The Design Indaba has become a hallmark of creativity in South Africa. Focusing on bringing international thought leadership to our shores since 1995, the Design Indaba Conference has been awarded as the ‘Best Conference in the World.’ From humble beginnings it now hosts more than 40 speakers and 2 500 delegates.

Creative Explosion

Design Indaba 2017-resize1The Design Indaba is all about how creativity is necessary in designing a better world, with the world’s brightest, most radical minds as your guides. Uncovering the world’s leading design ideas and discovering the most compelling creative currency that’s leading innovation. More than a talk shop it provides a stage for an explosion of creativity. The experience is an immersive one that’s been known to include live music, performance and theatre, fashion shows, product launches, dance, projection mapping and surprise appearances by creative thought leaders.

Together with their partners at the Department of Arts and Culture, the organisers curate 60 top rising stars in the creative industries, from young designers under the age of 30 to recent graduates in any creative discipline. 40 of their Emerging Creatives from around the country are given the opportunity to exhibit at the festival in Cape Town, and an additional 20 young designers exhibit at satellite exhibitions in their home cities.

How it all began

This is Ravi Naidoo’s brainchild.  A scientist by training, he completed an MBA at UCT in 1994 where he was nominated for the Nedbank MBA Student of the Year award. The birthplace of Design Indaba was one far bigger than design – one inspired by societal issues and intrinsically tied to the story of Africa. Naidoo’s company, Interactive Africa, felt that South Africa lacked investment into human capital. They realised that if they looked to their own competencies and nurtured the industries in which they operated, they could invest in South African human capital.

Design Indaba’s primary aim is to advance the cause of design as a communication fundamental, a business imperative and a powerful tool in industry and commerce. This way the Indaba encourages and drives a demand for investment in intellectual capital. Investing nearly two decades in this vision, Design Indaba has championed this creative revolution. According to the University of Stellenbosch, Design Indaba added R1.7 billion to the economy in the last five years.
It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago the organisers could only attract 200 delegates. Ten years ago, at the expo, they only managed to secure 40 exhibitors and this year they will have over 600. About 40% of the exhibitors at the expo are new.
Interactive Africa, has managed high-profile projects such as the ‘First African in Space Mission’ as well as the marketing and pitch for South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 Football World Cup.

What 2018 will bring

The Design Indaba conference, taking place from 21-23 February 2018, is going beyond design to create a multi-sensory event where you can hear, see, learn and experience the future of creative thinking and design activism.
Each year Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort presents a programme that investigates trends for the upcoming year, from fashion and colour palettes to fabrics, textures and other materials, to design concepts, memes and other ideologies that present themselves in design language and creativity. Li will be presenting in both Cape Town and Johannesburg on different dates in February 2018.

The first three confirmed speakers of the 2018 panel include celebrated and prolific spatial designer Morag Myerscough who most recently reimagined the interior of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre cafe in London. Dutch landscape architect Peter Veenstra, co-founder of LOLA Architects, created the Adidas Campus headquarters in Germany and is bringing his structural genius to the Design Indaba stage. The third confirmed speaker is Cannes Lions award-winning filmmaker Sunu Gonera who hails from Zimbabwe and whose work tells authentic African stories, as seen in the music video he created for Khuli Chana.

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With three full days of engaging speakers, exhibitions and a film- and music festival, the 2018 conference is set to amaze, uplift and motivate delegates to find new ways in which to design a better world.

Taking place in conjunction with the world-renowned Design Indaba Conference, the annual Design Indaba Festival 2018 will run from 21 – 24 February 2018 at the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town. An experiential wonderland of live music, films, Chefs Table dinners, performances and exhibitions, the Design Indaba Festival encompasses the Design Indaba’s longstanding annual Film Festival, Nightscapes Music Festival, and exhibitions such as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) and the Emerging Creatives Programme. New to the festival in 2018 are pop-up restaurants featuring renowned Chefs and stand-alone performances by headline acts.

Tickets are available from Webtickets.

Creative Imagineering loves pushing creative boundaries, so we’ll be sure to be there for our dose of creative inspiration.