Design Indaba 2016

I was fortunate enough to attend Design Indaba 2016 in Cape Town yesterday. I am pretty bummed that I only got to attend yesterday and not the whole Indaba, because it was AWESOME! But I am grateful to at least have attended the first day.

There were so many noteworthy creatives, ideas, concepts, designs, projects, etc. I won’t bore you will all of it, but these were my personal highlights (in no particular order):

Erik Kessels. Wow. This guy had me ugly laughing. Do you ever ugly laugh? It’s similar to the ugly cry, but with marginally less tears. His presentation was hilarious, shocking, over-the-top, and he had me hanging on his every word. Well, almost every word, because at times I couldn’t actually hear what he was saying over the sound of my own ugly laughing… His opening slide? MAKE AN IDIOT OF YOURSELF (AT LEAST ONCE A DAY) His presentation ended with a bang – an explosion of yellow confetti. Loved it! Projects he presented that I really enjoyed were the new corporate identity of the NRW Forum in Dusseldorf (a non-traditional museum) and the campaigns they ran for the Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam (known as the worst hotel in the world) including the launch of their Lisbon branch. His agency, KesslerKramer, are also the creators of the brand development for the city of Amsterdam and came up with the 3D I amsterdam logo in Museumplein.

The beautiful and talented Helen Parker-Jayne Isabor. Helen is a musician, singer-songwriter, composer and performer, also known for her creative collective The Venus Bushfires. She also wrote the first Pidgin English opera! She plays the hand drum (a beautiful silver domed drum) and the music she creates is rich; her voice fluid. To say I was enthralled is an understatement! She performed Last Winter’s Sparrow and Mami Water for us (if I’m correct?!) with members of the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra – it was breathtaking. Check her website for tour info and to hear her amazing music.

They sold everything, quit their jobs and looked after Husky puppies and scrubbed toilets for cash. Well, that’s it in a nutshell, but this couple is inspirational and brave. I don’t think I could quit my job, pack a bag and leave everything. Who am I kidding, my inner control freak would NEVER allow it. But Steve Dirnberger and Chanel Cartell did it! They document their journey on their Instagram account How Far From Home and use their experiences and locations as inspiration for their illustrations and other creative pieces. You can see some of their work and buy it (and help fund their next plane ticket) on Society6. Personally, I love their Ghost Dog collection and the global map print from their How Far From Home collection.

Image from How Far From Home on Society 6.

Image from How Far From Home on Society 6.

Hugh Masekela (South African jazz legend!) was a surprise guest of speaker Thomas Chapman from Local Studio, a Johannesburg-based architecture and urban design firm. Thomas persevered in raising the funds and recently revealed the Sophiatown Remembrance Screen at the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre in Sophiatown. “If you’ve never heard of Trevor Huddleston, you should google him.” and “He is an unsung hero!” said Hugh Masekela, as he told us some stories from his youth. In addition to being an apartheid activist and jazz musician, Hugh Masekela is such a character and has a fantastic sense of humour. He told us how Father Huddleston referred to anyone younger than himself as “creature”, and how he gave Masekela £15 in an envelope when he told him that he needed a trumpet. I sat spellbound as Hugh Masekela played a tribute piece on his trumpet – It was dead quiet; everyone sat glued to the stage before giving him a standing ovation. I was speechless. What a memorable experience! You can tell from the typos in my tweet that I was awestruck!

KB is a HUGE jazz fan and was super envious when I messaged him to say Hugh Masekela was there in the flesh…

Like I said, these are just a few highlights from yesterday – I am so bummed (but grateful!) that I only got to attend yesterday and not the full Design Indaba, which runs until tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed this snapshot into what goes on a Design Indaba, but check the Design Indaba website for more info on the rest of the Indaba, and sign up for their newsletter to get inspiration sent straight to your inbox!


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