Thursday, 28 February 2008

Conference highlights

It wasn't quite in the flesh, as I was attending a simulcast version of the Design Indaba Conference, but nonetheless, over the past two days I have seen and heard the most extraordinary people speaking, including:

Ilse Crawford
The design work of Ilse Crawford and her team at StudioIlse is informed by a concern with the "warm" aspects of what it is to be human - aspects of interaction, senses, emotion, pleasure, soul, culture. This concern is somehow deeply feminine, and I feel this quality comes through in the work in a most elegant manner, evidenced in the photo above.

Ivan Chermayeff

Ivan Chermayeff of Chermayeff & Geismar is the guy who designed the logo for Mobil, and for Xerox, and ... just about every iconic 20th Century logo you can think of, really. I was very taken with the 9 story high mural made with handpainted traditional Portuguese tiles for the Lisbon Aquarium . See more pics of this awe inspiring work here.

Oscar ePena

I think I might nickname my Cube kettle "Oscar" after seeing its designer, Oscar e Peña speaking about his work as senior creative director at Phillips.

When the zingy London design team, Airside told us about their charming Stitches project, they had the audience in... well yes, you guessed it.

Marije Vogelzang

Listening to eating designer Marije Vogelzang of Proef was almost overwhelming. Her energy and imagination is without bounds. And... exciting news... she keeps a blog about her work!

Maxim Velcovsky

It was really interesting to listen to Czech artist Maxim Velcovsky of design studio Qubus talking about his work. I've not been very fond of what I've seen of his work (his porcelain wellies always remind of those ceramic paper bag things from the '80s), but knowing the ideas behind the objects has certainly enriched them for me.

(Oh, and PS: When I grow up, I want to be Ilse Crawford, please! )

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Expo Visit 3

It's a total Design Indaba overload! Thank goodness my memory card filled up, or there would be more. I can barely take it in, but I do hope you've been enjoying. Here goes on the final day of the Design Indaba Expo 2008:

My personal favourite at the Expo was the amazing fabric designs by Ekoka, inspired by artwork of the !Kung Bushmen who live in remote northern Namibia. I hope to show you lots more of these textiles soon.
Ceramics and beadwork from non-profit outfit Monkeybiz put a zing in my step, even after a long Expo day.

Those clever people at Tintown have come up with some lovely new cut metal designs. Love this seaweedy lamp!

I liked the new-traditional approach taken by Vuyisa Potina for Potina Ceramics, based in Franschoek.

Phumani Papers makes all manner of amazing paper things, and these bright beasts were my best.

Wendy Mclachlan handmakes the often food-themed ceramics at Homebakes, and came up with this rather delectable concoction.

The Heartworks stall was jam-packed with beautiful things, showcasing the wonderful work sold in their stores. Lots of amazing embroidery was on show, and I hope to be giving you a little tour of Heartworks right here on the blog soon...

Lovely recycled food sacks by non profit outfit, Give It Bag. I had to run away quickly after taking the pic so I didn't buy (yet another) beautiful bag for myself.

Handpainted plates by the very talented Gemma Orkin.

A blaze of textile wonder at Fabric Nation.

And I found this chair all on its own at the Creativity Industries stand. It's made by Third Eye Designs, which is run by Wanga Ngwane and Peter Seboyeng, and I thought it was rather nice!

Whew! Back again next year for more!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Expo visit 2

Today is the last day of the Design Indaba Expo, and then the conference starts on Wednesday. I hope to get more Expo pics later this afternoon, and here are more of those I took on Sunday:

Joburg-based glassblowers, Molten, don't have a website, but if you're in the area, visit their shop at Bamboo in Melville. It looks to be a treat.

I love Ronel Jordaan's amazing felted pebbles, throws, scarves and screens. So sophisticated and restrained, and absolutely beautiful. How does she make them?

Also along the restrained lines was the very elegant The Letterpress Co with their beautiful bespoke letterpress stationery.

My photos of Michael Haigh's ceramics didn't come out too well, so was pleased when he sent others through. There's no website, but Kraal Art can be found in the Nottingham Road area in KwaZulu Natal.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Expo Visit 1

Before my camera battery went flat, I managed to take a couple of snaps at the Design Indaba Expo on Sunday. I'll be back for more this week, as the Expo runs until Tuesday, but here's a start:

First up, some familiar faces. Here's the lovely Elle Decoration stand!

And nearby, our recent guest blogger, Frauke Stegmann was showing her ceramics.

Michelle Petrie is the interior designer behind abode, who has been making gorgeous cane lights and furniture in collaboration with the Cape Town Society for the Blind. Beautiful!

Ceramist Lisa Firer makes the most exquisitely delicate things from porcelain. She had these lights on show, along with some of her porcelain jewellery. It was hard to take pics of her stall because of all the clamouring shoppers, eager to get their mitts on one of these beauties.
Quite deservedly, one of Lisa's lights has been nominated for the Most Beautiful Object in SA award (vote here).

Architect Lorenzo Nassimbeni has recently branched out into illustration and wallpaper design. His architectural roots are definitely showing!
There's more, lots more to show (camera battery willing), so check in tomorrow and all week for reports on exciting SA design news.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Most Beautiful Object

Every year at the Design Indaba Expo, there's a vote for the Most Beautiful Object in SA. Last year, a rather ingenious (but beautiful?) condom applicator won the prize. This year, these objects are in the running.
Visit the Design Indaba blog to find out more about each object and the designer behind it.
You're supposed to be able to go to The Times site to vote for your favourite, but I simply can't find the voting page. Hope to update on this later...
Update: Thanks to the DI team for the link to the Times MBOISA voting page, where you can see nice large pics of all the work.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Take a look at the Joom website to see the cute products this Cape Town-based design studio keeps coming up with.
The Springbuck rocking-... um.. horse? hit the headlines lately, thanks to its appearance in Dwell magazine, and that's probably why this limited edition ride-on toy has sadly sold out.
I love these fun Animirrors, sure to bring out your inner animal. Grr!

I know Joom has showed their wares at the Design Indaba Expo in years gone by, and hope we'll see them there again at the weekend.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Yda Walt

More tableware today, this time from Joburg-based printmaker, Yda Walt, who applies gloriously iconic South African imagery onto her teacosies, placemats, handbags and aprons.
Yda will be showing her wares at the Design Indaba Expo, starting Saturday. (via Freshly Found)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Daddy Buy me a Pony

I'm a big fan of the design group Daddy Buy me a Pony, whose groudbreaking design mangages to synthesise an African graphic design language that's very much their own. Check out their design work for Afro Coffee, that won them an EDIDA award.
Check out the website for more of their graphic design (including this amazing carpet above), but seeing as we're much concerned with interiors at Elle Deco, here's a peek into the DBmaP offices in Spin Street, Cape Town.

More local design tomorrow, and all this week, in the buildup to the Design Indaba.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Celebrating SA design

In the runup to the wonderfully inspiring Design Indaba Conference and Expo which starts next week (running 23 - 29 Feb), the Elle Deco blog will be exclusively focussing on South African design, products and interiors all week long.

So watch this space for a veritable torrent of local fabulousness, while keeping up-to-date with pre-Indaba news and events by visiting the Design Indaba blog, and reading the latest Design Indaba magazine just out on the shelves.

A tour at your table

This is cute! Cape Town-based photographer, Ed Suter, has turned his photographs into sets of 6 placemats, each featuring one of his photographs taken in South Africa.

Take a closer look at each set by visiting Ed's website, where you can buy online too.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Bourgeois teatowels

Louise Bourgeois is one of the world's best-known artists, and the first artist to show at the Tate Modern's opening in 2000. But did you know that she has made a teatowel, and that you can buy one?
It's rather surprising that a great artist would produce something for sale as humble as a teatowel, but making this happen in the express intention of Australian company Third Drawer Down . From their mission statement:

By placing art into the most domestic of circumstances, Third Drawer Down products promote an ongoing dialogue between art and everyday life, whilst promoting the work of International Artists and Designers.

Third Drawer Down has produced a number of limited edition products with Louise Bourgeois, including an embroidered handkerchief, pillowcase, shopping bag and tshirts (click here to see), all of which are for sale through the Tate Gallery online shop .

Visit Third Drawer Down to see what else they've produced in collaboration with artists.