Kwena Square helps to bench the gap

Kwena Square helps to bench the gap

Little Falls 7 When an outstretched hand offering assistance is accepted, the result is usually a partnership with a beautiful outcome. This is the case with Kwena Square’s bench campaign, where they offered local entrepreneurs and artists the opportunity to design and manufacture unique benches to adorn the mall, once completed.

Shannon Wulff from Mall Marketing explained “Kwena Square is the latest addition to Little Falls and with the community being a focus of the shopping centre, an exciting campaign was launched to identify homegrown artists who would design truly unique benches and dustbins that would be manufactured locally within the West Rand. As ongoing marketing efforts to support small businesses at Kwena Square, homegrown artists were commissioned to design and manufacture the mall's benches locally. Kwena Square saw this as an opportunity to provide financial aid to small businesses and make a measurable difference to these artists wanting to further their careers in the retail industry.

The shopping centre invited artists through community groups and online platforms to submit a design which was inspired by the name which was inspired by the name, ‘Koena’ (‘Kwena’) which is the Sesotho word for ‘crocodile’, as well as the aesthetics of the mall. “The winner was chosen upon their uniqueness and understanding of the nature and crocodile elements which are part of the overall mall’s aesthetics, the durability of the benches, and the ability to manufacture them locally within the West Rand,” Shannon said.

Shannon added, “The centre began construction in August 2021 and during the construction ofKwena Square, a substantial 641 people were employed for the project, by commissioning these young artists Kwena Square continues to support small businesses, and the community and further enhances the shopping centres unique aesthetics of an outdoor shopping experience.”

There were quite a few entrants, but the ultimate winner was Siviwe Jali, the head designer and director of uMugqa Studio. He started his career by doing an internship with Joe Paine where he was able to learn what it takes to be a designer in the industry and what the days would look like working in the industry. His vision is to spread his philosophy and approach to design across the country and then onto the world.

The collaborating artist on this project is Katlego Tshuma. He began his online business during the pandemic, and his aim is to amplify products with a distinctly homegrown and indigenous feel of Africa. This is something that will definitely add some unique aesthetics to the benches.

Shannon confirmed that the benches will be manufactured by Takk Studio which is located in Luipaardsvlei, Krugersdorp. keeping it locally produced. Takk Studio is an emerging local design/ manufacturer that is practising sustainable methods of production while making beautiful products.

When Siviwe was asked what inspired him to be in the industry, he answered, “The opportunity to be involved in creative work that impacts people’s lives in some shape, way or fashion — seeing my work out there in the market and seeing people use the product and knowing that I contributed to their life, even if it was just for a moment".

He added that his inspiration to enter the competition was the challenge.