The New Stevenson Gallery
Tonic Design has brought colour and texture to Stevenson Gallery’s new home on Parktown North’s bustling 7th Avenue strip in Johannesburg.
After almost a decade in the same spot, Stevenson gallery in Johannesburg has left Braamfontein for Parktown North’s evolving 7th Avenue precinct. The new location has brought the gallery closer to its market and important transport corridors, including the Rosebank Gautrain station.
Stevenson and interior-architectural design studio Tonic Design transformed what was once a residential home into an alluring art gallery, paying special attention to retaining the building’s distinct historical charm. ‘We purposely left many of the original features exposed, or painted over them with white paint,’ says Tonic Design’s Greg Gamble who, together with his business partner Philippe van der Merwe, specialises in bespoke furniture and interior design.
The new Stevenson gallery has an appeal not present in many contemporary ‘white boxes’, as seen in the distinct pressed ceilings, which are so characteristic of buildings in the Parktown North area.
‘The original house had a number of quirky additions over the years, and we celebrated these structures instead of modernising or demolishing them,’ says Gamble. ‘We moved the building’s new entrance back to the timber and glass enclosure on its eastern side, painting the former entrance white so that it retreated. Internally, we opened up the space to create three main gallery rooms, cladding the walls with a skin of drywall that floats off the floor and away from the pressed ceilings. This intervention allowed us to clean up the interior architecture and hide certain elements from view.’
One of our favourite parts of the space is the private viewing room, where subtle hues and detailing bring the white interiors to life. ‘Being a gallery, there wasn’t much room for decoration, so the one area where we could add a little texture was the viewing room,’ says Gamble. ‘Here, we introduced colour and form with an eclectic, but still restrained, mix of furniture that offsets the ever-changing collection of art.’