Johannesburg-based designer Suzaan Heyns’ partnership with cement giant, PPC Cement, has resulted in an on-going art installation and transformation of her store in Melrose Arch. Born from their 2012 Reimagine Concrete collaboration, the stylish partnership between Heyns and PPC Cement has grown beyond expectation in creating a one-of-a-kind sensory space and experience.
The project called Concrete Evolution, sees the Suzaan Heyns Melrose Arch store evolve past a traditional retail space and become an ever changing platform and installation space, a modern museum of artisanal curiosities of sorts, that not only showcases the artistry behind the clothes, but where art and fashion touch through various mediums.
Now, a year from its inception, the next step of Concrete Evolution begins with the store’s transformation from its current state into something new. Shedding its skin under the heat of summer, sculptures will start dripping and solids start to flow, breathing new life into the concrete elements within the store as well as giving birth to strikingly beautiful new additions.
“Concrete opened up a big world for me. It’s an interesting medium to work with, the versatility is astounding,” said Heyns. She is working with sculptor Sybrand Wiechers and design duo Sobeit Studio, on the project to transform her store from a traditional retail space into an art installation and this made her realise that the possibilities with concrete are endless.
“Working with PPC continues to be an incredible journey. It’s interesting to see a big corporate company being this open to innovation,” Heyns said when asked about her partnership with PPC. She goes on to say that PPC does not dictate as to what she can and can’t do but rather gives her free reign under an incredible support structure. “This approach pushes creative people to go further, to innovate and to push the boundaries, which lead the way to new avenues of design to be explored,” she commented.
“Our collaboration with Suzaan Heyns showcases how innovation and creativity can create new frontiers for both industries. Her conceptual ability and originality gives her designs a strong sculptural element. A new wave of forward thinkers has adopted concrete as their medium of choice. The result is an emergence in functional concrete design that pushes the boundaries of what we’ve ever thought possible. It’s an exciting time, a new era in the concrete age and one that we want to embrace,” says Richard Tomes, MD Cement RSA.
As an expert in her field, Heyns was named one of PPC’s thought leaders alongside Dion Chang, trend analyst, founder and owner of Flux Trends and Michelle Constant, CEO of Business Arts South Africa (BASA).
Last year’s Young Concrete Sculptor Awards (YCSA) Functional Art category winner, Evert van Englenhoven, designed and crafted a piece of concrete jewellery for each of the thought leaders. Heyns was the recipient of a necklace titled “the strongest link”. It consists of a circular concrete pendant with cotton and silver links. “This is a really beautiful piece,” said Heyns when she saw it. “They brought what I do into the piece, fashion. They did this by using cotton in the links, my things are quite robust and this piece speaks to that,” she commented. Van Engelenhoven said that his inspiration for this piece was the strength of concrete and the cotton was added to represent fashion. “To make the piece even more fashion-like, we added a label with its titled engraved onto it which is removable,” he said.
The unveiling of the second phase of the Concrete Evolution took place on the 29th of November 2013.
Suzaan Heyns’ store is located in Melrose Arch, Shop 53, Galleria, Melrose Boulevard, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.