Matlosana Mall - Johannesburg (South Africa)

Design and a minimalist style in keeping with tradition

In Klerksdorp, South Africa, a shopping centre narrates the rich history of the region through the use of sophisticated and essential forms and materials.
Simona Storchi
Stauch Vorster Architects
Murray & Roberts
Year of completion

Matlosana Mall provides an example of how the history and atmosphere of a region can be incorporated into the design of a shopping centre without resorting to ethnic architectural stereotypes. At the same time it gives customers the opportunity to enjoy an elegant, state-of-the-art shopping experience.
The mall is located in Klerksdorp, a city with a population of about 350,000 in the North West Province of South Africa, 170 kilometres from Johannesburg. Matlosana Mall has a floor space of just over 6,000 square metres on a 20 hectare site owned by Redefine Properties and developed by Abacus Asset Management at a cost of around 57.4 million euros. The architects responsible for creating its sophisticated yet essential design were the South African practice Stauch Vorster Architects (SVA). It boasts 265 shops and restaurants, six movie theatres, a gym and offices.
The philosophy that inspired the international architecture team led by Paul Symondson saw a preference for contemporary design and the use of simple and essential shapes and geometries to interpret the region’s history and anthropology. The aim was to steer clear of architectural caricature while at the same time avoiding the risk of creating an anonymous, run-of-the-mill shopping centre.
The Matlosana region has been renowned for its cultural diversity from the time of the first Batswana communities, who were skilled producers of pottery and woven baskets. They built circular villages with domed-roof huts and were known for their hospitality.
The Sotho communities were instead known for metalworking, while in the nineteenth century the Voortrekkers are remembered for their masterful use of wood.
The mall’s style emerges from this cultural and anthropological melting pot, offering a modern interpretation of wooden houses with domed roofs that provide shelter from the hot northern sun, soft shapes clad with porcelain tile and natural stone.
Five 11-metre-high wood-clad entrances lead to the mall gallery.
The materials chosen for the surface coverings are the Materia D concrete-look full-body porcelain tiles from Italgraniti, in colours Bianco, Cenere and Tortora and sizes 60×120 cm and 20×120 cm. This porcelain tile collection has a strong material look and feel and comes with four available finishes which blend in perfectly with spaces featuring wood- and stone-covered walls and pergolas. The atrium is connected to the central building via a tree-lined square housing a food court and playground with ground-level water fountains for children. In general the architects opted for essential materials and forms and for the use of natural light that filters in through the walls and ceilings. At the same time the complex is clearly recognisable from the nearby highway which runs alongside the site for about a kilometre.

Italgraniti, Materia D
porcelain stoneware
60x120, 20x120 cm
Cenere, Bianco, Tortora
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): Eb<0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 35N/mm2 min.
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 (tecno), R10 (forma), R11 (rullato)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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