Creativity is contagious: 4 talks not to be missed at Design Indaba 2018

11 February 2018 - 00:00 By Roberta Thatcher
Based in Basel, Switzerland, designer Ini Archibong will descend on the Design Indaba to talk about the application of craft.
Based in Basel, Switzerland, designer Ini Archibong will descend on the Design Indaba to talk about the application of craft.
Image: Supplied

The annual Design Indaba is where magic happens. The most remarkable designers, artists, architects, thought leaders and thinkers from around the world flock to Cape Town for three days to infuse the city with their ideas.

Founded in 1995, it is now one of the world's leading design events and hosts more than 40 speakers and 2,500 delegates. The 2018 edition (February 21-23) once again promises a stellar line-up.

We caught up with four speakers to give you a sneak peek into what's on the cards at this year's event.

1. INI ARCHIBONG

DESIGN BY INI

Ini Archibong with some of his lighting designs.
Ini Archibong with some of his lighting designs.
Image: Supplied

Claim to fame: Ini Archibong is an award-winning designer based in Basel, Switzerland, who is known for collaborating with skilled craftsmen in glass, ceramic, marble and other unique materials.

A son of Nigerian immigrants and resident of America, Singapore and Switzerland, Ini incorporates inspiration from his travels to produce his dreamy, colourful designs.

What to expect from this Design Indaba talk: "I'm going to talk about the application of craft," says Ini. "I hope my talk will inspire the Design Indaba audience to take a closer look at local craftsmen and to find ways to incorporate craft into their designs. Craft has always had a place in our lives, but we face the risk the losing these older crafts if we don't put them to use."

Ini on Design Indaba: "It's an amazing opportunity to address such a large international audience, especially so recently after having graduated. It's like a dream come true to be able to share my thoughts and philosophy with so many people. As I am of African descent, it's exciting to finally be able to share my work on the continent, as well as to absorb South Africa's creativity."

2. JOHANNES TORPE

JOHANNES TORPE STUDIOS

Claim to fame: This Danish designer is an unconventional and self-trained creative who works across the fields of interior-, product-, lighting- and graphic design, while also producing music and playing the drums.

Among other accolades he was recently named the Group Creative Director of Bang & Olufsen. He calls himself a design activist, and is dedicated to telling compelling and authentic stories through creativity and design.

What to expect from this Design Indaba talk: "In everything I do, my goal is always to tell a good story and bring myself to the table, so that is what I will do at Design Indaba," says Johannes. "The audience will experience a very personal and unfiltered performance centred on the conditions we set for creativity and how we set them free. And also, I am very serious about calling it a performance and not a talk. I think the production team must be scratching their heads right now, wondering if I am serious - my list of requirements includes a golden spacesuit, a drum kit and a handful of dancers. That's all I'm going to say right now. You'll need to come and see the rest for yourself."

Danish designer Johannes Torpe.
Danish designer Johannes Torpe.
Image: Supplied
High hat lamp by Johannes Torpe Studios.
High hat lamp by Johannes Torpe Studios.
Image: Supplied

Johannes on Design Indaba: "This is one of the most important gatherings for creative people in the world, and I have for a long time wanted to experience it myself. I cannot wait to absorb the greatness from the amazing number of innovative super-brains that will be talking. It is such an important time for creativity to fight the mediocre tendencies in the world. Together, I am sure we can disrupt for a better future."

3. AZUSA MURAKAMI AND ALEXANDER GROVES

STUDIO SWINE

Claim to fame: Studio Swine (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves.

The husband-and-wife duo are known for immersing themselves in anthropological research projects across the globe and somehow turning them into design. Take Sea Chair as an example. Together with local fishermen, Studio Swine collected plastic from the ocean, which they made into a stool, at sea.

Their films have been awarded at Cannes and other film festivals around the world and their work has been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Venice Art Biennale.

Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves.
Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves.
Image: Supplied
Metallic geology by Studio Swine.
Metallic geology by Studio Swine.
Image: Supplied

What to expect from this Design Indaba talk: "We will be sharing stories about the materials, people and places that have inspired us and drawn us all around the world," say the duo. "We'll be talking about many projects, such as when we cast scrap aluminium on the streets of São Paulo, sourced hair from the world's largest human hair market in China's Shandong province, and the time we 3D-printed sea plastic on the bows of a boat traversing the North Atlantic Gyre."

Studio Swine on Design Indaba: "Design Indaba represents exactly what we feel about creativity; it's boundless, it's diverse, it's accessible and about so much more than form or aesthetics. We are really excited to share a stage with so many amazing talents and are prepared for our perspectives to be altered."

4. LONNY VAN RYSWYCK

ATELIER NL

Claim to fame: Based in the Netherlands, Atelier NL is a research and design team focused on the relationships we have with our planet's primary materials, specifically sand. Their current project sees the studio calling on people to send them sand from around the world, which Atelier NL then melts into region-specific glass.

"By sending sand to us, participants begin to see raw materials differently. They begin to consider their origins and how they are related to politics, nature and the products they use every day," says Lonny. "People tend to experience this 'aha' effect when they see the world around them differently - and that's what our work is about."

Lonny van Ryswyck.
Lonny van Ryswyck.
Image: Supplied
Atelier NL's Zandglas: objects made from local sand.
Atelier NL's Zandglas: objects made from local sand.
Image: Supplied

What to expect from this Design Indaba talk: "It's important to approach the world around us curiously," says Lonny. "We tend to think everything is too complex to understand, so we don't understand most of the industries around us. We don't know where our products came from or how production processes are related to our lives.

But we can start to understand by looking carefully and simply questioning what is going on. If we begin to understand what we have been doing and how it could be improved, we can begin to make new paths into the future. It's really about a new way of thinking."

Lonny on Design Indaba: "Speaking at Design Indaba has the potential to bring our work with sand a step further. I expect new questions and inspirations to emerge as we navigate the land and weave our stories with others."

Design Indaba takes place at the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town from 21-23 February. Simulcasts are available in several other cities. 


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