Field Notes from Design Indaba 2015 | Day 1

Design Indaba 2015 Stanley Hainsworth

Stanley Hainsworth


Design Indaba Day 1 is down. These are the people and projects that we’re still thinking about as we head into Day 2. Stay tuned for more over the next few days.


Joe Public


Following Ogilvy & Mather South Africa in 2014 and FoxP2 in 2012, Joe Public was the next South African advertising agency success story to kick off the Design Indaba conference. Pepe Marais and Xolisa Dyeshana took to the stage to share case studies of their most impactful campaigns – after an enthusiastic interpretation through dance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’.



Hella Jongerius


A self-proclaimed ‘design pastor’, Dutch industrial designer Hella Jongerius chose the Design Indaba stage to lament the state of industrial processes, built-in obsolescence and the obsession we have with the new and next, and the ‘way too much shit design in the world’. She shared the processes that her and her team follow to counteract the status quo and create products that people can have a relationship with. Solutions they revealed included the use of discarded flight attendant uniforms to create carpeting for KLM aircraft, and the use of ‘waste’ wool from the meat industry to create yarn for rugs and upholstery.


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New interior for United Nations North Delegates’ Lounge (New York)

Photos: Frank Oudeman



KLM World Business Class cabin interior – Carpet



The Workers


The Workers is a product design studio founded by Ross Cairns and Tommaso Lanza in east London, that is living and working testament to the possibilities of a small, dedicated team making work that gets the world talking. At Design Indaba they shared their latest project, ‘After Dark’ , developed with frequent collaborator David Di Duca, for the first edition of Tate Britain‘s IK Prize. The project saw four robots controlled via the internet by people all over the world who guided them through Tate Britain’s galleries after sunset and closing time. What the robots captured was broadcast for people to watch, and the viewing experience was punctuated with live commentary by art professionals.


After Dark Tate Robot




Stanley Hainsworth


‘Serial entrepreneur’ Stanley Hainsworth regaled us with tales of his fascinating life and career which has included acting in Gus van Sant’s ‘My Own Private Idaho’ to working as the global creative director of Nike, Lego and Starbucks spanning twenty years, to starting his own varied businesses from Tether – the company behind branded entertainment for Red Bull and BMW motorcycles, to Geisha-inspired beauty brand on the rise, Tatcha. He urged us to make connections and talk to people in order to open opportunities for collaboration and adventure; a life philosophy that for him has led to such experiences as appearing on Dragon’s Den to pitch caffeinated chocolate product ‘Awake’.


Fancy visiting a Tether design camp?




Pecha Kucha Graduates


One of the highlights of Design Indaba each year is the Pecha Kucha-style line-up of top design graduates producing astounding work, often with a strong focus on research and prototyping, in a myriad of creative fields from illustration to industrial design.


Teresa van Dongen is an Amsterdam based designer who graduated Cum Laude at the Design Academy Eindhoven in June 2014. Her project ‘Ambio’ is a light installation that uses bioluminescent micro-organisms in seawater that emit light when provided with oxygen through movement; a visualization of her research into how to use nature as a source of energy.




Kathryn Fleming holds a bachelor’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art. Her work ‘Regent’s Park of Evolutionary Development’ imagines new breeds of wild animals engineered (evolved through synthetic biology and artificial selection) for life in a man-made wilderness. Her biological models and designed interactions aim to question the cultural institutions through which humans interact with animals, and speculate about the future potential of human and animal evolution. They also look really, really cool!




Cape Town based product designer Ackeem Ngwenya completed his master’s in design engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London after studying jewellery design at the University of Stellenbosch. His graduate project ‘Roadless’ is a wheel he designed for use along uneven terrain in rural areas. It works on the same principle as a scissor jack: as the central hub is cranked up and down, the wheels expand to create more contact area for muddy conditions, or contract to give better ground clearance for rough terrains. The wheels can be fixed to an axle and used to transport goods.




Michael Bierut


Partner in the New York office of Pentagram, Michael Beirut’s thoroughly entertaining ‘How To’ Design Indaba presentation was also a preview of his first monograph of the same name to be published later this year. Through topics such as ‘How to destroy the world with graphic design’ and ‘How to shut up and listen’ he shared what went into some of his most iconic work produced as part of Pentagram.


The new MIT Media Lab identity integrates the logos of nearly two dozen research groups.



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Branding for The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine



Look out for our coverage of Days 2 and 3 coming soon!


More about Design Indaba.


Follow #DesignIndaba for real time updates from the conference.


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