Victoria Yards in Lorentzville, is part of Joburg’s exciting, inner-city regeneration projects creating an urban village-environment for Crafters and Artists to work and exhibit.
Clever, cost-effective, face-lift gives artisans funky work, display and selling spaces
This once dilapidated industrial complex has been given a clever, cost-effective upgrade which left the style and character with old plaster and graffiti intact. Exposed brickwork cleverly integrates the historic layers of the buildings and all tenants have the same style black and white sign-boards adding to the Yard’s charming village character where everybody knows each other.
Lorentzville is between Bertrams and Troyeville, close to Maboneng and opposite Nando’s head office, renowned for their extraordinary collection of perky South African CraftArt in their outlets all over the world.
Madi a Thavha CraftArt centre rents a space in the second phase of this funky development. Our aim is to display and market Limpopo’s talents and to expose our rural artisans to their urban peers through artisans-in-residence programs. Our aim is to boost a rural-urban collaboration this way and invite urban artisans to explore their rural roots in return. Madi a Thavha CraftArt centre has opened October 2018.
Limpopo artisans ready to join in-residence programs
Limpopo’s artisans are excited about our plans too, many are ready to join our artisans-in-residence programmes. We will focus on interior design products, gifts and products for tourists. Victoria Yards created a safe environment for tourists to experience the ever-transforming zest of Joburg always at the forefront of exciting new ideas and developments.
Well-known South African artists like Blessing Ngobeni and the Daville Baillie Gallery have already settled in between creative metal worker Justin Wells and furniture maker David Krynauw – and of course us people from Limpopo!
Village life in the heart of Joburg
Since cars are not allowed in this 30 000 m2 space with its walkways and vertical gardens, it already has a vibrant village vibe buzzing with working artisans, art galleries, a coffee shop, brewery, fruit trees and vegetable patches being worked or harvested around every corner. Small workshops e.g. welding, copper work, lamps, jewellers and carpenters work and frequently collaborate here too.
Apart from being a space where Limpopo artisans can profile themselves, it also creates the opportunity for cross-pollination of urban and rural skills and knowledge. “Becoming part of this creative eco-system generate exciting exchange and support opportunities for Limpopo artisans, which has always been our dream,” says Marcelle and Aart, owners of Madi a Thavha mountain lodge in Limpopo and now this new CraftArt centre in Joburg.
Everybody quickly became part of the ‘First Sundays at Victoria Yards’ open days allowing visitors time to get to know the artisans and explore their studios.
How green is this valley
Brian Green, of 44 Stanley-fame, is the visionary behind the development of Victoria Yards, which was formerly a light industrial complex that housed the New York Steam Laundry, still the signature building of the lot.
He saw potential for a communal artisan space, a food farm and entertainment space, with social benefits for the residents of surrounding communities – and this is what it is becoming right now. Victoria Yards has been given a green jacket and a light, innovative face-lift which left some of the graffiti intact and brickwork exposed, tying in neatly with the textured history of its previous life.
The soil around the buildings, once infertile, has been layered with mulch treated with natural fertiliser and nowadays the weekly farmers market takes place every Friday at the Yards.
Victoria Yards also collaborate with the Makers Valley collective (MVC)
The MVC is a non-profit organisation, that help build partnerships between residents, various local makers and maker-spaces with the aim to promote co-creating sustainable lifestyles in various areas of Joburg’s inner-city.
The unique focus of their Makers Market such as recently at Victoria Yards, is co-creating and advocacy for voluntary participation in the various making activities. Visitors can expect to participate in workshops, networking, site activation’s, live performances, exhibitions and tours to each of the Maker Hubs in the area.
The vision of the MVC is to partner with the residents, makers, businesses, property developers and local government by encouraging them to work together in making the area the best place to live, work and enjoy well-being by co-creating. Using this Asset Based Community Development approach, MVC can collaborate with various makers, develop skills and bring a hype to the area through projects such as the Makers Market.
A clean Jukskei river runs through it now
Victoria Yards has won a grant from the Johannesburg Development Agency to clean up and develop the Jukskei River that flows through the property too. There has already been a huge clean-up and Brian’s vision is to get a natural water purification system with aquatic plants, fish and eventually have pathways and swimming opportunities with controlled access for the community.
There is talk that a walking trail from Doornfontein to Bruma could be in the pipeline too. Altogether a high, high five for sustainable development at Victoria Yards and surrounds!