Rahim Rawgee to open Jo’burg’s most un­usual new venue

Meet Jo’burg’s most un­usual new venue – and the man be­hind it

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

How do you get an in­vest­ment banker, an artist and a pro-ath­lete into a cham­pagne bar? It might sound like the start to a weak joke but it’s ex­actly what the QSL SA mem­bers’ club in Jo’burg is about to do. ‘The is­sue isn’t what; we all know what a mem­bers’ club is,’ ex­plains co­founder Rahim Raw­jee who, along with his busi­ness part­ner Ron­ald Ndoro of London’s Li­brary, will be launch­ing QSL SA later this year.

‘The im­por­tant thing is why. The vi­sion was to make a cre­ative hub, a meet­ing place for peo­ple who are chang­ing Africa – and the world.’

The ‘club­house’, its ar­chi­tec­ture al­most un­changed in the build­ing’s restora­tion, un­der­goes a kind of apoth­e­o­sis that’s dif­fi­cult to miss and it’s al­most no co­in­ci­dence that

Rahim is quick to high­light its An­doesque qual­i­ties. Is this the Highveld in­tel­lec­tual’s Church of the Light? ‘We didn’t want to change the bones but rather main­tain its sense of her­itage,’ he ex­plains. ‘It was al­ways go­ing to be about these ca­pa­cious, can­tilevered spa­ces in con­crete that re­ally play up the panoramic views.’

Neigh­bour­ing the 44 Stan­ley precinct (what Rahim calls ‘the foothills of Jo’burg’s cul­tural scene’) the club will, af­ter its var­i­ous phases reach com­ple­tion, be the one-stop so­cial nexus the traf­ficbur­dened city so des­per­ately needs. ‘Ron­ald put it very suc­cinctly when he said it’s an amal­ga­ma­tion of cof­fee cul­ture, of the no­madic work space, of fine din­ing and ho­tel liv­ing,’ says Rahim. ‘You can spend the en­tire day here, be it alone or in­ter­act­ing with other mem­bers; you use the space as you want and ev­ery mem­ber will use the space dif­fer­ently.’ In a time when en­tre­pre­neur­ial plu­ral­ism is the busi­ness mode du jour, the QSL SA mem­bers’ club is pi­o­neer­ing a holis­tic life­style brand that op­er­ates out­side of the con­ven­tional silo model. ‘It’s about con­nec­tiv­ity,’ says Rahim. ‘Af­ter all, the great­est lux­ury is ac­cess to a bril­liant mind.’ qsl-sa.com

CLOCK­WISE, FROM TOP

QSL SA CO­FOUNDER RAHIM RAW­JEE ON SITE; A REN­DER­ING OF THE RE­CEP­TION AREA; LI­BRARY IN LONDON; THE SOON-TO-BE BAR AREA

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