A little more than a year after opening its doors to the public, Johannesburg’s Keyes Art Mile has become firmly entrenched as a “must do” destination for tourists looking to satisfy their cultural thirst for that particular blend of South African top-notch art, design and food.
Similarly, the precinct has stolen the hearts of locals as a superb spot for sundowners and fine dining with an unforgettable view, the best burger in town, and a showcase of contemporary African art and furniture by leading international industrial designers. And, of course, a co-working space at the Mesh Club, whose designer interiors would make any reluctant entrepreneur enthusiastic about putting in the extra hours.
And best of all – every visit offers refreshingly new tastes and visual experiences. While the music on First Thursday’s spills out onto the newly cobbled avenue lined by vendors of the artful food and fun-filled drinks variety, new exhibitions opening at steadfast intervals create a different experience altogether. Two worthy additions to the TRUMPET on Keyes Art Mile – which looks across towards the hundred-year old Everard Reed Gallery and gently touches sides with the beautiful CIRCA gallery – are Okapi and The Butchery by Marble. This is Okapi’s first flagship store, as well as its first in Johannesburg.
The sophisticated modern interior reflects the refined craftsmanship found in every limited edition Okapi piece – luxurious, artisanal handbags and accessories designed to grow with the owner over time – and the Keyes Art Mile store offers clients the opportunity to personalise their bags. With a keen focus on skills development and employment, all materials and manufacturing are finished entirely in South Africa.The Butchery by Marble offers patrons the opportunity have a bite to eat or glass of wine in the most exquisite setting. That said, locals also continue to buy their meat for a traditional South African braai here. It is, after all, a working butchery – albeit the most beautiful butchery in Johannesburg! Keyes Art Mile will also add a touch of glamour to year-end-new-beginnings celebratory bubbles with a pop-up champagne bar called Upstairs at Mesh, running from November 2017 to the end of February 2018.
Moving beyond the walls of the TRUMPET, Keyes Art Mile has made great progress with their vision of a greener cityscape. Pavements have been widened, cobbles have replaced tar and the population of large indigenous African Wild Olive and Budleia trees, in front of the TRUMPET alone, has grown from one to twenty-one. And the piece de resistance is a vertical field of indigenous grasses and bulbs that covers the Keyes-facing wall of St Theresa’s School.
“The confines of a traditional urban grid system doesn’t give us the luxury of open spaces, so we went upwards instead, to create a vertical field that uses plants specific to the very same biome that originally thrived in Rosebank,” says Anton Taljaard from Tomorrow Co, the development company behind Keyes Artr Mile. “It’s a living growing breathing experiment” Keyes Art Mile, even in its year-long infancy, is ensconced in the life and times of the Johannesburg bustle.Contact: Keyes Art Mile