Monday, March 2, 2009

Cape Town Design Indaba

Righto: as promised, my little wrap-up spiel about Cape Town is going to be about the Design Indaba Expo that I attended on Friday. This annual event – held at Cape Town's ICC in the city centre – is all about professional designers showcasing wares which include fashion, furniture, d├ęcor, jewellery and all the other stuff which makes our lives prettier.

Also, queues.

You know it's bad news when the line disappears over the horizon.

After waiting for about half an hour to purchase my ticket and squeeze through to the main showfloor, I was met with a sight that can only be described as awe-inducing. For the layman, I suppose it's sufficient to illustrate the Indaba as a flea market on steroids. Or maybe crystal meth. Sure, you get the standard assortment of people peddling their wares and showcasing various craftwork, but the products in question are somewhat more jawdropping than the average craft mart doohickey. A visit to pretty much every stall is necessary if you want to do your eyes – and imagination – sufficient justice. I'd show you pictures of the goods, but unfortunately I encountered one little hitch.


I did manage to get permission from some of the designers on a case-by-case basis and I have some amazing pictures of the stuff that they do, but I don't really have their consent to put them on this blog, so I'll satisfy myself with a few callouts instead.

The Indaba was understandably filled with a lot of African pieces – and we're not just talking about good old SA here, but work from Namibia, Botswana and a whole host of other places. Some good examples are found with the group Aid To Artisans, an international organisation which links local workers to new markets – in a nutshell, allowing crafters of handmade, cultural goods to get some exposure and receive potential new buyers.

Then there's those innovative little pieces which catch one's eye, such as the Songololo Couch (it looks like it sounds) by Haldane Martin, who have also devised a bunch of other modular and genuinely interesting furniture including the coolest coffee table on the planet.

Of course, the computer geek in me couldn't help but ogle over some of the technology-enabled exhibitions on show, including the amazing 3D-printer work by Nomili. That's right – a three-dimensional printer. The type you hook up to a freaking computer. It prints out physical models and stuff.

A final shout-out goes to emerging designer Nick Rose, who specialises in jewellery design and industrial art. In human terms: he makes cool things out of computer parts. Heck, he wears a damn carbon kevlar trilby. This guy is one of about several dozen “emerging creatives” featured at the Indaba – basically a student equivalent of the main expo, featuring work from a bunch of 2008 design students. Another nice idea which yields some interesting results.

I leave you now, dear reader, with this picture of the nearby Woolworths:

Try not to get lost in here.

You could misplace a herd of humpback whales in here. Simply put, this is the biggest single indoor retail shop that I have ever seen – and seriously, you get elephant dealerships which require less real estate. This place has more escalators in it than the whole of Grahamstown, too.

Speaking of which, I promise that I'll be blabbing more about the good old “town of G” from the next post onward. I'd have posted sooner, but my cellphone has been kicking up a fuss and refuses to speak with my computer. I don't know when the fallout occurred – I didn't even realise before now that electronics had feelings, or the ability to sulk.

I guess you learn something new every day. I'll catch y'all in another 24 hours or so.

1 comment:

  1. Howzit Rodain! Nice to see you made it safe and sound to Grahamstown. Was awesome having you in Cape Town for a while, check you in April for Coke Fest! And all the best for the time in between.