Along with her business partner Megan Hesse, Andrea is one half of the design duo behind homeware store Anatomy Design and interior design firm HK Studio. Originally from Durban, at her effortlessly chic store Andrea told us all about the city she now calls home.
At Anatomy Design you offer exquisitely crafted, timeless products. Is it hard to find the craftspeople?
Yes and no. We’ve got an amazing body of production and craft in Johannesburg that can be refined. And we adapt our design language to what we can do; that’s been a very conscious effort on our part.
Does your location in Johannesburg shape your designs?
Yes, how can it not? We manufacture everything locally, and there’s an amazing humanity and warmth here that I cannot compare to anywhere else in the world. There’s an understanding that we’re all working towards getting things done. And it’s made an enormous and heavy-weighted impression on everything we do. We are feverishly proud of being from here.
Did you always see yourself in Johannesburg?
No! But I have to say, Johannesburg is a seriously hidden gem. It is the most remarkable city because it is so cosmopolitan – the people here are vibrant and ambitious and alive. There’s a relentless search for improvement and growth which is embedded in the fibre of the city.
You also run an interior design studio. Can you tell us about any projects you’re particularly proud of?
We did the interiors for the new Council Chamber of the City of Johannesburg, working together with an architectural firm called StudioMAS. It’s been an amazing project – a labour of love for 3 years. It had to be the most timeless design we’ve ever done because it’s hopefully going to be around for hundreds of years. We also work with Kirsten Goss jewellery and she’s amazing – her stores are going up in the new Silo district in Cape Town which Thomas Heatherwick designed.
You and your business partner Megan were co-creative directors of the inaugural Design Joburg this year. Would you say Johannesburg is building a reputation for design excellence?
Almost certainly. It’s a big enough industry to fuel it. For Design Joburg, we created a completely interactive show with design and collaboration at its heart. We came at it saying, “Let’s do something cool, let’s pull this off”.
Any beautiful spaces design and architecture enthusiasts should check out?
Circa Gallery, definitely. There’s an amazing tour guide called Past Experiences, and they do one of the most interesting walking tours of the city. We’ve got amazing architecture that is unfolding itself again.
How would you spend 48 hours in Johannesburg?
I think the biggest thing is: don’t squash too much in. I would start with a First Thursday event here in Keyes Art Mile – the street closes, there are food carts and live jazz, and you can visit the nearby galleries like Circa. Then on a Friday, I would go to Mad Giant Craft Brewery and Urbanologi, and in the afternoon I would do a walking tour of the city. On Saturday, I would have to go to the amazing Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein.
Favourite place for a dose of culture?
The BioScope in Maboneng is great for an evening of culture. Fashion Week is also a good time to come to Johannesburg for culture, as they do outpost shows across the city.
We often overlook what’s on our doorstep, is there anything you still need to do?
That city walking tour! And also the Apartheid Museum, it’s apparently remarkable.
If you had friends coming from out of town, where would you take them for drinks?
One hidden gem I went to recently is Ace + Pearl – it’s a wine bar with good, simple food, almost like an old-fashioned speakeasy.
What should more people know about Johannesburg?
Johannesburg’s very insular, there are a lot of ‘courtyards’; that’s the best way to describe what we do in this city. Once you’re through the courtyard doors it’s like a realm of magic, but you’ve got to find your way there first. Discovering the city is part of the adventure.
Would you recommend people spend a few days in the city before heading on to safari?
I would highly recommend it – I think the contrast is amazing. When you’re walking through the city there’s a rhythm that’s unmatchable, and then the first thing you notice about safari is the quiet – it gets into your bones.
Three words to describe Johannesburg?
Raw, unmatched depth.
The Anatomy Design homeware and design store is a ten minute drive from the Saxon.
19 Keyes Ave
Design Joburg returns in 2018, from 25th – 28th May at the Sandton Convention centre.
The Saxon is on hand to arrange a wide array of tours for guests, including a Johannesburg city tour, a tour of the Apartheid Museum and a range of gallery tours.