My Pick of the Design Indaba 2008

There are still two days left of the Cape Town 2008 Design Indaba, so if you can get there, I heartily recommend it. I’m just back from a 3-hour walkaround, and here is my pick of the exhibitions.

Of course, with over 250 stands, all showcasing design of the highest quality, it’s all worth a look. The criteria for this selection was “it makes me smile” and all of the listed exhibitors raised a grin from me for one reason or another – listed simply in the order I encountered them.

Willow Lamp (stand B17) – I loved these beautiful and elegant beaded chandeliers www.willowlamp.com

Ibo Silver(A42) – intricate and delicate silver jewelry that struck me as having a sense of ceremony www.ibosilver.com

Bousquet Creations (A35) – fun, bold and colourful – really unique looking jewelry that reminded me of the ceramic work on display elsewhere (no web presence)

DME (Department of Mineral and Energies) (B23 – had a collection of incubator projects of great quality and design; Harmony Jewelry School (read more here) and Umfundiso (no web presence) stood out for me

YDA Walt (G27) – I enjoyed the felt bags with striking township-style images www.ydawalt.co.za

Hardware – Ernst Tolmie (A49) – Funky plastic jewelry – one of the Design Indaba ‘Emerging Creatives’ (no web presence)

Mingo Lamberti (A52a) – Great limited edition T-shirt designs (no web presence)

Kaross (A56) – beautifully embroidered textiles on bags, cushions; this is also an empowerment project – www.kaross.co.za

Woo-men Plush Toys (L3) – irresistibly huggable felt character-toys for kids of all ages www.woomen.co.za

Ba-Rok (A71) – Fabric art; I really liked the combination of symbols from different cultures (no web presence)

Gina Niderhumer (L17) – I liked the intimacy and collage look of these hand-stitched purses, cushions and other small items. (no web presence)

Will Designers Save the World? (J2 – J4) Woolworths schools design competition from recycled materials – I particularly liked the use of barrels to create bar-like integrated table-and chair (read more here)

ICON – CCDI (H1-H5) – The best of the Cape Craft and Design Institute crafters – www.capecraftanddesign.org.za

Ceramic Matters (C1) – witty use of ceramics for soft-looking doll-like sculptures (no web presence)

Duncan Larkin (N5) – Another ‘Emerging Creative’; beautifully drawn/painted canvases, definitely on the fine art side of design. (no web presence)

Mü&Me (G17) – comic-style notebooks, stickers, cards and wrapping sets http://muandme.net/

Interestingly, Creative Cape Town is running a “vote for your favourite stand” competition, which sharpened my focus, but I found that none of the stands stood noticeably head-and-shoulders above the rest – I recall two or three blinders from last year, so not sure why there weren’t any this year.

But all in all a fabulously stimulating experience… I’ll be back again next year J

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3 comments so far

  1. Robynn on

    Ooh – love that Ibo jewellery! And the Willow lamps would certainly tempt me if I were around to be tempted. Thanks for the links.

  2. billy C on

    I visited Ibo Island in 1992 when I got into this bizaare holiday in hell/heaven at Pemba Mozambique, which had only just been added to LAM airways 737 flights.

    I accepted the offer of a motorboat trip to Ibo for the day only to have the motorboat break down and we trapped on Ibo via exotic Coconut Island etc.

    Berry and I explored the voodoo vaults at the local cemetary and I bought some silverware for my wife – never to be seen again. Wonder where it and she got to.

    The most strange, alien and beautiful place I’ve ever been to

    Simply scary and magic

  3. Cara Faye on

    @ Robynn: Yes, the Willow Lamps are very much you… It was great walking around gathering all these ‘things I’m really enjoying’ together – making something more of it than just a visit.

    @ billy C: Strange story – thanks for sharing. Hope you return and have a purely magic one…

    I knew of the Ibo Island Silver project, but have only seen rough, ‘holiday-snap’ photos. It appeals to me for two reasons: I really can’t wear chunky jewelry, no matter how much I like the look, so it’s always great to see something that is bold and dynamic but still light and delicate; and because it really does seem to be steeped in something more than just image – clearly tradition does make design richer. And also because I really love an empowerment project that gets people working with their hands, minds and culture.
    So that’s three… yes, all round a winner for me 🙂


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