Friday, March 20, 2009

"There's no time for cynicism anymore," declared design activist Bruce Mau near the end of the first day of the 2009 Design Indaba Conference. The spontaneous burst of cheering that his commitment to creative change roused, sums up the spirit of this year's event.
Running from 25 to 27 February at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the event attracted more than 2 100 conference and simulcast delegates. The vision of a better, previously unimagined world was played out by a cast of more than 30 top international and creative thinkers.

From category killers such as the world's best chef, Ferran AdriĆ , to the compelling surprise offered by Mohit Jayal and V Sunil from the W+K Delhi advertising agency, the curation of the event was pinned on diversity and excellence.

Rapt with passion and stimulation, the marketers, executives, designers, architects, students and academics in both auditoriums, were provoked with everything from electric cars, low-cost housing solutions, future farms, laboratory meat products and automated graphic design to animals as medical devices, food that quantifies emotional value, innovation through crowd-sourcing and colour-hunting in the Amazon... Not to mention Nobumichi Tosa's nonsense machines and Javier Mariscal's live-action animation finale.

Indeed it would be hard to forget anyone with the 5.5 Designers, AdamsMorioka, Ferran AdriĆ , Marian Bantjes, BarberOsgerby, Stephen Burks, Commonwealth, Dunne&Raby, Li Edelkoort, Dai Fujiwara, Keith Helfet, Jannes Hendrikz, Luyanda Mpahlwa, Javier Mariscal, Bruce Mau, Keith Rose, Roger Smythe, Dwayne Spradlin, Frank Tjepkema, Nobumichi Tosa, Patricia Urquiola, Rick Valicenti, W+K Delhi, Marcel Wanders and Craig Wessels, each making the event unforgettable.

For a glimpse into the minds of the future's great designers, for the first time Design Indaba this year hosted the top graduates from design institutions across the world to share their work in Pecha Kucha format. Speaking at the conference were Jon Stam from Design Academy Eindhoven, Sandhya Lalloo from the University of Johannesburg, Revital Cohen from the Royal College of Art in London, Arno Mathies from ECAL Lausanne in Switzerland, Barbara Cilliers from the University of Pretoria and Lauren Mackler from Rhode Island School of Design in the US.

The Pecha Kucha spirit of bite-sized creative sharing spilled over into two events at the Design Indaba Expo, the largest multi-disciplinary showcase of South African creativity to date. Running from 27 February to 1 March in the Cape Town Convention Centre, the Design Indaba Expo played host to more than 29 000 visitors.

Compared to last year's 20 000 visitors, the 2009 Design Indaba Expo indicated significant growth despite the tough economic climate. With more than 90 new exhibitors and 39 emerging creatives included in the 260 exhibitor stand-count, an extra 20% floor space was secured to accommodate the increased interest. Further, more than 360 buyers registered, including 156 international buyers.

The Design Indaba Expo also expanded its scope to include a number of subsidiary projects. Adding to the existing offering of all-day fashion and film shows, the Bowwow Project saw South African designers pimping the Magis puppy, the launch of the Western Cape Design Route now offers tourist access to the expo exhibitors all-year around, and the SOUTH exhibition and film displayed a considered evaluation of the spirit of South African creativity.

Celebrating South Africa's inversion of hand-me-down Eurocentric aesthetics, and applying creativity to real world problems, the SOUTH exhibition and film also included an award. Winner of the R100 000 grand SOUTH prize was Doung Anwar Jahangeer for his Spaza-De-Move-On, a fold-up shop on wheels, conceived to give street hawkers convenience and dignity. In turn, the winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa for 2009 was Michaella Janse van Vuuren for her Chrysanthemum Centrepiece.

"The overwhelming response to Design Indaba this year has renewed our mission to continue pushing for a better world through creativity," said Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo. "Imagination and creativity must meet implementation. We have more work to do — and our projects will now continue the momentum between now and Design Indaba 2010".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Best of Bowwow winner!

Bowwow WOW! Congratulations to Inhouse Brand Architects: their decorated Magis puppy, Caste-Aside, has been judged top dog in the South African leg of the Bowwow Contest! Own your favourite pup by bidding in the online auction now.
Bowwow is an international competition and exhibition that commissions designers to unleash their imaginations on iconic Magis Puppies. The original Magis Puppy was created for the contemporary Italian design brand by designer Eero Aarnio in 2005, and to date over 60 000 thoroughbred plastic moulded canines have found homes worldwide.

ID Solutions and the Design Indaba Trust selected 50 South Africans with impeccable design pedigrees to participate in the South African leg of the 2009 Bowwow initiative. The command? Groom and coiffure the dogs to showcase South African design spirit to the world.

The dressed up doggies were on show at this year’s Design Indaba. The competition was adjudicated by award-winning French design team, 5.5 designers, highly regarded for their accessible consumption alternatives that transcend the ordinary, while maintaining a sense of humour.

Great news is that you have a chance to own one of these unique showdogs! They are being auctioned online. 50% of the proceeds will go toward bursaries awarded to design students through the Design Indaba Trust, and 50% toward the commissioning of a public sculpture for the Greenpoint Stadium Precinct. See details of how to place your bid below, and hurry, because there’s no time to waste!

Our South African champion, Caste Aside, is now on his way to represent the country in the international Bowwow competition, contested by 32 nations. We are confident that he’ll represent South Africa’s complexity faithfully. According to his creators, Inhouse Brand Architects:

“Our puppy loosely symbolises a coexisting First and Third World environment, almost invisible to each other, yet so interdependent that both worlds support each other creatively, financially and structurally, and are seen by the rest of the world as one.

“The First World is represented as a highly polished, shiny surface without any visual cracks and illustrates Caste-Aside’s tag line, 'Every Dog Has Its Day', in all 11 official languages. The surface is engraved using structural lines representing the South African flag and the boundaries of the nine major provinces.

“The Third World is more obvious and transparent. Made up from a skeletal frame, creatively decorated using local brands’ logos and hand-crafted panels utilising local crafters’ skills, it’s as if a street kid had pieced together his/her own puppy using immediately-available materials.

“Caste Aside’s collar and chain represent the boundaries we place between each world, trying desperately to protect ourselves from each other when, in fact, there’s no need.”

To bid on Caste Aside, or any other Bowwow Puppy that has stolen your heart, hurry to Bidding closes on 31 March 2009. Going… Going…