Nando’s Central Kitchen Art Studio
From what started out as a small kitchen in Lorentzville in Johannesburg’s inner city in the early 1990s, Nando’s has built a global brand which is now famous for their Portuguese-style peri-peri chicken, bold advertising campaigns and their unwavering support of local art. They started their Global Art Initiative in 2001, and have since invested over R70 million to collect original pieces by local artists, which are displayed in their restaurants and offices around the world. Their growing collection now consists of an impressive 11,000 original artworks, making it the largest collection of African contemporary art displayed internationally, of which many are hanging in the recently renovated offices know as Central Kitchen.
Central Kitchen is the Nando’s headquarters in Lorentzville, Johannesburg. And by ‘headquarters’ we don’t mean a standard corporate office space with drywall cubicles and fluorescent lighting. Instead, Central Kitchen is a bright and dynamic, multifunctional space with a uniquely South African urban feel, furnished and decorated with work by over 50 local artists and furniture designers. CK (as it’s affectionately known) houses their head office, but also the Culinary Innovation Centre comprising of a test kitchen, analytical food lab and a sensorium, an in-house Nando’s restaurant, an art gallery and art studio, a Peri-Peri chilli garden, a gym, their very own radio station called Heatwave, Loja’s gift shop and Gloria’s Bar on the roof terrace. “At Central Kitchen you will literally feel Nando’s” says founder Robbie Brozin, and we’d have to agree.
‘The Wall’ by John Murray and executed Colossal Media, 15m x 4.5m
‘Pure’ by Cameron Platter, Tapestry, 250cm x 200cm
This building was the first-ever Nando’s factory back in the day. It’s where their famous chicken and signature sauce originated, so moving back here felt like coming home says Robbie Brozin. Before coming back though, the space was given more than just a lick of paint under the direction of Tracy Lee Lynch. Much of the old materials were repurposed, re-used and re-imagined. Jeanetta Blignaut, who is the CEO of Yellowwoods Art and curator of the entire Nando’s art collection, curated the art in this space. At the moment the Central Kitchen art collection consists of roughly 195 original pieces of art and 300 Creative Blocks.
A few of the pieces which were commissioned especially for Central Kitchen, including a Half Square panel by Matty Roodt, a suspended installation made from discarded parquet floor blocks by Emma Willemse, a ceramic installation by Paul Edmunds, a 15m-wide mural by John Murray and Colossal Media, 2 tapestries and 2 sculptures by Cameron Platter, a painting by Serge Alain Nitegeka, a triptych by Wayne Barker and another one by Kilmany-Jo Liverage. “The collection truly showcases contemporary South African art and design – acting as a snapshot of the names and mediums currently on the rise in the industry,” says Jeanetta Blignaut. The new Nando’s art studio will be used by artists in residency, who will spend a few weeks here to produce work while they’re also exhibiting in the new gallery space – so keep your eyes peeled.
(Left) Half Square Panel conceived by Matty Roodt and produced by Spier Arts Academy Ceramic Studio
(Right) ‘De(Part)’ by Emma Willemse, suspended installation made from discarded parquet floor blocks
Triptych by Kilmany-Jo Liversage, 1200mm x 1455mm each
Art curator | Jeanetta Blignaut, Yellowwoods Art
Creative director | Tracy Lee Lynch
Interior design agency | One Point Zero
Nando’s project manager | Eve Bugler
Project architects | Albonico Sack Architects
Urban designers and landscaper | Sarah von Hone of Garden Gallery Landscaping
Implementation team | JP Beukes of Onepointzero and Anne Machlachlan of Foundation Interior Design
Stop by for a visit to Central Kitchen at 10 Victoria Road, Lorentzville, Johannesburg.
Ceramic Installation by Paul Edmunds and produced by Spier Arts Academy Ceramic Studio, 64 square meters and 4,500 ceramic tiles
‘The Same’ by Cameron Platter, carved plein tree wood with stone pine, stain, polish, 260cm x 160cm x 130cm
‘As the Serpent Leers’ by Cameron Platter, carved jacaranda wood, stone pine, polish, stain, oil paint, 250cm x 140cm x 85cm
Creative Blocks by various artists
Triptych by Wayne Barker, 1200mm x 1455mm
(Right) ‘Exterior II: Studio Study’ by Serge Alain Nitegeka, paint on wood, 370cm x 492cm x 7.5cm