COMPILED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring
Design Indaba held its annual Conference from 21 – 23 February 2018, featuring a group of 34 inspiring speakers from around the world, all leaders in their respective fields, from product design, architecture and film to graphic design and fashion.
Here is a selection of just some of the inspiring things we saw and heard about during the three-day festival of creativity in Cape Town.
Zimbabwean filmmaker Sunu Gonera wants to “take the light of Africa to the world”, to take the stories of Africa to the world. He shared his award-winning Khuli Chana One Source music video for Absolut during his talk, as well as the video for One Source LIVE for Absolut, which focuses on African superheroes. It came as no surprise that he received a standing ovation.
Video credit: Khuli Chana on YouTube
Video credit: Absolut SA on YouTube
This talented New York-based fashion designer, one of Design Indaba’s Global Graduate speakers, in this case hailing from the Fashion Institute of Technology, is a founding member of Algiknit. This research group creates fibres from kelp. Would you believe these sustainable sneakers are actually made using a combination of kelp and biopolymers?
Image via: designindaba.com
American artist Zach Lieberman, who loves visuals that make your brain work a little harder, creates artworks using code. He posts a new sketch on Instagram every day, just like the one below.
Image credit: Zach Lieberman on Instagram
Tokyo-based playful interventionist and design researcher Tomo Kihara, one of Design Indaba’s Global Graduate speakers, wants to popularise the practice of street debating, which involves collecting public opinions in exchange for spare coins. You can read Tomo’s research here. Those struggling with financial difficulties can buy the product for free, with the design going up to 50 Euros.
Image credit: streetdebater.com
Some of the more recent work of artist and activist Edel Rodriguez has seen him create a series of memorable (and controversial) works relating to Donald Trump’s presidency, including the below magazine covers for TIME.
Image credit: edelrodriguez.com
London-based multidisciplinary designer Morag Myerscough is known for her colourful creations and bold use of typography. She even created a giant installation on the Artscape’s Piazza as part of the Design Indaba Festival, seen below. Her advice: “You all need to remember to play. Embrace the unknown.” Read our Q&A with Morag here.
Lonny van Ryswyck of Atelier NL
Dutch product designer Lonny van Ryswyck is one of two designers behind a very interesting project called A World of Sand. The studio is calling on people across the globe to send them a sample of sand that Atelier NL will then melt into glass, revealing the specific attributes and colours of the sand from that region. The results, seen below, are amazing. You can submit your sample here.
Image credit: Teun van Beers via ateliernl.com
This London-based architect and designer, behind the spectacular Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, shared both his earlier work, including a pavilion created 26 years ago and the 16-storey-high Vessel project in New York, currently under construction.
Image credit: heatherwick.com
This British artist and Japanese architect create beautifully designed artworks from unusual materials, including chairs from bits of plastic found on beaches to cabinets made out of aluminium foam (you can read more about the duo’s work here). Their latest project is called New Spring, an interactive tree-like sculpture that uses technology to produce “blossom” bubbles.
Video credit: Studio Swine on Vimeo
Another standing ovation came for Dr William Mapham, who is behind the creation of Vula, an app that assists healthcare workers in rural areas by connecting them with specialists across the country. You can read more about this project here.
For Egyptian fashion designer and activist Amna ElShandaweely, changing the world through design and art is paramount. A recent collection, entitled Cairo Punk (seen below), is a proud reflection of her culture.
Image credit: Amna ElShandaweely
Landscape architect Peter Veenstra of LOLA Landscape Architects revealed a plan, hatched in conjunction with Design Indaba and bamboo architectural specialist Olav Bruin, to transform Luthuli Plaza in Cape Town into an green urban space, running all the way from the Cape Town taxi rank to the Artscape. The transformation includes the Dome of Plants, a structure made using natural materials, filled with indigenous flora. And how will this Dome be watered, you ask? By using purified urine from those working in the Civic Centre.
Image credit: designindaba.com
Spanish architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa took us through the studio’s work. We featured 5 of their most striking designs, including their Structures of Landscape project, here.
Image credit: Iwan Baan
Kenyan user experience and human-centered designer Mark Kamau, whose philosophy is to design with, not for, wants to bring internet access to the three billion people living without it, through the power of the BRCK microserver (read more here). “Africa cannot afford de-contextualised design,” he says. “The stakes are simply too high.”
Celebrated British designer Tom Dixon, renowned for his lighting, furniture and product designs, as well as his interior projects, marked the start of his three-month tour around the world at Design Indaba. His impressive body of work includes the MELT pendant light, created in collaboration with Front, which is now available locally at Créma Design.
Image credit: cremadesign.co.za
Creative director Tony Brook from SPIN design studio in London took the audience through his range of strong brand identities, including the slick new look for the iconic nightclub Ministry of Sound.
Image credit: spin.co.uk
Switzerland-based Global Graduate Ini Archibong, founder of Design by Ini, creates products layered with a deeper meaning. A stand-out example of his beautiful work includes the Jadis Lighting Sculpture from his collection entitled In The Secret Garden. The sculptural piece was named after a character in C.S. Lewis’s fantastical children’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Image credit: Piotr Niepsu
Pritzker Prize-winning Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena designs with social impact in mind. We featured 5 of his studio, Elemental’s, striking designs here.
Image credit: Christobal Palma
Danish designer Johannes Torpe, creator of the slick Bang & Olufsen store below, is also behind the proposed Red Mountain Resort in Iceland, a 150-room hotel with 20 separate bungalows that includes an art track featuring pavilions created by five local artists.
Image credit: johannestorpe.com / Ikonoform (Red Mountain Resort)
Ahead of her talk at Design Indaba, which dealt with the concept of design thinking, we chatted to this New York-based graphic designer and partner at Pentagram about her journey. Read the full interview here.
Image credit: Natasha Jen on Behance
Famed set designer Es Devlin believes in creating visual voices. She’s designed stages for a range of superstars, from Kanye West, Beyoncé and Adele to U2 and Miley Cyrus.
Image credit: esdevlin.com
The Conference ended on a high, with the announcement that the main gallery at Zeitz MOCAA has officially been named after the late legendary cultural icon Hugh Masekela.
What a gorgeous end. We’ve just announced that the @zeitzmocaa has officially named its main gallery after the late, great Hugh Masekela. In a tribute to Bra Hugh, his sister Barbara and nephew joined us on stage, followed by a performance of #ThumaMina by his band and Tshepo Tshola. 🙌🏼 Long live the legend. 📷: @jonx
Image credit: Design Indaba on Instagram
For more information about the 2018 Design Indaba Festival, visit designindaba.com.