JSE-listed Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) and Liberty Group’s landmark Nelson Mandela Square property in Sandton is now home to a giant clock, which overlooks the iconic six metre Nelson Mandela statue in the square.
According to the joint owners of the property, which is linked to the Sandton City super-regional shopping centre, the new 5.75 metre (diameter) time piece is “one of the largest tower clocks in the Southern Hemisphere”.
Despite the impact of Covid-19 on trade, the two groups have opted to invest in the multi-million-rand new attraction at Nelson Mandela Square, which is part of one of Johannesburg’s most visited tourist and shopping precincts.
Before the pandemic, the Sandton City precinct (which includes the square) attracted around 24 million visitors and shoppers annually.
“Nelson Mandela Square’s clock is magnificent; it is one of the largest engineering feats of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Brian Unsted, L2D’s asset management executive for the property.
“This [new] feature embodies the sophistication of the space and complements the existing architectural design… This project has been particularly exciting as it takes retail property innovation to another level,” he adds.
According to the joint owners of the property, the clock comprises diamond hour pieces, translucent numerals with satin black and gold finishes, and LED lighting to create a unique halo while illuminating the clock at night.
“The Nelson Mandela Square clock took 240-hours to design, with most of the elements being fabricated from aluminium, where a total of 47-metres of aluminium welding went into its fabrication,” L2D and Liberty Group note in a statement.
“Twenty metres of LED strip lighting was required for the lighting of the clock hands and halo illumination. The diamond hour pieces are illuminated by 96 LED lights, which required 60-metres of pole wiring to accomplish,” it adds.
Architecture group Bentel Associates International were briefed on the vision for the project, while Harry Kahn Limited was appointed to deliver the Swiss Mobatime Clock.
“The project consisted of the design, engineering, 3D fabrication, laser cutting, manufacturing, welding, and finally, the installation and lighting of the clock,” the property’s owners further point out.
The new clock, which reportedly weighs over a ton, also has delicate chimes. It is positioned in an archway in the West Towers building that is situated immediately behind the Nelson Mandela statue, which overlooks the square.
Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned that the new clock in Nelson Mandela Square is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere; however, that title goes to the Central Station clock tower in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which reportedly has a 20m diameter.
L2D has since issued an update and apologised for the incorrect information.