The Main Change & OPEN, Maboneng, Johannesburg
A 1970's light industrial building in the Maboneng Precinct has been converted into a mixed use building, consisting primarily of offices which house entrepreneurs and innovators in a collaborative working environment with office spaces between 30 and 140 square meters. The building features a health food rooftop cafe and bar, and ground floor fashion and furniture stores. The Main Change has won the Halala award for 'Working and Buying Johannesburg' and has seen several diverse companies move their businesses to the Johannesburg CBD.
The architectural additions to the facade serve the purpose of passive solar design and ventilation: the new folding stacking aluminium shutters shade the glazing when closed, and can be opened to let in sun and for views over the city. The chimneys serve as extraction for ventilation, and double as a platform for signage for the building.
The facade also features a 5-storey high wrapped mosaic by Hannelie Coetzee, named 'The Change Agent'. It is a photo mosaic made out of unmarked mining core cut into discs, and overlooks the mine dumps to the south of the Johannesburg CBD. The dot by dot artwork symbolises the purpose of the building: to network, to build relationships, and to connect the dots.
The building is also home to OPEN, an innovative 1000 square meter co-working space for start ups and freelancers. As well as being the architects for The Main Change, Daffonchio was appointed separately as the architects for OPEN, designing everything from the layout to the furniture. The concept for OPEN is to be more than just an office. The intention is for OPEN to be a collaborative community of creative and professional people who come together in an inspiring and diverse space where you can expand your mind, meet, network and collaborate.
The main open plan area of OPEN has a putting green in the centre, which doubles up as an auditorium when the sound proof curtains are drawn around it. It also features a long juice and coffee bar opening onto a balcony in the north facing courtyard of the building, a lounge and library, and a table tennis area. The southern and western perimeters of this open area have various flexible areas with views over the south of the city. These can be adapted by means of sliding screens and move-able, modular furniture, so that they can be used as open plan shared office areas or private workshopping areas, meeting rooms or offices. OPEN also has a reception, a printing area, and formal boardrooms.