Excited about Design Indaba

The globally acclaimed annual Design Indaba Conference, which brings creative leaders to our home city of Cape Town, is happening this week and we are very excited to be attending for the third time.

Not limiting itself to a narrow definition of design, Design Indaba presents the broader creative industries and innovation as a whole, as well as showcasing local design.

Highlights for us include the following speakers:


Thomas Heatherwick

After enthralling the world with his Olympic Cauldron at the 2012 Olympic Games, designer Thomas Heatherwick is back to London with a project to build a pedestrian bridge over the city’s River Thames.

With London’s rich heritage of allotments, gardens, heathlands, parks and squares in mind, Heatherwick designed the bridge with a lush garden walkway that would be planted with grass, trees and wild flowers.

Actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley, who worked with Heatherwick on the idea for the bridge, says: “The Garden Bridge will be sensational in every way: a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds will be birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind In the trees, and below the steady rush of water.”

Heatherwick designed the Garden Bridge after Transport for London awarded a tender to Heatherwick Studio to improve links across the iconic waterway.


Michel Rojkind

When Mexico City–based firm Rojkind Arquitectos was hired to expand a department store in its hometown, the architects were faced with a typical urban challenge: How to draw out the envelope of the existing structure into two busy streets teeming with foot traffic.

The “deep wall system” or habitable facade which the firm developed has just won a citation at the annual American Progressive Architecture Awards.

Rojkind Arquitectos designed a beehive-like, porous facade made of different sized hexagons in fiberglass, steel, aluminium and glass that could expand the building to create the space required. The design breaks away from the traditional retail “big box” model that is primarily inward facing.

The firm was able to tailor these hexagonal façade cavities to suit a variety of activities, including shopping, video projection, restaurant and rest areas. Stairs and ramps allow shoppers to move throughout the building in the façade itself.


Danish designers

Denmark has a rich heritage of high quality design and craftsmanship. Along with the emergence of the Scandinavian design movement in the 1950s, the country gained a worldwide reputation for design excellence in product design but also for its future-forward design thinking.

This year Design Indaba Conference is presenting four leading Danish designers and thinkers: Architect and director of the Danish Design Centre, Nille Juul-Sørensen; fashion designer Henrik Vibskov; chief visionary officer Mikal Hallstrup from Designit, a world-leading design and innovation company;  and industrial and interaction designer, Vinay Venkatraman.

Watch Juul-Sørensen’s TED talk Design like you give a damn.

Photo credits: Heatherwick Studio; Rojkind Arquitectos; Lærke Posselt