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Design Indaba turns 20

Design Indaba turns 20

For the past 20 years the team at Interactive Africa, spearheaded by Ravi Naidoo, has brought some of the world’s most innovative and dynamic thinkers to the three-day conference. Here’s our pick of this year’s 10 most memorable Design Indaba moments.

1. The Simulcast

The Simulcast addressed the need for widespread access to Design Indaba by streaming the conference live to venues around the country. For those starting out in the creative industries, this was a pivotal opportunity to benefit from the conference.

2. William Kentridge

William Kentridge’s presentation on his creative process around a new body of performance art, Refuse the Hour, had audience members on the edge of their seats. The climax was an improvisation by the musical ensemble which was brought on stage to enact what it all meant.

3. Reimagining Materials

Reimagining materials was a recurring theme that appeared in presentations by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius and Italian design duo Forma Fantasma. Hella reused KLM’s old air hostess uniforms for the interiors of the Boeing 747 business cabins, while Forma Fantasma used volcano debris in a bespoke range.

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4. African Fashion’s Cool Set

African fashion’s cool set had everyone talking. From the whimsical designs and styling of Senegalese Selly Raby Kane to her fellow countryman Omar Viktor Diop’s fashion-inspired photography and Zulu-inspired collections by Sindiso Khumalo, the vibrancy and energy of these young creatives’ work was a hot topic throughout the three days of Design Indaba.

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5. Variations on Normal

Variations on Normal is the name of product designer Dominic Wilcox’s blog, which showcases his creative object-making skills. ‘I treat playfulness deadly seriously,’ says Dominic, whose work is all about giving new meaning and function to everyday objects.

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6. Colours are like Musical Notes

‘Colours are like musical notes; you can play endlessly with them,’ said 84-year-old Rosita Missoni, co-founder of renowned Italian fashion and homeware brand, Missoni. Her love of art, colour and family continues to inspire her work, and to this day she’s actively involved in the homeware line of the family business she and her late husband, Ottavio, founded more than 60 years ago.

7. The Endless Possibilities of Digi-Tech

The endless possibilities of digi-tech stretched our minds. English collective, The Workers presented Tate Britain After Dark, where digitally controlled robots brought the art to the internet via a live stream. Israeli Yoni Bloch also wowed the audiences with his Interlude platform that allows viewers to direct their own music videos, adverts and feature films.

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8. Kirstenbosch’s Boomslang

Kirstenbosch’s boomslang won the Most Beautiful Object in SA award this year by public vote. Designed by architect Mark Thomas and structural engineer Henry Fagan, the winding walkway, which takes visitors from the forest floor up to the treetops and over the canopy, was inspired by the skeleton of a snake.

9. The Emerging Talents

The emerging talents provided insight into where tomorrow’s stars are at today. A standout presentation was given by Dutch graduate Teresa van Dongen, whose Ambio light uses bioluminescent bacteria from the skin of an octopus as an alternative light source,

10. The Expo

The expo is always a treat to get a handle on the landscape of local young design talent. And speaking of landscapes, architecture student and blogger of Design Heard Nikki Onderstall’s cardboard laser-cut topographical models of Table Mountain were the talk of the expo.

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Words:Genevieve Putter, Julia Freemantle, Michelle Snaddon
Photographs:Annalize Nel, Valérie van der Wal, Sally Rutherford, Henk Hattingh, Etienne Stevens, supplied

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