Design Indaba News South Africa


Ten global graduates at Design Indaba

Kicking off on Wednesday, 21 February - Friday, 23 February, the 23rd edition of the Design Indaba will see ten global graduates presenting projects that speak to the water crisis, the power of sound, social entrepreneurship and so much more.
Design Indaba's global graduates. (L-R) Renata Souza, Ini Archibong, Simon Dogger, Aleksandra Gosiewski, Tomo Kihara, Leroy Mwasaru, Iwo Borkowicz, Israel Ogundare, Shaakira Jassat, Nicolás Kisic Aguirre. Image credit: .
Design Indaba's global graduates. (L-R) Renata Souza, Ini Archibong, Simon Dogger, Aleksandra Gosiewski, Tomo Kihara, Leroy Mwasaru, Iwo Borkowicz, Israel Ogundare, Shaakira Jassat, Nicolás Kisic Aguirre. Image credit: Design Indaba website.

Over the past few months we have featured the first 10 of the 30 speakers released to the media, including, SA's very own, Sunu Gonera and Lebo Mashile, and international design icons such as Neri Oxman, Natasha Jen, Morag Myerscough, Peter Veenstra, Studio Swine, Astrid Stavro, Johannes Torpe and Es Devlin to name but a few.


In addition, ten global graduates from across the world will also present their projects, each in 10-minute sessions on stage at Design Indaba. Graduates from MIT, Ku Leuven & Parsons School of Design in New York, ÉCAL, and the University of Johannesburg have been selected to present their work and include:

  • Renate Souza, a Mexican-American studying product design at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her project, Thomy, an insulin kit for children with type 1 diabetes. The project was a US national finalist in the James Dyson Award 2017. 

  • Ini Archibong, from Switzerland, has graduated from the environmental design course at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as well as obtaining a master's degree in luxury design and craftsmanship from ECAL. He is inspired by architecture, environmental and product design, mathematics, world religions and philosophy.

  • Tomo Kihara is a design researcher from Japan who develops playful interventions to challenge and reframe societal issues. Currently, he is now a graduate student based at TU Delft, Design for Interaction program in the Netherlands. 

  • Simon Dogger from the Netherlands is a product designer who created an Emotional Whisperer, a tool that comes with a pair of camera glasses that sends images of conversation partners to an emotion recognition app to prompt people who are visually impaired to respond with the relevant body language. 

  • Leroy Mwasaru, the youngest participant (19) is a social entrepreneur from Kenya, working in renewable energy, e-commerce and human-centred design education. His projects focus on poverty alleviation and socio-economic empowerment and have been featured on CNN, The HuffPost, Forbes and local media in Kenya.

  • Aleksandra Gosiewski, an eco-friendly designer from New York, who has graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in 2017. She founded research group, AlgiKnit which is working to transform the apparel ecosystem with rapidly renewable bio-based textiles.

  • Iwo Borkowicz, an architect from Poland who won a scholarship to go to Havana to conduct research. While there he developed a project focussed on a way to use architecture as a bridge between poverty and tourism.

  • Israel Ogundare has a masters degree from the University of Johannesburg. He is focussed on researching issues around migration, city form, inclusivity of minority groups and the use of architecture as a tool in conflict resolution in the urbanisation of emerging African cities.

  • Nicolás Kisic Aguirre who is studying towards a Master's Degree in art, culture and technology at MIT, is currently researching the potential of sound as it is relevant to different notions of public space. Within this practice, he is invested in the production of work that aims to explore, understand and activate public space through sound and sonic artefacts.

  • Shaakira Jassat from South Africa graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven and her project consists of a ceramic installation that functions as a large teamaker that will show the amount of water a simple cup of tea contains.


The Design Indaba Conference and Festival 2018 will take place at the Artscape Theatre Complex in Cape Town. Simulcast versions of the conference will take place in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom and Namibia. Tickets are available from Webtickets and can be booked as 1-day, 2-day or 3-day packages.

Key dates to diarise

  • Design Indaba Conference and Simulcast: 21-23 February 2018
  • Most Beautiful Object in South Africa exhibition: 21 – 24 February 2018
  • Emerging Creatives exhibition: 21 – 24 February 2018
  • Film Festival: 22 – 24 February 2018
  • Nightscape Music Festival: 22 – 24 February 2018

Keep an eye on the Design Indaba programme for updates on when each of these speakers will be up on the podium.

Click here for Bizcommunity's special section on the Design Indaba and here for more information on the Design Indaba website.

About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita is the editor of the marketing & media portal on the Bizcommunity website. She is also a contributing writer.


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