Design Indaba 2011

 What exactly is the Design Indaba?

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ell for all the folks that don’t know, the Design Indaba is an annual conference that brings together some of the world’s most creative individuals from all avenues related to design. From identity to industrial, from entrepreneurship to open source, from archtecture to just plain wierd. For detailed information about the Design Indaba visit their website.


What was this year all about?

This was my second opportunity to attend the Design Indaba, my first being in 2009. So I had a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of the structure of how the event would run and the types of speakers that would be presenting. While this year’s Indaba had its similarites, there where also a lot of differences.

Who were the speakers?

The speakers and presenters hailed from many different fields within the design world. Here are all of the speakers with a link to their websites:

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What were the highlights?

For me there where a handful of speakers that really stood out and made me say wow. Either in their creative ability or for what they are actively doing in their community or both.

Francis Kéré was one of the guys that completely blew me away. The buildings he designed and had built in Burkina Faso are completely extraordinary. The architectural design was very well thought out but I think that the part that really hit home was that it was built completely by the community using local materials. Francis is a very charismatic presenter who allows his passion to flow out of him as he speaks. He also had us in stitches with some of his remarks. But a big thing for me more than a wow factor (which was there) is that he touched my heart and inspired me to do something meaningful.

Dror Benshetrit is a great speaker and a highly creative professional. Hailing from Israel, but residing and working in New York, Dror showed some of his amazing work. He has developed a new type of “shape” called the QuaDror which has the most incredible functionality and strength. I think we will be seeing a lot of these QuaDrors being used in future development. Another amazing project he showed was a design of exclusive island dwellings in Abu Dhabi – a concept of having the homes be built under a carpet of green vegetation, each with their own private beach and privacy – simply beautiful.

Karin Fong showed that there is a lot more than meets the eye when it goes to making title sequences for feature films. The showcase and explanation of her processes was something to behold. Although I really loved everything she showed, a highlight for me was a title sequence showing the experience of a man on acid in a medical experiment. It was just done so well.

Charlie Todd just had us in stiches. His improv anywhere technique of doing live acting stunts in the middle of anywhere is just brilliant. Some of the footage he showed of the stunts they pulled had the auditorium wetting themselves. I really don’t know how he gets the guys to pull of these scenes while keeping a straight face.

Oded Ezer is one of the most interesting people I have seen. His love for typography has led him to creating some of the weirdest and wildest things imaginable. He also showcased one of the most beautiful tatoos I have seen.

Was it worth it?

That is the million dollar question. I guess that it depends on the individual and what they got out of it. For me the R5000 price tag has always been a lot of money for a conference and I am not 100% sure that it was worth that much money. While I do believe that one needs to be exposed to a great deal of creative inspiration and complete out of the box thinking, there are cheaper was of doing it. The Internet for one allows us to see what millions of creatives are getting up to. Local exhibitions and markets are also a great place to be inspired. That being said I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would like to attend future conferences. I think that the experience of actually being there is something quite extraordinary.

When is the next one?

The Design Indaba conference commences in the last week of February every year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Ticket usually go on sale in November. Check out the Design Indaba visit their website to get all the details.


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