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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:
1-3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
 
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St. George’s Cathedral Save The Roof Market

By Marica

There is a handful of things every Cape Townian MUST do in his or her lifetime – for instance a trip up Table Mountain, Sundowners at Camps Bay, Wine Route wine-tasting or a boat ride to Robben Island and the list goes on… You can also not really call yourself a true Cape Townian without having set foot in the beautiful stone landmark which is St George’s Cathedral.

The Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr (in full) is the Anglican cathedral in the centre of Cape Town, South Africa and is the seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town.

The cathedral was designed by the masterful architect, Sir Herbert Baker and the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on 22 August 1901 by the Duke of Cornwall and York (later to become George V). The cathedral replaced a church built in 1834 on the same site. Since then building has progressed by fits and starts. In 1939 the north aisle was finished; in 1963 the Lady Chapel and south aisle were completed, and in 1978 the belfry and the Link section, with additional seating, were built. But to this date St George’s Cathedral is still incomplete.

The Cathedral is fortunate in having some fine Gabriel Loire stained-glass windows and over the south transept is the most breathtaking rose window. Another must see (or rather must hear) is the beautiful ring of the cathedral bells. I once lingered around St George’s in order to hear the wonderful chimes of the cathedral’s majestic ten bells (each bell with its own name) which are usually rung as a call to worship or on special events.

St. George’s also played it’s own part during our difficult struggle during the apartheid era. On September 13 1989, about 30000 people marched from the cathedral to call for the release of political prisoners, unbanning of political parties and an end to the tricameral parliament.

” … this cathedral became widely known as a site and focus of resistance against apartheid. And so St George’s won the splendid accolade contained in the title The People’s Cathedral.”

–- ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU

The Cathedral has withstood many a storm and even a couple of wars but is now in serious need of repair. “Over the years we have repaired the roof. Now, alas, it is beyond repair and is in need of replacing. Estimates range from R7-million to R9-million.” In an effort to save this historic and cultural gem, St. George’s has organised a side-walk “White Elephant” sale to raise some much needed funds. Please visit the market this Saturday and Sunday (the 26th and 27th) to support this excellent cause! Browse through the collection of bric-and-brac items, secondhand books and other handmade crafts – you might even stumble upon some gorgeous vintage treasures for your home. For more details please visit the St. George’s website and if you feel inclined to give, please see this page.

St. George’s Cathedral White Elephant Side-walk Sale:
When: Saturday & Sunday, 26th & 27th of November 2011
Time: 10am to 3pm
Where: Area outside the St George’s Cathedral shop
Contact: (021 424 7360) : Pat Ellis

Images via Flickr here: 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 

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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