Reliving Design Indaba Conference 2012

Rose and I often recall the glorious three days we spend attending the Design Indaba Conference 2012 and now Design Indaba has systematically been uploading small clips of speaker highlights to YouTube.

I thought to share two short inspirational videos with you – both these speakers really made a lasting impression on me…

“Andrew Shoben creates art in public spaces as a way to add creative expression to parts of the city. Shoben talks about his “Trafalgar Sun” installation that explored the psychological effect that the sun has on Londoners. For Shoben it is important that his projects have a “community of presence”, something that makes people talk or smile to their neighbours in the city. Shoben also tells of the “3D abacus” that he created for the London Stock Exchange and how interaction is a side effect of all his work.”

“Architect Bjarke Ingels started BIG, Bjarke Ingels Group, in 2006 in Denmark after co-founding PLOT Architects in 2001 and working at OMA in Rotterdam. Through a series of award-winning design projects and buildings, Ingels has created an international reputation as a member of a new generation of architects that combine shrewd analysis, playful experimentation, social responsibility and humour.”

If you have a bit of time I suggest you pop over to the Design Indaba website and watch these talks in full – it’s well worth it. My mouth was literally hanging open that whole day…

Décor Dictionary: Art Deco

This was a though little cookie to define – hence the long definition! Art Deco was influenced by many design styles as the very late 1800s and better half of the 1900s ushered in the golden period of design, namely Modernism. It also made a big stylistic impression on the styles that followed it – think Pop Art, Hollywood Glam, contemporary Eclectic design and maybe even a bit on popular Mid-Century Modern. The master of Art Deco design was renowned furniture and interior designer Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann

The very Art Deco Mutual Building in Cape Town, South Africa

I think, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in South Africa is the beautiful Mutual Building in the centre of Cape Town. Next time your in the CBD be sure to take a few minutes to admire it or check out all the gorgeous images: here

Traditional Art Deco interiors: On the left an drawing room interior by Ruhlmann circa 1934, and on the right an Art Deco lounge (source unknown)
Contemporary interiors with some Art Deco features. Notice the zebra skin on the left.

Art Deco: is a highly decorative design style that originated in Paris in the early 1920s and flourished internationally, tapering off in popularity towards the 1940s. Considered to be a lavish, eclectic form of elegant and stylish Modernism, it was also said to be influenced by Cubism and Futurism and various other design styles. Art Deco design made use of symmetrical geometric shapes – faceted forms, trapezoidal, chevron patterns, ziggurat-shapes, sunburst motifs, and jumbled shapes – inspired by Greco-Roman, Egyptian, African and Aztec designs. Art Deco furniture frequently featured marquetry, inlay, enamelling and other techniques to create surface interest. The use of opulent, exotic woods and materials such as stingray and zebra skin was also evident. Vivid, bold colours was often used but later subdued into a white, black, and metallic colour palette that is often identified with Art Deco today. Furniture and interiors combined sleek curves with angular forms often reminiscent of simplified earlier decorative styles.

I think the Palm Court lounge in Shanghai (image on the left) is a gorgeous contemporary interpretation of Art Deco. Right is a bold black & white contemporary Art Deco room in the Hotel Borg, Iceland.
Images via:
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Irish History – Near & Far

This wave of Irish nostalgia that I am experiencing could not be dispelled in one post because I really wanted to share some slightly more personal experiences, knowledge and images with you.

The images below reflect this ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Claddagh, as well as some classic Galway daily life and culture.

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Galway City is one of the hot Irish tourist attractions.  What draws me to it, are the similarities it bears with Cape Town.  Some of those being that it is regarded as the cultural centre of Ireland; it is a beautiful coastal city, filled to the brim with tourists in the summer. Most touching of all their cultural history in similarity to Cape Town’s District Six, is The Claddagh District.

The Claddagh is a stretch of land on the seaside port area of Galway, where a very tightly knit group of fisherman and their families settled.  The Celtic language and traditions were guarded by them.  But without going into too much depth, the similarity to District Six in Cape Town is the fact that there was a time in Galway’s history that the powers that be decided to “do away” with the Claddagh Village.  In so doing, the culture and memories of that vital sector of Galway was eroded.

Good news though – like District Six, the folly of history’s ways are being rectified, with renewed interest and development in The Claddagh. It is a desirable, upmarket district to live in, with the architecture of the buildings/houses paying homage to a lost culture.

I raise my glass to St. Paddy for keeping the Irish alive in our hearts on at least one day of the year – internationally. Who would have thought such a small nation, could impact the world so powerfully, what with most global cities who know what is good for them, having at least one Irish Pub.   Even in desert cities such as Dubai, we experienced the ‘Irish Village’.  (Can you believe it – they even export this ‘Village’ to one of the most prestigious annual events in Dubai – The Dubai Horse Race.  And more people are rocking in the village, than there are watching the actual race – I saw this with mine own eyes.)

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Life In The City Bowl

Photo: “Cape Town Pano – Night” by Aquila on Flickr
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Photo: Photonogrady on Flickr

By Rose McClement

At the beginning of this month we relocated our offices to the Cape Town City Bowl district – Gardens to be exact.  Oh wow – what have we been missing all this time in the “burbs”.

At one time it was the thing to work in the burbs – who wants to take on that traffic into town everyday.  Well being back here where the general vibe is electric and where there is just so much happening in terms of design of any kind – I am quite happy to take on the traffic.  Although don’t get me wrong – it is really taking a bit of getting used that traffic story. But as they say – make it work for you – take it on and make the most of the time in the car.  (Ok – I’ve yet to get totally creative around this, but I will!)

Because after having endured the traffic – I get into the Bowl district and I am inspired. (I can now fully understand the inspiration for SEX IN THE CITY).

Inspired by what – by the architectural design all around us – in all shapes and forms.

By the history to be found in that architectural design – taking the shape of Victorian houses, Art Deco buildings and apartment blocks of the 40’s and 50’s. And then of course the fab modern buildings.  And the PEOPLE – of course!

Tamboerskloof Victorian Architecture

And Oh – the absolute glut of such cool retail interior outlets – in the Gardens, in the City, in De Waterkant etc etc.

There is just so much here – so much to draw new and fresh inspiration from each and every day – something new that catches my eye.

“Hey look – have you seen this shop or that supplier or how about those cool restaurants, coffee shops and cafes”    Yada Yada Yada – I could go on and on. No wonder my friend Miranda cannot be budged from living around here.

So, bear with us, as we take you on REGULAR fresh excursion of what is happening in THE CITY…

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