New Balance

Explore the New Balance flagship store in Sandton City, Gauteng

19 JUNE 2024


I was approached by New Balance in December of 2023 with an exciting proposition, to work on their new flagship store in Sandton City, Gauteng.

The goalpost was exceptionally close with the due date set for opening in March 2024.

With just three months of preparation time, I lost no time and began working on the layout.

The design format was to follow the international campaign called U.C.C – “Uncommon is Common.”

The ethos of which is to create a space that fosters connections, inspires creativity, and celebrates individuality

I was given access to the examples of other international stores in Australia and the United States of America and had to interpret the layout of those and re-fit this into the space allocated by the landlord.

I worked furiously over the December holidays, and by the 3rd of January I presented to the regional design team based in Hong Kong for review.

This was a smooth process, and I nailed the brief almost to the T.

A few adjustments later I was on my way to detailing all the elements to create a comprehensive construction pack. The chase was on to cost the project out with the aim in mind of beginning manufacture without any delays as the lead time was exceptionally short.

Within two weeks I presented to the New Balance team, and we had sign off, manufacture began, shipping dates were booked for the fixtures that where being made overseas and dates where set.

The space in Sandton Mall allocated by the landlord has been on New Balance radar for years already, the downscaling of a large department store paved the way for the area to see a host of popular sports brands being given the opportunity to retail. Stiff competition is great for retail as it brings shoppers to the area who are spoilt for choice, so this offering of the new store needed to be exceptional to shine brightest amongst the stars.

Some bittersweet news came from the landlord on a Monday morning, the space needed major renovations and the general contractors where delayed, so the date was set back another 6 weeks.

I was fired up and ready to go at this point, but the extra time meant I had some much-needed breathing room on the project and I refined the project plan to accommodate the new dates.

Eventually our beneficial occupation date commenced, and I began with construction works.

Drywalling was first to be erected and for this fit-out I used a single skin load bearing drywall to allow us to fix the permitter units directly into the drywall without adding a laborious plywood internal layer as is common with local construction methods.

The ceiling cove and entrance portal where the most challenging aspects of the construction, the carcass of both were constructed off-site and due to the size, they required a large amount of manpower, finite measurements and finesse to erect.

Each day on site was a revelation as the programme ticked along, the elements floated in seamlessly due to the expert team I had assembled from various disciplines to work on this project.

There is never enough time and the final week saw us all working well into the night dovetailing trades to get the finishes in place.

The new Balance regional team arrived from Hong Kong to work on the merchandising, and they were nothing but congratulatory of the outcome. I am proud to reiterate their sentiments that this build was the “Best example in New Balance Market” proving again that South Africa can stand proudly amongst the world’s best.

In closing I would like to wish New Balance all the best of success with their new flagship retail store and hope that our success in this build leads to new opportunities for all.