Shopping in Joburg – Melville's 27 Boxes

more than a year ago

​Joburg has always loved to claim its status as the world’s largest inland port – unusually for its size, the city is not located on any waterway – so it seems like a natural move to cement that status by making innovative use of shipping containers. Inspired by similar developments like Box Park in London’s Shoreditch, 27 Boxes has transformed a once disused park (that was rezoned as early as 2004) into more than 70 boutique stores and restaurant and kiosk spaces geared towards starter entrepreneurs, from fashion designers to chefs, jewellery- to interior designers. The emphasis of many of the stores is on local design and local production and you will often find that the friendly face behind the counter is also the person who handmade the unique items that you are buying. A quirky alternative to Joburg's mega mall scene.

Unique local fashion and design is a hallmark of 27 Boxes. Names to look out for include: Swazi-born IT graduate Stephanie Lesabe’s Moonyu clothing and accessories, must-have T-shirts from Krag Drag with their cheeky African designs and fun twists on iconic South African brands, Mantsho Lifestyle by Palesa Mokubung for elegant, contemporary womenswear in vibrant African fabrics, gorgeous leather satchels and handbags by leading local designers at Bags by Propaganda and Kuna's super cute kids clothing in colourful African patterns. There's also a regularly changing selection of pop-up shops to browse showcasing everything from men's streetware to vintage clothing.

If you need to buy somebody a gift, 27 Boxes is a great place to find it. Look out for beautiful ceramics and unique and surprisingly delicate decor items made from concrete such as candle-holders in geometric designs and cuff links shaped into lego bricks at Concrete Jungle, find the funkiest retro-inspired cushion covers, tea trays, T-shirts and babygrows at Krag Drag, quirky bags, rugs, coasters, jewellery, cushions and hats made from recycled materials such as crisp packets and even sweet wrappers at Republic of Recycle and cute decor items, jewellery and ceramics with a local flavour at the inviting gift shop Nickel who also have branches in Norwood and Maboneng. For the most amazing custom made furniture designs (we've seen everything from stools shaped like Liqorice All Sorts to exquisite shelves inspired by Chinese circular display cabinets) pay a visit to The Storr Room.

Shopping’s not the only thing worth visiting 27 Boxes for, there are also a host of places to pick up food with various cosy corners and green open spaces to sit and enjoy your lunch. Our favourites include: cronuts from the XO Patisserie, freshly squeezed juices at Impressed, curries, stir fries and spring rolls cooked up by the friendly Thai husband and wife team at the no-fuss Thai cafe Kwan Phayao, iced coffee at the Rubi Coffee Roastery, and dinner and craft beers at the steam-punk inspired restaurant The Countess.

27 Boxes also hosts a weekly Wednesday evening rooftop market. with dozens of food, fashion and craft stalls, late night shopping at 27 Boxes' many boutique stalls and live music entertainment.

75 3rd Ave (parking entrance on 4th Ave), Melville, tel. +27 11 712 0067, Closed Mon. Note that opening hours vary from store to store.


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There are so many cool & interesting things to do in Melville. The Melville Koppies was such a great experience that offers a wonderful perspective on the Johannesburg area. I have found Melville to be truly inspiring.
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