The R50m reimagining of the V&A Waterfront’s existing Blue Shed and Craft Market is as much a drastic external renovation as it is an evolution of product offering and range.
Well-established as an enterprise development platform, with traders traditionally offering wares from leather goods to African curios, a dynamic shift will see the focus broaden to craft and design, as well as the renaming of the space. A strong curatorial hand is required to navigate this change, and the Waterfront has found this in Trevyn McGowan.
McGowan, the creative force behind Source, is a formidable player in the South African design scene, and has played a pivotal role in promoting South African design to the global marketplace.
David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, on the announcement, ‘’We are confident that our small business tenants stand to benefit from the enormous amount of experience and passion Trevyn McGowan brings. It is a wonderful coup for the Waterfront that she agreed to lead this exciting initiative.’’
On her appointment and future collaboration with the V&A Waterfront, Trevyn McGowan explained, ‘’Southern African design has a unique place in the global market. Our designers follow a path with provenance, exploring their own identity and cultural history and their products carry a fertile and complex narrative. It is this point of difference that makes South African products so appealing and for over 10 years, we have been dedicated to growing an international footprint for many of our designers through the most respected retailers in the world. Our aim for this space is to bring this focus home, to present the very best of the continent under one roof, and to build our artisans and designers reputations for a local audience.”
This vibrant identity is exactly what the V&A Waterfront hopes to bring to life and foster through curatorship in Cape Town’s newest dedicated craft and design space.
In the spirit of change, the new space will be renamed to signify the change of course. The Watershed, as it will be named, is the platform on which the V&A Waterfront’s enterprise development is built and the entrepreneurial spirit of the African experience is grown.
The Watershed will be positioned as a talent incubator, giving tenants exposure to the millions of local and international visitors the Waterfront welcomes on an annual basis. It is also an ideal platform to showcase South African and African creativity, launching in a pivotal year for our design industy, Cape Town World Design Capital 2014.
Design is a powerful currency, as proven by the R22m worth of international orders written by Source in 2013. ‘’South African design and craft has never been more on trend, more appreciated or more sought after. In other words there has never been a better time to provide a showcase of the best we have to offer,’’ said McGowan.
In her role as curator, McGowan and her team at Source are tasked with ensuring the best possible tenant list and activation for The Watershed. They will be involved in discussions with each tenant around product assortment, presentation and display, possible workshops, performance/live production on site, stand requirements and signage.
Waterfront CEO David Green continued, “The reimagining of this space at a cost of R50 m is an affirmation of our commitment to enterprise development. By fostering local talent, we ensure that this is an industry that will thrive.’’
Applications for The Watershed are now open to prospective tenants, with the last day of submission on 25 April.