The City of Joburg Council Chambers


Location Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa

Year 2017

Scale 2000 sqm

Services Interior Design, Product Development

Collaborators StudioMAS, architecture; Smith Tait, lighting design

Photography Elsa Young

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Situated at the confluence of De Korte and Rissik Streets in downtown Braamfontein, the newly unveiled City of Johannesburg council chambers represents a three-year collaboration with pre-eminent architecture firm StudioMAS, who invited HesseKleinloog to partner with them on the interior detailing of this landmark public building.

The structure’s iconic cylindrical form was designed to represent a calabash or drum, in reference to the traditional circular configuration and democratic principles of the traditional African lekgotla. Serving as a medium between public and private space, the glass-clad façade invites a symbolic dialogue between municipal administrators and their constituents, by encouraging transparent, inclusive and accountable governance.

Faced with the challenge of designing all interior elements around a series of concentric rings, the process demanded substantial research, exhaustive product development and partnership with artisans well-versed in the use of local materials. The resulting scheme echoes the vertical sweep of gold-tinted fins encircling the building’s exterior, by incorporating slatted wood panelling, ungauged, slim-profile slate flooring, and a linear motif laser-cut into steel cladding. The rich ebony and gold palette serves as further tribute to the city’s symbolic position as the ‘Place of Gold’.  

HesseKleinloog is proud to have contributed towards this sophisticated and progressive demonstration of transformation and civic engagement.