Some readers might recall the superb Alexander’s Restaurant situated in Livingstone Avenue (now O R Tambo Avenue – although no-one uses the new name) between Second and Third Streets. It’s a fairly quiet and tranquil little street of just one block – behind the Dominican Convent School – although the rest of Livingstone Avenue continues beyond Fourth Street down to Ninth Street and ends opposite David Livingstone Primary School. This little section of Livingstone Avenue is mixed use – primarily offices and commercial buildings, with a few apartment blocks, so it’s a little less frenetic and busy than other parts of The Avenues.
However a new shopping mall called The Legacy is set to breathe new life and vitality into the area. The old historic house was unfortunately completely demolished and nothing remains of this small part of our City’s heritage although the new modern building is set to create a new story. The slick, glass and aluminium building is part of the drive to create a new identity for Harare. It was designed by Farai Ndebele from Studio 5 and constructed by Mwanas Construction. The architectural design of the surrounding buildings is a combination of old and modern, so there’s not really a dominant architectural style to follow or imitate.
The scale of the building fits in with some of neighbouring structures and the reflective glass front façade helps to blend the building into the site while still being contemporary and eye-catching. Generous balconies on one side help to break up the solid frontage and also suggest a blending with the balcony designs of apartment blocks.
There’s a wide entrance from the street opening to the Mall which draws shoppers inside. On either side of the ground floor entrance provision has been made for a restaurant on one side and a coffee shop on the other side, both opening to outdoor seating space. The restaurant and coffee shop are not yet up and running but once they’re full of customers they’ll also add more liveliness and interest. They’ll be a great place for residents or office workers to grab a bite to eat or a quick coffee.
The Legacy is a three storey structure with shops and restaurants on the ground floor and two additional floors of shops above. There are two small offices at the back, accessed by an external staircase, so the office’s are relatively quiet and private. In the offices big windows allow for good natural lighting and ventilation.
The Mall is basically rectangular but deeper than its wide, with the dimensions determined by the size of the stand. There’s a central courtyard with the shops’ frontage or window displays facing the open space. A high skylight runs the length of the building and central voids and galleries on the frst and second floors allow the diffused light to filter throughout the building.
The central voids also help to make the space feel open and airy. Some of the shops on the first and second floor also have exterior windows so they get good natural ventilation and light. Some enclosed shopping malls can feel a bit gloomy and stuffy but the design of The Legacy is just the opposite.
There’s a variety of different sizes for the shops with the smallest being just 4 sqm. The shop units are generally around 6m x 6m although some outlets have taken a number of units and removed the dividing interior walls to make bigger spaces.
The biggest shop is Home and Office Vision Furniture who’ve taken up several spaces on either side of the central void on the second (top) floor – creating two large furniture showrooms.
VD by VaraiDzo
VD by VaraiDzo is a fashion forward, high end custom clothing brand founded by Varaidzo Nyakunika Mwanandimai in 2016. What started off as a little entrepreneurial project of buying and selling sunglasses during Varaidzo’s college days in Law School at Rhodes University became a full blown clothing brand that carries unique, locally hand made clothing for both males and females. Located at Shop B1 at the majestic new Legacy building (7 Livingstone Avenue, Harare) the VD by VaraiDzo physical store offers a ready to wear collection with every piece designed by Varaidzo. Custom orders for garments especially wedding atttires and event wear have become a staple for the brand.
What makes VD by VaraiDzo stand out are the custom clothing services offered to every single client. Every piece is made tot he exact measurements of each client doing away with the usual generalized sizes.
Recently, VD by VaraiDzo has expanded to the niche markets of luxury maternity wear and luxury kids wear under the brands Pretty&Preggy and Minana Boutique respectively. A visit at VD by VaraiDzo will not only guarantee you a luxurious shopping experience, you will also leave with clothing pieces that are not only made from high quality fabrics but are unique and exquisite – basically you will be one of a select few in the world donning these pieces.
The shop itself oozes luxury. Clients are welcomed by pleasant attendants and are offered champagne, tea, coffee or water and snacks in a beautifully set up shop.On the second floor there’s also Rouxgold Travel Agents and an agency for Seeff Zimbabwe – the property people. Seeff will administer rentals within the Mall as well as conducting their usual business of buying, selling, renting and lease administration.
If property experts have opened offices in The Legacy you can be sure it’s a desirable location! On the first floor, there’s a variety of home décor stores like Home Unique Designs, clothing boutiques like Bea’s Boutique, VD by VaraiDzo, Taby’s Luxury Store and Home & Office Vision Furniture occupies most of the top floor. There are also beauty stores like Hair by Vee and Taa’s Beauty Parlour and you’ll fnd shops selling baby and children’s clothes like Nine Months Later and For This Child. On the ground floor –apart from the restaurant and coffee shop – you’ll also find A Taste of the Exotic a home store, Chigunduru Stationery, Steps Pharmacy and Real Defnition Technology.
Currently, due to the lockdown and the curfew, The Legacy is open from 7.00am to 5.30pm but once the restrictions ease the restaurant and coffee shop will be open in the evenings (probably up to around 10.00pm) with evening shopping, music and entertainment. To fnd out more visit The Legacy at 7 on O R Tambo (Livingstone – between Second and Third Streets).
The Legacy has an administration offce there on the top floor.
Call: Varayidzo Nhandara on 0242 762528 or mobile 0773 223 995
for all enquiries,
and email on firstname.lastname@example.org
text by Michael Nott
photos by Structure and Design