can be fully exposed to all elements of nature. Floriculture specialises in the growing of mostly shrubs and groundcovers – shade-loving plants. Cacti and aloes for the waterwise market. All our plants are grown in top quality 9mm bark growing medium delivered from Nelspruit. We are proud growers of the PROVEN WINNER range, which include lines like Coprosma 'Pacific Sunrise/Sunset', Burgundy Iceberg roses, Asparagus 'Green Ripple', and Pennisetum 'Fireworks' to mention a few. We recently expanded our range of plants that we grow by adding additional colour lines from Ball Straathof including: Osteospermum, Scabiosa, Argyranthemum, carnations and a whole lot of other colour lines. How do you see Floriculture expanding within the next five years? We feel strong about loyalty to our clients and offering them only the best. Our main vision for the next five years is not necessarily on expanding the company, but rather focusing on improving quality and service and adding new and interesting stock to our production lines. Like all good things in life, quality takes time. Clients can visit the depot any day of the week to view, order and load our quality stock on hand. Alternatively, we can be reached by email at:




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