5 things I learned at Design Indaba that are coming sooner than you think


Spending three days at Design Indaba is a luxury and a treat.

This year was my first; and I was properly pumped full of new energy and purpose listening to such innovative and groundbreaking artists, designers, architects and social scientists that spoke this year. 

Here are a few takeaways you're going to want to try.

1. We're going to dress ourselves and our homes and eat differently.

Lidewij Edelkoort better known as Li Edelkoort is a Dutch trend forecaster who kind of sets the scene each visit to SA to give us a look into the not-so-distant future. 

When it comes to design, food and fashion, she shared that we're moving towards more beige, soft tailoring, frills, yellow green, wearing one big sheet of colour, flat shoes, pickled everything, sack dresses, earrings, mustard and more. Here's what that's already looking

Scales (2017) Performance Piece Marfa, Texas @chinatifoundation Photo by @__enmi

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Watch out for a follow-up piece where I got to ask Li a few questions.

READ MORE: #MondayMotivation: proof that everything's better with mustard

2. We're going to work together more 

Design consultant and ethnographer Martha Cotton talked about orthodoxy breaking.

What that means is interrogating how we make something better that's already working and how we collaborate to produce a product that's new and designed for others.

She says that everything should be collaborative and interactive. That when creating a product, be it a new phone or stories for a large audience, the way people interact with and use the product today, not 5 years ago, needs to be considered.

What we're all realising too is what Cotton stressed. That one must never assume what the consumer wants. 

3. We're going to make things more fun

London-based designer Morag Myerscough is the expert that created the 'playground', which became the main feature of this year's Design Indaba.

I'd love to know how many times it was shared on Instagram as a selfie background, a boomerang prop and just an all-round focal point of the conference.

The beautiful #designindaba playground. Designed by @moragmyerscough

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She said three things that stayed with me.

  • You can truly design your own life.
  • Living in a fantasy shouldn't be disregarded.
  • You can make the life you want. 

4. We're going to have to start thinking about alternative materials

Many designers, in particular, spoke about growing or finding alterantive materials to produce products. A resource like sand, which is used to produce glass along with a plethora of other essential products like computer parts, is being depleted. 

It is, therefore, up to us not to take any resource for granted (something we know all too well considering the Cape Town drought), and to find innovative ways to make old products in a new way.

5. We're going to understand Afro-futurism in a more complex way 

Probably one of the coolest ads I have ever seen, Zim director Sunu Gonera spoke first at Design Indaba, showing some of his work including this ad for Absolut Vodka from 2016.

His topic was about representing black people in the media in a different way then we've seen before. 

READ MORE: Exclusive interview with the Black Panther South African cast

We're already starting to see a global shift especially in movies like Black Panther and performers like Janelle Monae. Have you seen her latest video Django Jane?

And just because we love fashion so much at W24, check out these moments spied on Instagram from the Indaba: 

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For updates on the Design Indaba Festival 2018 please visit www.designindaba.com/festival

24.com is in partnership with Design Indaba 2018.

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