You’d expect to find a classy shopping centre such as 44 Stanley in an upmarket area of San Francisco, Madrid or Rio – certainly not in a former industrial area of Johannesburg where chop shops and garages once ruled. Today the area has been transformed into a wonderful retail space.

Take a collection of old dilapidated industrial buildings on the fringes of Johannesburg, knock some down, renovate and restyle others, and you end up with 44 Stanley, a decidedly different collection of shops, galleries, design studios, coffee shops and restaurants.

Even though the ambiance has a contemporary designer feel, there's a lingering sense of its historic past: you have only to check out the gorgeous 1930s architecture.

It's not only the residents of The Refinery – a nearby loft apartment complex converted from what was formerly a drab warehouse – who frequent 44 Stanley, but also shoppers and visitors looking for something different to what is usually on offer in more conventional shopping malls.

If you're looking for something to wear, choices range from African-inspired creations and the best of South African contemporary fashion design to handmade designer jewellery and traditional African beadwork.

If it's furniture you're after, select a genuine 18th-or 19th century antique or handmade reproduction, go back to baby boomer days with 50s, 60s and 70s designs, or opt for contemporary furniture.

Be sure to pop into the famous flower shop, Atomic Orchard, where your senses will be drenched by seasonal blossoms and handcrafted scented candles.

By now your appetite will be whetted by the evocative smells of freshly baked bread from the artisan bakery Vovo Telo, which bakes croissants, baguettes and sourdough breads daily. So take time for a break at any number of restaurants, coffee shops and lounges.

Enjoy Vietnamese, Italian or Portuguese fare. If you're an espresso connoisseur and fancy a superb continental sandwich, then try the courtyard café, Boat.

Restored in energy, you'll now be able to meander through the rest of this delightful venue.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

44 Stanley:

Tel: +27 (0)11 482 4444

How to get here

Take the M1 Empire Road off-ramp heading towards Milner Park. Go under the bridge, left into Owl Street and then 2nd right into Stanley Avenue.

How to get around

On foot.

Best buys

African-inspired designer fashion, African beadwork and jewellery, contemporary art and collectibles.

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