The Design Indaba 2014 Expo was once again a feast for the eyes and mind, while providing creatives from all walks of life the opportunity to showcase their crafts on an internationally-attended playing field.
Featuring 200 new exhibitors, the expo sectors this year were made up of Architecture and Spatial Design, Communication Design, Design for Social Impact, Digital Design, Fashion and Accessories, Furniture, Handmade, Homeware, Industrial Design, Jewellery, and Artisanal Food.Innovating for the disabled
The Shonaquip team with the Madiba2Go
The 2014 Innovation Award was given to Shonaquip
for its Madiba2Go postural seating device
, a push buggy for users who are unable to use self-propelled chairs and require full assistance. It can handle all terrains, from urban to rural, and is fitted with enlarged, heavy-tread rear tyres for use on very rough ground. The size range covers babies from six months to young adults; is customisable and easily adjusted, as well as collapsable for transport.
Founded by company CEO, Shona McDonald, this community-needs driven company aims to improve the quality of life of South Africa's impoverished, disabled communities. It provides clinical services, as well as professional and clinical training for therapists, rehabilitation workers, wheelchair users and their families.Creative interactivity
The Most Creative Stand Award was won by industrial design company, Ideso
, for its timeline-inspired wire loop game representing the company's milestones starting in 1998. Those game enough to play had to guide a giant metal loop attached to a handle along a thick metal pipe, without letting the loop touch the pipe. Any mistakes and the buzzer would sound and it was game over. Winners had their sweet tooth treated to some confectionery.
Ideso founder, Marc Ruwiel said they had come such a long way since their beginning and wanted to highlight their history in a fun and interactive way. Ironically, he laughed, people were more interested in playing the game than reading the timeline.Fashion and accessories
The fashionistas were out in dress and droves with the clothing section experiencing no shortage of interest and consumers. Gavin Rajah, Ilundi, Joie D'Vivre, the Cape Town Fashion Council, and Spree were just some of the designers on the expo floor.
Also on show were the 10 Foschini Fashion Design competition nominees. Expo ticket holders were able to see the design students' creations up close and personal, and were also able to vote for their favourite pieces (and stand the chance to win a R10,000 Foschini voucher) by filling in an entry form. Those unable to be at the expo can help get their favourite designer/design through to the next round and into the top six by voting online at the Fashion Design Awards
And what is fashion without jewellery? There was an array of exquisite pieces on show, but I had to question the security choices of some of the stands. While many had their collections locked away in glass cases and cabinets, a few had their wares sitting on open shelf displays or multiple pieces together in bowls. Anyone with light fingers and sleight of hand could have made off with some pretty souvenirs.Watching your interior
Skulls are in vogue in the interior design community, with many of the homeware stalls sporting some kind of cranial masterpiece, ranging from buck to replica human cranium casts.
"We knew there would be a lot of skulls here this year," said Liezle Fourie of Muizenburg-based design studio, Sobeit
, "and since it's something we're known for, we decided to go big..." And "go big" they did. Apart from their gold lacquered cast and split skull bookends, their stand installation included a full size skeleton (the kind you'd more likely come across in a biology lab) suspended from the ceiling and circled by crows.MBOISA
Finally, Design Indaba holds a special place for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA). Nominations ranged from film and fashion to art and functional design. I know many local surfers who would love to take home a Jasper Eales Originals Jabba Surf Rack, an incredibly simply but ingenious wall mounted surfboard storage system.
A nomination South African's will all recognise is the Nelson Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings. A miniature replica was on display at the expo, but I was most disappointed not to find a rabbit in Madiba's ear.
But at the end of it all, there can only be one, and that went to the short film, Steam 1886, by Adrian Lazarus and Nicky Felbert of Mercury Productions.
Steam 1886 Fashion Film from Adrian Lazarus on Vimeo.