Monday, February 23, 2009

South, the new north

Stand back Milan, London and New York, here comes SOUTH!
SOUTH is an inversion of hand-me-down Eurocentric creativity, a world map turned upside down conceptually, so that South Africa is on top. Over the past few years Design Indaba has witnessed the organic emergence of a new creative ethos. With South Africa’s diverse, rich heritage as source material, and inspired by the rebirth of the South African nation, definitions that move beyond ethnicity, religion, race or language have emerged.

The SOUTH Exhibition, launching at the Design Indaba Expo from 27 February to 1 March, celebrates 22 legendary creative icons that have been at the pole of this upswing over the past few years. They include ubiquitous items such as the South African flag, Zapiro’s indicting political cartoons, the architecturally distinct Constitutional Court, Stoned Cherrie’s taboo-popping Steve Biko T-shirt, and Kulula and Nando’s national identity forging advertisements. There are more design-specific items too, such as Amanda Laird Cherry’s shweshwe dress suits, Garth Walker's iJusi magazines, Peet Pienaar’s Afro magazine, Haldane Martin’s Zulu Mama Chair and Heath Nash’s recycled plastic Leafball lights. Also on exhibition will be a contingent of conscientious solutions such as the Playpump, the Hippo Roller and the award-winning condom applicator.

The 33 SOUTH award finalists complete the exhibition. These finalists were chosen from the 163 entries from across the country by adjudicator Mike Schalit, creative director of Network BBDO. Schalit was assisted by product designer Tsai, known for his multi-award winning Nested Bunkbeds, and Brian Mtongana, known for his “Googlethu” T-shirt and work on the Design Indaba magazine. Three cash prizes of R100 000, R50 000 and R25 000 will be awarded on Sunday 1 March at 5pm in the fashion area.

The SOUTH documentary, co-produced by Interactive Africa and Miles Goodall of Sub Urban Films, uncovers the layers of inspiration in South African graphic design, art, dance, music, fashion, architecture, craft and product design. Tracking creativity from the bubbling urban streets, through the social challenges and historical perceptions of Africa, to reach a contemporary global vanguard, the film captures the passion, resourcefulness, cultural mash-up and biting humour innate to every South African who sees the world upside down. The SOUTH documentary will show daily at 2pm in the Design Indaba Expo fashion area.

SOUTH is the result of the Creative Alliance, a partnership between Design Indaba, the Creative Circle and the Loerie Awards, underwritten by the SABC.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Most Beautiful Object in SA finalists

Ladies and Gentlemen, no designer is an island! Nowhere is this more evident than in the entries received, year on year, in Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) contest. Great ideas meet visual poetry with aesthetic conventions subverted in ways that are glorious and ingenious, while contestants challenge each other to come up with ever-greater concepts.
Last year’s winner was Tsai Design’s Nested Bunk Bed, an amazing set of stacking beds that solves the difficulties of organised sleeping arrangements in a confined space, while freeing up space when not in use.

This year, MBOISA is once again judging objects according to a variety of criteria resonant with the 21st century, including aesthetic appeal, social significance, sustainability, economic impact, lifestyle appeal, entertainment and cultural flavour.

Judging beauty in a place as diverse as contemporary South Africa is complicated. In a country influenced profoundly by collisions of culture, whose aesthetics come into play?

We’d like you, the public, to help us with the decision. What, to you, is the essence of a truly “beautiful object”? Does it lie in luxury, ingenuity, making life simpler, in economy or entertainment? Your vote counts! Come along to Design Indaba Expo to view the shortlisted creations in the flesh and help judge the beauty contest, simply by sending an SMS.

And now, without further ado, it gives us great pleasure to announce that the gorgeous contestants in the running to be crowned Most Beautiful Object In South Africa are…

  1. Piece: Art and Justice: The Art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
    By: David Krut Publishing
    (Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, Ben Law-Viljoen, Ellen Papciak-Rose)

  3. Piece: Chrysanthemum Centrepiece
    By: Nomili (
    Michaella Janse van Vuuren)

  4. Piece: Ribbon Plate
    By: Kendal Warren Ceramics (Kendal Warren)

  5. Pretty Filly BenchBy: Koop Design (Richard Stretton)

  6. Piece: Chaos Bench
    By: Greymeta Design (William Morafo)

  7. Piece: Suikerbossie
    By: Lady Peculiar (Louise van Graan & Truda Serfontein)

  8. Piece: Café of Good Times
    By: Frieda Lühl Jewellery (Frieda Lühl)

  9. Piece: Sir Bugs
    By: Milk & Cookies (Geraldine Fenn)

  10. Piece: Green-T-4-1
    By: African Queen Studio (Lorraine Piers)

    Piece: Thorn Carpet
    By: Ronel Jordaan

  12. Piece: Mike Stroud (Crips-Ratatat)
    By: Milk & Cookies (Jaco Haasbroek)

  13. Piece: Pure Lemon Juice
    By: So Gourmet (
    Francois Te Water Naudé)

  14. Piece: Miss Beautiful: South Africa in Pageants
    By: Day One Publishing (Stephan le Roux, Stan Engelbrecht, Tamsen de Beer, Michelle Son)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green and envied!

Savvy designers have recognised the need to lessen their impact on the natural environment’s finite resources. Wasteful, disposable excess is out and more grounded, durable luxury is in. Designers are working with recycled and renewable materials towards eco-friendly and sustainable wares, and built-in energy efficiencies have improved with technological advances. A product might cost a little more upfront, but with innovative approaches to materials and design, it will be of a higher quality and should last far longer.
The trend towards environmentally responsible design is well represented at Design Indaba Expo 2009. Among others, check out Koop’s furniture range crafted out of alien vegetation by Richard Stretton. Chic recycling also distinguishes Drift’s range of furniture made from shipping crates and railway sleepers.

Of course, more than buying new, its important to extend the lifespan of products. A decided showstopper last year, Casamento will again be showing their ingenious use of off-cuts to re-upholster second-hand couches and chairs. Another hit from last year, GIVE-IT-BAG return with their gorgeous shopping bags made from recycled food transport sacks, as well as a number of new styles.

Also continuing its line of clothing with a conscience is Fundudzi. Designer Craig Jacob uses only organic bamboo, cotton and wool, with hemp silk for embellishment and adaptable designs that encourage multiple uses for single garments. Top it off with a piece of jewellery by Skermunkil, who repurposes antique cutlery and found objects.

Economic empowerment and social sustainability are key words for many Design Indaba Expo exhibitors, including collaborative craft groups such as Woo-Men, Design Afrika, Shumba Inc, ISUNA, Nuno, Phumani Paper, Iziko lo Lwazi, Hillcrest Aids Centre, Monkeybiz and Projekt.

House and Leisure magazine and Woolworths are showcasing the 10 finalists in the House and Leisure Green Designers at Woolworths competition. Running since August 2008, the competition promotes environmentally friendly, upmarket homeware design by students at the best tertiary design institutions around the country. Work featured will go into production for sale at selected Woolworths stores.

Click here to view the complete fashion and film programme.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

High five! Design Indaba Conference is sold out. Again. For the fifth year running. What can we say?
“It’s gratifying to see that businesses realise that it will take innovation and creativity to navigate through a tougher economic climate,” says Ravi Naidoo, Design Indaba founder and CEO. “Now more than ever, the world needs creative solutions. There’s never a bad time for a good idea.”

In light of the continued demand for tickets, Design Indaba is lifting the age restriction on the Young Designers Simulcast. For the reduced price of R1200 delegates older than 25 can enjoy this simulcast of the foremost creative event in the country. The simulcast is a live broadcast, from the main plenary session to a second auditorium.

Besides the speakers who have already been announced, Design Indaba is also pleased to add Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of Innocentive Inc to the line-up, as well as leading commercials director Keith Rose. Further, a combined presentation on the best South African animation includes Craig Wessels from Wicked Pixels, Roger Smythe from Masters&Savant and Jannes Hendrikz from the Blackheart Gang.

For a glimpse into what the future of design will look like, Design Indaba has curated a programme of the best design graduates from the Royal College of Art in London, Design Academy Eindhoven, ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Johannesburg and University of Pretoria.

Click here to register.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Design Indaba Expo: New Leaves, Every Year

Design Indaba Expo showcases the best South African creativity under one roof, don’t miss the 60 first-time exhibitors showcasing the freshest design trends and innovative ways to change the world.
Get acquainted with furniture by greymeta and Aram Lello, sample So!Go’s delectable food condiments and ruminate on Chew magazine, an online publication. NOMILI’s 3D rapid prototypes flirt with the art or design distinction, while photographers Clinton Friedman and Ed Suter show their diverse applications. Not to mention the designs of Milk&Cookies and ilovestencil, which is sure to steal a heart or two.

Want to make a statement? Get your head into a Makoya Makaraba to stand out in any soccer throng or if you prefer to hit the streets, deck yourself out in Butan Wear. Accessorise with Gypsey Lou, Chimpel, Township Patterns and Mongoose, or step into a pair of Bennett & Co shoes.

A strong furniture contingent is lead up by Misael’s limited-edition exclusive objects by the likes Leora Lewis, Rebecca Townsend, Heath Nash, Lyall Sprong, Bronze Age, Walter Oltmann, Joe Mapfuno, Mickael Kra and Andile Dyalvane. Best known as Top Billing’s handyman, Aidan Bennetts will be showing his own range of contemporary furniture. And Sally Arnold’s bold custom-tufted rugs and soft furnishings are sure to catch your attention. The finalists for the Western cape Furniture Competition will also be on display.

Also keep an eye out for brand new products and ranges from returning exhibitors such as Heath Nash, Imiso Ceramics, Tsai Design Studio, Zenzulu, Haldane Martin, Cornelius Lemmer, Ideso, Woodheads, Dry Furniture’s cool new kids’ range and, of course, Stoned Cherrie’s 2009 Winter range, hot off the New York Fashion Week catwalk.

Get a taste of the future of South African design through the Emerging Creatives platform, sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture. Showcasing 40 of the country’s freshest young designers, this is a trendspotter’s delight. Over the years, the likes of Vuyisa Potina, Christel Stipp, Daniel Ting Chong and Anja Venter all launched their careers here.

Click here to view the complete fashion and film programme.

Fashion bends the fold at Design Indaba 2009

South African fashion designers are at the forefront of the local consumer revolution demanding relevant, fabulous South African design. Local fashion designers represent an ethical vanguard, selling a socially aware identity to its patrons, promoting sustainable local production, defining a national identity that begs the cliché and inviting international interaction without losing its distinction.
Celebrating the embedded story and grander message, the Fashion Arena at the Design Indaba Expo 2009 will again go beyond glossy pages, pouty models and the oh-so-passé catwalk. Presented by the SABC, this dedicated arena will host all-day fashion shows, a film festival, Liquid Chefs cocktail bar and lounges, Pecha Kucha presentations at the end of the day, and a fashion boutique. Visitors to the Design Indaba Expo will pay R50 for unlimited access to the fashion and main floor.
Hot off the New York Fashion Week runway, is Design Indaba stalwart Stoned Cherrie with her Winter 2009 Collection – a hearty celebration of iconic South Africa and all the things we love about our past, present and future. With its luxurious wools, designer jacquards, embellished necklines, flirty silhouettes, nostalgic sophistication and print leather clutches, it is a proud affirmation of Stoned Cherrie’s nine-year long journey of exploration and discovery.
Other stalwarts, Hip Hop Factory and Afro Diva will be putting their renowned touch of sjoe-wow to leisure and evening wear for the modern women, while the Karin Monk Klijnstra collection is a cross-pollination of urban wasteland, recyclable fabrics, interesting textures and futuristic, psychedelic colours.
Also continuing its line of clothing with a conscience is Fundudzi. Designer Craig Jacob uses only organic bamboo, cotton and wool, with hemp silk for embellishment and adaptable designs that encourage multiple uses for single garments.
The other Craig, Craig Native promises a collection that will show just why his brand has been called the “Che Guevara of SA fashion”. Also making a sly wink at the naughty, the new Undacova collection of funky underwear for men promotes “responsible hedonism”. Set to subsequently re-silhouette the androgynous hipster, Stiaan Louw’s collection promises to delve into male iconography, reflecting on the somewhat elusive, constantly shifting contemporary sexuality.

In turn, Sandhya Lalloo’s SIN will ask women to break free and indulge, while Soulchild Closet fosters a woman’s need to discover their inner child and reveal their soul. Also inspiring one’s inner kid, Sway Textiles will be showcasing their easy-to-wear lightweight garments and thrilling colour prints.
Hinged on the magic of nostalgia, the I Love Leroy collection captures the essence of the vast landscapes of the Karoo and Northern Cape. Timeless elegance is also the order of the day for Carducci Women by Francois Rall who has created a finely tailored collection crafted from 100% South African Lightweight Wool.
To ensure continued relevancy and international marketability, Design Indaba Expo has also arranged a free seminar with Li Edelkoort, for Design Indaba Expo exhibitors only.
Edelkoort will also address the Design Indaba Conference, along with the other fashion superhero on the programme, Dai Fujiwara, creative director of Issey Miyake. Fujiwara’s proprietary software-driven design process represents a whole new creative, technological and ecological rapid prototyping proposition to the fashion industry.

Click here to view the complete fashion and film programme.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Loerie Awards Travelling Exhibition to Launch at Design Indaba

The Loeries Travelling Exhibition, which showcases the winning work from the awards, will open at the Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town at the end of February. The exhibition, of which the SABC is the sole sponsor, is the annual roadshow of the Loerie winners and visits both local and international festivals, agencies, museums and educational institutions. “The launch of the exhibition at Design Indaba is particularly significant,” notes Andrew Human, managing director of The Loerie Awards. “Design is an important part of Brand Communication and it is a great opportunity to showcase the industries best work to a broad audience of designers, brand managers and consumers.” Recently the exhibition has travelled as far afield as Russia and New York to expose the very best of South African creative talent to a larger audience. This year the roadshow will include international stops, amongst other places, in Namibia and at The One Show in New York. The Loeries Travelling Exhibition does more than just showcase great creative work, as it also aims to broaden awareness of the brand communications industry as a career path for learners, and inspire students currently studying brand communications.

“The SABC, one of the major sponsors of the Loerie Awards, have over the last couple of years, increased its investment and strengthened its partnership with the Loeries in support of the creative industry. As the country’s biggest communicator, and a responsible corporate citizen, it is vital that the SABC moves beyond its mandate and play a meaningful role in the development and celebration of South Africa creativity. The monumental success of Africa’s most prestigious awards is testimony to the talent we harbour in the country. We are extremely excited to be the sole sponsor of The Loeries Travelling Exhibition,” says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

The Design Indaba Expo takes place from 27 February to 1 March. Visitors will also be able to take the exhibited winning work home with them, as the Loeries Annual, which showcases the winning work of 2008, will also be launched at the conference.

Major Sponsors

The major sponsors for the 2009 Loerie Awards are the SABC, Ads24, Cape Town Tourism and The City of Cape Town.

Travelling Exhibition Venues and dates*
Dates to remember:
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PE: 7 - 14 March 09
DV8, Windhoek, Namibia 4 -13 April 09
Vega, Johannesburg 2 - 9 May 09
Durban Natal Museum 16 - 27 May 09
Bloemfontein Museum 9 - 27 June 09
Vega, Durban 13 - 18 July 09
Vega, Cape Town 24 July - 1 August 09
Tshwane University of Technology 22 - 29 August 09
City Varsity, Johannesburg 4 - 11 September 09
North West University, Potchefstroom 24 September - 4 Oct 09
Stellenbosch Academy 10 - 22 October 09
One Club, New York End November 09
*All dates are subject to change

Important Loerie dates to diarise:

Entries Open: March
Entry Deadline: 15 May 2009
Migrate Magazine 09 May 09
Judging: 13 - 17 July 09
Judges Seminar: 13 July 09
Loerie Awards Festival Weekend Cape Town: 25 - 27 September 09
Migrate Magazine 10 October/Nov 09

For more information, go to For more information please contact: Headlines Michelle Kasimov 011 887 3422

Design Indaba magazine crafts the future

In today’s virtual world that runs at the speed of broadband, where do the slow making, culturally sensitive, hand-touched qualities of craft fit, asks the newest edition of Design Indaba magazine, “The Cr*ft.”

Turning to Design Indaba’s experts – conference speakers, exhibitors and media partners – an intriguing debate emerges with contributions from the likes of Justin McGuirk, Alex Steffen, Christine Moosman, Paul Priestman, Nkhensani Nkosi, Professor Neil Gershenfeld, Stefan Sagmeister, Marisa Fick-Jordaan, Inga Sempé, Geraldine Fenn and many more. Li Edelkoort also weighs in with a considered essay exploring the underlying cultural and popular forces at play in the resurgence of craft as a production model.

The Design Indaba Conference 2009 speakers in turn speak about the value of considered production cycles and the responsibility of designers to make excellence; with features on the oh-so fabulous Marcel Wanders, design for change provocateur Bruce Mau and graphic-designer-with-a-twist Marian Bantjes.

Sometimes the answer is spiritual, as Cape Town ceramicist John Bauer finds happiness with his fingers in clay. In turn, freedom and time-imbued quality is what has distinguished illustration outfit Am I Collective and their newly launched animation shop, Disko.

It’s a challenge to the mass-produced status quo and an expression of disillusionment, writes Daniel Friedman in his survey of South African new folk music, which has surprising parallels to the design world.

It is just this hankering that comes through in Bob Dylan’s quote: “The future is already a thing of the past.” Pinning their spectacular fashion and design photo editorial on this quote, photographer Brett Rubin, décor stylist Kate Boswell and fashion stylist Carey Watson show just how futuristic the products on show at Design Indaba Expo 2009 are.

In the news section, we receive word from Ji Lee, SeymourPowell, Makoya Makarabas, Shin-ichi Takemura, Frank Tjepkema, Louis Minnar, the Boyms, Joe Paine, Gazelle, the Campana Bros, Ze Frank, Rex, Carrol Boyes, Bigwood and more.

Meanwhile in the book section find Dion Chang’s 2009 Flux Trend Review and Michael MacGarry’s Skill Set 1 – Graphic Design: A Primer in South African Graphic Design – of which there are also three copies to be won. Other design orientated books and music are also featured.

Design Indaba, Q109, “The Cr*ft”, is available in selected Exclusive Books stores, Melissa’s and other outlets nationwide. Click here for a full list of distribution points.

To subscribe contact Lucinda Johannes at or Tel: 021 465 9966.

Design Indaba magazine is featured in the Top 100 Most Innovative Publications in the World at Colophon 2009 from 13 to 15 March 2009.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

“More than talking about my style, I prefer to talk about a method of working. I’m quite eclectic, varied and diverse. I like to think in different scales at the same time, in architecture and design. I’m interested in behaviour structures, artisan techniques, certain aspects of memory... aspects of my life.”
One of the most prolific and diverse designers working today, there is very little in design that Patricia Urquiola hasn’t re-examined, re-perfected and re-produced. In fact, it has been said that one could completely furnish a couple of large houses, inside and out, using only Urquiola’s product designs.

A Spanish national, Urquiola now lives and works in Milan. Since establishing her studio in 2001, her prolific output has found markets through brands such as De Padova, B&B Italia, Alessi, Driade, Kartell, Flos and Moroso. She has won many design awards and has spoken at conferences and seminars in various international universities.

Hear how to remake everything in your world, from the master herself, at Design Indaba Conference from 25 to 27 February 2009.

Richard Hart at WITW

Design Indaba Expo curator Richard Hart’s debut solo exhibition, Kind Pockets, opens at Whatiftheworld in Cape Town this February during the week of Design Indaba.

A mixture of paintings, lithographs, sculpture photography and dressmaking, Kind Pockets is a largely collaborative work by Hart, fashion designer Amanda Laird Cherry and photographer Roger Jardine. The work is an extensive exploration of the concept of the marsupial girl, an imaginary archetype.

Hart is best known as the creative force behind disturbance, the acclaimed Durban based design studio that was recently featured on the cover of the international design journal, ID. Kind Pockets opens at Whatiftheworld / Gallery on Wed 25 Feb at 18:30.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The raw power of type at Design Indaba 2009

“Civilization will forever be served when we find what we have forgotten we have lost: our reason for being. We must serve, honor, and respect human presence by design.”
As a font designer and founder of Thirst/3st, a group that has received international recognition for its manifesto on contemporary design, Emotion as Promotion, Rick Valicenti’s raw, independent work has been in our faces for more than two decades.

Valicenti, a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, has served as president of the Society of Typographic Arts and has designed some of today’s most recognised fonts, including Ultra Bronzo and Punch. Most recent work with Thirst includes playing with ink and type in 2D and 3D. He is also exploring customised scriptographer actions and programmed processing, as well as dabbling in sound and animation.

Type into Rick Valicenti's take on the future of design at Design Indaba Conference 2009, from 25 to 27 February.

Click here to register.