Lucy-Made… Beautiful Things

Lucy-MadeI have to confess the Emerging Creatives exhibitors is my favourite part of the Design Indaba Expo each year. I would have no problem skipping the main exhibition space and head straight for the Emerging section. I guess one can easily get tired of seeing the same faces, designs, and product – the Emerging Creatives however always offer something fresh and new.

Part of this year’s Emerging Creative programme was Lucy-Made, a Cape Town-based jewellery and stationery design brand founded by artist and illustrator, Lucy Stuart-Clark.

The stand was a little unassuming and I almost walked straight past without giving it a second glance… then the brooches called to me. Okay-okay, that might be a little dramatic but seriously they were beautiful and like nothing I have ever seen before. The brooches are made using white earthenware clay and decorated with under-glaze ceramic paints with touches of gold luster. I loved the large cameo designs and the gorgeous colour selections – the inky blue looked especially beautiful paired with the gold. My absolute favourite was the brooch featuring a rather stately looking gentleman with a red pinstripe background. The Lucy-Made ceramic collection includes earrings, bracelets, buttons and, of course, the above mentioned brooches.

Lucy also designed a stationery collection which comprises of hand-bound note and sketchbooks made of recycled paper and covered with envelopes and old South African naval stamps.

Be sure to check out Lucy’s website: here.

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Design Indaba Conference 2014: Day 2

Last week I shared my feedback on the speakers I was privileged enough to see on Day 1 of the Design Indaba Conference (see it here). Today we will carry on with wise words of the speakers from Day 2…

DJ Stout:

I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation of DJ Stout, a graphic designer and art director at Pentagram – the world’s largest independent design consultancy. His unusual presentation was an ode to his beloved home state, Texas, and how it has shaped him and so shaped his work. It was probably my favourite of the whole conference…

Now let me set the scene… Heartbreaking yet captivating footage of the massively destructive 2011 Texas wildfires flashes onto the big screen whilst on stage musician Graham Reynolds plays a dramatic composition on a grand piano. Afterwards, cowboy hat-wearing DJ Stout discusses the fire’s devastating effects and one thing is abundantly clear – DJ’s heart belongs to Texas. He shares stories, old black & white photographs of rugged cowboys, and clips of “Cowboy Poets” reciting their beautiful (yet slightly corny) poetry.

“Everyone I’ve met from Cape Town loves it here; they actually love to brag about it!” – DJ Stout discussing the similarities between Texans and Capetonians.

“Sense of place is so important to designers… If you don’t pay attention to where you’re from you’ll get lost trying to be global.” – DJ Stout on the importance of knowing your roots.

Be proud. Be local. Be real. – a 6-word summary of DJ Stout’s presentation at the Design Indaba Conference 2014


Margot Janse & David Higgs:

The next speakers to grace the stage were masterful South African chefs Margot Janse and David Higgs. Margot is the executive chef at the award-winning The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français Hotel in Franschhoek and David is the executive chef at the Saxon Hotel’s Five Hundred restaurant in Johannesburg. After they introduced one another with a great deal of both professional and personal respect, they spoke about their personal life journeys and how (through very hard work) they became the chefs they are today. It was also interesting to hear how childhood experiences with food have influenced them and flamed their love of the culinary.

Margot Janse: Chefs need to find their own food language from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

David Higgs: The chef’s role is so much bigger than just food from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

“Search for adventure and excitement in every moment in life.” – Margot Janse at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“I’m Dutch by birth but South African by choice” – Margot Janse calling South Africa home.

“Unforgettable dishes always have an element of surprise and nostalgia about them.” – Margot Janse


“Joburg has always been about the gold rush. Joburg is all about opportunities” – David Higgs discussing his move to Johannesburg and the Saxon Hotel’s Five Hundred restaurant.

“The chef’s role has become greater than the food itself – it’s about the experience.” – David Higgs at the Design Indaba Conference 2014


Michel Rojkind:

Award-winning architect Michel Rojkind introduced himself via a little drum solo – turns out the founder of rojkind arquitectos based in Mexico, was something of a rock star in his youth. The dynamic Michel spoke of his love for chaotic Mexico City as well as the challenges and difficulties architects and developers face in regards to the country’s unpredictable politics. He also shared some of his awesome, out-of-the-box, jaw-dropping projects including the Nestlé Chocolate Museum, Cineteca Nacional, and Liverpool Department Store.

AD Interviews: Michel Rojkind from ArchDaily on Vimeo.

Jeanne van Heeswijk

“If I don’t make the client understand what he’s not seeing, I’m not doing my job.”  – Michel Rojkind on reading between the lines and guiding the client to see something they wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

“The worst crisis is not an economic crisis. It’s a mental crisis. Any crisis can happen. If we’re good thinkers, we’ll think our way around it.” – Michel Rojkind at the Design Indaba Conference 2014


Marcello Serpa:

Brazilian ad legend Marcello Serpa doled out some of the very interesting and useful advice he has acquired in the span of his admirable career and as the creative director of AlmapBBDO. Marcello also shared some of their ingenious and successful campaigns including a hilarious Volkswagen Brazil ad that took the mickey out of Forrest Gump. For 17 years Marcello has been the mastermind behind the award-winning advertising of Havaianas and has played an integral role in launching this famous brand into international super-stardom.

Havaianas – Identity from AlmapBBDO Internet on Vimeo.

Alex Atala

“Never work under someone who is not better than you.” – Marcello Serpa at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“Complicated seems clever only to stupid people. Be simple, but unpredictable – being simple and predictable will be the death of you.” – Marcello Serpa at the Design Indaba Conference 2014


Design Indaba Conference 2014: Day 1

We had quite the busy month here at the office, but when Design Indaba rolled around we made sure not to miss the action. Like last year, Rose and I divvied up the Design Indaba Conference sessions to allow both of us to experience a bit of conference magic. I attended the morning sessions of Day 1 and 2.

In years past, I found that scribbling down notes as the speakers were presenting can be quite distracting and I always struggle afterwards to collect my thoughts and condense all I’ve heard into a decent feedback article.

This year, I put down my pen and really listened… I took it all in. However, I still want to share some of the magic with you, our reader. I’ve therefore broken it down into favourite quotes, little bites of wisdom, from each of the speakers I had the privilege to listen to…

Chris Gotz:

Chris Gotz is the chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa. The witty and engaging Chris shared some of their amazing, award-winning ad campaigns – most of which left me with goosebumps and dabbing a teary eye (I’m not even kidding). This included the beautifully sentimental campaign bidding a fond farewell to the Citi Golf, S.A. best-selling car.

Volkswagen – Goodbye Citi – Case Study from Ogilvy & Mather South Africa on Vimeo.

“Children go to school and get their dreams scooped out of them to make space for the 9 times table.” – Chris Gotz at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“When you look at your work and say ‘It’s ok’, it’s NOT ok…” – Chris Gotz on not settling for mediocrity

“Weird collisions in everyday life become accidental poetry that fuels our creativity.” – Chris Gotz explaining why it’s important to pay attention to the world around you.


Juliana Rotich:

Next up was Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi, a non-profit technology company, born in Africa, which specialises in developing free and open-source software for information collection, interactive mapping and data curation. Sounds quite heady, but the platform is an invaluable tool for individuals to share info concerning anything from disaster reports, political uprising and SOS requests, to hamburger hotspots.

Ushahidi: Creating a New Narrative from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

“Most use technology to define the function. Ushahidi uses function to drive technology.” – Juliana Rotich at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“We need to invest in creative networks and open up the doors for others to connect.”

“The internet is a utility. Just like water and electricity.”- Juliana Rotich discussing BRCK, a new type of Internet modem designed by Ushahidi to withstand power cuts often experienced in Africa.


Experimental Jetset:

Amsterdam-based graphic design trio Experimental Jetset shared their “An Alphabet of Influences,” a captivating insight into how pop culture and established design[ers] inspires them and their creative process. It was obvious to see that Modernism, or rather Modernism[s] in all its various facets and phases, has strongly influenced Experimental Jetset’s designs.

Jeanne van Heeswijk

“The world is basically on fire…here we are scavenging the ruins of modernism hoping we might come across something valuable that changes the way people think.” – Experimental Jetset at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“We actually hate Helvetica [the font]” – Danny van den Dungen of Experimental Jetset on the fear of being seen as a one-trick pony after their indirect involvement in the font’s cult status revival… by designing  the Helvetica documentary poster.


Jake Barton:

Media and interaction designer, Jake Barton, of Local Projects illustrated how they are using emotion and technology to reinvent museums, galleries and other public spaces. With the help of touch screens, sensors and cameras, Barton develops new and unforgettable ways for people to interact and engage with art, history and culture. Local Projects is currently working on the media and interactive design for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Alex Atala

“Start with yes. Make statements. There are no mistakes, only opportunities.” – Jake Barton on improvisation at the Design Indaba Conference 2014

“Nothing will age faster than new cutting-edge technology. The most important thing is to make meaning from it… If you tell an amazing story – that’s what will age well and people will return to year after year.” – Jake Barton on why technology without emotion is empty.


Most Beautiful Object in S.A. 2014 is…



And the winner, by public vote, for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2014 is… 

…”Steam 1886″


Steam 1886 Fashion Film from Adrian Lazarus on Vimeo.

Steam 1886 is a short fantasy video showcasing the fashion, hats, gadgets and lifestyle that could have been the future of 19th century steampunk culture.

The film portrays the decadent nature of the steam era with strong gun-slinging women and rough grizzly men. An ominous presence is felt throughout the video until attack strikes, where the only thing that remains is the elaborate fashion. This outcome evokes the idea that generations disappear but fashion lives on forever. The wardrobe, hair, makeup and accessories in the film are all as beautiful as the video itself.


“It all came about after weeks of mulling over an idea to shoot a Steam Punk fashion video right before the summer production season hots up in Cape Town. I had the idea, but no location to shoot it in. I then walked into David Donde’s new Truth Coffee shop in Cape Town, and knew that it was the perfect location for the video.” ~ Adrian Lazarus (Director)


Directed by Adrain Lazarus and Nicky Felbert, the film is shot inside of one Cape Town’s creative hotspots, Truth Coffee. With the exception of the vintage fixtures, Truth’s interior and furniture were specially designed for Truth Coffee by Cape Town designer Haldane Martin and his interior design team. The result is an iconic space with an authentic steampunk character.

{What do you think of this year’s MBOISA winner? Who did you vote for?}

Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2014 Finalists!


It’s our great pleasure to present the much-anticipated Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) 2014 finalists. Featuring a mixed bag of finalists including film, fashion and photography, the MBOISA finalists were nominated by a variety of South African design journalists and cultural commentators.


“Every year Design Indaba invites the public to engage with the question of what constitutes beauty through the MBOISA award. More than just an object of visual delight, MBOISA encourage a wider definition of beauty – one that encapsulates attributes such as social significance, economic impact, usability, sustainability and even humour.” – Design Indaba


“We know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that’s why the winner is determined by public vote. Vote for your most beautiful object in South Africa, via SMS. The designs of all the MBOISA finalists will be on show at Design Indaba Expo, open to the public from Friday 28 February to Sunday 2 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The winner will be announced at 16:00 on Sunday 2 March at Design Indaba Expo.”

{Go to the Design Indaba website (here) for a full description of each finalist’s design and to vote!}

So what do you think, see something you like? Who is going to get your vote?

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{All info and images via Design Indaba}

Design Indaba FilmFest: The Human Scale

If I were to mention the word “FilmFest” to you, what would come to mind? Bearing in mind that the Design Indaba FilmFest is largely driven by design and as such mainly documentary films? Probably not expecting any Oscar award-winning movies hey?

Well, I am going to be honest with you, in the past two years that we have covered Design Indaba, both Marica and I showed very little or no interest in the film side of the Indaba. My mind conjured up images of boring doccies.

This year we were generously given a complimentary ticket to a film of our choice and that is what inspired me to dig deeper. I selected my movie coming out of my interest and off I went Monday night.

I viewed the screening of The Human Scale directed by Andreas Møl Dalsgaard. What is that all about? The growth of cities, the social impact that modernism design has had on city dwellers and the solutions offered by a visionary Danish Architect and renowned urbanist Jan Gehl and his inspirational team, to “use design to create a better world for all to inhabit.Gehl Architects has played big parts in developing city infrastructures for social prosperity in such cities such as New York, Dharma India, and Copenhagen etc.

Why is this the movie of my choice – because it has been claimed that in the year 2050, 80% of the world’s population will be living in cities! Go figure dudes, go figure! And we who are working in the field of design are able to become more involved in creating a better space for city dwellers.

As a thoroughbred Capetonian, I have to talk about the hectic Cape Doctor (the infamous south east wind). The “Doctor” was so hard at work last night that the normal screen used by the Indaba FilmFest team had to be ditched. They obviously had to chase their tails in an effort to get a temporary screen up and running – from where I was sitting, it looked like hard labour by nicely muscled men. BUT THEY DID IT – and I say KUDOS TO THE TEAM!

 You will see from the images, despite the wind blowing at 90 km per hour, the spirit there could not be dampened at all. It was very festive indeed! The venue – the central courtyard of the Castle of Good Hope – oldest building in South Africa. We were surrounded by plenty of history there. Because it is an open air theatre set up, we had huge back cushions and grass floor mats to sit on. Comfy enough! There were food vendors on site, wine for sale and what movie does not have popcorn. As I said – very festive, once the movie hit the screen, peeps were tucked under their blankets to keep warm. The sound and the quality of the movie were really spot on.

Despite the fact that at the end of the movie, I had enough of the wind, it was an amazing experience and I will do it again next year.

Just as a teaser – the last movie on the Design Indaba FilmFest program is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. It will be screened at the Nu Metro movie house at the V & A Waterfront. Am I going to be there?  You bet your bottom dollar on that. To quote Vicki Sleet of I Want That – “Race you there!!”

Check out the rest of the Design Inbaba FilmFest line-up: here

{Images via Design Indaba}