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Arty 70 Juta opens Print E-mail
08 November 2010

With shops, designers, offices and a gallery, the new transformation at 70 Juta Street in Braamfontein is an artistic place to hang out.

A KALEIDOSCOPE of colour washes the facade of the recently opened cultural precinct on Juta Street in Braamfontein, inviting passers-by to step into a fashion, design and art experience.


Seventy Juta is an addition to Braamfontein's growing number of fashionable buildings
Seventy Juta Street is an addition to Braamfontein's growing number of fashionable buildings


Formerly the old army surplus store, the visually inviting building at 70 Juta Street officially opened its doors on 7 November. It contains 15 petite creative spaces in the single-storey building, which is on the corner of Juta and De Beer streets.

There are music and fashion outlets - one is owned by the fashion designer, David Thale - a deli coffee shop, an office occupied by an architect, an interior design studio, an art gallery, a furniture store and a film and camera company.

Carl Ascroft, the right-hand man of property owner Adam Levy, says it will be “an oasis” in the city.

At the opening, the spaces were jam-packed with a hip and happening crowd. Shop owners readied their stores for prospective customers. While many of the shops and office spaces displayed their merchandise, they are all expected to be open by January 2011.

The building was converted by architect Bryan Dunstan of BD Studio and houses office spaces of 16m² and retail space of 22m². It comprises two rows of shops and offices, one set facing the pavement and the other neatly tucked away at the back, accessible through a narrow passage that leads on to a tranquil courtyard that separates the two rows.

Rounded off with a row of thorn trees and cobblestones, the courtyard offers easy access into all the stores and offices through its open plan design. The use of glass adds to the open feel. Also in the courtyard is the building’s former gun safe, which has been converted into unisex toilets.


The leafy courtyard at 70 Juta
The leafy courtyard at 70 Juta


The owners of the art gallery New Clr, Jonty Harbinson and Durren Coulter, say they started the gallery “as something on the side”. It has grown immensely and they plan to use the space to showcase work by up-and-coming young local artists.

Looking back on the official opening, Ascroft  says the day went well with a great turnout. People partied the night away. The building is a platform for a variety of diverse people and the space offers an opportunity for cross pollination of creative ideas.

There are other offerings in the area adding to the cultural experience, such as the Co-Op Gallery on 68 Juta Street. Also owned by Levy, it has been open for about a year. Here new and emerging works are on show, in the fields of contemporary art and design. It hosts a diverse programme of exhibitions, events and exclusive collaborations.

Co-Op Gallery is allied with to Cape Town’s What if the World art gallery. It shares the space with Dokter and Misses, an industrial design warehouse.

Levy has other Braamfontein ventures – he has also bought 62 Juta Street, which he plans to transform into two floors of offices and three penthouse apartments. The French Institute and the Brodie-Stevenson Gallery will also be moving into the space.

“I’m all about Braamfontein and authentic city transformation,” Levy says. “I do this for the love of it, not for the money.”

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Last Updated on 16 November 2010