99 Juta: Dokter and Misses' must-visit design destination in Braamfontein
Joburg is abuzz about this new decor hub which houses the showrooms of some of SA's most innovative design brands plus hosts cool pop-ups
"We did what we always do if we can't find what we want, says product designer Katy Taplin, co-owner of Dokter and Misses. "We made it."
She's talking about her latest venture with husband-cum-business-partner Adriaan Hugo, a project that is on a larger scale than the furniture and products the duo have become known for.
This time, Dokter and Misses have launched a building.
When looking for a new home for their brand, Katy and Adriaan couldn't find a showroom that suited their needs - so they decided to build their own.
Their vision became possible after partnering with property developers Consolidated Urban and Play Braamfontein, together with whom they found the perfect site in Joburg's trendy downtown neighbourhood of Braamfontein: at run-down building located at 99 Juta Street.
When they first came across 99 Juta, the 80-odd-year-old grand dame was in disrepair and concealed behind fibre cement cladding, but an examination soon determined that the building was structurally sound. Little was known about its history as the original plans had been lost, but one look at its symmetry and the partners knew it would be perfect for their needs.
They would be able to build spacious, light-filled showrooms as well as offices and pop-up spaces, allowing 99 Juta to bring together a design community.
With architects Local Studio heading up the refurbishment, and interiors and fittings designed by Dokter and Misses, the building was transformed. "From the beginning we loved the internal spaces and courtyards," says Taplin. Many of the building's original elements, such as its steel and timber staircase, were kept intact, and after a lick of pink paint, the end result is a colourful showcase of local design.
99 is home to four permanent showrooms and two pop-up exhibition spaces, with designers including Joe Paine, Mash.T Design Studio, Monique Vee, The Urbanative, Houtlander and Dokter and Misses. "We have great neighbours and there's still potential for growth and collaboration," says Taplin, adding that the design and layout of the building encourages visitors to explore and engage with the designers and also for the designers to support and share with one another.
As a result, two of what Taplin hopes will be many 99 Juta design collabs are already under way. The first is between Monique Vee and Houtlander, who are working on a fresh take on one of Vee's suspended tables. At the same time, Dokter and Misses and Houtlander are teaming up on a hybrid concept range.
The team is working to bring fresh content into the pop-up spaces, which have seen everything from design exhibitions to product and event launches. "We recently hosted the first Lift Club session at 99, which is a mentorship programme by the Design Foundation," says Taplin. "We hope to foster and develop talent and showcase these designers' work.
"It's great to be part of a community. 99 is design."