Workshop 17’s commitment to local design supports the industry
South Africa’s cultural and creative industries contribute an estimated R63 billion per year to the economy (approximately 1.7% of total GDP). South African born co-working office space provider Workshop17 believes that the rapidly growing flexible office industry can do more to support the local creative economy.
Workshop17’s elegant, contemporary office spaces, located in seven buildings across Johannesburg and Cape Town, are designed using products and pieces by local designers and furniture manufacturers – a working relationship that facilitates the creation of local jobs, business growth and increased collaboration amongst local industry players. The workspaces provide an inspiring, adaptable environment; favoured by members who include freelancers, start-ups, non-profits, small businesses and even innovative corporates.
“Workshop17 provides workspaces ideally designed for its member clients to ensure a refreshing and stimulating environment in which to work. We prefer to partner with South African designers as far as possible. It is inspiring and rewarding to be able to collaborate with local talent in creating uniquely beautiful work environments for our members,” says Nisha Parbhoo, lead architect.
This in turn strengthens the local manufacturing industry. Houtlander co-founder Phillip Hollander – whose furniture feature at Workshop17 – said it was satisfying to see the company “supporting, appreciating and celebrating” local designers. The Johannesburg based manufacturing business, which he co-founded with Stephen Wilson, employs 35 people.
Designer David Krynauw developed furniture solutions based on Workshop17’s customer requirements. He employs 85 people at his factory in Johannesburg and was responsible for designing Workshop17’s desk solution as well as its modular office partitioning system. “I value the relationship because they have challenged my design and manufacturing capabilities. They were my biggest customer last year and it has enabled me to grow my business,” says Krynauw.
“Workshop17 is in the business of nurturing the growth of local entrepreneurs and our investment in local designers is an extension of this commitment,” says Paul Keursten, CEO of Workshop17. “South Africa is one of the top 25 major nations with the highest density of coworking spaces compared to their population. There is a huge opportunity in our industry to jobs and suppliers in the creative economy,” adds Keursten.