Five fave talks from recent conferences #designindaba
Watch: Daan Roosegaarde (2013 conference)
For me, the most powerful message coming from Roosegaarde, who really is one of the foremost thinkers in modern design, is how in our quest for ‘new’ we started taking what we already have for granted as the default. The challenge isn’t reinventing the wheel but improving and, more importantly, adding onto, what is already available to us.
I think his work on creating sustainable roads is revolutionary. We have not tried to use the millions of kilometres of roads we have to any advantage beyond the very basic ‘getting from A-Z’. If Roosegaarde gets his way, it will generate electricity for us, save energy we currently expend in the form of street lighting and, instead of being a blight, contribute to the poetry of our physical landscape.
The full talk can be viewed here.
Watch: Carla Fernandez (2011 conference)
The story of how Mexican designer and founder of Taller Flora fashion label, Carla Fernandez, found inspiration in traditional Mexican clothing design and textiles is one South African designers should take to heart.
Fernandez is saving a traditional craft by offering an incentive to a younger generation to learn it (by offering them employment). Her take on the use of squares and rectangles in fashion speaks authentically of her homeland, yet translates effectively into modern fashion design.
Watch: Francis Kéré (2011 conference)
I thought the way he drew communities back into the design and building process shows how beautiful and engaging practical and cost-effective architectural solutions can be.
Watch: Alejandro Aravena (2010 conference)
Another architect. And why not? We have been witnessing the rapid urbanisation of our population, yet have very few practical examples of how to effectively integrate newcomers into existing built environments.
Aravena has a relevant approach to social housing that takes into account the needs of people for whom homes are built. If you offer families small, 40m2, box-like homes, make it easy for them to add to them while making sure they create wealth and grow in value.
Watch: Martha Stewart (2010 conference)
I know, I know, she talked about glitter pork and her dogs, and half the auditorium walked out mid-presentation in protest. But people threw rocks on social media, so it rocked, just differently. She taught us a lesson in the power of social media and in the consequences of underestimating and misreading your audience.
By all accounts, Stewart is an interesting, successful and engaging person. It would be wonderful if she came back, killed the PR-drafted script, dropped the heavies that escorted her into the auditorium first time around, and really shared some of the secrets to her creative success. I promise not to try and smother myself with a Stencilled Hawaiian Flower Cushion (again).
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