Circa: Johannesburg’s Guggenheim

Circa exteriorThe town is a-buzz with its latest architectural and cultural landmark.  Circa, a striking elliptical building on the corner of Jellicoe and Jan Smuts Ave, is the daring project of Mark Read of Everard Read Gallery fame.  Seemingly encased in dark streamlined metal fins, the Gallery space has 3 levels.  Exhibition spaces are visiblethrough glass from the entrance walkway and looking through into these modest more intimate rooms, one has the feeling of  peering into giant museum cabinet cases .    view from first floor

You  walk around the outer edge of the building past a flat rectangular pool of water and one of Willem Boshoff’s monumental granite pieces, to the 1st floor space. This large elliptical room echoes the exterior shape of the building and provides an expansive darkened hallowed space which encourages a contemplative calm.

 

Another spiral around the outside of the building, and you reach a dramaticdeck space which opens out to an enthralling view toward Northcliff in the distance, across the legendary urban forest (with the spectacular dramatic purple blooms of the jacarandas in November).

interior to view

Opening out onto this deck is a room  with comfy chairs, sofas, wonderful art works and the most fabulous wall paper of bugs and goggas … what a space.  Reminiscent of a late 19th century collector’s private den, it combines references to science, to contemporary art and to an eclectic ’reception’ room of a private residence.

corner interior

 

 

 And I haven’t even talked about the opening exhibition which showcases the most recent work of two of South Africa’s best and internationally recognized. artists: Karel Nel and Willem Boshoff .. another time

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