Monday, January 26, 2009

Design Indaba Expo beats the crunch

Despite the tough economic climate, Design Indaba Expo 2009 is pleased to report that it has grown with more than 60 new exhibitors and has secured more than 20% extra floor space since 2008. With a month to go until the event, already more than 100 buyers have pre-registered, including 70 international buyers.

Buyers and consumers who attend the Design Indaba Expo can expect fresh, original, contemporary South African innovations, curated by an advisory panel of the best South African designers, stylists, critics and industry experts. The Expo has long been a proudly South African event, with visitors and buyers experiencing the cream of South Africa's design initiatives in areas as diverse as fashion, jewellery, architecture and graphic design.

While many of the buyers will attend on their own steam, 13 are being sponsored by the DTI, a longstanding Design Indaba partner, which feels that Expo promotes international opportunities for South African entrepreneurs. Unlocking economic value is key, which is why increasing awareness of South African creativity is so important.

Christine Holenweg from Cape Sun Fair Trade Import in Switzerland was hosted by the DTI and said Expo was "a great opportunity to meet suppliers from different areas".

In 2005, the DTI-supported foreign buyers logged purchases in excess of R1 million, while in 2006 over R1,5 million was spent. This figure rose to above R3 million in 2007.

A total of 265 buyers attended Design Indaba Expo 2008, 100 of these from countries as diverse as Spain, Bangladesh, the United States, Sweden, Japan, the United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, Canada and more. During the course of 2008, an estimated R40 million worth of business was done between the 265 buyers and Design Indaba Expo exhibitors.

Cristina Ilzarbe from Danye in Spain said she would attend Expo again "to strengthen relationships with suppliers and to look for new suppliers as well".

Daniel During from Thomas Klein Dubai felt Expo was worthwhile: "It exceeded my expectations. I expected to see new products and ideas, and establish contacts, but I actually left having placed many orders."

Allana Reid from Afrikana Gallery in Australia says Expo has a "fantastic selection of suppliers" and is "all-over brilliant".

Local buyers numbered 141, representing 65 companies, including @home, Big Blue, Milieu and Woolworths. Shannon Johnstone from Fat Tuesday in Pretoria had this to say: "Design Indaba Expo is perfect for sourcing good quality, innovative and South African-produced products. I would attend again to keep up with trends."

Beyond commerce, Design Indaba Expo exhibitors have gone on to become household names in design. Eco-light designer Heath Nash, for example, went on to participate in 100% London and 100% Tokyo in previous years, having gained significant exposure and contacts at Expo. Tsai Design received a Red Dot award for its Nested Bunkbeds, which were first shown at Expo. In turn, Design Afrika's Xhosa gourd baskets are being distributed worldwide through the Conran Stores.

While regular exhibitors will be returning, more than 60 new kids on the block will be bringing fresh approaches and inspiration to the party. "Something for everyone" is not an exaggeration – at Expo, buyers and visitors will find plenty to please the eye and the pocket.

Friday, January 23, 2009

DESIGN INDABA CONFERENCE 2009: What can your creativity do?

It has been proven time and time again: ordinary Africans have an innate creativity and ingenuity.
Consider Stellenbosch resident Colin Vale who developed a paraffin stove that extinguishes itself when bumped over, reducing the chance of shack fires. Or Malawian William Kamkwamba who created a wind turbine from scrap and bicycle parts to light up his house at night. Not to mention Azemeraw Zeleke from Ethiopia, who transforms bombshells into coffee machines. “What can your creativity do?” asks the Design Indaba Conference 2009. Hoping to spur delegates into action, this year will again boast a line-up of more than 30 world leaders in the graphic, product, new media, architecture, fashion and advertising design arenas.

From the world’s best chef, Ferran Adrià, to the self-reflexive youngsters at 5.5 design, Design Indaba Conference 2009 has placed no limits on age and creative medium. From the man synonymous with “fabulous”, Marcel Wanders, to the man heralded for explicating the power of design to augment change, Bruce Mau, Design Indaba Conference 2009’s only curatorial guideline is "nothing but the best". And let us not forget Dai Fujiwara, creative director of Issey Miyake!

Hailing from India, Mohit Dhar Jayal and Sunil Vysyaprath of W+K Delhi are responsible for Nokia and Incredible !ndia.

A number of significant corporate agencies are sure to entice on the advertising front. Hailing from India, Mohit Dhar Jayal and Sunil Vysyaprath of W+K Delhi are responsible for Nokia and Incredible !ndia. In turn, Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka of AdamsMorioka have created the globally recognised visuals associated with Sundance, Nickelodeon and the Walt Disney Company.

Patricia Urquiola is said to have designed enough work to fully furnish a large house, inside and out.

Besides Wanders and 5.5, on the product design front, Patricia Urquiola is said to have designed enough work to fully furnish a large house, inside and out. As prolific and widely recognised are Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber of BarberOsgerby.

Product designer Stephen Burks returns to South Africa following his Aid to Artisans development project in 2006.

Leaping the divide between science fiction, product and experience, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby of Dunne&Raby explore the psychological impact of technology; while the duo at Commonwealth, David Boira and Zoë Boira Coombes, find new applications for architecture by playing with scale and production. In turn, Nobumichi Tosa’s nonsense machines are sure to boggle the senses.

Font, graphic and scripting designer Rick Valicenti of Thirst/3st also takes digital creation beyond the grain.

With a decidedly quirky flavour, Frank Tjepkema’s products, interiors, identities and interiors can’t help but make one smile – and then we haven’t even got to Marian Bantjes’s meticulously executed graphic design yet. Font, graphic and scripting designer Rick Valicenti of Thirst/3st also takes digital creation beyond the grain. Also cutting the edge of wit, it is with great pleasure that we welcome Javier Mariscal back after his stupefying presentation at Design Indaba 2003. Other returnees include automobile designer Keith Helfet with South Africa’s first electric car and architect Luyanda Mpahlwa with his solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 Housing project. And, of course, the world’s leading trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort.

And this is just a taste of what's to come! Look out for further speaker announcements in upcoming weeks.

So, what can your creativity do? Design Indaba Conference 2009 promises to push the limits of your imagination beyond the physical.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Ultimate Photography Competition – Win a Trip to Barcelona

Focus on the iconic Fairland Development, the new home to WesBank and FNB, and create the perfect picture of one of Johannesburg’s architectural masterpieces when you enter an innovative photographic competition sponsored by Continuum Architects and WesBank.

For Continuum Architects, which brought together some of the country’s foremost architectural practices to create a new home for WesBank, photography and fine architecture are closely linked. The competition encourages the creative minds behind the lenses to delve into the intricacies of form and design to produce the definitive photograph of this iconic building.

The winner can look forward to a trip for two to Barcelona, one of the world’s greatest architectural showcases. Ten runne will take home R1 500.

The competition is open to anyone who enjoys photography. Keen photographers, who shoot their pictures either from strategic vantage points within the city or the Fairland grounds, need to submit entries by February 20, 2009.

For further information on the Continuum WesBank Photography Competition, or to download an entry form, visit or e-mail

Friday, January 16, 2009

Young Designers Simulcast Bookings Open


The Design Indaba Young Designers Simulcast is intended to bring the wit and wisdom of the best of the best to young designers and students under 25.

This live broadcast, from the main plenary session to a second auditorium, means that those youngsters who cannot afford to attend the main Design Indaba Conference will still have access to speakers. They will watch their presentations and have a chance to interact with them at the end of the day in informal chat sessions.

At a cost of just R1 000, the future designers of South Africa will experience the foremost creative event in South Africa. Or, for only R1 160 students can get a simulcast ticket and a year’s subscription to the award-winning Design Indaba magazine, which was recently included in the Top 100 Most Innovative Magazines in the World list.

Speakers this year include Dai Fujiwara, Issey Miyake’s creative director, as well as product design giant Marcel Wanders, founder of the Moooi boutique, renowned for his gloriously whimsical interior living spaces, furniture and accessories.

South Africans may be especially interested in author and designer of Massive Change, Bruce Mau, who is driven by a sense of how design can solve problems (think stoves that burn peanut shells and super-strong fibres modelled on gecko hairs, for example).

Then there’s the most famous chef in the world today, Ferran Adrià. More of a culinary scientist than a traditional cook, Adrià doesn’t just give diners food but a total experience. He is famous for his 30-course gourmet menu and sheer unpredictability. Another unpredictable artist is fellow Spaniard Javier Mariscal, whose multidisciplinary work embraces illustration, furniture, sculpture, interior design and more.

The 5.5 designers are also a must-see – four designers in their 20s who are redefining design projects in France. Their Furniture Garden and Wallpaper Games are a treat.

Interacting with design luminaries, young and older, will give young designers a glimpse of the creative processes behind exceptional work, from the flicker of ideas to the execution of full-scale projects and installations. This will prove invaluable inspiration for the under-25s hoping to forge careers in the creative industries.

Book now through Computicket.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best Chef in the world at Design Indaba 2009

“What’s radical about us rests not on what we serve, but on how and where. In the West, where the problem of hunger has been solved, where obesity is now the issue, the trend has to be more and more about the pleasure of eating, the fun, rather than seeing it as simply a way of satisfying our appetites. At El Bulli we try and take this idea to the nth degree”

Ferran Adrià has been described as the best chef on the planet. His restaurant, elBulli, was voted the World’s Best Restaurant for the fourth time this year. It receives over one million reservation requests a year, where only 8 000 lucky ones get a table.

Yet, should one even call him a chef? Or a scientist? Or an artist? A meal – or rather, the experience, lasts for hours, alternating between flavours, temperatures, the surreal and the homely. Fried rabbit ears, for instance, translucently thin and tasting like pork rinds; a frozen gin with hot lemon fizz; spaghetti not topped with Parmesan but fashioned from it; soft-boiled quail egg with a crispy caramel crust; carrots turned into foam, artichokes into puree, and foie gras into ice cream.

Slip the reservation list and meet Ferran Adrià at Design Indaba Conference from 25 to 27 February 2009.

Click here to register.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gregor or Adriaan or Heath?

Three of South Africa’s most inspiring designers are to be honoured and rewarded for the massive ‘strides’ they have made in life.

The three - manufacturing designer, Gregor Jenkin, lamp designer Adriaan Hugo and Heath Nash who recycles scrap into funky designs – have been nominated as part of Johnnie Walker’s global celebration of 100 years of its Striding Man Icon.

The 15 “Striders” across 5 fields – Design, Entrepreneurship, Environment, The Arts and Leadership - have been chosen for achieving success in their various fields of endeavour despite numerous challenges and will be honoured in the Johnnie Walker® Celebrating Strides Awards 2008/9.

A panel of judges and the public will select the top finalist in each of five categories and the winners will receive prizes worth around R600 000 in total.

Vote for your favourite in the People's Choice category.