Leading architects in Cape Town for Design Indaba 2017

It’s the time of year in Cape Town which all designers most look forward to: the Design Indaba conference, which brings leading creatives from all over the world to the mother city, opens this week. We’re keeping a close eye on proceedings and look forward to the presentations of a number of architecture related practitioners.


Airbnb co-founder: Joe Gebbia
When Joe Gebbia first envisioned Airbnb in his living room in 2007, his motivation was simple: to pay his rent. Starting as a simple room-sharing service, Joe and co-founders Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk turned Airbnb into a major disruptive force for the hospitality industry, creating a new economy for millions of people in 190 countries around the world. [Image above shows Airbnb office interior.]


Norwegian architect: Kjetil Thorsen, Snøhetta
A trans-disciplinary way of thinking has defined this practice since its inception. “Every project is considered to be unique, independent of size or complexity. the uniqueness is not only based on different contextual situations, but just as much on prevailing conditions defined by society at large. Our projects are perceived as social tools and are consequently trying to create interactive places for users and visitors.” Among the firm’s many projects is the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavillion at Ground Zero in New York.

Kjetil Thorsen together with artist Olafur Eliasson, also a speaker at the Design Indaba, designed the Serpentine Gallery’s 2007 summer pavilion. Read Bespoke Bathroom’s post about the 2016 Serpentine pavilion, the annual event in London which celebrates experiments in architecture.



Dutch architect: Winy Maas, MVRDV
His vastly different projects don’t share so much an architectural style as a common approach to problem solving and a desire to use space effectively. His market covering apartment building in Rotterdam or the Mirador apartment building in Spain are all attempts to reduce the foot print and overlap the building with other functions. [Image above is MVRDV’s Markthal in Rotterdam]

Chilean studio: gt2P (great things to People)
This young design studio is gaining recognition for its combination of digital design and more traditional manufacturing. “The first projects we did were all about design and manufacture in a completely digital way,” says Eduardo Arancibia, engineer and chief executive of the studio. “But so many of the digital processes we used required some kind of manual intervention, and it was then we realised our work acquires a new value when we mix technology with traditional knowledge.”