What’s in a space?

 

So there I was, walking through the Sandton (Johannesburg’s Business Disctrict) CBD on my way to attend a session hosted by Equinox and Cerebra.  It was windy and I almost felt a bit like Batman, pacing from the Gautrain station upwards towards Maude street, with my coat dangling in the wind.  Jip, winter is definitely here and I craved shelter from the taunting wind.

I found a cute little roastery that sold coffee and I was sorted.  With warm comfort (coffee) in hand, I walked further.  The shade cast by the towers and business buildings made me a bit grumpy as they were stealing the warm sunlight.  If it wasn’t for their beauty, Batman (that would be me for the moment) would roundhouse kick them to let through some vital sunshine D, aka the sun.  I arrived at 15 Alice Lane and the corporate energy can be felt in the expensive vehicles, people’s suits and the way they queue to get through security.  What mattered more was that I was inside, away from the wind.  “You need to go down to level -1” the lady at reception remarked.  -1? Surely if this is a corporate session, why do I go down to the basement? Shouldn’t it be in the professional, corporate auditorium further along? It struck me as odd, but I obliged and took the elevator down.

The doors swallowed me up only to spit me out again a level down.  PING! the sound almost ripped me from my thoughts.  There I was.  I was baffled.  I am almost sure I took a wrong turn and arrived at the Underground in London somewhere.  The distinct styling, tiles and signage teleported me to a different place.  The friendly man told me to ring the bell.  No more Batman vibes, these are James Bond vibes! The door opened and closed behind me and I was cubicled with a lovely wooden clock to keep me company. Another door swished (is there such a word?) open and I entered an old library, complete with seating, dimmed lighting, books, knick knacks on the shelves and I was no longer in Corporate Johannesburg.  I was in the underbelly of a creative thing.  What magic is this??!

There it was again….. swiish… another door opened and I am greeted by lovely receptionists clearly enjoying my baffled expression as I sign in.  Through the doors again and I entered a room where circling television screens greeted me, empty apart from the beanbags scattered to the side.  This is literally a mind@#%$,  (a good one might I add) and through the worm hole I arrived at the reception area with artificial grass and seating.  After I collected my Americano, I sat down.  How is it possible that within the corporate structure that imposes, impresses and almost intimidates, flows a space where I can breath, absorb light, sights, sounds and a plethora of creative energy.

We were greeted and guided to the session hall.  There an ensemble of seating awaited us, unconventional, different, colourful and on wheels.  Yes, the seating moved the moment you put your weight down on it.  Think it’s that way for a reason, to blur lines, make you aware of how out of control and IN control collaboration can be sometimes.  I enjoyed my morning on Internal Collaboration hosted by Mike Stopforth from Cerebra a lot.  What I enjoyed even more, or shall I say appreciated, was the creative space that was born from a need by the Corporate sector in Sandton, to use space to create, dream, make mistakes, ask silly questions and a space that can be the catalyst to exceptional collaboration.

The question still bugged me.  What are we doing with our spaces?  Can we do the same? Are we utilizing spaces to serve us or are we doing things to serve and justify the space we use?  Surely creativity cannot be boxed, but it can be found.  It can be found in the creative underbelly of the Corporate towers called Equinox.  It can be felt at the Roastery just off West street, where I bought my coffee from earlier, it can be found in the garden, kitchen, on mountains and so I can go on.  WE (us), need to use our spaces better, utilize our spaces to service not just us, but others.  Well done Equinox on being a catalyst and thank you for the challenge to create and collaborate and create spaces for people to be baffled in, to dream in, to meet in, to work in, to play in, to bring change about.

PS. They are open to host your meeting, go Google them! Now!

Say hallo to The Publican Bar & Grill!

The Publican Bar & Grill is situated in the Southdowns Shopping centre in Irene, Pretoria and close to the John Vorster offramp.  The Publican greets you with a contemporary mix of leather, stoned walls and an amazing fireplace that hypnotises you the moment you set foot through their doors.

I always say that it’s the small things that count when visiting any restaurant or eatery and here we can check all the boxes.  From the light pink Orchid at reception, the copper light fittings and even the bathrooms are tastefully done.  They surely didn’t skimp on anything when it comes to their decor.

The hostess immediately greets you with a smile and swiftly guide the way to your designated spot.  Flowing through the restaurant you end up on the stoep (veranda) and are immediately taken aback by the view and the gazillion lights.  (I’ve said it before, I’m a sucker for a good setting).

Tables are minimalist and well set and the darker tones on their furniture and black serviettes gives you a very ‘expensive’ or exclusive feel to what you are about to experience.  Their waiting staff works as a team and you are informed on their wines and given drink options.  I enjoyed a delightful deep red called Silver Myn from the Zorgvliet Wine Estate.

Immediately options on starters, mains and desserts were raised and I was impressed with the passion they show when explaining their menu options, from preparation to the moment it arrives on your plate.  It’s infectious.

For starters I just HAD to enjoy the Thick Cut Bacon with fresh parsley salad.  (By the way, the world is better because of Bacon). Delicious!  Mains feature a New York strip steak, Black Angus Beef and was beautifully prepared.  I would’ve like a bit more fries on the side though.  To close the evening off, I enjoyed a delectable Eaton Mess and was engulfed with a sticky viscid meringue, berry coolie and cream.  I was in heaven.

The Publican Bar & Grill gets it right and should be on your list if you are a meat-eater and enjoy lovely flame grilled meals.  They also have good vegetarian options available.  This eatery is a sure catalyst to an amazing evening filled with friends, great food and choice wine……… did I mention the view??  Go! Now!