Green Sky Thinking: Sustainable by design

by Colwyn Elder (@colwynelder) Last month’s Design Indaba offered up the usual healthy dose of inspiration we have come to expect from what is now one of the world’s leading design events; not to mention a notable force behind putting South African design on the world map and Cape Town’s selection as World Design Capital 2014.

Design Indaba 2013: God, war and the future at Design Indaba

by Louise Marsland’s (@Louise_Marsland) I’ve been attending Design Indaba conferences for eight years and while the speakers and the disciplines differ every year, there are always a couple of speakers that completely blow you away, either in their wonderful delivery, content or total inspiration.

The one thing I always take away with me is hope for the future. For my children, for our industry, for our planet and our very humanity.

The speakers at Design Indaba are carefully chosen to challenge conventional thinking, to push boundaries, to inspire.

I always tell people going for their first Indaba not to judge too quickly, to listen to speakers in fields that are not their own, to keep an open mind, not to make too many meetings at or outside the Indaba, but to immerse themselves in the experience. It will change the way you think about your own business and industry.

These are my best Design Indaba moments of 2013, the speakers who challenged me and inspired me…

Design Indaba 2013: Daan Roosegaarde – hacking technology to personalise our environments

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Well before Daan Roosegaarde ever set foot in this country South Africans were already lining up to see if there might be opportunities to collaborate with the Dutch born artist and innovator.

Roosegaarde is known for exploring the relationships between technology, architecture and people, as with his Smart Highway project, which aims to create interactive and sustainable roads as part of our future landscapes.

Vehicles generating light through wind technology, dynamic lanes, using photoluminescent paint (that charges with sunlight) to create glow in the dark traffic lanes without the need for street lighting, induction priority lanes that charges electric cars as they drive. Roosegaarde wants roads to be more interactive and poetic as they form an essential aspect of our physical environment but has seen little innovation in the past century.

Design Indaba 2013: The work of Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo is a Johannesburg based artist whose work was included on La Triennale 2012 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and on the 18th Biennale of Sydney. He was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009 and the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11. Hlobo is a speaker at the annual Design Indaba conference currently taking place in Cape Town. This is a collection of some of his work. All images are courtesy of the artist and the Stevenson Gallery (Cape Town and Johannesburg).

Design Indaba 2013: John Maeda on the dissipating disconnect between art and technology

by Herman Manson (@marklives) John Maeda (@johnmaeda) describes himself as a “humanist technologist.” Through his love for art and technology, and his belief that together they can advance technology that acknowledges our humanity, Maeda has emerged as an important thinker in our approach to both.

Currently president of Rhode Island School of Design, Maeda is a leading proponent for expanding our focus from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to STEAM (by adding Art).

Formerly a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he has published five books including The Laws of Simplicity (2006) and is an acknowledged artist and graphic designer. Maeda also sits on the board of ad agency Wieden+Kennedy amongst others.

Maeda is visiting South Africa as a speaker at the annual Design Indaba conference taking place Feb 27 – March 1. MarkLives spoke to him prior to his arrival in South Africa.

Design Indaba 2013: Masashi Kawamura on merging storytelling with technology

By Herman Manson (@marklives) Design Indaba 2013 Masashi Kawamura (@masakawa), one of Fast Company’s “100 most creative people in business 2012,” is visiting Cape Town as a guest speaker at the annual Design Indaba conference. The nod from Fast Company is just one of many – Kawamura seem to have won a near endless stream …

Design Indaba 2013: Scary Beautiful – what lies beyond perfection

By Herman Manson (@marklives) Design Indaba 2013 Leanie van der Vyver, a South African designer who recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, will be participating at the annual Design Indaba Conference (running from Feb 27 – March 1) as part of their Pecha Kucha initiative to give young designers a platform to talk withtheir peers.

She gained international media coverage for her graduation project, Scary Beautiful, which investigates and questions our quest for beauty and how this skews our view of our bodies. The video of the project, in which she made a pair of high heels whilst applying critical design theory, has gained millions of views. We tracked Leanie down before her talk to ask her some questions about the project.

Design Indaba 2013: Oscar Diaz on our innate understanding of objects

By Herman Manson (@marklives) Design Indaba 2013 London based product designer Oscar Diaz (@OscarDiazStudio) has made a name for himself thanks to his innovative and creative work in on a broad range of products and services including furniture, shop window installations (see Alphabet shoes for Terra Plana below) and limited edition objects like his widely lauded RGB vases.

Diaz studied design at the Ecole des Beaux Arts of Bordeaux in France and took an MA in product design at the Royal College of Art in London. Diaz has worked in Japan and the UK.

This week Diaz is in Cape Town to give a talk at the annual Design Indaba Conference (running from Feb 27 – March 1). We tracked him down before his arrival to ask him what draws him to product design.

MarkLives: You started studying fine art but ended up with a Master’s in Product Design at the Royal College of Art in London. What about product design grabbed you?

Diaz: I discovered that people have an innate understanding of objects that they don’t necessarily have when it comes to art. Art is much more hermetic and needs a bit of knowledge to be appreciated.

It was the accessibility of design, which made me want to change field.

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