Soweto Training Centre

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES Marianne Schwankhart – Dragontree

Johannesburg-based design and communication agency Futura has redesigned the Nike Football Training Center in Soweto.

Originally built in 2010, the multi-million dollar facility was – six years later – in dire need of a revamp. In order to reposition the centre as a sports and training base for young athletes, the team at Futura made it their priority to create a modular space that could accommodate the Sowetan community.

“We set out to design a space that could serve the community of Soweto and specifically young athletes from the surrounding areas,” says Futura’s Gustav Greffrath. “All interior, communication and services were designed to be functional and durable with the single purpose of facilitating training. We moved away from a traditional branded space to create a place for social interaction and learning.”

The design of the space is inspired by the motivational characteristics associated with sport. “There is an optimism that comes with sport that we wanted to carry through in the design language,” says Gustav. “Reflecting this sentiment was particularly important in the area and greater community.”

In order to accommodate different installations at any given time, Futura made sure to keep the design of the main hall as flexible as possible. “It was important for the local community as well as the Nike brand to use the space regularly, so we had to design it in such a way to accommodate workshops, events, viewings, briefings and even retail installations,” explains Gustav.

In order to create a sustainable space that reflects and comments on its context and purpose, the agency worked with local craftsmen, making use of locally sourced materials.

Futura also worked with talented local street artist and illustrator Karabo Poppy Moletsane, who created the striking hand-painted 200m monochrome mural at the entrance to the centre, inspired by South African football culture.

See more of Futura’s work at @futurajoburg on Instagram.