My business neighbourhood features an architect firm this week. Let’s hear what they’re all about.
Q: How did your business start?
A: With a dream. Mine was to surround myself with like-minded, creative people. It’s been hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world – I’m now surrounded by some of the most amazing, creative people in my business.
Q: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
A: Durban CBD and surrounds is such a melting pot of South African culture, a truer reflection of the demographics of the city we live in… and we enjoy being part of it. There’s something inspiring about being in the middle of a working city. The focus of our practice is on rejuvenating Durban’s CBD, something we’re passionate about, so we put our money where our mouths are, and moved into the area we were working on architecturally.
Q: How did you find your premises?
A: We looked for spaces that inspired us. The building we found was perfect, owned by Karen and Claus Bradtke who have an art gallery in the building, ArtSPACE. The top floor was industrial-style studio spaces for artists – it needed some work, but was right up our alley and love at first sight. We gutted the entire floor and converted it into our industrial, retro-style work space.
Q: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
A: So many factors. Our practice specialises in an industrial-style architecture. We were able to convert an existing warehouse structure into our dream offices, five minutes from the CBD – where most of our work occurs – and when we look out our windows, we see working railways, bustling roads and the most amazing view of Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. We couldn’t be more perfectly positioned.
Q: Who are your neighbours?
A: Most have been around for a decade or longer. Businesses seem to stay a lifetime in the Umgeni Road area. Below us is ArtSPACE the art gallery, and across the road, Waste Centre Fabrics.
Q: What are the shop rental/ sales prices like in this area?
A: Compared to the north of Durban, shop rental/sales prices are really good value for the size. Properties don’t seem to change hands that often here – one of the reasons we decided to buy and be part of the area’s upgrade.
Q: Do you have any expansion plans?
A: We do. We’ve always wanted to grow the creative community, so we’ve extended to include other entrepreneurs. We’ve been joined by a craft beer brewery and videographers. Interior designers will be moving in soon, and in February we’ll be converting a portion of the art gallery into artisan studio spaces which will act as incubators for creative entrepreneurs.
Q: Do you operate online as well?
A: We operate in the social media realm, but we do not actively market our work online.
Q: What do you work on most?
A: The work we do on refurbishing buildings, particularly in the central business district. It’s where our passion lies – converting derelict neighbourhoods back into communities. It’s a side of the business we are growing and it’s becoming more popular as developers start focusing again on Durban’s CBD.
Arkus Architectural Practice
031 303 1438