Gauteng DestinationsMaboneng, Johannesburg
Downtown Johannesburg has undergone something of a renaissance. What used to be a no-go area, to the east of the inner-city, is now a vibrant creative district that attracts a mixed lively and art-going crowd; a mix of students, artists and entrepreneurs..
Meaning 'place of light' Maboneng is a regeneration of Johannesburg's red-brick east-end; what is described as a 'mixed-use community' – a combination of residential apartments with studio, retail and art-centred space. There is also a theatre, an independent cinema, a collection of eateries and markets.
The result is something rather exceptional and a far-cry from the high-walled suburbs of the north, or the no-go areas of the inner-city.
The whole concept was Initiated by developer Jonathan Liebmann, who bought up several blocks' worth of derelict construction offices and warehouses. He collaborated with architect Enrico Daffonchio to change the space into something chic and attractive. The district is now a collection of different buildings/spaces: Arts on Main, Main Street Life, Fox Street Studios, a hotel, an office building called Main Change, and Revolution House.
Arts on Main, as its name suggests, combines artists' studios (including the likes of William Kentridge - the district's 'anchor client'), galleries, shops, and office space.
Main Street Life is residential apartments with views over the city, and a ground floor given over to exhibition space, restaurants, POPArt Theatre, and the Bioscope (independent cinema).
Fox Street Studios is retail space for restaurants, fashion and design stores, but also holds Maboneng's community centre.
The 12 Decades Hotel's rooms have been designed by artists and designers.
Main Change is a collaborative working space for entrepreneurs, but also holds a spa, meditation zone, healing centre, health food café and shops.
Revolution House mixes apartments with film and sound studios, and a barber shop, amongst other spaces.
MOAD, a museum showcasing African design, lies between Arts on Main and Revolution House.