By Marica

Another emerging creative stand that caught our eye at this year’s Indaba was that of product designer Blaire Rieger. The story of Milkshed, a recently registered NPO, is a heart-warming one. They transform reclaimed wood, offcuts, and other discarded potential-filled materials into cute and quirky handcrafted furniture pieces. The best part – 100% of the profits (that’s right, every single cent) is pumped back into the local community where it is most needed.

“We care about the integrity of wood. A lot. Our products are all made from reclaimed wood and when each piece arrives at the Milkshed its destiny is determined not by some preplanned design but rather by its unique character. This process is facilitated by the ‘The Wood Whisperer’ aka Douglas who transforms the wood into something truly special whether it be a lamp that will cast light onto the pages of an avid reader’s book or a young’uns very first little tricycle.” ~ Blaire Rieger, Milkshed

One of these community projects includes the renovation of a school on the outskirts of Cathcart. Previously little more than a ramshackle outbuilding, Milkshed facilitated the school’s simplistic and inexpensive transformation. Found objects such as an old shopping trolley and some shipping pallets, now with the help of a fresh lick of bright paint and some TLC, became quirky toy storage and colourful upholstered activity/sleeping mats. Like Blair says on their Facebook page: “It’s about small changes that have a big impact. And that’s our story.

To find out more about Milkshed please visit their website: here, or the Facebook page: here.

Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid

Image via

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Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)
Milkshed @ Design Indaba 2013 ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)
{All other images via Milkshed}

Farah Hernandez Porcelain

By Marica

Last week we featured surface designer Tersia Fisher as one of our favourite Emerging Creatives at this year’s Design Indaba Expo. As promised, this week we’ll introduce you to yet another creative, a talented lady by the name of Farah Hernandez

Farah creates fresh individual porcelain pieces that range from paper-thin vases and framed porcelain “canvases” to dainty planters – both wall-mounted and hanging.

Her current range allows her to combine her three loves: illustration, porcelain, and plants. Staying true to the ancient porcelain tradition of “cobalt on white” (first popularized in 14th century China), her latest collection makes use of blue as its only colour. Farah however keeps the overall style contemporary – clean and elegant lines with light-hearted whimsy illustration.

She uses the white porcelain as a blank canvas, emphasising the hand-painted designs – intricate patterns that evolve into simplistic shapes and landscapes. Farah paints the illustrations free hand, without pre-sketching the designs. This “doodling” as she calls it, insures that each item is an unique once-off – she has no desire to become a mass-producer.

To find out more about Farah and her beautiful creations please visit her website: here, or her Facebook page: here.

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (1)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)

FH Porcelain ǀ The Design Tabloid (6)
{Images via Farah Hernandez}

Design Indaba 2013: Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

Time flashes past so unbelievably fast. It’s almost scary. Right now, to me, it feels as if Design Indaba 2013 was long ago, instead of a month ago. Nevertheless, we are keeping it alive going forward into 2013.

Marica has done her take on the Expo (read it: here) and now it is my turn to deliver my take on the Expo, highlighting a few exhibitors that stood out for me. Saying this though, by no means diminishes any of the other many exhibitors. They were without exception, totally amazing in the presentation of their products.

Design Indaba buzzes with the most astounding creative energy and the exhibition stands are mind blowing in their presentation. I really mean that!! The only pity is that due to the immense number of visitors to the stands, being able to get up close and appreciate all the details of not only the exhibition, but the product, is not always possible. And also there is that unspoken pressure brought on by the same crowds (plus the achy back and feet)… to move on. These very same missed details, I was only able to fully appreciate when I sat down to work through all the images taken by our fab photographer, Laurita Smal. All that is left to say is: KUDOS TO EACH CREATIVE EXHIBITOR. YOU GUYS ROCK AND MAKE OUR CHESTS SWELL WITH PRIDE.

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THE ABSA GALLERY:  Artists participating in the exhibition were previous top 100 Absa L’Atelier entrants – some have travelled abroad whilst others have only travelled locally. They then presented the story of their travels in a small vintage suitcase, of which there were so many to view. The one that I could relate to was this one in the image – it obviously tells of an interesting time spent in Italy. So clever.

ELIZABETH GALLOWAY ACADEMY OF FASHION DESIGN:  Their exhibition stand took the form of a ‘laboratory’. It was fascinating, enchanting and captivating. They had a good few design workstations going on, with fashion designers working on their craft, surrounded by the tools of their trade. I went back to their exhibition twice, just to ensure that the gorgeous little details I missed first time round, had another opportunity to be enjoyed. This exhibition spoke absolute volumes about creative flair and inspired leadership in the world of fashion design. I just could not get enough of it.

DEEP SHEEP:  Their product – WOOL. Oh man – they had dem sheep dressed up as various and intriguing characters. Quirky always catches my eye and allows my imagination to develop my own story. I simply admire the ingenious imagination of marketing their product using these sheep characters. I was so sorely tempted to walk away with one of dem sheep. Particularly the gal flaunting her pearl necklace.

CERAMISTS  –  SANDY GODWIN  &  STOOR In fact, as I sit here and write, I realise that the work of these two ceramists were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Amazing what one is attracted to and shows that there is indeed a market of each. Sandy Godwin’s work is ‘laced’ (excuse the pun) with detailed intricacies – lace work that is delicately classy and yet totally sassy. My mind could not cope with how much time such fine work must take. Stoor’s work on the other hand is more rustic and rugged looking. It is has that kinda ‘handsome rugby player’ appeal to it. When applying that antiqued, worn look to a piece of furniture, the technique requires one to rub on some dark finish to make it look as if the grit & dust has become lodged in the little nooks. Stoor has created that same type of finish to their ceramic pieces.  So cool in my books.

LI EDELKOORT’S AFRICANA MEMPHIS:  I am such an admirer of Li Edelkoort and this year she curated an exhibition stand (sponsored by Woolworths). Short of repeating the same ole adjectives to find expression, I have to say, it was something else. It was so different and one had to take time out to read about the arising Neo Memphis trend that Li is opening up to public awareness, to be able to appreciate the vibrancy of the display. The added value was that Africana flavour and style. If I say ‘totem’ what comes to your mind? American Indian totem poles?? Think again – the totem in this case is all about the layering of textures, colours, styles, designs and more.

Did you attend the Design Indaba 2013 Expo? If you did what or who was it that caught your eye? And if you didn’t manage to get there this year, do all you can to get there in 2014.  Sell whatever of your stuff to get a ticket, but just get there.  You will be blown away by the level of creativity that is to be found in South Africa.

Emulate by Tersia Fisher

By Marica

Rose and I found the Emerging Creatives section at this year’s Design Indaba Expo so utterly amazing and talent-filled that we are breaking The Design Tabloid tradition and featuring each Creative individually. Over the next few months, hopefully once a week, we will share our favourite up-and-coming designers from the Emerging Creative bunch with you. Keep your eyes peeled – these guys and gals are muchos talented!

First Creative up – surface designer Tersia Fisher and her range of soft furnishings and fashion wear. Tersia found inspiration in nature, especially in the highly textured ocean-dwelling organisms, and named her handmade range “Emulate“.

Admirably, she set out to create a truly sustainable product. The fabrics used to create her cushions and accessories are 100% off-cut and waste materials she salvaged from office furniture manufacturers. Tersia then hand-stitches each cushion, creating an organic once-off product. This process is extremely time-consuming – the bigger floor cushion took her a whopping 72 hours to complete!

The result is highly tactile – my first instinct was to reach out and run my fingers across the cushion’s textured surface. In fact, I saw a good few people at the Expo to exactly the same – but like Tersia said: “go ahead, they are made to be touched!

To find out more about Tersia and her beautiful cushions please visit her Facebook page: here.

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (7)

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (2)

Emulate by Tersia Fisher ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

{Images via Tersia Fisher}

Design Indaba 2013 Awesomeness

By Marica

Okay, so I know you guys and gals are just dying for some Design Indaba Expo feedback! As both Rose and I had to juggle the Design Indaba Conference, Expo, and our day job, I did the Expo circuit in a new personal best of two hours! Let me tell you something… you can only say “wow” and “that’s beautiful” so many times in the span of two hours before you head explodes at the sheer awesomeness.

The Emerging Creatives, for instance, where so super dooper talented this year that Rose and I agreed that to write one summary post for them all just won’t cut it. So in the months to come we hope to feature our favourites individually and that way keep the spirit of Design Indaba burning a little longer. But, in the meantime, here are some things I oohed and ahhed about at the Design Indaba Expo 2013…

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I thought the fashion section was especially well planned this year, particularly the Cape Town Fashion Council (CTFC) exhibit – don’t you just love the gold coat hanger chandeliers!

ARTYMISS:  I absolutely adored the Artymiss stand… and so did everybody else – that stand was B.U.S.Y. It’s not surprising though as you could not help but notice the beautifully backlit stand from a distance. Artymiss specialises in most extraordinary whimsical laser-cut paper artwork and stationery – her attention to detail is amazing.

Another ingenious addition to the Expo this year was the food truck convoy which stood amidst strings of twinkly lights. Gourmet street food anyone – YES PLEASE!

IKHAYA:  Have you very stumbled across a shop where you just want to say: “I’ll take it ALL thank you! Ring it up while I get my credit card” Well, that’s how I felt when is saw the iKhaya stand. From the adorable chest of drawers and little cabinets, to the whimsy wood and ceramic figurines and awesome pendant lights… I want it ALL!

20EIGHT:  Okay so I’m a total sucker for gorgeous lighting and the Expo was dripping with abundance of beautiful lighting designs. One of my favourites: a gorgeous geometric pendant light made from lightweight concrete designed by 20Eight – they use the same concrete to make amazing jewellery and funky geometric serveware.

MAKERS OF STUFF:  Then there was the Makers of Stuff (MOS) stand – a whole wall filled with beautiful pendants lights and chandeliers. It became an unintended “photo booth” as one can not walk past the amazing display without asking someone to snap a picture of you striking a pose in front of it!

NINA DU PLESSIS:  I also loved the trendy wall-hung geo pendant lights and gorgeous wooden wall hooks they were hung from designed by interior designer Nina du Plessis. I never had the chance to ask Nina what the lights are made, but I’m assuming it’s some kind of concrete or earthenware.

HALDANE MARTIN:  Lastly, I found the “evolution” of the Haldane Martin Source Chair quite interesting – I’m absolutely loving the newest addition, the Source Upholstered Chair with those stunning wooden legs!

{So who attended the Expo? Buy anything? Tell us about your favourites!}

Design Indaba Conference 2013: Day 2

Rose and I could not wait one more day to tell you all about our AMAZING Design Indaba Conference experience this year. I will be sharing my thoughts on Day 2 of the conference with you first, as Rose is currently quite busy with some urgent design work and has not find the time to scribble down her impressions of Day 1.

Steven Heller:

Day 2 of the conference kicked off with Steven Heller – an art director, journalist, critic, editor and author who served as art director at the New York Times for 33 years.

Heller has also written a whopping 150 books (…and counting) on graphic design and popular culture themes! His wife, designer Louise Fili, even joking said that when she entered the industry years ago she struggled to find graphic design-related info as “there were no reference books on design history because Steve Heller hadn’t written them yet!

A small view into Heller’s collection library – a “cave” his wife refuses to enter! | Image via Visi

An avid Collector, Heller passionately gathers everything from razors to triptychs, posters, letterheads, rare books & magazines, propaganda material, figurines, and other period-based symbols of pop culture and counter-culture. In this, he attempts to chronicle the history of Graphic Design.

“I like to think of my collection as an archaeological dig and I’ve discovered the remnants of commercial culture,” Heller said. “I collect because I am, because it’s there, and because it will lead to things that would hopefully have an impact on other people”


Louise Fili:

Raised in an Italian household where most, if not all, social activity and conversation revolved around the kitchen table, the transition to food packaging and restaurant identities seemed the perfect fit for graphic designer Louise Fili. To this day Italy still serves as her greatest inspiration – not only in typography but also in gastronomy.

Fili has authored and co-authored over a dozen books, many of them with her husband, the design historian Steven Heller – jeez, talk about a creative power couple!

She was art director of Pantheon Books from 1978 to 1989, where she designed over 2000 book jackets. She even added her own creative touch to boring copyright pages – a practice that was frowned upon.

Fili prefers the graceful charm of vintage typography in eras-passed and uses letterpress wherever possible stating that it offers a tactility that is appetising.

“You do not have to shout to be noticed. A design can be quietly beautiful and still grab attention. I prefer subtle and elegant typographic solutions to more boisterous graphic displays.”


Jeanne van Heeswijk:

Jeanne van Heeswijk calls herself a visual artist specialising in interaction design… yet she is so much more that that. She is a social cheerleader, a catalyst for community transformation and change. She enters struggling communities and neighbourhoods, gets on her soapbox (sometimes literally), and asks the hard questions – often creating a public brainstorming session with local passers-by. So doing she motivates inhabitants to take action and become a shaping force in their own neighbourhoods.

I was immediately reminded of South Africa’s own community upliftment and social involvement initiative, LEADSA. Like VISI commented: “(Jeanne) spoke directly to something South Africans could identify with: how to inspire communities to take back their neighbourhoods.” We must be the change we want to see.Jeanne van Heeswijk

“The artist / designer has to decide: ‘Who do I serve? Can I be an instrument? What can I contribute to society?'” ~ Jeanne van Heeswijk (Design Indaba Conference 2013)


Alex Atala:

Alex Atala is an acclaimed Brazilian chef whose work is concerned with traditional Brazilian cuisine, using native ingredients. It is his desire to capture the flavours, colours, textures and even smells of what it was to eat in Brazil (he even travelled into the Amazon rainforest to source traditional ingredients and do research).

Atala’s restaurant, D.O.M. in São Paulo was rated the 4th best restaurant in the world in 2012. He often includes burnt flavours or carbonized herbs to his menu as he thinks the delicious burnt smells and flavours of grilled meat (‘n lekker ou braai!) is a traditional base culinary flavour – not only in Brazil but all over the world.

Atala also went on to say that one of the main problems with the current food production industry is waste. “Your grandma used to kill and used every last piece of a chicken – now that is sustainable!” he said. Today we just pick up the phone and order ten beef fillets… what happens to the rest of the cow? – this is waste.Alex Atala

“The best way to be GLOBAL is to be LOCAL” ~ Alex Atala (Design Indaba Conference 2013)


Martí Guixé:

I think whilst multi-talented Catalonian designer Martí Guixé had the floor we all enjoyed a bit of design comic relief. His out-of-the-box design ideas had the audience teetering between amazement and giggles. Let me share one or two of his ingenious ideas with you…

Martí Guixé - GAT Fog
Martí’s GAT (Gin and Tonic) Fog

Whilst designing a fashion retail store, he convinced the owners to give him the budget they were going to spend on stock images for the store walls as he thought it to bland and commercial. Instead he took money and threw a massive party in the store a day before the launch, asking all party-goers to paint a wall. The result: a totally unique store interior… and everybody had a smashing time.

Martí Guixé

Tired of juggling your drink, food and conversation at parties or launches? So was Martí! What did he do? He hired some kind of agricultural machine that evaporates liquids, filled it, and fogged up the whole room with a mist of gin & tonic. Now you can breath in your drink instead of carrying it…

Another brilliantly funny idea – hijack a public fountain, fill it with ice, stick bottles of champagne in it, put out some tables and chairs and serve drinks to the public “until the cops come!


Daan Roosegaarde:

The most exciting speaker of the day would have to be innovator and interaction designer, Daan Roosegaarde. Daan, who describes himself as a “hippy with a business plan”, calls what he does “Techno Poetry” – a fusion of innovation and imagination.

A perfect example of this is Dune, a project which encourages visitors to be participants instead of observers. Dune, a collection of futuristic reed-like structures, consists of  hundreds of fibres, microphones, sensors and speakers which lights up and responds intuitively to the sounds and motions of the passing public.

Other AMAZING Studio Roosegaarde projects include a sustainable club dance floor which generates electricity by garnering the energy created by club-goers dancing on it, and a wondrous a high-tech fashion garment that becomes more or less transparent in response to your heartbeat;.

Daan has also partnered with Heijmans Infrastructure to build the world’s first “Smart Highway” which will feature sustainable concepts like glow-in-the-dark road paint, interactive and wind-powered lights, and even an induction priority lane that will charge the electrical cars that drive on it! What?! Amazing…Daan Roosegaarde

“We make things, but making also makes us…” ~ Daan Roosegaarde (Design Indaba Conference 2013)