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2021 Retail Renovation Competition – First Place: “Woolworth VA Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa”

Structural challenges conquered in three-level revamp with a transformed basement

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Renovation: Department Store

Submitted by: Woolworths, Cape Town, South Africa

Scope of work: Renovating two existing floors and converting a basement-level garage into selling space. “That allowed us to trade on a larger scale and extend our homeware, food and beauty offer,” said Errol Solomon, Executive Store Design and Visual Merchandising, Woolworths. “All the above-ground spaces are connected internally by an atrium that we relocated to be a more central spine for vertical circulation.”

2021 Retail Renovation Competition – First Place: “Woolworth VA Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa”

BEFORE RENOVATION

The new basement selling space, meantime, was dedicated to a coffee bar and a café, a click-and-collect counter, a gift-wrapping station and a beauty bar.

Unique Challenges: The basement has a very low ceiling, reflecting its previous use as a parking garage. “Because it was not feasible to raise the soffit height, we had to work with the current infrastructure — including several massive columns — without making the space feel oppressive,” says Solomon. “To do that, we opted to darken the overhead equipment and have a lighter color on the soffit to create contrast that alleviates the perception of a low ceiling.”

In addition to a tight timetable — two months — Covid hit during the project, which meant the design team had to work under strict quarantine measures, Solomon adds.

2021 Retail Renovation Competition – First Place: “Woolworth VA Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa”

AFTER RENOVATION

What sets the project apart: The update turned the store into the first — and so far only — one of the chain’s 155 full-line outlets that trades over three floors.

PHOTO GALLERY | Photography: Jac De Villiers, Cape Town, South Africa

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