Central Kitchen

Large Office Winner

Project: Central Kitchen | Johannesburg South Africa

Firm: Nando’s | Johannesburg South Africa

Design Statement

The revamp of Central Kitchen, the heart of the Nando’s home in Lorentzville, Johannesburg, was a pivotal moment for Nando’s and South African design. South African creative Tracy Lynch was brought in to find Central Kitchen’s true south and collaborated and curated a collection of functional furniture, light fittings and design solutions with more than 50 extraordinary South African designer-makers. Her vision was that every piece of functional design in Central Kitchen would be designed and handcrafted from scratch, at source by South African designer-makers to embody Nando’s intrinsic values of “pride, passion, courage, integrity and family”. Together with Anne Maclachlan, they transformed the interior of the campus, which had been a series of packing warehouses and store rooms. The campus now comprises of seven interconnected buildings, it is a functional and highly productive articulation of a sophisticated, forward-thinking South African aesthetic. Doing so also created a powerful context in which to exhibit contemporary South African artworks curated by Jeanetta Blignaut of Yellowwood Arts as part of Nando’s Art Initiative. The creative direction was focused on convincing Nando’s to channel their Revamp spending to support the South African Design economy. The investment has yielded a pivotal return far beyond the realization of a remarkable and sophisticated space that is authentically and uniquely South African. It has created a momentum for Nando’s to celebrate this new way forward on a much larger scale, and to begin taking this homegrown South African aesthetic to the interiors of Nando’s restaurants, locally and internationally.

The open plan office areas housed in one of the original warehouse spaces needed a floor solution that was super hard wearing, absorbed sound, and could be installed in tiles. These qualities were not negotiable. The original samples which were sourced and presented to me were not inspiring in any way. I made it my personal mission to find a carpet solution that ticked the practical boxes, but which would also enhance the aesthetic of our project. I spent a few hours searching online. Images of spaces with incredible carpets repeatedly popped up with Shaw Contract Group as the supplier. What a relief to find that they had an agent in South Africa and one that speedily delivered samples to us. The result is a spectacular open plan office space filled with incredible art and South African designed furniture pieces, held by a beautiful backdrop of elegant and innovative woven tiles. The boardrooms which are such important meeting spaces have a more luxurious design and this enhances the aesthetic of these intimate spaces.

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