Design Indaba 2010 – Words that I will remember

So – it’s over.  Flipping through my notebook after two days at the Design Indaba, these quotes stood out:

Michael Bierut:

“You get power by giving away power.”

“The audience is more wonderful than you think.”

Mokena Makeka: More

Design Indaba 2010 – Alejandro Aravena

One of the most thought-provoking speakers at Design Indaba 2010: Alejandro Aravena.

Alejandro is a Chilean architect who focuses on that most challenging of problems – social housing for the poor.  His talk was rather like the projects he showed us: stark, harsh, and with no attempt to soften unpleasant realities.

The audience did not like everything he said. More

Design Indaba 2010 – Christien Meindertsma

Christien Meindertsma spoke on the last day of the Design Indaba 2010.  She has a quietly confident style and a subtle sense of humour.  Her talk was thought provoking and intriguing.

Christien is fascinated by the link between products and the materials they are made out of. Even when we have some understanding of what something is made of – the emotional and physical link is lacking.  Christien attempts to remind us of this link.

For example, the “One Sheep Cardigan” project, in which she knitted a cardigan made out of all the wool of one specific sheep.

The cardigan is accompanied by the sheep’s identity ear-tag (the small yellow object) a “passport” of the sheep in question, and a trophy ribbon: More

Design Indaba 2010 – Troika

Another memorable Design Indaba presentation was by Troika, a design team made up of designer and illustrator Conny Freyer:

Designer Eva Rucki: More

Design Indaba 2010 – Martha Stewart

At the last day of the Design Indaba 2010, Martha Stewart showed how not to do it:

She misjudged her audience and delivered a talk that came across like a sales pitch.  Surely Martha Stewart had something more to share than how to do “paint by numbers” glitter paintings?  I wonder if she had attended any of the other speakers, and had no idea what the event was about?

The audience was soon muttering and giggling and tweeting: More

Design Indaba 2010 – Michael Bierut

I have a new hero: Michael Bierut.  He set the tone for the Design Indaba 2010 with an insightful, witty and inspiring account of  how he “almost blew it” on a high-profile project .

It must be tough to speak at the Indaba – you are asked to show off your work to an audience of highly competitive and critical people.  It it easy to come over as egocentric or arrogant.

Instead, Michael did what a good teacher does – he reminded us that learning only happens when we reflect on our own mistakes.

He told us the story of his involvement in a project run by the Robin Hood Foundation –  the L!brary Initiative. More

Faith47 at Design Indaba 2010

Design Indaba 2010 starts…tomorrow!  I’ll be blogging it again this year. In the mean time, I’m collecting resources on interesting speakers.  For example:

I’ve always loved the “TV Lady” who watches over De Waal Drive.  Now I know who created her: Faith47.

You can read more about Faith47 here:

>> her portfolio site – lots and lots of amazing images of her work.

>> an interview with Faith 47 on Forma.

>> an interview with Faith47 on Senses Lost.

>> Here is her MySpace profile.

>> Here is her Vimeo channel, with some videos 🙂

And you can follow find all the other links I’ve found about Design Indaba 2010 speakers here.

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Design Indaba 09 || Day 3||Frank Tjepkema

Frank Tjepkema’s presentation started quite strangely.  He showed us  images of Holland as it might be in the future –  a model of a sustainable city farm,  its  lack of warmth possibly caused by the inhumanely smooth computer generated graphics.


Frank Tjepkama then moved away from this slightly worrying vision of the future, and continued a theme that was apparent in many of the previous speakers – that of design that is concerned with the personal and the warmly human. More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 3 || Young Designers

The Pecha Kucha session at Design Indaba allowed a number of young designers to show their work.


They were Jon  Stam, Sandhya Lalloo, Revital Chohen, Arno Mathies, Barbara Cilliers and Lauren Mackler.  More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 3 || Nobumichi Tosa

Nobumichi Tosa treated us to a wacky, nonsensical performance on the third day of the Design Indaba.  He appeared on stage strapped into one of his absurd contraptions and proceeded to act out a ceremonial dance.


His mock formal greeting was punctuated with loud sounds produced by his strange instrument-outfit. More

Design Indaba 09 ||Day3|| Marian Bantjes

The last day of the Design Indaba started with Marian Bantjes who proceeded to make me most uncomfortable.  She held out a vision of how life could be that I found deeply disturbing.


Work which is synonymous with love.  Drawing and writing, ornament and pattern.  And the promise that these are within reach if only one is willing to risk it all. More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Marcell Wanders

Marcell Wanders did not so much talk  as dance us through his presentation.  We needed this sparking energy to revive us at the end of  the long second day of the Design Indaba.


Here is another designer who’s presence dominated the occasion.  He looked like a smooth and charming  Lucifer, complete with casual jeans, jacket and a string of pearls.  And the work he showed us spoke of a world of temptations and luxury most of us can only dream of. More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Ferran Adria

One of the great stars of Design Indaba this year was Ferran Adria, the Spanish chef.


Ferran Adria has been called the “Picasso of cooking” and “the greatest chef in the world “.  His restaurant, El Bulli receives  over a million reservations a year of which  only eight thousand get a table. More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Innocentive

The great thing about the Desing Indaba is the spread of ideas one is exposed to.  From the refined balance of Commonwealth, we moved on to the enthusiastism of  Dwain Spradlin of Innocentive.


In a nutshell, Innocentive is an attempt to use the internet to harness humanities ability to problem solve. More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Patricia Urquiola

One of the unexpected aspects of the Design Indaba was the impact that the speakers personality made on my perception of their work.  Some people did not make much impact.  Others fascinated us from the beginning with their presence.  Such a one was Patricia Urquiola :


From the first moment she charmed the audience with her seemingly chaotic and warm manner.  Like Dai Fujiwara, her broken english helped her to  express herself  more forcefully  than the native English speakers. More

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