Design Indaba 2012: Lighting Designs

Another section of stands we enjoyed at the Design Indaba was those of the Emerging Creatives. Every year young designers are invited to apply for a spot on the Expo floor sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture. This opportunity serves as an excellent platform for the chosen designers and many a successful design career has been launched from this programme.

Rose and I were completely bowled over by the immense talent of this year’s design up-and-comers and noticed quite a few of the Emerging Creatives’ stands featuring lighting designs. Now, being total suckers for gorgeous lighting we could not wait to share these awesome designs with you…

Martin Doller

Martin Doller's range of "slot-in" lighting designs.
Loved this little table lamp.

Cape Town based Industrial Designer, Martin Doller, developed this range of “slot-in” lighting designs. The collection, aptly called “Framed”, includes pendant as well as table lamp designs. He showed us hoe the slotting system works – it is clever yet super uncomplicated. He also said that the material needn’t be restricted to plywood – if it can be CNC cut, it can be used…think copper or perspex.


Kraftisan's Luna Light. Image via Kraftisan website.

This little desk light by Kraftisan took the Design Indaba by storm! Constructed from Birch ply, it’s fully adjustable and rotational (check out the video clip). The Luna Light can be fixed down to most surfaces via velcro feet and at R445.00 it was an absolute steal! They flew off the shelves. A truly ingenious piece of design!

Van De Vlam

The Van De Vlam lighting range. You should see the awesome names for these...
Van De Vlam's super cute "Wintie" table lamp. Image via Van De Vlam.

I loved Van De Vlam‘s adorable “Wintie” lamp with its stubbly Kiaat legs – too cute and extremely well crafted. Although each item in the range is quite individual there is something distinctly South African about the designs. The beaded pendant lights were also funky – loved the bold colours.

Micah Joel Chisholm

The intricate laser-cut lighting designs of Micah Joel Chisholm.

These gorgeous chandelier-like designs also drew a small crowd. Designed by Micah Joel Chisholm, they are made out of laser-cut recycled cork and wood sheeting and then folded and fixed into place to create these magnificent suspended lamps. True to its form, Micah named the range Centripetal Skeletal Designs.

Delicious Monster

An impressive section of Delicious Monster's massive chandelier... photos really doesn't do it justice.

Ruth Prowse School of Art graduate, Bianca Mimose de Klerk the force behind Delicious Monster, constructed this massive chandelier out of bits and bops. On closer inspection one can make out shapes like sunglasses, computer cables, fish net, beads, buttons and doilies – all forming this impressive nest-like lighting feature. Rose and I both wondered where we would use a chandelier such as this…we still don’t know – but it’s super awesome. Do yourself a favour and check out their Facebook page in order to see the scale of this thing.

Jan Douglas

A part of Jan Douglas' collection. Aren't those floor lamps just amazing!
All of Jan's designs have adorable Afrikaans names. Jan humorously calls this desk lamp "Kantelknaap." Image via Visi

We immediately loved the contemporary elegant lighting designs of Jan Douglas – especially the gorgeous floor lamps. Jan calls these designs “low-tech solutions” – made by hand from varying lengths of standard-size wood and nuts & bolts. I really appreciate that we can get back to the basics of furniture design – it’s all about balance, function and craft. Jan’s designs has also recently been added CCDI Handmade Collection – well done!

Keep an eye out for these designers… I predict big things!

All images copyright of The Design Tabloid except where otherwise indicated.
You might also like…

Design Indaba 2012: Ceramics

By Marica

There were more or less 17 stands devoted to ceramics at this year’s Expo. Immensely popular and usually exceptionally crowded, I had the rare luck of strolling through the ceramic section whilst it was relatively quiet. This allowed me to have a good look.

I was exceedingly impressed with not only the talent but also the diversity of the ceramics on display. It was also nice to see the well-known familiar faces like Sootcookie, Tamarillo Ceramics and Liesel Trautman intermixed with other talented established ceramicists that are (sadly and undeservedly) lesser-known.

As time permits me from giving you a breakdown of all seventeen, here are the two stands who’s designs made the greatest impression on me…

Clay Art by Sonja Moore:

My favourite stand in this category was occupied by Rondebosch ceramicist, Sonja Moore and her beautiful ceramics.

Her beautiful tableware range, which consists of bowls, plates, dishes, mugs and platters, features bird-on-a-wire imagery which is her current signature design. Each piece is 100% handmade which gives it a rather organic character. The range is also dishwasher and oven safe and is available in 5 glaze colours – white, aqua, grey, and now also in ocean melt, and drips & splatters.

What really grab my attention were Sonja’s gorgeous hand-painted vases. Beautifully “illustrated”, she uses a layering process to add colour, texture and visuals to the vases. Her ongoing theme of “freedom, sprout and grow” is quite evident in these delicate whimsical pieces of art. And of course, I think the Spring-coloured combos are simply stunning!

Mervyn Gers Collective:

Another serious head-turner was the combined works of Mervyn Gers along with ceramicists Diana Ferreira, and Karen Kotze of Woven Ceramics. The combination worked together quite beautifully – Mervyn’s beautifully decorated pieces with bold crisp graphics; Diana’s gorgeous earthy, slightly rustic vessels; and Karen’s lovely organic pieces with feminine floral designs.

The show-stealer was Mervyn’s Koi and Blue Willow set which won the prestigious Best Decorated Award at the Ceramics South Africa Cape Regional last year. The detail in this intricate orient-inspired set is quite breathtaking.

Now, I’ve bookmarked these two and most of the other ceramicists and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them. Which means – hopefully many lovely updates and features to follow!

Be sure to keep in touch with Sonja and Mervyn on their Facebook pages here:

Clay Art by Sonja Moore
Mervyn Gers Ceramics
Images via Sonja Moore and Mervyn Gers Facebook page
You might also like…
Quick Tips - Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Quick Tip #13: Bench Bookshelf

I’ve got another décor Quick Tip for you, this one too is form Martha Stewart. What can I say – this woman is brilliant.

#13   If all the bookshelves you find in stores are too tall, too wide, or too unwieldy, consider stacking sturdy wooden benches to make a streamlined shelf that’s just right for your space. Search flea markets and second-hand shops for old benches – all they need is a lick of paint.

Image via Martha Stewart
You might also like…

The Rare African Leprechaun

St. Patrick’s Day had us thinking – if the lucky Irish Leprechaun had an African cousin he would probably look like this…

Rose and I spotted this intricate green beaded suit at Design Indaba and we thought St. Pat’s would be the perfect time to share it with you.

But all jokes aside – this crafted masterpiece has an excellent story behind it. It’s handmade by over 40 women from several communities in the Valley of 1000 Hills region, and made up of over 400 individual patches of bead work. The suit was designed by international award-winning fashion designer, Terrence Bray, for Woza Moya an income-generating project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The project spanned eight weeks from conception to completion and was designed as a “go green” initiative. It also provided an income for the 40-odd women who worked on it.

The suit consists of a suit jacket, pants, a top hat and an isagila (a traditional Zulu walking stick). Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, it will hopefully provoke discussion around environmental issues. Words and phrases related to green issues are featured on the suit.

The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust assists men and women infected and affected by HIV/Aids, as well as families in need of an income. They support over 300 crafters with sustainable employment and provides training and a market for beautiful, handmade, contemporary crafts. Woza Moya is known for its beautiful beaded jewellery, which is sold around the world. It also produces a range of wirework, fabric-painted mats, conference bags, crochet and ceramic items. Woza Moya is the home of the Little Traveller, which is a tiny beaded doll that travels the world spreading a message of love and hope. By making Little Travellers, families have been fed, lights have been switched on, children have gone to school, water has poured out of taps and, most importantly, hope has been restored.”  –

If you can recall, Woza Moya is also responsible for last year’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa winner, The Dreams for Africa Chair, which symbolises hope and the importance of dreams, whilst also raising HIV/Aids awareness. On display at this year’s Design Indaba, the chair usually travels around South Africa and abroad.

A happy St. Paddy’s Day to you all!

Love, Rose and Marica x x

Images and  info via Design IndabaThe Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust

Design Indaba 2012: Expo of Creative & Interactive Thinking?

Just exactly do I mean when I say “creative and interactive thinking’? Well without going into the whole long description, I will just give you my take on it within the context of the Design Indaba Expo 2012.

To me, (and remember that this is my opinion and not the official take of Design Indaba…. Although I would hope that I am not too far off the mark) this Design Expo is the ideal event to bring the power of the interactive, creative thinking of design to the public and those in the trade. It should serve to heighten awareness of how creative thinking and processes are at work in our daily lives, as well as motivate all towards interacting with these design processes daily. It’s not just about the projects and the products. It’s bigger than that… it’s about letting design ideas materialise and tell its story.

The question then is: Did this year’s Design Indaba actually achieve this objective? I would say a resounding YES to that. I spent two days in the conference being bowled over by the power of international creative minds, and one whole day covering the exhibitors stands in the Expo… it was mind blowing, motivating and more.

I’m kicking off my side with a very brief look at what impressed me most at the Design Expo. As you can well imagine that is actually quite a daunting task mainly because just about everything and everyone was impressive, really it was.  How do you choose to mention but a few of these impressive designers and their projects?

That is why I have decided to get of the starting blocks more along ‘neutral’ grounds for want of a better term. Whilst touring the Expo,  I became very aware of the fact that there were many exhibitors/brands that had ‘Interactive Stands” – in other words the public could actually step into their space, were given some tool or instrument (pen, paint and brush, stickers, photos, etc.)  with which to interact with the brand’s stand.

These exhibitors had clearly applied serious creativity in their efforts of bringing brand awareness to the public, inducing clever and creative interaction with the crowds.

To mention a few:

Cape Town – World Design Capital 2014:

By the end of the Expo the stand was dripping with Post-it messages - some very inspirational. Photos via Cape Town Design Capital 2014

Here you could write a message on a yellow Post-it type paper and attach it to a very big pencil-filled interactive board. Do yourself a favour and read some of the post-it quotes on their website: here.

Table Mountain – Natural 7 Wonder of the World:

Here you can see some ladies sticking their colourful entry cards unto the allotted black & white block.

Clever – they had a massive image of Table Mountain, which was almost grey in colour to start with. What you could do was enter a competition and you were given a photo image to stick into a particular numbered block. End result was a stunning coloured graphic image of Table Mountain

VISI Magazine:

By the end of day 1 the Visi stand was already covered with a considerable amount of sticky dots. Check out the transformation below...

The back walls and the floor of their stand was covered in an outlined graphic image. What you did was grab a few circular stickers and begin to fill in the gaps. Thousands and thousands of stickers later, the stand was a total splash of colourful images. Great success I would say.

Plascon and House & Leisure Magazine:  

The Plascon and House & Leisure Magazine "paint-by-numbers" stand. Images via H&L

They too covered their walls with images and blocks, provided the visitor with a paint brush and paint in Plascon’s latest contemporary colour trend palettes. With that you could make you mark in one of the blocks on the wall. Check out House & Leisure’s website for the story behind the stand and more images.


The big interactive DStv screen. Photography by

This was a source of major entertainment for the largely younger visitors or the young at heart. A really huge plasma screen stood tall, with cameras capturing the crowds as they passed by. BUT, added into the mix, you could step onto a digitally operated pad mounted to the floor in front of the screen, which then activated interactive digital images next to or above your image.  Like a rain and thunder storm breaking over you or animals were interacting digitally with you. Quite out there stuff. Too difficult for moi to fully explain, but memorable obviously.


Popular with the teens, the MTN cube covered in scribbles. Top image taken by

The MTN exhibition stand was that of a huge Perspex cube, built in sections. The visitor could step into the cube and write a message on the Perspex cube walls, using a black marker pen. Cool.

Cape Town College of Fashion Design:  

Future fashion designers in the making? Images via CTCFD

Cape Town College of Fashion Design had people sketching fashion outfits on their back walls.

The South African Post Office:  

The South African Post Office mime

Yes, you are definitely reading correctly – even the Post Office got into the interactive space. Their mime artist clad in a white outfit, clutching a black marker pen, roamed the passages of the hall, encouraging visitors to write meaningful words and phrases about sending out post/letters.

All this interaction really kept the crowds busy. I think it is an innovative way of creating brand awareness and standing out in a crowd of exhibitors, particularly since creative thinking was what this expo was all about. I noticed that Cape Tourism had a stand which drew little or no attention to it, yet it had all the potential in the world to be stand out, if it was interactive? Seriously does not say much for their creative thinking at a design expo. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT AFTER ALL… GETTING THE MESSAGE OF CREATIVE THINKING OUT THERE.

Design Indaba 2012: High Thorn

By Marica

After a VERY busy 2 weeks, the dust has finally settled and we can focus on  the long overdue Design Indaba 2012 feedback we have been promising. Since the Conference part of our feedback is a little bit meaty and requires more thought, we thought it best to start with the Expo. Rose and I will be posting our general take on the Design Indaba 2012 Expo this week, including highlights and our favourite products and designers.

One stand close to the entrance caught my attention immediately – the beautiful African-inspired designs of Pietermaritzburg company, High Thorn.

Their handcrafted products include a wide range of lighting designs, coffee tables, ottomans, massive twig mirrors, leather pots, solid wood lampbases and turned vases, and even crochet leather scatter cushions & pouffes.

Now, I am not one that usually fawns over traditional African design, and I’m sure you are picturing tacky African masks, bowls and other general Greenmarket Square touristy junk in your mind as I speak. Not High Thorn – they have taken “African” to a whole new aesthetic level – it’s chic, contemporary, whimsical and trendy. If High Thorn is the proverbial traditional Zulu mama…she is carrying around a Louis Vuitton handbag (if you catch my drift).

It was the High Thorn lighting designs that totally stole my heart. Big, intricate chandeliers made from driftwood-like stripped jacaranda twigs hung with crystals, beautiful crochet leather pendants suspended like a collection of weaver’s nests, beaded bell pendants made from Imfibinga seeds, and a massive dramatic leather tassel chandelier interwoven with strings of glass beads.

The stand also featured stunning wildlife shots by Greg Anderson Photography including a drop-dead-gorgeous triptych of beautifully coloured birds in flight. To compliment this, a handful of High Horn’s trendy solid wood vases were painted in shades of aqua, lime and gorgeous coral to match the colouration of the birds. This combination of rustic nature and spring colours gave the stand a contemporary freshness not often associated with African products – gorgeous! I really have to commend them for this brilliant use of colour.

Because most of their designs are adapted to suit a contemporary style their products would not look out of place in a shabby chic, nostalgic or even minimalist residential interior. Although, Rose and I are secretly hoping there is a game farm / African hotel interior design project in our near future in order for us to use some of High Thorn’s beautiful designs.

Do check out High Thorn’s website for further in and product: here

1, 2, 3, 5 – High Thorn
4 & 6 – Copyright of The Design Tabloid
7 – SA Décor & Design