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The Design Indaba 2010

So my first Design Indaba has sadly come to an end, I know now that this will definitely not be my last. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I finally made it down to Cape Town for the conference but after hearing great reviews of previous years I was eager to attend.

For me the diversity of speakers were really good, encompassing most creative sectors – advertising, graphic design, film, fashion design, industrial design, architecture, performing arts etc. Being a Digital designer I hope in years to come we will get to hear from some international thought leaders in the online environment, but certainly this exposure to different creative thinkers opened my eyes to other design ideas and approaches. It was good to hear from designers that have faced similar problems to what we have but have found different solutions.

Some of the highlights:

  1. Michael Beirut with his inspiring and insightful talk about past experiences and lessons he learnt.
  2. The inspirational team of designers at Troika with some fascinating case studies of design challenges they have faced and overcome. I really enjoyed their unique approach to design and how they constantly look for alternative ways of doing things. Like their world clock situated at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 -”All the time in the World” uses a very different approach to the conventional world clock that normally displays only well known capital cities, this clock allows people to view times at more interesting destinations like “The world’s longest river”, “The world’s highest mountain” etc. Or their very innovative digital cloud sculpture that they conceptualised built and implemented.
  3. Stefan G Bucher – Graphic designer, writer and illustrator. 
    A rather eccentric and slightly wacky designer that came across as hugely passionate for his work. For 100 days Stefan filmed himself drawing a new monster every night based on random ink blots, and quickly created a large online following that eagerly await his next Daily Monster.
  4. Alejandro Aravena
    One of the most thought provoking speakers at the Indaba spoke about his “do-tank” (as opposed to “think-tank”) and their involvement in a groundbreaking social housing project in Chile called Elemental that has revolutionized the approach to low income housing.
  5. Li Edelkoort, a world famous trend researcher spoke about up and coming global trends and finished with an interesting take on the “Bordello” of the future.
  6. Bruce Nussbaum – Gave great insight into how he believes design is changing the world economy. He also spoke of “the biggest technical change to the internet since it was created four decades ago” referring to the decision by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to allow domain names to be written in non-Latin languages which will allow people to type internet addresses in their local languages.
A little more on the fun side was the great team of Thierry Cassuto and Zapiro who spoke to the audience about ZA News a controversial series that is gathering a huge following online. This talk also featured a special live guest appearance by Madiba and Bishop Tutu (ZA News puppets) whose hilarious interaction with the audience left everyone in stitches.

So all in all a very worthwhile experience. Well done Design Indaba, I look forward to next year…

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