Design Indaba 09 || Day 1 || Steven Burks

Steven Burks spoke during the graveyard shift – that time after lunch when I struggle to keep my eyes open.  His presentation was also rather unstructured, and he insisted on having some free from jazz playing as he spoke.


As a result, I struggled to figure out what exactly his talk was about.  He seems to have been involved in a number of projects involving recycling and fashionable furniture.  There is the Cappelinni love table:


This is a small table which is made up out of folded cardboard, covered in a papiermache collage of magazine strips.  The great thing here is that the papiermache is made up out of a none toxic binder.  The tables were made by “local artisans” – I’m not sure exactly who they were.


This lovely bowl was made by spreading silicon inside another bowl, and layering it with small glass tiles.

One thing I liked about Steven’s talk was that he gave other people a chance to speak in the form of video interviews.  We heard one of the collaborators,  Willard Musarurwa ,  talk about his work and life.   Willard works with Steven Burks to produce tables like these:


To wake us out of our post lunch haze, Steven got everyone to tie Woolworths shopping bags (that we found under our chairs) together in one huge string.  There were 1500 people in the auditorium, so passing the string of bags forward to the stage took a while.   We hoped to see him do something instantly recyclable with the heap of bags, but it was not to be.  Only on Friday did he announce that the bags would be turned into soccer balls for kids to play with.

Steven seemed to focus on this area of recycling and empowering people through training in craft based projects.  I’m still a little confused about these projects – how exactly the collaboration works. But on the other hand, the evidence is there –  it certainly does work.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather Moore
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 17:05:55

    I agree, it was a strange presentation. I was fairly gobsmacked when he admitted on the next day that he had no idea what he was going to do with all those bags. I thought he had a plan: his announcement was that “we’re all going to make something together”, but all we made, it seems, was a big pile of bags. Odd, and surprisingly naive!

  2. mashadutoit
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 17:21:41

    Yes! Me too. And after a good deal of exercise in passing that looooooooooooooooong cable of shopping bags foward to the stage.

    Well, we can look forward to the shopping bad soccer balls. They looked kind of nice.

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