Design Indaba 2011: Raw Studios

By Marica

Raw Studios, another Design Indaba 2011 exhibitor, also caught my eye (they’re my secret favourite, shhhhh).

Under the creative guidance of Pretoria-based furniture designer Peet Van Straaten, Raw Studios design and manufacture beautiful furniture pieces from sustainable engineered materials often making use of CNC machining processes. Their natural birch plywood product ranges can be customized with funky colours and quirky prints.

Peet van Straaten from Raw Studios - Image via

Now if there is one thing I appreciate more than an attractive design, it’s a clever attractive design.  The genius of Raw Studios’ product ranges (other than the sleek and simplistic good-looks) is the intelligent, and might I add environmentally friendly, way it’s all put together. They have spend some time designing and perfecting joining and clipping systems that, in some of their designs, renders toxic glues assembling tools obsolete. Truly masters of innovation.

As for that sleek and simplistic product, Peet must have picked that up in Rotterdam – he spent 6 years there cultivating his design and joinery skills. The Dutch are renowned for their simplistic, functional and often quirky designs.

Raw Studios - Ikonik

Ikonik is Raw Studios’ take on the original old school steel locker. It is fully modular, flexible and durable.

Raw Studios - Klik

Klik is a modular storage system with magnitude of possibilities from office workstations to shopfitting and children’s rooms. A smorgasbord of modular elements such as shelving, work tops, cupboards, drawers and storage boxes simply “klik” into the base panel and can be reconfigured as requirements change. I would love this for our studio.

Raw Studios - Tressel

Tressel is Raw Studios modular interpretation of the traditional trestle table. The Tressel top is available in natural birch and white, but the legs can be stained – the table looks seriously funky with colourful legs.

Raw Studios - Sideklik

The Sidekik server has the added functionality of a removable table component that effectively doubles the serving area. Two tables arranged back to back will produce a full size dining table for 6-8 people.

Raw Studios - Slowfa

Slowfa is a very simple little bench seat in three different sizes. Several colours can be applied to the inside of the Slowfa for extra effect. It’s cute, né!

In a recent interview with Visi, Peet stated that he believes plywood is the new hardwood (only better). We have undoubtedly seen a general trend in furniture design gravitating toward plywood and particle board products. Why? Well, plywood is flexible, cheap, workable & recyclable. It is also resistant to cracking, shrinkage, and twisting/warping. It has a general high degree of strength… oh and don’t forget that it’s more eco-friendly and sustainable than hardwood. I can definitely see why this is Raw Studios’ material of choice.

Images & Info via Raw – do yourself a favour & check out their website

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Design Indaba 2011: Design Kist

By Marica

I think it is fair that I inform you from the get go that I am totally in love…

…with Design Kist.

How did this love affair start you may ask? Well, dearest Internet, I was one of the unlucky few who could regrettably not attend Design Indaba this year (shock and horror, I know) but fortunately Rose did. To my greatest joy she brought back with her a GIANT stack of business cards, brochures and pamphlets over which I faffed for a whole afternoon.  Now I’ve heard of Design Kist before, but I must not have been paying attention because when I took a quick squiz through their online gallery yesterday I fell head of heels and I’ve been drooling over their designs ever since… it’s a compulsion really.

For those of you still in the dark – Design Kist is an online surface design studio and the brainchild of South African textile designer, Kristen Morkel. She noticed how local retailers and manufacturers often sourced digital surface designs from European design studios to print onto fabric and manufacture into products. There were no South African counterpart to these studios and a gap existed between retailers and talented surface designers in South Africa.

Launched in 2010, Design Kist features a collection of freelancing South African surface designers who submit their work to be sold online. They sell fabric designs for bedding and clothing, and prints for gift wrap and stationery, but the patterns can also be used on homeware, accessories, packaging, upholstery and wallpaper.

As designers submit designs, they’re added to an online gallery, ready to be purchased, downloaded and printed. Clients need to register and obtain a password before they’re given access to the gallery, which protects the exclusivity of their designs. The cool thing is – once you paid for and downloaded your high res Design Kist image, you attain full and exclusive copyright on that specific design / pattern.

When clients are looking to develop something specific; Design Kist creates customised designs & collections. They also tweak colours and sizes of existing designs to give clients exactly what they’re looking for.

Design Kist also just launched a funky (growing) wallpaper range that can be purchased online for home delivery. Wouldn’t you just love to have their pattern-y beauteousness all over your walls? I would!

Local is most certainly lekker! I’ll leave you now to continue my drooling… I suggest you do the same.

{  So what exactly is Surface Design? Well, it encompasses a wide range of surface applications that gives structure, pattern, or colour to fibre & fabric such as gift-wrap, wallpaper, fashion textiles, home textiles, carpet design as well as surface design on ceramics, glass, wood, plastics, steel and automotive fabrics.  }

Design Indaba 2011 Through Rose Coloured Glasses

Having missed out on The Design Indaba Expo for last couple of years, I was determined to go along this year.  I had to resist the desire to hang around the pool on a hot summer’s day, in favour of The Convention Centre.

Like I said, it has been a good 2 or 3 years since my last Indaba and somehow I cannot recall it being as busy before, as it was on the Sunday.  The exhibition hall isles were buzzing from early morning.

From a Design aspect, as I still carry the expectation of “unique’ design products being exhibited at this Expo (and there were many), what struck me was the density of the commercial atmosphere.  Nevertheless, being unashamedly “Proudly South African” I was thrilled by the abundance of design talent our country produces.

Aden Thomas of Cape Talk made the comment along the lines of it being just a “fancy/larney craft market”.  Something which Jonathan Cherry (Advertising Guru) duly proceeded to endorsed.  Well I cannot share their take on the Expo and would like to point out that there is a difference between handmade products designed and produced by talented people, and craft market items, although both require the passion to craft something.

After four hours, I walked away an exhausted woman, heading straight for that pool at home.

Below are some of the images that struck me for odd reasons and get the “Royal Seal of Awesomeness” from Design Monarchy:

The Beautifully Detailed Cake form Charly's Bakery

What I have termed the “Cape Town Tour” Cake from Charlie’s Bakery. I could not take my eyes of the details which were so amazingly carved, telling the story of all the magnificent places and people of our country.  I must have walked around it 3 or 4 times.

The Bos Ice Tea's Branded Traditional Ice Cream Cart

The BOS Ice Tea “Ice Cream Man’s Cart and Bike” – this has more personal nostalgic value for me – of days gone by when the ice cream man was my favourite visitor to our street most days.  In a time when nostalgia is big, BOS choose this clever “vehicle” for their brand.

Admore's Qalakabusha Couch

Ardmore’s latest development – textiles with their ever famous animale images on it.  I give them the “Royal Seal’ for the appropriate choice of sofa to apply their textile design. I so wanna have this sofa in my house.

Printers Tray Cupboard by Recreate

Re-Create’s Printers Tray, with glass front door – another nostalgic item, housing novel itsy-bitsy items.  Took me back to my ole printers tray which I gave someone years ago – Damn! Hats off to her for her imaginative use of all things “old/nostalgic”.

Aren't these Embroidered "El Dia De Los Muertos" Skulls by Calavera rocking?

The Mexican “Day of the Dead” Skulls, by Nicola of Calavera – never before has a skull looked so impressive. The eyes are rather haunting.

The Chasing Bees Chandelier by Ashley Wood

Staying with haunting items – this Rocky Horror Show type light fitting by one of the Emerging Designers, Ashley Wood, just did it for me. Believe it or not, the material is Gauze Bandage.

I salute all the brave Designers and Emerging Designers who put themselves out there by exhibiting their talent at the Expo.  It takes courage to “expose” your talent and passion to the public at large.

For more info check out the Design Indaba’s Website.

Images via Design Indaba & the various designers.