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Design Indaba 2019: A mind-bending bouquet of design and creativity

The annual conference is about collapsing boundaries and merging creatives

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By Gugulethu Mkhabela | February 28, 2019 | Design

Design Indaba is a mind-blowing bouquet of design and creativity. It is all about collapsing boundaries, merging creatives and creating ‘a better world through innovation and creativity.' The annual conference kicked off on 27 February 2019, at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town and will go on until 1 March 2019.

The three MC’s for the conference includes iconic performance poet Lebo Mashile, Amsterdam-based theatre director and actor Lucas De Man, and Kenyan actress and music supervisor on the film, Rafiki—which will be aired on Friday night (1 March for free if you’ve booked your seat already), Patricia Kihoro.

In addition to a curated-line up of music, fashion, seminars and workshops from progressive architects, renowned design aficionados, and emerging creatives—the line-up also included twelve university graduates presenting their projects throughout the three-day conference.

Some highlights included an interesting collaboration between NM type (typeface designers Noel Pretorius and María Ramos) and performance artist Andile Vellem. NM Type shared the design process of a new bespoke font which celebrates design, movement, and music. And one of their dreams was to work with a dancer, because ‘just as musicians play with sounds, we as designers, play with space, ’said South-African born Pretorius.

Vellem is a deaf South African performance artist – who took to the stage to perform a moving dance piece using elements of the kinetic typeface created by the creative duo. ‘It doesn’t matter how you use it, type is always there, connecting with the audience,’ says NM type.

Another highlight was Zimbabwean-born, South African-raised, Nicole Nomsa Moyo who presented her Master’s thesis project,  Ukubutha, which is Nguni for ‘to gather’. “Designers need to work together to solve crises in the world,’’ said Moyo. Which is what inspired the project. “Out of the more than 7.5 billion people that live on this planet, one billion live in slums all over the world and more people have access to a mobile phone than a flushing toilet,” she said. Moyo’s work has been internationally recognised and lauded for its socially driven architecture solutions.

Ever heard of a woke sausage? Well, that is what Switzerland-based product designer and researcher Carolien Niebling’s riveting presentation was all about. 'The sausage is more remarkable than we think and is one of the first meats we’ve ever designed. Invented over 5000 years ago and developed ever since, the sausage is a true design object,’ said the author of The Sausage of the Future. Niebling’s underlying goal is to reduce the amount of meat we eat together with existing industry.

And finally, showcasing for the first time, was the IKEA ÖVERALLT collection.  IKEA teamed up with a group of designers, architects, artists and creatives from five African countries to collaborate around modern urban rituals and the importance they play in the home. The result is the limited-edition collection ÖVERALLT, a collection of products that is all about building bridges and discovering the 'urban living room.'

The collection will be available in all IKEA markets in May 2019 and includes larger pieces of furniture, tableware, textiles, and a sustainable tote bag, amongst others.

The IKEA collection ÖVERALLT has been designed by:

Laduma Ngxokolo

Sindiso Khumalo

Issa Diabaté

Selly Raby Kane

Naeem Biviji and Bethan Rayner

Bibi Seck

Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad

Renee Rossouw

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