Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new — product, packaging, design, insight, food, décor and more!

  • Food@The Zone launches
  • Virgin gets active in Africa
  • Smirnoff takes gold

Food, fun and activations at The Zone in 2016

Rosebank’s first food court, a 2000m2 indoor food emporium, opened towards the end of 2015 on the first floor of The Zone@Rosebank, marking a milestone in the R500m revamp of the Johannesburg suburb’s well-known fashion and entertainment hub.

Dubbed Food@The Zone, the court offers moviegoers and families a chance to relax in an open-plan self-service dining space, with panoramic views and a balcony overlooking Oxford Road, and access to some of South Africa’s favourite fast-food vendors and sit-down restaurants.

Responsible for the project is Louis Karol Architects, which also designed the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. According to Nqaba Mangcu, project architect of Louis Karol Architects, the new food court is intended to “revitalise this entertainment area, with its abundance of natural light, earthy colours, slick seating and granite tables, soft backlit wallpaper and mosaic tiling. Shoppers will also have access to a smart-connect area with Wi-Fi, TVs and desk plugs.”

By refurbishing the ground and first floors of The Zone@Rosebank (including a new corridor which adds access to the open-air restaurant and pedestrian section between The Zone and The Zone Phase 2), and placing the new food court on the first floor, the architects have been able to accommodate 16 new stores in the existing space. The new Viva Gym is already up and running, and a SuperSpar will be opening in early 2016, too.

Shoppers will also soon be able to enjoy a new mixed-use retail/office space in the former Standard Bank building on Tyrwhitt Avenue, now known as The Zone Boulevard. Bringing Jozi back onto the streets with outdoor restaurants and entertainment, the ground floor of the Zone Boulevard hosts a variety of restaurants, also serving as a green space via the Living Wall with outside seating and piazza-style ambiance. The first and second floors are being remodelled into office space of approximately 2 200m2.

The Zone comprises five separate buildings: The Zone, Regent Place, The Zone Phase 2, The Zone Boulevard and Cradock Square. Cradock Square houses Game and some offices upstairs, and Regent Place contains the shops and restaurants from Nino’s around to Ocean Basket and Levingers. Both face out onto the Rosebank Square parking lot, which has also been partially revamped with astro turf, paved sidewalks and better lighting, forming a ‘green’ picnic-type spot.

Explains Wesley Scott, The Zone’s marketing manager, “Rosebank Square is the property of the [Joburg Property Company], of which The Zone@Rosebank has a lease hold. This area is intended to become a ‘pedestrian park’ and pause area in line with the city’s plans for [its] project called ‘Corridors of Freedom‘. Until such time as JPC decides exactly what [it] would like on this space, we have been given the opportunity to host some activations and events on this space.


Gaborone gets gyming

Virgin Active’s first health club in Botswana marks a significant step in the company’s expansion journey into Africa, where new club builds represent investments of up to about R85m.

The new Gaborone health club, officially opened in December 2015 by Botswana’s assistant minister of health, Dr Alfred Madigele, is a first for the group on the continent outside of South Africa and Namibia, where it has two clubs in Windhoek.

Says managing director, Ross Faragher-Thomas, “Africa offers significant strategic growth potential for the company. South Africa is our biggest market but we believe we can replicate our success across the continent as long as we move with proper care and consideration for each specific market.”

The company researched the Gaborone market carefully before building the club at Airport Junction, the biggest mall in the country, and Faragher-Thomas described Botswana as “the obvious choice for this first move, given its stability, investor-friendly economy and growing middle-class.”

Nairobi is next for Virgin Active, with a club opening planned for the latter part of 2016; further countries are due to be confirmed shortly.


Gold for Brandhouse packaging

Smirnoff Double Black Vodka has scooped Gold in the Institute of Packaging’s recent Gold Pack Awards for its striking glass bottle that boasts organic, unique ink media and effects.

Brandhouse challenged the experts at Glass Decorations to develop a bottle that would stand out, beginning a journey that included sourcing ink media both locally and abroad, and achieving what is described as an ideal blend between coating paint, decorating inks and foiling as a finishing touch.

The blue/black-coated bottle, decorated in a newly developed glitter blue, matt metallic silver and a high gloss silver foil finish, gives the illusion that the bottle is black. Brand elements are highlighted by matte and metallic silver and white, and the pack is rounded off with a tactile high-gloss silver foil frame, emphasising key areas.

Using only organic-based media, combined with a glass container, the product has a proven sustainable beverage footprint.


Cheryl Hunter

Shelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things new. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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