Ardmore, South Africa, Johannesburg, Accessories, Scatter cushions, Textile

Ardmore’s flagship opens in Joburg

The new address for this beacon of African craft and design is an experience that delights.

A proudly African brand born of community spirit, we’ve come to know Ardmore for their quirky, richly narrated style, rooted in the characters of our continent. That it became one of the world’s most collectable ceramic producers is a feather in the cap of its artisans – the people of rural KwaZulu Natal. Having moved with the times, collaborating with brands like Hermès and Cole & Son, scooping numerous prestigious awards and exhibiting their collections globally, the work of owner Fée Halsted remains to support her local community and push the envelope in the arts sector. 

The latest in the brand’s evolution is the completion of their brand-new flagship store in Hyde Park, Johannesburg – a statement space to carry Ardmore’s identity.

Working closely with Megan Hesse of HK Studio, Fée and her team wanted to create a space that would highlight Ardmore’s standing as an African luxury brand with global appeal, but one that would bring across its bent for whimsy and narrative. “This is a brand that comes from an incredible storytelling background, so it was vital to create a beautiful space that still allows for the individual pieces to hold the magic,” Megan notes.

The aesthetic also had to translate Ardmore’s traditional look and feel in a high-end, contemporary way and this has been achieved with a combination of heavier and lighter forms and dark, dramatic colours with cleaner lines.

Visitors are encouraged to journey through the space which is loosely laid out in zones for dining, lounging and display areas with the various sections showing off their hand-illustrated textile, wallpaper, accessory and ceramic collections. “We used a lot of walnut in the space for its traditional feel but expressed it in a lighter, more contemporary way,” explains Megan. Two large walnut display cabinets show off the brand’s collection of scatter cushions and textiles while brass trimming is used throughout for a luxury note.

Quirkiness and a sense of playful naivety are something that Ardmore does well in its depiction of Africa’s wild creatures and the store does not disappoint in this department. Monkeys cling to columns and inquisitively size up the visitor, while others drop down from the ceiling in whimsical ceramic chandeliers custom made for the space. 

Their recent collection The World Came Together as the People Stayed Apart is on view and tells the story of the artisans’ experience while Ardmore was closed due to Covid-19 with Masked Monkeys and the Candles of Hope styled among an abundant dining table set up. The brand’s collaboration with esteemed Parisian fashion house Hermès is also celebrated with the illustrated designs for their scarves printed and framed to view in a gallery alongside illustrations for their Sabie Collection and their brand story.

Find the new store at Shop 17 in the Hyde Square Centre, Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

Words and Production: Mila Crewe-Brown
Images: Supplied