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14 > arianne Fassler: Being true to her muse M
24 > hris Saunders & Brett Rubin: Photography C inspired by personal passions
34 > he Lionheart T
40 > oule: Africa’s first truly sustainable electricJ powered vehicle
50 > esign for the people D
58 > aw Studios make wood work R
64 > lternative architecture A
70 > thical architecture and the case of the everyday E
78 > ld Mac Daddy O
84 > ncovering the mysteries of the magic mirror U tents
90 > n-packed: A story about boxes and bags U
98 > tefan G Bucher: The monsters made me do it! S
108 > TINGA TINGA TALES: Reawakening folktales from Africa
114 > elcome to the 3rd Dimension W
120 > vant graffiti A
128 > he hottest act in Video DJ-ing T
134 > A’s zef trio thrash music scene S
140 > nspired jewellery I
146 > n EcoBride? A
152 > esign challenge of this century is education for all D
156 > esignomics: Design driven economics D
160 > he Ghana Think Tank: Developing the First T World
CREAM OF THE CROP
166 > annes Lion Young Creative Competition C
170 > esign Achievers: A leadership launch pad for D young creatives
174 > frican students join the crème of South African A Design Achievers
182 > oung creatives keep emerging Y
188 > road trip to Neighbour stardom A
194 > ate Moross’ guide to freelancing K 202 > an arty-farty drive a Maserati? C 208 > re you competent? Ask Dr Truth A
HIGH SCHOOL RESOURCES
212 > esigning the future D 216 > ics made from basic tools: Photograms and P pinhole photography 220 > nimation Academy opens new doors for young A creatives 222 > ant to study Design? W
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PUBLISHER > Cameron Bramley firstname.lastname@example.org ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS > GROUP EDITOR > Jacques Lange jacquesL@iafrica.com EDITOR > Suné Stassen email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS > Marieke Adams, Jason Aldridge, Lorraine Amollo, Chevawn Blum, Andrea Bokelmann, Fatima Cassim, Maran Coates, Inga Forde, Jennie Fourie, Zelda Harrison, Mohammed Jogie, Joe Krenzer, Azane Louwrens, Weyers Marais, Anastasia Miranda Messaris, Roberto Millan, Lilac Osanjo, Nicky Rehbock, Christopher Robbins, Stacey Rowan, Sarah Stewart, Liani van der Westhuizen SALES TEAM > François Fassler, Geri Adolphe, Rachel Harper, Chene Madzvamuse, Jeff Malan DESIGN & LAYOUT > Bluprint Design COVER PHOTOGRAPHY > Simon Denier + SDR PUBLISHED BY > DESIGN >MAGAZINE Tel: +27(0) 82 882 8124 Fax: +27 (0) 86 678 8448 www.designmagazine.co.za © 2010 DESIGN >MAGAZINE ISSN 1814-7240 Edition 2, August 2010 CREATIVE DIRECTOR > Jacques Lange Claudia Madurai & Michelle Swart PRODUCTION > Charl Lamprecht and Stacey Rowan
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So now that South Africa (and Africa) has pulled off the biggest sporting event in its history I think it’s fair to say that the Soccer World Cup 2010 was probably the best example of a grand-scale project, incorporating just about all aspects of business, marketing, brand and nation building, merchandising and retailing, entertainment and events management, visual communication in all its forms, digital media and high-end technology, the built environment, engineering and urban development, to mention just a few. This was THE grand stage that showcased the creative industries at the top of their game working in perfect harmony with business towards economic, social and cultural development. It was a good example of creative and analytical thinking resulting in successful strategies and the design and execution of systems and processes that created environments and experiences that overwhelmed visitors and added critical dimensions to this monumental achievement. The impact and the role of the creative industries should never be underestimated. According to IDEO partner Diego Rodriquez
“good business arises from a design-centric process diverse angles and disciplines. Because of creativity, that incorporates marketing, research and ideas” powerful brands are built and improved upon, resultand design is acknowledged as the “bottom line”. ing in new markets and targets. We visit a true South African icon Marianne Fassler, learn more about the Knowing that design is not a luxury nor an elitist making of the Tinga Tinga Tales and find out about the activity but rather a necessity that responds and soon-to-be-released first batch of animated feature serves basic human needs, it is difficult to under- films produced in South Africa. En route to ethical stand how any culture or country can exist without architecture via Noero Wolff Architects is a case of even the very basics that creativity, innovation and the everyday and architects Alejandro Aravena and imagination can provide. We have always – ever Marcelo Rosenbaum use their design skills to imsince the Stone Age – expressed certain basic needs prove and empower the lives of many people, while, in order to survive, communicate, travel and feed at the same time, alleviating poverty. ourselves and others – not to mention our basic needs for medical care and protection against the ED> will continue to scout for these balancing acts elements and much more. between the needs and the wants that equally and successfully address so many human conditions As a biannual publication, DESIGN>EDUCATION through the application of creative thinking in an (or just call her ED>) continues to focus on trendy and innovative and problem-solving way. The ultimate aim valuable morsels, delving deeper than the usual is to produce something that can be of relevence to show-and-tell and sharing valuable insights into the market and its users. worldclass productions and designs done by extraordinary teams of talented and skilled individuals. Have a great and inspiring read!
In this second edition of ED> we look at the power- Suné Stassen ful role of creativity within the world of business and society covering 37 articles which highlight
BEING TRUE TO HER MUSE
By Jacques Lange
When we think of contemporary African fashion, Marianne Fassler’s name immediately comes to mind. It is out of her studio, Leopard Frock, that some of the most ingenious fashion creations emerge. Inspired by the continent’s cultures and traditions, her garments exude Africanism combined with urban subculture and possess a wow-factor that often shock the stereotypical fashionista. Marianne shares some insights regarding her illustrious career, personal passions, the fashion industry, entrepreneurship and much more with ED>
What are the origins of Leopard Frock? Leopard Frock was established in the early 90s after I moved from my shop in Hyde Park Corner. I needed more space and thought it made sense to have my workshop and retail space in one integrated unit. Since then I have been trading from a typical Saxonwold double storey in Johannesburg. I have never regretted the move out of the shopping mall, although I sometimes miss my shop window which I just loved dressing up. Now of course the Internet is my shop window and I can trade 24hrs a day.
The name was a tongue in cheek play around the Leopard Rock generic place name for an African game park. Of course it also describes what I do…make frocks, often in leopard print. You are one of the very few designers in the world that have managed to keep leopard print en vogue. Why do you have a passion for this and what is your secret for reinventing new interpretations? Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always use leopard print in my collections. I do however use it as a leitmotif
Viva the evolution collection, 2010. Photos by Simon Denier + SDR.
when I have a show. Leopard print is one of those strange constants in fashion all over the world. It is regal and exotic and very much loved. Dolce&Gabbana, wouldn’t dream of having a show without it and there is almost never a moment when one cannot buy a leopard print shoe, bag or scarf in the great department stores of the world. Right now it is however especially fashionable, as is ‘generic Africa’ with its mélange of prints and colours. My secret is to make it desirable. I transfer the print on to tulle, soft silk chiffons and stretch gauzes. I combine it with other prints, dye it in many hues and sometimes just give a hint…like a slip showing seductively. I actually hate it when leopard print is fashionable. Just like camouflage – the urban leopard print – people who love it should wear it all the time. I wear Camo and have dreads. I feel comfortable in my own skin. It is not a fashion statement. In the same way, wearing leopard print should never be a fashion statement. It should be a love affair. You are often described as the doyenne of African fashion design. Does it put undue pressure on you to keep upping your game? The word ‘doyenne’ freaks me out! It is very old-fashioned…sounds a bit Cape Town or Pretoria. Last night I saw Evita Bezuidenhout and she reminds me of a doyenne. Nobody other than myself puts pressure on me to up my game. I am still very much a player in this industry and I will continue to do what I do until it no longer excites me. You were one of the first mainstream South African designers to embrace your African heritage. Did the politics of the 70s-90s influence your work in any way? Fashion reflects life, history, social conditions, weather, location…etc. It is not created in a vacuum. Real fashion is created on the street, in subcultures all over the world. It is to the Left Bank of Paris that Yves St Laurent turned when he looked for inspiration. I tune
Viva the evolution, 2010. Photo by Simon Denier + SDR.
into my place, my time and my muse. It never fails to inspire me. If I had to look at fashion magazines, retail chains or the Internet for inspiration I would be a bad dressmaker. I live in South Africa, I consider myself an African. As such, what I do and how I live will be unique. I am interested in politics, music, history, art and theatre – all places where one has the opportunity to reflect on heritage, politics and the human condition. One can be both African and universal especially when one is creative. Perhaps growing up in the 70s to 90s was unique because of the shift of power, but it was also a very unsettled time all over the world. I also try to keep focus on what is happening in politics right now. Alluta coninua! It was only in the early 90s that South Africans started being exposed to the flowing robes and national costume from all over Africa. I started being inspired by those clothes after I received a copy of Africa Adorned, by Angela Fischer in 1983. Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith have been documenting African ceremonies and dress for the past two decades and their work has been the most influential in shaping my love for the continent. Carol and Angela brought Africa to my living room and they were more inspiring than any specific designer…but then, how can one not give credit to those magnificent Ashanti Kings, those exquisite Himba women, those noble Massaai? I also collect Barbara Tyrrell who was one of the first iconic historians to document the way tribal people of Southern Africa dress. Her sketches are iconic. In your opinion, what are the roles responsibilities and challenges of the fashion industry in the context of the creative economy? Dressmaking is a huge business all over the streets of Africa (as it is in India and China). Tailors can operate anywhere anytime as long as they have a machine and some basic tools. When one talks about the much bigger picture, the challenges are numerous. We used to have a very
vibrant clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa. Companies like Transvaal Clothing and Rex Truform manufactured garments of a very high standard for export all over the world. We even had a Fashion Fortnight twice a year where buyers came not only from all over the country and outside its borders to purchase for boutiques but also from Europe. But then came the dreaded sanctions and by the time we became players again the Asian Tiger had destroyed manufacturing in the USA and Europe. We were no longer competitive. That is how markets work. As an industry we cannot remain stagnant. We have a lot of skilled people who are now unemployed. The industry is still hemorrhaging jobs and the government has no real vision for the industry. This is the problem. The government is so busy politicing, it has lost focus….the clothing industry is just one of the neglected areas. South Africa has become a dumping ground for cheap Chinese imports and 2nd hand clothing. The best we can do as consumers is to buy only South African products and to demand competitive prices. I believe the long-term is a series of short-terms and as a manufacturing industry we have not moved forward, but the Internet has made a huge difference in that we can show on a ramp in Sandton and instantly be in the homes of people all over the world. The designer-focused Fashion Weeks have given us a platform to perform and then it is up to us what we do with that material. You have always been very experimental in your selection of textiles, prints and colour. Are these some of your signatures and how do you maintain your reinventive qualities? I love colour. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my mother, the painter Hannatjie van der Wat, constructed huge colourful canvasses and where we were surrounded by colour
all the time. Hannatjie is a colourist of note! I also think that colour combines well with colour. I will never put colour with black or with white…but then one must never say never! I believe one has to deliver a product that is wellconstructed, comfortable to wear and useful in ones lifestyle and in one’s wardrobe. I don’t linger too long on the ball gown or the wedding dress…those are just occasional treats for me as a designer. My clients come over and they literally collect bits and pieces to give them an exciting, wearable working wardrobe. The question of re-inventing is probably true but in my case I never look back. I try to remain fresh and interesting for the consumer and for my regular clients. As Giusseppe Lampedusa wrote in The Leopard “For things to remain the same, everything must change.” I would be a rather sad designer if I just turned out the same thing year after year yet; the constants in my work remain the same. My clothes are very interesting, crafted, colourful and very wearable. They are also timeless yet very contemporary.
How important is narrative in your work? Narrative is very important because it is ongoing. I called my latest show [AFI in July] Viva the evolution and backed it up with a quote from Ben Okri which said “Art is finding a new homeland, yet always setting sail.” The collection was inspired by Karabo, the short name for the recently discovered Australopithecus
I saw an exhibition in Paris in March called Vanites. It showed how skulls have featured in art through the ages right up to Damien Hurst. Skulls fascinate me. I have a large collection of skull memorabilia and Karabo was actually such an obvious choice for me. It talks about the origins of Man, yet also
Fashion Week 2005.
represents subversion, longevity, ancestors and magic.
You say that travelling fuels your creativity. How do you capture these inspirations? Yes, undoubtedly I am inspired by travel. I am so lucky to have the ultimate travel companion in Charles, my husband. Together we explore the known and the unknown, always in search of the essence of a place or revisiting old favorites. We are passionate about contemporary art, but also love the history, culture and food of different places. Everywhere I go is an inspiration. Even downtown Joburg is an inspiration. A few weeks ago I went to Mai-Mai market again and came back very inspired. One doesn’t need to travel to be inspired. Most people don’t even notice their own surroundings…or vice-versa, are always looking to foreign destinations to inspire them. Having said that, how can one visit Mexico, India, New York, St Petersburg, Cambodia, Bali and Brazil and not be inspired. I take pictures, make sketches, drink in. What critical skills do the contemporary fashion industry require from new entrants? They have to get over the ‘fame’ thing. We herald people as designers before they can even sew a garment. The expectations are too high so the disillusionment is also very high. You cannot survive in this industry unless you make your market (client) at the top of the pyramid. It is not only about you as a designer. It is about the client who buys your product and the people who help you produce that product, and without those fundamentals, one cannot operate or exist as a designer. We also of course need more critical, educated, skilled fashion journalists. So often we lack that nuance, the depth of knowledge about the history (recent and past) of fashion as well as the vocabulary of fashion. So often I have to literally write copy for the captions to my work because the fashion editor or copywriter
Audi Fashion Week 2008. Photos by Nicolene Olckers and Paballo Thekiso.
does not know simple terms like ‘tulle’, ‘godet’, ‘rouche’, ‘bustier’ etc. This means that they are therefore also not capable of attending a fashion show and writing a critical evaluation. They cannot describe the garment and certainly cannot gauge if is derivative or not. It is mostly about hype in this world of fashion in South Africa. You have also been reinventing your personal image over the years. The flaming red hair has been a constant. Is this part of your business strategy? My dreads have been around for about 9 years now. They are a real labour of love and they are unlikely to change into something else. My personal image has evolved over the years because I have grown up, matured, got more comfortable in my own skin. I don’t change myself to attract attention from anybody else. I just do it for me.
when I really need the money to meet my wage bill. Seriously, it is a real motivation to make something really new and original to entice your consumer. I always think it is so stupid of the retailers to fall back on basics when times are tough. What they really need to do is to tempt, to seduce, to lure the consumer back for something really special to spice up their depressed lives! What are the most important lessons that you have learnt as a fashion entrepreneur over the years? I am not the most important element in my business. I am only important in that I inspire the product and facilitate the process. My clients are at the top of the pyramid and my skilled staff manufactures my product. Without them I would not have a business.
There is an enduring quality to your work. To what would you ascribe your longevity You are described as an artist, designer in the fashion industry? Being true to my and entrepreneur. What came first? That muse and ‘living my art’, as Adam Levin is how I am described, so I guess I am that. said. I guess designing is a practical outlet for me. I never wanted to put paint to canvass What do you still aim to achieve in future? or to express myself in any other way than Hopefully more of the same. Nadine through fashion, but, in my case it had to be Gordimer was such an inspiration at 89. so much more than just fashion. Or perhaps Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo of I should rephrase it. I wanted to create Comme des Garçons are both still very acfashion, not copy or follow it! I hate shop- tive in the industry and continue to inspire ping. I don’t buy magazines. I hate new clothes generations of young designers. When I am and have to really bond with something no longer inspired by what I do every day, before I own it. I never attend fashion shows I can do something else. I am privileged to spend every day doing what I love. < and I shy away from the fashion crowd. The entrepreneur comes in when you need to earn a living and pay the wages at the end of the day. My creativity reaches a peak
CHR SAUNDER & BRET RUBIN
By Suné Stassen
PHOTOGRAPHY INSPIR PERSONAL PAS
IS RS TT N:
Chris Saunders is a young British photographer based in Sheffield who humbly describes himself as resident snapper of much of that fine city’s outstanding music scene. During the
“I hated the University course though. After the college I applied for a documentary/portraiture course and just as I was accepted, much to my annoyance, they changed the curriculum to a fine past decade he has managed to blend art photography course. Not exactly two of his passions to shape an illus- what I have signed up for! This is probtrious career of shooting famous, in- ably another reason why I like the folfamous and not so famous actors, lowing quote from Elliot Erwitt: ‘My comedians, authors and film directors. theory is that photography is so simple that people feel the need to invent all “At first I was a really keen musician sorts of bullshit in order to justify it.” in my teens and wanted to be a rock star before I got into photography in my early 20s. Before I stumbled across it, photography was not my first choice for a career. It actually started when I borrowed a friend’s SLR [singlelens reflex camera] to take some photographs of this really cool pet cat I had and I took to photography straight away”. As he is still playing in a band it is pretty normal for Chris to move between his passion for music and his passion for photography. After buying his first SLR he initially went on a two-year college course in Sheffield and then to University in Manchester. According to Chris, the college course was really worthwhile as it taught him the traditional practical and technical skills that were needed back then during the film and darkroom days. “Learning this on my own would have been really daunting and would have taken so much longer.” One day, purely by chance, Chris saw the comedian Bill Hicks on TV and loved his performance. He decided then and there that he had to meet Hicks and that photography might be the ideal means to achieve this. Luck was on his side since Hicks’ next performance was pretty close to where Chris stayed and so he went down to the venue. “On his arrival I explained to him that I was a photography student, just getting a portfolio together and if he would mind being photographed? He was very willing and the photograph I took of him is still one of my favourites.” Hicks died 18 months later and he has subsequently developed a huge following that keeps on growing to this day. The area in Manchester where Chris stayed was also home to a huge bookstore where lots of well-known authors, actors and comedians would do book
RED BY SSIONS
signings and readings. Chris became friendly with the manager and he agreed to let him set up a little studio in his office so that these famous people could be photographed before their public appearances. “I got to photograph quite a few famous names this way. Not that a lot of these photographs are any of my favourites, but at the time this was a great opportunity to build my portfolio”. Today, Chris has been a pro for ten years. He says that each commission brings its own challenges and you should always have a number of approaches in mind for a job so that you have options to fall back onto when things suddenly take a different turn. Chris explains the process of one of his most memorable shoots when he had the opportunity to capture the world famous film director David Lynch in 2001 while he was promoting Mulholland Drive. “I was told I’d have half an hour (a luxury!) to photograph Lynch at his hotel so I looked on the hotel’s website just to note that there were a lot of furniture pieces designed by Phillipe Starck which sparked off numerous ideas. These ideas including a shot in the lobby
where there is a sofa, in the form of a huge pair of bright red lips which would be great to position Lynch on. So I planned out how long I’d take photographing him in each spot, how I’d light each shot etc. When I arrived at the hotel I was told that because Lynch was behind schedule I’d only have 5-10 minutes at the most and that because the hotel was so busy that day I’d have to photograph him in his hotel room.” This is the nature of the game. You need to be adjustable at a second’s notice and still produce top quality work. “The room was small and due to a number of people hanging about for interviews his surroundings made it nearly impossible to shoot what I originally planned. I had to resort to a close-up shot outside on the balcony – still one of my favourite shots to date. I just love it!” Sometimes it is to your advantage not to plan too much and allow for other elements to naturally find its way into the composition, like the shot he did of the band, I Monster. Chris explains: “I had the location set up beforehand but the idea to have dogs in the shot didn’t come about until we had started
shooting and the owner of the house came out with the intention of taking them for a walk. I immediately roped the dogs into the shoot. I think it works though and adds to the strange feel of the shot.” Comparing the differences between doing portraiture and shots of a live performance is like day and night. Obviously the photographer has a lot more control when shooting a portrait, while with a live performance you have to anticipate and wait for the perfect moment, whether it’s in the emotion of the performance, something happening with the lighting, or a combination of both which is when Chris believes he usually gets the best shots. “Great examples of some of my work, that I am extremely pleased with, are shots of Amy Winehouse, Tom Morello, Pearl Jam and Peaches which I think display the latter best. I can’t stand photographs of vocalists just singing blankly into the microphone. As far as the settings on the camera go, use a wide open lens on aperture priority, +1 exposure compensation, high iso and take it from there. It depends on the setup of the lighting.”
TOP LTR: Bill Hicks and I Monster. ABOVE LTR: David Lynch and Amy Winehouse. © Chris Saunders.
TOP LTR: Tom Morello and Peaches. ABOVE LTR: Pearl Jam and Harold Pinter. © Chris Saunders.
At first he decided to gain valuable experience as an assistant photographer before he was ready to embark on his professional career about five years South African Brett Rubin is a ago. photographer that speaks a different visual language than that For Brett, being a good photogof Chris Saunders. Brett is a com- rapher is about having a sharp mercial storyteller with a differ- eye for composition, line, colour ence, who is known for shooting and the ability to visualise the With the pictures of Lynch, peohis subjects in dramatic back- complete shoot in the finest ple believe that Chris captured drops with theatrical ambiances. details even though things might his ‘cool character’ and his shot change in the last minute. “You of Harold Pinter, done after he recovered “steely resolve in his Born in Johannesburg in 1982, basically illustrate and tell a expression.” According to Chris, he left school to pursue film and story using your lens instead of Pinter did not enjoy being in media studies at the University a drawing tool and paper.” He front of the camera so “maybe of Cape Town. Similar to Chris, further explains that his interBrett is also a music man and est in literature, art history and he just looks annoyed.” was in a band throughout his computer technology also conschool years, so music has always tributes a lot to his individual When asked about what hapbeen his inspiration. However he approach to photography. pens to his shots, Chris explained also had a very strong connection that occasionally it’s commiswith photography, especially Brett has recently completed an sioned, but more often he submusic videos. His studies were exciting shoot commissioned mits his photographs to agencompletely theory based, study- by Wanted magazine and shared cies that syndicate the results ing the history of film and the some details about the Cutting to various publications on a history of photography but in Room project. “The client wanted commission basis. hindsight, he says that “I am very us to create a very quirky and grateful for being exposed to surreal shoot that incorporates films and images that I would the conceptual tables designed probably never have encoun- by Gregor Jenkin. I immediately tered otherwise.” During his knew that I wanted to create a studies he decided to do a black surrealist office environment and white darkroom course in the where the two models conductevenings and after two months ed their business meetings in he was hooked on photography. the most unusual setting.”
Chris says that people are complicated beings and he does not believe that a photographer has the power to capture someone’s personality or complete character but rather has the ability to capture an emotion of that particular moment or time.
FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN
He explains that before he could behind the shoot was creating do the shoot that he had in mind outdoor living environments. he needed to consider the best The transportation of the furniture location, find the right models from location to location around and clothing and hire the best Cape Town was a big challenge, lighting that the project’s budget and I was very lucky to work with could accommodate. an outstanding team on the shoot.” Photographing Desmond He continues: “Then the creative Tutu and working with an amazing process kicked in. The stylist graffiti artist to create a torchsourced the wardrobe while painting campaign for Groltsch the tables were delivered and Beer, and collaborating with assembled in the studio. The some inspirational fashion demagazine editor, Gary Cotterell, signers to bring their visions to and the stylists also sourced life also rank as highlights. props that would bring extra character to Jenkin’s unique tacomposed considering the lay“I think photography has a powerstories and putting them into a bles. Each shot was carefully ful way of capturing ideas and out of the publication before single image. I always try to the models were added to the create work that is not too literal composition.” and doesn’t dictate an idea or agenda to a viewer, but rather The final result of the shoot was leaves a platform that is open very dramatic and Brett says to interpretation and imaginathat the editor of the Wanted tion. I also believe that photogmagazine was a happy man. raphy is a reflection of a photographer’s personality and world Brett mentions that other highlights from his fairly short career as a professional photographer Brett says that although he gets include the commission for the a lot of inspiration from music, view.”
Design Indaba magazine in 2009. film, literature and art, “I think
“It was the first shoot I did comit is possible to find inspiration in bining fashion and décor. The idea the most unexpected places.”
RIGHT: Cutting Room. ABOVE: Design Indaba magazine 2009. © Brett Rubin.
TOP LTR: Grolsch Green Light District campaign and shoot for Margot Molyneux. CENTRE LFT: Suzaan Heyns’ Spring/Summer ‘10 Collection and Stiaan Louw’s Next Generation campaign. ABOVE LTR: Collaboration with menswear designer Cameron Foden for an exhibition, Tomorrow’s Society. © Brett Rubin.
When asked what he would Brett concludes: “I think the consider to be his dream project, scale that these photographers’ Brett responds: “I would love to work on is unbelievable. Nothing work on all aspects of photogis out of reach and they are caraphy for someone in film or TV pable of bringing their visions who is doing work that I gener- to life in the most grandest ways ally admire. Considering this, possible.” David Simon, who created The Wire, springs to mind immedi- Maybe Chris Saunders and Brett ately and I would love to photograph Keith Richards as well.” After much contemplation, Chris and Brett (who have never met, nor collaborated) independently compiled lists of the greats in photography whose work they admire. Surprisingly, there were many overlaps and it’s worthwhile to check these out. In music, Chris and Brett selected Steve Gullick, Kevin Westenberg, Anton Corbijn, Perou, Gregory Crewdson, Richard Avedon; and David Bailey’s work in the 60’s, Bill Brandt, Annie Leibowitz, Jim Marshall, Horst, Irvin Penn, Arnold Newman and Rankin for his portraits. In addition, they mentioned commercial photographer Nadav Kander, Stephen Meisel, Craig McDean, Ryan Mc- Ginley, Inez Van Lamsweerde, Vinoosh Matadin and Tim Walker. Rubin should consider a jamming session? <
By Jason Aldridge
Scenes from The Lion of Judah. Images courtesy of Character Matters.
> View the trailer here.
Bravery, or fearlessness, in the face of great adversity needs to be put into the right context for it to be seen as particularly brave. For example, ‘People made a movie’ sounds very run of the mill and unextraordinary. But ‘Making the first 3D animation feature length movie in South Africa, in little time and with a small team, that can stand next to productions of major studios sounds like something entirely different. Character Matters of Westlake in Cape Town have done just that, turning Deryck Broom’s direction into animated beauty and they aren’t the only ones... The fledgling local animation industry had no feature length productions, never mind 3D projects in the works three years ago. Yet, in the next six months three full-length animation features will be released by studios, which are miniscule in comparison to any Hollywood animation powerhouse in terms of crew
and resources. Character Matters will release The Lion of Judah, director Duncan Macneillie is producing Jock of the Bushveld and Triggerfish are in production with Wayne Thornley’s Zambezia. The passion, creativity and determination of these designers, animators and filmmakers exceed any thoughts of the challenges they may face, boldly carrying on South Africa’s boom in home-grown productions, ensuring the country and continent’s impact on the mainstream film industry for years to come.
animals. The film is commissioned by Animated Family Films in the USA and is marketed toward the US Christian market. This family film centres around the group of animals (a pig, a horse, a rat, a rooster, a cow and a donkey) who look for their friend Judah (the lamb), whom they try to save, as he will be sacrificed by the townspeople. The impending doom for the brave little lamb spurs his furry friends onto some hilarious adventures culminating in their search for the ‘King’ who was born in their stable years earlier. The King however, is Jesus, weaving the story into a time in history, and many other occasions setting the characters into humourous situations and historical events. Actors such as Michael Madsen and Ernest Borgnine, as well as Grammy Award winner Sandi Patty, provide the animated voices.
The Lion of Judah will be the first to be released on the international film circuit during the final quarter of 2010, after a year and a half of production – and then some for conversion into 3D. The story is adapted from biblical themes, positioned as an Easter-like story from the eyes of a gang of barnyard
Scenes from Jock of the Bushveld. Images courtesy of Jock Animation (Pty) Ltd.
> View the trailer here.
Even on www.thelionofjudahthemovie.com the back-stories on the characters are extensive and the artwork and animation has high production value, giving the audience or viewer a sense of a rich, well-rounded product. The more thought there is in the details, the better the audience can relate and emotionally invest in an on-screen entity or situation as character is definitely king at Character Matters. The fact that the target audience is Christian Americans, and the movie has a biblical theme, doesn’t pigeonhole the distribution of the film nor would it make any less money. As many will know, the market and success of the Christian sector, as well as the need for more ‘wholesome’ content, is large. Hillsong in Australia and many other churches/organisations in America have huge followings and generate large revenue and interest in their respective countries as,
well as abroad. Such niche markets are still untapped, for example: the Afrikaans-speaking market. The dubbed Heidi from South African TV was a hit in the 90s and there is no reason why there won’t be an animation in the future sporting ‘Die Taal’. This is how the industry can choose it’s battles, still providing quality on par with the international production houses but competing within a certain market – how many other Christian 3D animations will there be showing at the same time?
The Lion of Judah looks to be hitting all the right notes, but all this didn’t come without hard work. According to Character Matters, during the peak production 36 people would be working on the movie at the busiest times. Finding Nemo or Shrek have teams of 300-400, and so the scale of the accomplishment and grand scale of a +-90 minute
Character Matters’ entire studio was committed to the production of The Lion of Judah as the project was large, with a tight deadline. What this means for the newbie animator, is that, showing a good work ethic and not being shy to do many freebies and internships during your early years in the industry will pay off and people will notice. That’s why people will notice The Lion of Judah. The aniThe nature of the film industry in general is char- mation studio’s in South Africa will be essentially acterised by people who have a hunger to work ‘punching above their weight’ and with the audac(usually long and hard), a passion and love for per- ity of 36 vs 400, we will be able to compete with fection, as well as a certain investment ownership the internationals. of the responsibility for the final outcome of the job/production – which means the bottom line as- The news gets better: Character Matters also has sistant illustrator would want the project to do a TV series called Zoovolution for the international market as well as pending negotiations for a The well, just as much as the director wants it to. Lion of Judah sequel. Away from Character Matters, the director of the 3D animated feature Jock of the
production is seen in perspective. The making of the film required many roles, such as concept artists, illustrators, 3D modellers, 3D texturing, lighting, visual effects people, compositors and rendering artists. The animating was done using the program PMG Messiah and textured and rendered using the Lightwave 3D program.
Scenes from Zambezia. Images courtesy of Triggerfish.
> View the trailer here.
Just as the characters overcome obstacles when the odds are stacked against them, the animation industry also soldiers on and achieves. And you cannot help but draw parallels with the industry Triggerfish Animation also has Zambezia coming and the very stories they tell, when ‘small lambs’, in 2011, the story of a falcon, Khaya, who once such as these animation studios, fight with the breaking the shackles of living under his over-pro- hearts of lions. < tective father, discovers a life full of excitement and opportunity in the intricate and grand bird-city
Bushveld, Duncan Macneillie, has grown his team to around 25 and should wrap production in December. The film follows Jock, our fearless runt of the litter, who with his master Fitz, the prospector, encounters adventures, builds ‘crazy’ friendships and defies death. The story is set in the 1880s Gold Rush South Africa with an array of African animals (e.g. baboons and monkeys to name a few) not to mention the sprawling veld and James the powerful Zulu warrior. The animation quality of what has been released is also looking great and the film will definitely do justice to the animal classic.
of Zambezia. The story is one of self-discovery and how Khaya learns to fight for his community instead of being so self-orientated. The city itself is built in a huge baobab tree, with one open side revealing a cross section of the levels and stages teaming with birds everywhere – this setting is a visual assault in itself. Lets hope we don’t have to wait too long for this one!
TRULY SUSTAINABLE ELECTRIC-POWERED
What do a project manager of the With the support of government SALT telescope, an automotive and a grant from the Innovation designer born in Calvinia, CO2 Fund, a function of the Departemissions and a spunky electric ment of Science and Technology, Optimal Energy started a feasicar have in common? Well they’re bility study on possible mobility all part of the magic of the South solutions, including hybrid vehiAfrican-born electric car called cles and hydrogen-powered soJoule. lutions. The company found that electric vehicles were the most Cars are the biggest single contrib- efficient solution that could be utors to greenhouse gasses and produced on a mass scale in the specifically CO2 emissions in urban near future. areas, not to mention noise pollution and other waste due to the This was the birth of Joule, the Automotive designer Keith Helfet. inherent inefficiencies of internal first zero-emission electric vehicle combustion engine vehicles. for South Africa with a minimal graduating from the prestigious environmental footprint. Present- Royal College of Art in the UK when Now enter the first players in the ing a radical reduction in noise he began working with Jaguar. Joule story: Kobus Meiring found- pollution, Joule is approximately ed Optimal Energy in 2005, to- five times more energy efficient It was during this time that he gether with Mike Lomberg, Jian than petrol or diesel vehicles. The learnt the trade from his mentor, Swiegers and Gerhard Swart. vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries can Sir William Lyons. The originality Kobus, who was instrumental in be recharged from any electricity and beauty of his style dovetailed the success of the Rooivalk heli- source, and when obtained from perfectly with the iconic vision of copter project which entered clean sources such as hydro or Jaguar. In his 25-year career at service in the late 90s and regard- solar, this multi-source energy Jaguar, Keith designed a number ed as one of the world’s bench- carrier can lead to a 100% reduc- of high performance sports cars marks in its class, was also project tion in pollution. including the XK8, the XK180 and manager of the Southern African the XJ220, as well as the F-Type Large Telescope project (SALT) concept cars. Keith has worked since 2000. He had recently com- Enter Keith Helfet… with Optimal Energy as their depleted his work on the internasign director since 2005. tionally applauded SALT project Keith Helfet is one of the few and had always been interested South African designers to have Through a chance meeting with in sustainable solutions to the gained an international reputa- Kobus Meiring, Keith became indraining of earth’s natural re- tion in both automotive and prod- volved in the Joule project and sources. Kobus believed that uct design. Born in the small town first started conducting volume South Africa could play an instru- of Calvinia, Keith’s passion for studies to determine the outlines mental role in being part of the cars was evident from a young age. of the proportions of the MPV the solution. His dream became a reality after Optimal team planned to develop.
Joule went through various itera- With this important milestone, shape, which required the expertions until a refined concept stage Helfet shifted his focus to the tise of Keith Bright. Under Helfet’s guidance, Bright shaped the intewas reached. design of Joule’s interior. rior in a similar process to that of the exterior, to be installed into the Keith’s immense experience in the Paris show car existing body shell. With an exteautomotive design industry came rior and interior design in place, to the fore when shaping the As an MPV, the interior design the prototype was ready for its serviceable vision of the foundrequirement stated that Joule debut at the 2008 Paris motor ers into an elegant form. Keith had to accommodate six passenshow. was instrumental in creating the gers. This required a three-seat understanding that Joule had to configuration in the front, offerIn a world of compact and oddly portray aesthetic appeal and avoid ing space and functionality, and shaped concepts of electric vehithe Tonka-toy impression created made possible due to the unique cles, Joule offered a refreshing by some earlier electric vehicle advantages offered by electric and attractive alternative to an concepts. At this stage all the devehicles such as fewer compointernal combustion-engined signs existed only in the form of nents required and no need for a competitor, and it did not go unelectronic data and the next step gearbox and transmission. But noticed. The international media was to turn the concepts into a this design also posed some launch immediately put Optimal physical mock-up. unique design challenges such Energy on the map and Joule was as the elimination of the centre applauded for its stylish design In order to make this possible, console to create space in the Keith Bright of Brightglass was foot-well for all front occupants, and unique flowing lines that commissioned to shape the ‘plug’ thus limiting the space available give it such broad appeal. from an egg-crate design created for the packaging of wiring and by Helfet. An egg-crate structure components. When six became five formed the base of the ‘plug’, and comprised of sections and cross Helfet managed to use the avail- While the six-seater configuration sections made of wood, filled with able space in the best possible garnered plenty of praise, Optimal foam and shaped to create a basic way by creating an interior theme Energy research indicated that a representation of the electronic that featured a floating instru- 6-seater configuration might limit model. To ensure an accurate ment panel and optimised seat- the marketability of Joule by posiportrayal of the Helfet’s design, ing position for all passengers tioning it in a niche segment of the Bright meticulously shaped the through which the interior space market. A decision was taken to foam model by hand and coated of Joule could be highlighted. The introduce a five-seater configurait with layers of fibreglass to cre- interior theme echoed some of tion, better suited to the needs of ate a usable surface from which the flowing exterior feature lines, the target market, and this creata mould could be created. visible in areas such as the dash- ed an opportunity for the growing
board profile and the door-panel design team to renew the interior A body-shell was pulled from the trim lines. of Joule. moulds to create the first physical representation of the exterior, Once again, the design needed With a revised interior design and Joule started to come to life. to be converted into a physical brief in hand, Helfet and his team
Shaping of the prototype.
Keith Bright shaping the prototype.
Initial interior concept (top left). Other revisions of the interior concept (top right and below).
Keith Helfet’s design of the interior.
took to the drawing board and started to pen the next phase of interior concept revisions, which would ultimately lead to the unique and stylish interior that Joule boasts today.
3D scanning in progress.
The Zagato factor
To effectively market Joule on a global scale, a fleet of pre-production prototypes would be required and these vehicles would have to be produced using low-volume production techniques while still retaining the appearance of a full production vehicle. Producing vehicles in low volume requires the use of moulds, and to create these, Class-A surface data is required. This data represents the smooth surfaces of the vehicle, and to obtain these, Joule needed to be scanned using specialised equipment. The expert services of Zagato, the famous Italian styling house, were enlisted to assist with this process. Zagato converted the scan data into Class-A surfacing, and together with the Optimal design team, made further exterior improvements. Helfet worked closely with Zagato, a company who have designed and built iconic coaches for the likes of Bentley, Ferrari and Aston Martin. The collaboration delivered a remarkable design which demonstrated the most important distinction of
Renderings by Zagato.
Joule over competitors: the fact had an electric vehicle concept on display, but even amidst this stiff that Joule was born electric. competition, Joule was described Most electric vehicles developed by by many as being the best-looking competitors are based on existing EV. The feedback received in Geneva internal combustion engine vehicle is a testament to the fact that South platforms, and thus have to make Africans can compete with the best sacrifices in design to accommo- in the world in automotive design date requirements which are redun- and manufacturing. dant in electric vehicles. Joule was designed as an electric vehicle from Optimal Energy has come up with the start, and the design that Za- a shape that is a breakthrough in gato and Helfet delivered echoed design and practicality yet has a this. Joule offers significant interior drag coefficient that puts it at the space for a semi-compact vehicle, forefront of aerodynamic efficiency. and boasts the biggest amount of Joule also boasts a list of features boot space in its class. that make it exceptionally userfriendly, including clever packaging, an infotainment system, connectivity Geneva Show car and navigation. All of these design features make Joule the most pracThe Geneva International Motor tical and intelligent car that an urban Show is widely regarded as the motorist can own. best motor show in Europe. This judgement is not about size, FrankBased on the final design, massfurt is the largest show, but about production of Joule will start in raw prestige: manufacturers love 2013. It will be built in South Africa to show off their best new models and will be sold both domestically in Geneva. and in the UK and Europe. <
The show-car design delivered by Helfet and Zagato, and hand-built by The Geneva Show car and its interior. Hi-tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth, was first shown to the world at the 80th anniversary of the show, held > View a video of Joule here. in March this year. The show attracted over 690 000 visitors and more than 11 000 media and placed a lot of emphasis on alternative automotive technologies. Most manufacturers
DESIGN FOR THE PEOPLE
By Marieke Adams & Sarah Stewart
Economic recession, global warming, the explosion of social media cultures, civil unrest, emerging third world powers and terrorism are just a few of the ever changing aspects and issues that confront us on a daily basis.
We are living in an age where need seems to be burgeoning. And yet, it is the wants of a consumer society that command the attention of the designer. Designers, by definition, are creative problem solvers. Yet, aren’t there some problems that are far more urgent to solve than others? Some designers are acutely aware of this, managing to balance both the needs and the wants while equally addressing many of the issues at hand in a creative, socially relevant way. Alejandro Aravena and Marcelo Rosenbaum are two designers who have established themselves as problem solvers. A great deal of their time is spent using architecture and design to improve lives, empower people and alleviate social problems. With their vastly different approaches, philosophies and design methodologies, they yield highly contrasting solutions, yet both address very relevant challenges. Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena is pragmatic when it comes to creativity. He sees creativity as a means of solving problems – creativity that is bred and nurtured in the context of a lack of knowledge and understanding. For him, creativity itself is not a goal, but rather a consequence.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992, he won a commission to design the Mathematics Faculty building at this university. The success of this building, among others, resulted in further work on a number of university-related projects. In 1994, Aravena established Alejandro Aravena Architects, of which he is the principal. In a professional career spanning more than 15 years, Aravena has engaged in an array of high-profile projects, both within his native Chile, as well as internationally. His work has included a global range of private, public, educational and institutional projects. Despite these high-profile projects and increasing international acclaim, Aravena also makes an extensive contribution in the area of low-income housing. In 2001 he founded Elemental S.A., along with architect Pablo Allard and engineer Andrés Iacobelli. Elemental, which is affiliated to the Universidad Católica de Chile and the Chilean oil company, COPEC, deals with pioneering architecture, infrastructure and transportation that are socially and developmentally oriented. While Aravena’s work straddles two contrasting design markets it is interesting to see that he makes no distinction in his approach to low-income social design and to upmarket commercial design. Instead, he opts for no compromise when it comes to design, irrespective of the nature or financial significance of the project. It is the low-cost end of the design spectrum with all of its constraints and restrictions that often proves more challenging. This is precisely where truly good design needs to be effectively implemented.
The general attitude often seems to be that lowcost social housing with its limited budget simply has to mean downgrading of standards, size and quality. Yet Aravena’s approach is just the opposite. For him there should be no compromise on the level of design excellence, irrespective of the limited finances available. He would rather design and build what he can with the money at hand, even if this means building half of a good house when presented with limited financial resources. This attitude is exemplified in Quinta Monroy in the northern Chilean coastal town of Iquique. This housing project, completed in 2004, epitomises this pragmatic, problem-solving approach that both he and Elemental have adopted. In this instance, the Chilean government requested their creative problemsolving in housing 100 families on the same 5 000m2 plot of land that they had illegally inhabited for 30 years. Working with the current US$7 500 housing policy subsidy per family unit, which was expected to cover all elements such as land, infrastructure and architecture, the challenge was to find a way of aligning their design ideology with the contextual reality. This posed a whole array of restrictions and constraints. In fact, simply taking into consideration the site price and local building industry prices, the housing subsidy would not amount to much. How is it possible to maintain design standards in such a context? Normally one would expect houses gradually to gain in value. Yet, in the case of lowcost social housing, the finances deployed are simply regarded as a social expense. Part of Aravena’s
contribution has been to change this perception Their solution was the design and implementation so that effectively designed low-income housing of half a good middle-income house. Duplexes were would increase in value and hence be viewed as designed that would offer enough density to cover an investment and not just an expense. the site expense, while simultaneously avoiding overcrowding. These two-floor dwellings would be In this particular project in Iquique efficient land able to provide room for expansion within the supuse was also of fundamental importance. Both the porting, yet not constraining structural frameworks. number of families and the land available were a In this way each family would have a fully functional constant. Yet, it was a far more complex equation dwelling with basic services already installed, but than simply dividing available land by the number with a frame that would easily allow for expansion. of family units. For Aravena and Elemental factors Elemental focused on providing that half of the such as decent living conditions, the possibility for house that required special expertise, while leaving expansion and ensuring sufficient natural light the more easily constructed second half to be and space were also significant variables which filled in by each family. This idea of a neutral frame needed to be factored into the equation. would also allow for customisation that could add
The Quinta Monroy low-cost housing project epitomises the pragmatic approach that Alejandro Aravena and Elemental have adopted in the northern Chilean town of Iquique.
personality and individuality to each home, and Today Quinta Monroy remains a thriving residential thus, a sense of ownership that is often lacking in community, owing much to the well-thought through generic and bland low-cost housing. design approach of Aravena and Elemental. One can often overlook seemingly insignificant elements Allowing residents to make choices as to exactly in the design process. And yet, when Aravena spells what they wanted within their homes was another out each part of this process in his pragmatic, realway of involving residents in the Quinta Monroy istic and sensible approach, it all seems so obvious. project. Such choices were obviously constrained Design has a real part to play in addressing social by the available funds. But, for example, residents needs and inequalities around the world. And it is were integrally involved in making decisions about encouraging that people like Aravena are actively fixtures such as water heaters and bathtubs, instead of the architects dictating what they presumed the families would want. This cultivated a far Marcelo Rosenbaum is a Brazilian interior designer greater sense of ownership and inclusion among who gives equal attention and priority to designresidents. ing both high-end and low-end design projects. engaging in this task by employing their creativity.
Rosenbaum set up a design office in São Paulo in 99.5% of the Brazilian population and documents 1992 and has since then been affirming the identity how Rosenbaum and his multidisciplinary team of the Brazilian people through his use and inclusion improve lives by restoring homes in the Brazilian of local cultural heritage, traditional techniques favelas. Home owners contact the television proand the employment of craftsmen and artisans to gramme and explain who they are and what their aid him in his design projects. needs are. Once a home owner is selected, this information forms the brief for Rosenbaum and his Rosenbaum was hired to design the VIP bar at Rio team. The physical renovation process takes 12 Carnival. His visual interpretation of Brazilian culture days to complete. – complete with doily carpets, colourful embroideries and local artisans’ work – was a surprise to the client It is the behaviour of people that define their spaces. but a delight to all visiting dignitaries who felt that Rosenbaum addresses the owner’s needs by conthe design embodied a spirit and flavour of Brazil. sidering the individual’s family, their relationships, He has since consecutively won the annual commission year after year. roots, memories, habits and needs. These factors inform the design and decorative trends. Rosenbaum sees the home as a mirror reflecting our perRosenbaum shot to fame with his home makeover sonalities and not vice versa. It is the team’s aim television programme Home Sweet Home. The show to create solutions that improve living conditions, is flighted on the Rede Globo station and reaches minimise day-to-day costs, save resources, reduce
One of the renovation projects by Marcelo Rosenbaum which formed part of the Home Sweet Home television series. Before (left) and after (below).
monthly expenses and in some cases, even provide manicurist’s home and added a home salon to her a source of income. house. Another example is a home that was renovated for a single father raising two children. The The favelas are informal settlements or areas where father would have to leave his young children the majority of the residents are low-income earners. alone at home when he was at work, so the team A large part of what Rosenbaum and his team do is built a cinema and small shop on the ground floor not to reject the home of a resident but affirm the to provide the father with a source of income to resident’s identity by working within tight financial enable him to be at home with his children. constraints and using existing objects of the resident in conjunction with structural reinforcement Rosenbaum discusses how one can learn to be releand interior interventions to create something vant in one’s community. The strength of Brazilian beautiful. culture lies in its ability to blend diverse cultures. This cacophony of cultural elements has created a Rosenbaum’s philosophy is centred on the belief need to improvise and deliberately create simplicity. that good design can be a transformative tool for It is important to play to your strengths. Look at the building self-esteem and encouraging education. predominant characteristics of an individual, a culTwo excellent examples of how Rosenbaum lives out tural group or nation and consider how these can be this philosophy would be two recent Home Sweet used to best advantage. Many developing countries
Home projects. The team renovated a hairdresser/
share common values. It is the outstanding ability
Public Transport Shared Services Centre by Makeka Design Lab (right). Re-imagining Cape Town station designed as a joint venture with Makeka Design Lab, Comrie Wilkinson, DHK and Jakupa (centre). The Ordos 100 project, by Makeka Designs Lab, is a ground-breaking experiment in urban development and the arts situated in Mongolia (far right).
of poor people to develop skills needed in order to are used by Rosenbaum to bless and give back to survive in crisis. There is a great deal of talent and underprivileged communities. He highlights the imgenius that can be explored amongst people who portance of giving back and supporting communities. have been in critical situations. Just like Chile and Brazil, South Africa has many Rosenbaum also highlights an emerging global socially relevant issues and needs that cry out to trend of empowerment that is seen in public platforms that allow individuals to be the masters of their own content. Examples of social platforms Mokena Makeka is a South African architect who would be YouTube, MySpace, blogs, Etsy, eBay, provides a different approach to addressing these Craigslist, Flickr, LinkedIn, Bebo and Orkut. This needs – by advocating the benefits and necessity empowerment trend is an important social tool of public space design. He actively seeks to leave that can provide platforms for collaboration, this world in a better state than he found it, servawareness and ultimately, change. Brazil is a country with a significant gap between the haves and have-nots. Interior design skills that Makeka stresses that democratic practice and public are usually only associated with a high-end market space depend on and reinforce each other. Throughout ing his community and country by devoting 90% of his time to the design of public spaces. be addressed and resolved.
The Caruaru Collection of furniture by Marcelo Rosenbaum.
history every regime that has violated human within South Africa where the majority of the poprights has used architectural elements and deliberate ulation live in informal settlements with open toilets town planning to intentionally segregate and strip and un-insulated shelters, Makeka’s call for a radical away human identity. Makeka sites diabolical design improvement of basic standards for human living decisions made during the apartheid regime to deliberately segregate and divide communities and people. Over and above violating human rights, this underIn every country there are communities that need mined public space as people retreated into gated help and social issues that must be addressed, communities and withdrew from contributing to both on macro and micro levels. Designers can use society. While apartheid is gone, the consequences creativity to actively solve problems. Be aware of of those design decisions remain. situations and individuals around you. You have the potential to be relevant. While there are many Current and future design decisions will physically problems and issues that need to be addressed, realise South Africa’s framework of democracy. there are just as many solutions. The trick is to recogMakeka is investing his skills into more humanised nise how you can use your gift to bless others. < South African communities. At the core of his design philosophy lays the opinion that it is a human right to live in a designed environment. Living and working need to be heard and met.
By Maran Coates
RAW STUDIO MAKES
Raw Studio collaborates with different artists and designers on the prints for their projects.
Like his work, Raw Studio’s Peet van Straaten has evolved, each step bringing with it an essential integrity that has culminated in his current studio, which he established in Tshwane in 2005. A large part of Peet’s thinking at Raw Studio is taken up by developing flexible, adaptable systems of furniture that are driven by innovation, but also by necessity. The modular systems are designed to be easy to install, customisable and expandable with machining and simple assembly in mind. Coming from a family of cabinetmakers, Peet has this timeless craft etched into his DNA. “My grandfather was a fine cabinetmaker and did
amazing work in churches all over the country. My father and brother were interested in woodwork and we had quite a bit of woodworking machinery in our workshop at home,” he said. His integrity and love of wood has translated into working with eco plywood in a way that venerates all the positive aspects of this product. Previous adventures have informed Peet’s current thinking and approach which include cutting-edge technology, functional design and environmental consciousness. Peet’s clear determination to design and create products that focus on consuming less energy – not only in production but also during their lifespan – is achieved by using sustainable materials and manufacturing as efficiently as possible. His diploma in architecture, focussing on advanced environmental and energy studies, which he did in Wales, has helped him to make this an achievable goal. Peet’s design approach has undergone several shifts over the last 13 years. His apprenticeship with cabinetmaker Nic Godaurd of Swiss Joinery, gave the then wow-factor junkie the opportunity to play, creating various pretty weird art furniture pieces that pushed the boundaries of design and joinery. Living and working in Rotterdam ushered in a new perspective, characterised by simplicity, elegance, functionality and thriftiness – all elements if good Dutch design. Business sense required that Peet begin to design with users, modular expandability and production in mind. His attitude for making joinery work for him and not the other way round has resulted in developing glue-less jointing systems. The wonders of CNC machine processes
ushered in the use of flat board eco plywood, designed for TriBeCa Coffee Company. It which he has employed successfully ever works seamlessly with this company’s brand and is expandable and user-friendly. The office since. system will become a product that can be sold A quick look at the endangered species list to more users without having to reinvent it would convince most people that it’s just all over again. not okay to use exotic solid woods any more. In South Africa the market still uses mostly The notion of modular design, which on the solid wood that cannot be traced back to a one hand is about units working together sustainable source, so Peet steers clear of but on the other hand offer individuals the these. To overcome this, Raw Studio imports opportunity to make up their own, culminates
Koskisen birch plywood (98% real wood) with Raw Studio’s widely featured Ikonik directly from the mill in Finland, which is modular locker system. Even though steel certified for sustainable forest management. The eco plywood is ideal because of its excellent quality and wide variety. Suited to a clean, simple and modular design ethos, plywood’s cost-effectiveness allows Raw Studio’s small outfit to produce numerous prototypes, which Peet and his team of five manufacture for testing and aesthetic evaluation. Unfortunately the quality of local plywood leaves much to be desired, says Peet. Raw Studio’s projects include office systems, shopfittings, point-of-sale units, branded products, mass seating and acoustic panelling for universities and private clients. lockers are “sort of the epitome of industrial design”, Peet has always found them both “beautiful and intriguing”. “A locker is a little bit of personal space on a grid of other peoples’ personal spaces.” The beauty lies in how people interact with their personal space in relation to a social context through customisation. Raw Studio’s idea was to use the locker design as we know it and build it completely from plywood and present it as an empty canvas to graphic designers and artists. Peet has had the opportunity to brainstorm and bounce off ideas of various artists, designers and architects. He views collaboration as a “very valuable process – from time to The studio’s retailed modular ranges require time it’s not a good idea to be left to your extensive research and are designed to inter- own devices”. act easily with customers, to enrich their environments and make their life easier, even For Raw Studio the potential of collaborathough Peet may never meet the customer tion has been really successful in teaming face-to-face. up with freelance illustrator and surface designer Ymke Hemminga who illustrated one of One modular system that has been really their Ikonik lockers. A year ago she started successful is the office system originally her company Scratch the Surface, illustrating
Peet van Straaten in his studio.
Enthusiastic hair (left) and Wings (centre), illustrated by Ymke Hemminga. Ymke created the illustration for one of Raw Studio’s Ikonik lockers.
Ikonik, a completely plywood version of the steel locker, is modular and can be stacked, hung and customised with prints and colour.
Soul table (right). Tressel (far right) is a modular interpretation of the traditional a-frame trestle. Klik (below) affords users the opportunity to fit offices or homes in a unique yet modular way which the user can modify as requirements change.
Haarlem (far left) is a room-divider that is designed for use between a kitchen and dinning room. Sim 3 (centre) is a bathroom cabinet, part laminated, part joined from beech plywood. Open spaces between cabinets are used to store rolled up towels. Slim Shady (left) is a room divider/vanity panel designed to be used as a dressing area in the closed position or a filtered sunlight screen in open position.
surfaces mostly on paper, crockery, furniture Peet’s creative adventure has had many and fabric. Her style worked well with the faces and lived in many places. There are some aesthetics of the personalised wooden lockers. things that he thinks are vitally important to She is definitely someone to watch – super remember when starting your own business: talented,” says Peet of their partnership. “Get your hands dirty; theory and formal She has been exhibiting with Raw Studio on education is just a start, making it work is a a regular basis. matter of trial and error; don’t be afraid to make mistakes; in the beginning you have to satisfy “I draw, I write, I parent, I teach, in no specific clients, but make sure you relay something order,” says Ymke Hemminga. Born in what of yourself in the design and stick to your she calls a “little slow-motion village of guns; try to be innovative in all your work, Benoni-esque boredom” in the Netherlands innovation is what spurs progress; work in she spent years thinking and travelling and collaboration with others, don’t isolate then landed up in South Africa. She has both yourself, but don’t prostitute your ideas (if fine art and creative writing/playwright they are good).” qualifications and has worked as a freelance illustrator and writer. Inspired by all the “abPeet’s intuitive ability to live out his passion surd and beautiful aspects of being human”, for good design – which he says is more a Ymke reflects the humour she sees in mundane feeling of things being in their rightful place, daily acts, like doing dishes and groceries. the right solutions for the specific problem “It’s all we’ve got to rise above ourselves, to and beauty – has created a perfect perspecconnect and evolve”. Her hope is that her tive in which Raw Studio can thrive and illustrations create a moment, evoke a grin prosper. < or a giggle amidst our “mind-numbing” daily domesticity.
By Liani van der Westhuizen
assist them to turn their knowledge, intellect and visual skills into virtues outside the traditional context of the profession.
With creativity being at the core of architectural thinking, interdisciplinary practice, collaboration, technological advancement Architecture is a rapidly changing and sustainable development affirm the profession. ED> explores the blurring advantages generated from a greater disof the boundaries of architecture as a tribution of professionals working in ‘alternative’ architectural jobs.
discipline and showcases three individ-
knowledge and experience outside the KARIN HARCUS-HARRISON traditional context of architectural practice.
In the first ever book entirely devoted to Most of us will have difficulty in identifying the relationship between mortar and thread, but for Karin Harcus-Harrison the similarity between constructing buildings and making garments is obvious. After completing her MProf in Architecture at the University of Pretoria in 2005, she embarked on a bachelor’s degree in fashion design at the London International School of Fashion (LISOF) in Johannesburg.
uals who have redeployed their skills,
architecture, the Roman architect and writer Vitruvius stated that Roman architects practised a wide variety of disciplines, which, in modern terms, could be described as engineers, architects, landscape architects, artists and craftsmen. Vitruvius called for architects to be ‘skilful in many arts, equipped with knowledge of many branches Karin considers her career in fashion as a natural progression of her architectural career. of study and varied kinds of learning’. She sees the design processes involved in Described as a social art and also an artful fashion and architecture “in constant converscience, architects design, invent, explore, sation with each other” and inevitably draws write, sketch, teach, speculate, theorise, film, inspiration from both mediums. map, critique, analyse and imagine; all in an attempt to positively shape the environment in which we live. Architectural training and experience in the profession provide designers not only with the specialist expertise to flourish in the construction industry, but also with a wealth of generalist skills to
Karin considers the theoretical basis of her architectural studies to be an invaluable resource in the conception of her garments. Influenced in particular by the theory of Deconstructivism, she questions the traditional method of patternmaking and disregards
Karin HarcusHarrison’s final range at the LISOF Degree Fashion Show in 2009. Photo: Ivan Naude/ LISOF.
Karin HarcusHarrison’s fashion sketches in preparation of her final range at LISOF in 2009.
One of Karin HarcusHarrison’s garments at the 2008 Sanlam SA Fashion Week. Photo: Ivan Naude.
Karin HarcusHarrison modelling one of her own creations for a fashion shoot in 2009.
Melissa Kinnear during a discussion with a focus group meeting in the community in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil as part of the ASF-UK Building Communities workshop in March 2009. Photo: Christina Eddings.
Participants on a design and build workshop at Oxford Brookes University as part of the ASF-UK/OxArch workshop in March 2009 (centre left). An international team of participants during the ASF-UK Vulnerability and Risk workshop in June 2008. The team designed, procured and constructed a transitional structure in an earthquake prone area in India (centre right). Photos: Melissa Kinnear.
Participants discussing housing typologies with local children in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil as part of the ASF-UK Building Communities workshop in March 2009. Photo: Liani van der Westhuizen.
the Modernist approach of ‘form follows function’ and substitutes it with ‘form follows fantasy’. Structural garment elements, such as seam allowances and linings which are usually concealed, are promoted to become exposed as functional elements including pockets, lapels and cuffs. The garment’s construction, therefore, provides the embellishment and graphic quality, reducing the need for applied decoration. Although well-versed in both disciplines, Karin unavoidably thinks of herself as an architect because she regards architect as a more inclusive term than fashion designer. Nevertheless, her multidisciplinary approach to design allows her to deem that all designers are part of a “collective understanding” where their design education enables them to participate and contribute to each other’s professions. Although the boundaries between fashion and the built environment have blurred for Karin, she ultimately relies on the energy she invests within the design process to deliver an innovative product, irrespective of its being constructed with concrete or with fabric.
experience in a variety of architectural offices, but soon became frustrated with the lack of engagement of the profession in larger developmental issues such as increased urbanisation, unplanned cities and post- disaster reconstruction. With a sincere interest in participation, sustainability and ethics, Melissa swapped the interior of an architect’s office for an opportunity to be more relevant to the world’s poor. As design tutor at Oxford Brookes University in the Development and Emergency Practice design studio for undergraduates and general manager for Architecture Sans Frontières-UK, she is making waves in the world of international development. Through a programme of workshops and talks, this UK-based charity is committed to providing architectural students and professionals with opportunities to equip themselves with the necessary skills to contribute more effectively in the international development sector. Melissa stresses the need for professionals to acknowledge their responsibility towards the impoverished 95% of the population and urges architects to become more involved in improving the living conditions of the urban poor. She believes that architects’ ability to have an overview of a project – from detail through to the macro-scale coordination – is really useful when working in the development sector, as they “are able to engage with communities at grassroots level as well as negotiate with parliamentarians at the macro scale”. Working in the development sector offers participants the opportunity to fully engage with the communities in which they work
When faced with making a career choice after school, a combination of apathy to investigate possible career options and having two architects as parents, a degree in architecture was the most obvious choice for Melissa Kinnear. After completing her BArch studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1999, she gained valuable practical
and to place them at the centre of decisions Energy is harvested from the wind and sun, that affect their lives. Architecture Sans Fron- a nearby river is the source of running water and irrigation and his bakkie, tractor, and tières-UK does just that. water pump and even the generator rely on With an increased interest by fellow built used sunflower oil to operate. environment professionals and students, and the successful delivery of workshops in Brazil, India, Japan, UK and South Africa, Melissa is an example of how architects’ creativity and design skills could be harvested to improve life-standards and address social and environmental injustices. With a new set of values and a sense of purpose she is well on her way to empower others Jaco considers architecture as a series of careful considerations between a self-sustainable use of energy, the efficient functioning of the natural systems of energy supply and the implications of low-impact technology on the environment where he employs lowtech solutions rather than high-tech ones to ease maintenance and repair work, which he does himself. “Communication to become equally relevant. methods are inescapably tangled in everyFor more on Melissa’s work at Architecture day technology,” he jokingly admits. “But once the farm is fully operational, I would Sans Frontières-UK, visit www.asf-uk.org. like to wean myself and rather use Skype and Linux than Telkom and Windows.”
When driving through the Overberg in the Western Cape, you might pass a farm where you’ll come across architect Jaco Booyens’s project for self-sufficiency. In this ambitious project, which he modestly calls “work in progress”, Jaco investigates the meaningful connections between architecture, ecological systems and technology in an attempt to offer a solution to a more sustainable future. The remaining element in this balancing act to become self-sufficient is food production. Jaco’s current livestock count includes a few sheep, goats (for milk), poultry and tilapia fish. The vegetable garden and fruit orchard supply fresh produce for consumption and enough organic waste to sustain the methane gas digester and compost system.
With future plans that include cultivating The first two components of his three-fold oil-rich plants for bio-fuel, implementing investigation relates to the built environment permaculture principles and even convertand technology where the rammed earth ing his paraffin refrigerator to run on plant buildings on the farm are constructed with oil, Jaco effectively employs his insights of clay and stone extracted within a one kilo- architecture as a synergy between place, metre radius from site, thus substantially building and habitation to fulfil his vision reducing transportation and material cost. for a self-sustainable existence. <
Self constructed clay and stone building with Jaco Booyens’s tractor that runs on vegetable oil.
Jaco Booyens at work, during the final stages of roof construction for his clay and stone farm dwelling.
All the energy used on the farm is harvested from natural sources – the bakkie runs on vegetable oil, and water is pumped from a nearby river. Images: Jaco Booyens.
Delft Childcare Centres, Delft South, Cape Town, 2004. A set of spaces mediate between the street and the more private spaces of the Centres. Lined with seats and partially roofed, they form part of the public spaces of the community. Anyone from the neighbourhood can utilise these spaces, although they belong to the Centre.
& THE CASE OF THE EVERYDAY
By Anastasia Miranda Messaris
Noero Wolff Architects is an enigma. Like all true anomalies, the firm refuses to be stereotyped into a neatly labelled box (starchitect, image-maker, style-breaker), preferring instead to remain unclassifiable while negotiating the path seldom explored. To use the firm simply as an example of ethical and everyday architecture (although these terms are hardly simple) seems a limitation of what they stand for as a whole. What becomes obvious after meeting partners Jo Noero and Heinrich Wolff is that all they really want to do is to create dignified, beautiful, positive spaces for people. It was exploring and lamenting the terms ‘ethical’ and ‘everyday’ within the practice of local architecture – so thoughtfully discussed and built upon within our architecture school (and seemingly so easily disregarded within the profession) – that drove me to the doors of Noero Wolff Architects. To me, they are one example, within a small group of firms, who aims to make these concepts a built reality; concepts I believe form the basis of a sustainable and necessary architecture and, consequently, society. What exactly is meant by the term ‘ethical’ and why, when moving from theory to practice, is it so difficult to exercise? Is ethical architecture ‘green’ architecture? Is it architecture of public participation? Presumably the term raises more questions than it illuminates, however, one can deduce from the concepts’ many built manifestations that it is often an introspective architecture where, when asked, the designer can respond: “I reflected upon that”. It is a way of designing where the architects’ considerable knowledge of theory and practice is used in a responsible,
considered way. Generally speaking, ethical architecture is formed from the designer’s genuine concerns with and responses to environmental responsibility, contextual significance, cultural and social intimations and his own personal values. In this way, ethical architecture is profoundly influenced by the everyday, by the meandering human condition of what surrounds it. Why then is it so difficult for most practicing architects to incorporate this key value? As Jo Noero states in his article ‘The Expedient and the Ethical, The Everyday and the Extraordinary’: “How often has one heard the lament of the architect about the uncaring, unforgiving client who forced him or her into making decisions … This tension [between the ethical and the expedient] has exercised me much of the time and confounded me all of the time because there is no easy way to answer these dilemmas.” (Jo Noero. The Expedient and the Ethical, the Everyday and the Extraordinary, Architecture South Africa. November/December 2007; p.8) Perhaps it is a case of think-time versus output-time, where client and developer necessitate a quick response. Perhaps it is because of a global tendency toward form- and style-based architecture. Perhaps it is simply ignorance or indifference. Regardless, Noero Wolff has so far managed to avoid becoming any of these. Looking at the list of projects that this firm has been charged with creates is the impression that Noero Wolff is a practice based largely on modest, socially generative,
thoughtfully considered projects of a very high quality, integrity and responsibility. And, as manifested in the Red Location Museum of Struggle, while they aim to create buildings that stem from genuine human need and desire, they also endeavour to create a space that is special. Generally observed architectural lessons that this firm can impart are as follows:
P rojects are accepted due to their social relevance and their opportunity to create meaningful and optimistic space. Looking at the broad range of designs that the firm is involved with, such as housing, museums, schools, sports halls, private residences, churches, hospitals and commercial buildings, it becomes apparent that making exciting and pertinent space is not confined to a specific genre, only to one’s way of perceiving it. S imple architectural lessons are more important than ever. Basic first-year principles, such as taking into account building use and climate are far from being ageing architectural generators; they are still initiators of imagination and opportunity. Most importantly, a general cognisance of social and urban context is imperative to the project. As seen in both typologically opposing projects such as the Delft Daycare Centres (Delft South, Western Cape) and Velocity Film Studios (Rivonia, Gauteng), context can lead to form by contributing to the formal street edge, as in the former, and by manipulation of the section, as in the latter. T echnology plays a pivotal role in transforming the sketch design into the built object. Through technology a sincere attempt at creating an ethical building can fail due
Usasazo Secondary School, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, 2000. This secondary school was commissioned by the Provincial Government and consists of 37 classrooms, a library, computer room, hall and an administration section. The brief was expanded by the architects to allow the school to be adapted to new Further Education and Training (FET) legislation which calls for more entrepreneurial training.
Soweto Careers Centre, Soweto, 1990.
Velocity Films Studios, Rivonia, Johannesburg, 1995. The building was designed as ‘a work in progress’ that represents the framework within which all film production companies operate and allows the company the flexibility to reinvent itself both spatially and culturally over time.
to unresolved and misunderstood building materials and their limitations and capabilities and, significantly, the skills within the company who is tasked with the building’s construction. Once again, for technology the importance of context is imperative. Noero Wolff is known for their resourceful and uncomplicated detailing of simple local materials such as sheet metal and steel.
D raw! They both still prefer hand drawing to the computer.
A lways be interested, always be involved and always be assiduous. Both Heinrich Wolff and Jo Noero are still actively involved in the education of young architects at the University of Cape Town and mercilessly pursue knowledge that may contribute to their general understanding of architecture and who it is built for.
The concept of ethical architecture is too vast and multi-faceted to simply describe. Furthermore, attributing all of its nuances to one firm appears to be a single-minded attempt at understanding the practice in question. What one can, however, take from this discussion is that a sincere attempt at understanding ethical practices in architecture –an architecture that is designed for the purpose of improving the lives of those who encounter it – is an admirable first attempt at broaching this subject. Noero Wolff stands as testimony to a belief system instilled in most architects at tertiary level that a practice could design striking and necessary architecture, both inspired by and for the everyday. <
A n optimistic stance toward the future of South Africa and the architectural profession never All images courtesy of Noero Wolff Architects. hurt anyone. And lastly,
The Red Location Museum of Struggle, Red Location, Port Elizabeth, 2006. It is designed to challenge conventional views of museum design. The conventions of representing history as a single story are challenged through the design of the museum spaces as well as its geographic positioning.
t! ou h iss wit m t m k ro n’ or ts f ies Do tw ec ntr Ne chit ou c ar 80
World Architecture Festival
Barcelona 3-5 November 2010
ices a c t re d pr e 000 e ent AF 1 v ha the W ds! ar Aw
Meet hundreds of architects from all over the world
World Architecture Festival offers architects from all over the world the chance to meet, share and learn. Since 2008 we have welcomed architects from over 80 countries, and urge you to take advantage of this three day opportunity to network and gain information and inspiration. Last year’s winners included: World Building of the Year Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, Peter Rich Architects, South Africa Future Project of the Year Spanish Pavilion, Shanghai Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, Spain Interiors and Fit Out of the Year Corian Super-Surfaces Showroom, Italy Amanda Levete Architects, United Kingdom Structural Design of the Year Arena Zagreb, Croatia Upi-2m, Croatia Judges this year include: Arata Isozaki Barry Bergdoll Stefan Benisch Richard Hassell Sophia van Ellrichshausen
Architectural excellence – LIVE!
“WAF is amazing! At a critical time for architecture, this event is essential in promoting new and well established ﬁrms who set the benchmark for innovation around the world.”
Rafael Viñoly, World-renowned architect & 2009 Super-Jury Chair
To book your place, and for information on planning your whole journey visit www.worldarchitecturefestival.com Quote BLUPAF
By Suné Stassen. Visionary. Legendary. Perhaps even a little bit wacky? These are the words that spring to mind when talking to Jody Aufrichtig – the brain behind the Daddy brand – about his latest project, the brand new Old Mac Daddy farm. Daddy Long Legs Art Hotel is the boutique hotel; another one is called the Grand Daddy; the presidential suite is called Sugar Daddy; the bar is Daddy Cool; the cinema on the rooftop in the middle of the penthouse trailer park which is also open to the public is called Ag Please Daddy. Now the latest hotel project, Old Mac Daddy, has been added to the Daddy collection. For the last couple of years the design studio, Room 13, has been taking care of the graphics and brand identity of the Daddy collection. From
Brightly polished Airstream trailers.
the start Jody wanted something funky, fun, functional and energetic, but above all, he wanted people to smile when they interacted with their brands. “It’s all about the feel good feeling,” says Jody. It was a troublesome birth. The Airstream project was born five years ago when Jody was travelling through Zimbabwe. He found a beautiful location, ideal for another boutique hotel. But due to the political risk in Zimbabwe coupled with the inability to get finance, he thought of a different solution. What if your valuable investment actually has the ability to pack up and move to another location at a day’s notice? At 2 AM in the morning the thought of caravans immediately sprang to mind. The idea of a convoy of Land Rovers, each hooking a caravan and trekking to the next location excited him and Jody knew he had stumbled on something
unique. The history of the Voortrekkers, trekking through unknown and rough terrain with their ox wagons made this concept even less far fetched. Adding the mystery and intrigue of nomads and gypsies and remembering the song Caravans that fuelled our imagination for far away places, mysterious and romantic, made Jody think that he had definitely hit the jackpot. Uninspired by modern South African caravans, Jody was looking for something unique when he suddenly remembered the stunning shining silver Airstream trailers of the 50s and 60s that grabbed his attention when he saw the movie What’s eating Gilbert Grape when he was only 13 years old. These shining beauties would be the ultimate musthaves to complete this unique concept. But he didn’t realise that they were sought-after collectors’
items, manufactured and found mostly across the search for a family somewhere in northern Ohio. Atlantic. Jody and his business partner Stefan Botha eventually found ten original Airstream trailers which When Jody bought the former Metropole Hotel in had been in the family of a local fire chief for three Long Street – now the newly transformed Grand decades. Daddy – he was relieved to find that the rooftop was constructed with solid concrete slab, perfect to set up his first trailer park. This unique project, combining seven of Cape Town’s top creative talents, each commissioned to decorate a trailer with a unique theme and bold details, made this first project the phenomenon that it is today. A four-star rooftop trailer park! The first trailer park was not without its challenges but at the end it was Jody’s passion that prevailed. The team faced their first major obstacle when they arrived in the USA and realised that authentic Airstream trailers were not readily waiting at a depot. These collectors’ items are scarce and with only two days to go they were eventually tipped off to Importing second-hand vehicles are taboo in South Africa and getting these beauties to Cape Town became a nightmare in itself. Getting customs to understand that you want to import a few vintage trailers, put it on your hotel’s roof and turn it into accommodation just did not cut it. Negotiations with the head of customs and 16 rejections and an affidavit later eventually resulted in an import permit. Getting the trailers to South Africa was another helluva business since the trailers did not fit into standard shipping containers. Finally in Cape Town it was a huge and costly operation to lift each trailer on to the roof of The Grand Daddy Hotel, “weighing between 1.5 and 3.5 tons per trailer,” Jody explains.
Storyboard and interior views of the Give bees a chance Airstream designed by Tamara Joubert. Storyboard and interior views of the The private life of plants Airstream designed by Pelican & Peony.
After the steep learning curve of this first project, The trailers arrived in March this year and after a the latest addition to the Daddy collection, Old Mac few months of preparation the artists and designers Daddy, seemed to be a breeze. were handed their new canvases and given six weeks to complete their projects. Still, a project of this nature is never without challenges. Careful planning, coordination and detailed project management skills are of the utmost importance for achieving success. It has been curated and project-managed by Jody and Deirdre Aufrichtig, Nick King and décor stylist Tracy Lynch. “Before we could hand the trailers to their creators, a lot of work needed to be done like polishing, adding a protective sealant for the exterior and interior, stabilising the chassis, putting in new flooring and adding extractor fans to suck out hot air. We added heat resistant laminates to all the glass windows; every trailer had to be rewired to 240 KEY LESSONS IN PREPARATION volts to ensure sufficient power supply for the Although these vintage ladies are made of alumin- four-star rated trailers that are kitted out with airium and don’t rust, Jody explains that: “they are cons. Finally, all the surfaces needed to be propover 50 years old so they looked atrocious when erly prepped before the artists and designers they arrived. The surfaces on the outside were could apply any paint or wallpaper.” heavily oxidised so we become experts in polishing them to the shiny madams you see today. It “We learned the hard way,” says Jody, “so all small took us about a month and a half to polish 10 or 11 appliances are stuck down and all surfaces and trailers.” upholstery are stain-proof ”.
Storyboard and interior views of the Life Before Colour Airstream designed by Leasa Mensing.
Part wholesome caravan park, part designer farm lodge, Old Mac Daddy Trailer Hotel is a new chapter in adventure, escapism and pure relaxation. Set on the pine-whispering slopes of a beautiful corner of the Elgin Valley, in Western Cape Province, Old Mac Daddy is a collection of vintage Airstream Trailer Suites, each designed by a different Cape Town-based artist or designer. For some this will be a nostalgic camping holiday filled with fond childhood memories. With most of the trailers situated on the hillside, adding luxurious touches, placed amongst whispering pines and a beautiful lake, Jody can only describe it as a place of magic.
THE PROCESS AND EXTRAS
“A trailer is a difficult space to work in. Everything is rounded, nothing is really square inside which in itself is quiet a challenge,” Jody explains. Décor styling genius Tracy Lynch, who was responsible for the decoration of one of the rooms at Daddy Long Legs, and who decorated one of the first trailers, was the project manager and worked closely with the artists and designers on the Old Mac Daddy project. They received an open brief, but as Jody explains that “there were certain requirements they had to comply with like having an eco-friendly project that will be hardwearing with a fun and funky edge”. The project was put out to tender and they received over 50 proposals. “When we could not decide on the final concepts we invited the public to vote for their favourites.
Storyboard and interior views of the For better or for boerewors Airstream designed by Julie Kenney. Storyboard and interior views of the Mills & Boon Airstream designed by Kirsten Townsend & Jeannie Sherwood.
We had an overwhelming response with just under Detox. It is very soft with gentle washes of sub1 300 people who participated in the voting process.” dued colour palettes like hues of grey.” All trailers are kitted out with mini-bars, cotton linen, and One trailer was sizeable enough to include a bath- central heating for those cold winter’s days and room, complete with a Victorian bath. Interesting most have SMEG fridges to add that extra cool.” to note that this beauty was an original US command centre until the team managed to buy it. Old Mac Daddy is a family destination, priced for the South African market. A kiddie’s area will receive soon receive a creative touch from artist Sacha Oliver. Where possible only organic and free-range products will be on offer and Mac Daddy does have its own vegetable garden.
The rest of the trailers only have a bedroom from where you step out into a wooden cabin with a 62m2 lounge and an en suite bathroom. A big deck in front allows guests to enjoy beautiful views, with two of the units overlooking the lake and a family farmhouse called Daddy’s Villa. Here the This seems to be another success story in the aesthetic continuity of the project was pulled to- making for the Daddy collection – a powerful comgether with design elements by Pedersen+Lennard. bination of business and creativity and bound to set the stage for a magical experience. < “Because the trailers are bold and quite intense in detail we decided to call the style of the lounges Photographs courtesy of Old Mac Daddy.
Storyboard and interior views of the Yellow Submarine Airstream designed by Cecile van Loggerenberg. Storyboard and interior views of the Dirkie Sanches Suite Airstream designed by Joe and Mark Stead.
UNCOVERING THE MYSTERIES OF THE MAGIC MIRROR TENTS
Imagine the movie Moulin Rouge come to life. And what you get is The Spiegeltents. Seen as the domain of heart breakers and dream chasers and a symbol of the fin-de-siecle nightlife, these mirror tents were used throughout Europe as travelling dance halls and entertainment venues. Originally from Belgium and built in the late 19th century, the Spiegeltents were filled with mirrors which allowed discreet eye contact with other visitors, a mere vessel for art of seduction and flirtation. The Klessens, a Belgian family were responsible for these magnificent creations. Zingara brings her magic to her local audiences, one can’t help but to be reminded of the Klessens family “and their amazing love affair with these remarkable palaces of glass and light that has enthralled audiences for over four generations.”
When carpenter Willem Klessens went searching for a organ for his newly built dance hall in 1920, the only dance organ he could find was part of a dance tent. The purchasing of this dance tent saw the creation of the Spiegeltent. The opening of the dance tent the following weekend South African audiences can now experi- brought with it a leap of success. Klessence a sense of the Moulin Rouge for ens then realised that he could be more themselves, with the opportunity to see successful at this in one weekend than one of these legendary Spiegeltents up doing carpentry for three months close, whilst enjoying its warm hospitality, when Madame Zingara’s Theatre Success is when opportunity meets prepof Dreams reopens. The 2010 Love Magic aration. Willem saw an opportunity and Tour kicked off in Cape Town on 1 June started using his carpentry skills in the and will be heading to Johannesburg in preparation and construction of his October, with shows planned for Durban new dance hall, a Spiegeltent he named early in 2011. These magic performances The Classique. His plan was to take his will take place in the 80-year-old Spiegel- new creation and travel the village fairs tent called Victoria, one of the most lux- in Belgium’s northern parts, setting up urious tents in the world. While Madame in a different village every week. The
village’s would never be the same This beautifully restored 90 year old tent is now the setting of the again. Teatro ZinZanni in San Fransisco. August Klessens, Willem’s son, took She is the most senior of the Klessover the family business in 1935 and ens’ Spiegeltent family. travelled for over 50 years to village fairs all across Belgium. Working with his two tents – Le Moulin Rouge and La Gaiete – it was no surprise that August, ‘The King of the Dancing Tents’, became known throughout Belgium. Being past down from generation to generation, Willy Klessens was next in line to continue this tradition. But with the rise of the disco and dance halls that sprout up like mushrooms across Europe at the time, Willy realised that he would have to brave a huge financial risk in competing with these disco halls. Having already successfully rented out his tents in the Netherlands and Denmark, it was time for the rest of the world to see and experience the beauty and magic of these remarkable venues. By 1992, Le Moulin Rouge, at 18m in diameter, became too small for the ever-growing crowds at local festivals and Willy headed back to his workshop to produce an even bigger masterpiece, an enchanting Art Nouveau 22m in diameter, the Palais des Glaces. Gust Klessens, who’s passion and love for these masterpieces, never fully retired from the family business of Spiegeltents, that his father Willem had started in 1920. His great love for these big old oakpanelled tented ladies,, especially the beautiful old Classique, was broken when vandals, one night in a small village, set alight to his favourite, rendering the tent completely destroyed. But out of despair comes opportunity and so, at 70 years of age, Gust began construction on a new Spiegeltent. For the next seven years, every piece of this new tent – from the wooden floors, leaded glass windows and oak interior – were put together by Gust and his wife. Considering that everything was made by hand in a very small workshop, this accomplishment is staggering. They finally took ownership of the new tent on their golden wedding anniversary, naming the new tent the Classic – after the sorely missed Classique.
To grow his collection, Willy then, in 1995, purchased a 1920 Spiegeltent The Laurijssen brothers, consisting from a bank in Switzerland and re- of four carpenters and an engineer, named it as the Palais Nostalgique. and also the official competition
The installation of the mirror tent is pure manual labour and no electricity is needed. It is strictly forbidden to nail, screw or drill inside the mirror tent. In case something In 2004, another authentic Spiegel- needs to be attached this should tent joined the Klessen family when be done by means of plastic adheJean-Pierre Toury entrusted his sive strips. family’s heritage – the Toury Spiegeltent – to the Klessens. In 2006, the The trucks that transport the pieces fourth generation of Klessens con- needs to be 16m in length, 2,55m structed the youngest member of in width and 4m in height, taking the family business, the 22m in a total weight of 32 ton each. With diameter Salon Revue. The Spiehel- a foyer of 15m, 12 stakes have to tent will continue to amaze and wow be driven into the ground at the audiences, as the Klessons family front extension of the tent to guarcontinue constructing these master- antee the tent’s stability, while the pieces, with each new tent getting flooring always consist of wood. bigger and better. The interior alcoves must encompass permanent seats. With 16 alcoves, each accommodating seven people, allow for 112 people seating capacity. By adding extra chairs and tables, the number of seats can be increased up to 450. A seating and standing room is possible for up to 600 people, and with the extended version of the 15m foyer, the standing and seating room can be increased up to 800 people. <
of the Klessens, built a beautiful Art Nouveau Spiegeltent which was eventually sold to the Klessens in 2001.
VICTORIA’S TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS & INSTALLATION
It is difficult to imagine the sheer labour that goes into building one of these magnificent creations. In order to illustrate how much construction is required to build one of these tents, we have provided an explanation of the technical requirements and installation involved in constructing the Victoria.
Story and photos ©Madame The building site must be level, so Zingara Enterprises a reasonable flat surface with a maximum slope of 40cm over 30m on either grass, concrete, paving or tiles is required.
Inspirational Innovation Graphica is synonymous for creative and exquisite cover materials.An unequalled stance of highest quality, be it for sales enhancing, packaging, demanding folding boxes, luxurious displays, books, diaries, exceptional mailings and advertising, our unique materials delight the eye and touch alike. Our new concept offers you the perfect guide to your current projects. It is always your creativity and imagination that transforms the visual communication into reality. We take great pleasure in introducing an aid that inspires the mind to allow for creative and exceptional solutions. Six main topical themes facilitate the entry to new ideas and elevated imagination. Leatherlikes - Leather is synonymous with nobility, style and quality. The world of Leather offers a rich variety of surfaces and textures. Our product range offers a wide selection of solutions to meet the needs of those looking for a material both classic and contemporary. Metallics - Metal can be rough or sophisticated, matt or shiny, luxurious or worn. Metallic features are attractive and eyecatching, and create unusual and unexpected visual and tactile images. We explore the fascinating world and extraordinary properties of metallic materials, offering a large range of metallic features. Textiles - The luxurious world of Textiles is rich in opportunities. Fabrics can either be soft or rough to touch, matt or sheen, plain or richly patterned, or intricately woven. Our range explores the vast and fascinating world of fabric surfaces and features. Nature - Each and every colour surface is a gift of Nature. Nature is a regular source of inspiration and creative energy that draws us to authentic materials. Our range combines a selection of natural features in harmonious colours inspired by nature. Technicals - Industrial materials can be unconventional and geometrical, highly sophisticated or extremely simple, using both state-of-the-art technology and traditional knowledge. Our range offers an insight into a world of originality and creativity. Black-White - Black and White represents a chic, classic timeless image. A world of broad, almost infinite possibilities, black and white offers a multitude of designs and tones. Our range explores the world of contrasts.
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A STORY ABOUT
BOXES AND BAGS
By Andrea Bokelmann
From our toothpaste boxes to our designer shoeboxes, package design – the force of the irresistible power – sucks us in. But have you ever considered why you select a particular brand of the same product like a specific washing powder, shampoo or toothpaste as opposed to the dozen other options on the supermarket shelf? Does the product define the package, or is the product defined by its package? And, at the end of the day, what difference does it actually make?
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Believe it or not,
once upon a time, the package was as simple and nondescript as its definition implies: “1: package noun 2: a box or other container in which goods are stored.” It all started with the basic human need: Food. As people began collecting food, storing and transporting it, they saw a need to develop ways of containing and protecting their find. These very first primitive – but no less innovative – packaging solutions were created from natural materials such as woven grass, cured animal skins and hardened clay. The development of new technologies over the centuries was reflected in the evolving innovations in package materials and production. Grass, clay and skins were replaced with paper, glass and metal – all significantly more durable and better suited for the purpose of protection and containment. As the trade market grew, so too did the need for packaging solutions that were best suited to the needs of a product. This inspired the continued exploration and development of a variety of packaging materials, such as the plastic packets, cardboard boxes, glass bottles and metal cans widely used today. Up until about the end of the 19th century the package merely served as a facilitator of the handing over of the product from the retailer to the consumer. Its main goal was to serve the purpose of protection and transportation and nothing else. In the first half of the 20th century imagery and words were introduced in order to communicate basic details about the manufacturer of the product, with simple elements such as pictures of the factory or a brief description of
the manufacturer. This marked the beginnings of a movement towards using the package as a means of establishing that special relationship with the consumer through visual means.
NOT JUST A BOX: Enter the full-blown age
of consumerism at the beginning of the 1950s, and the addition of a new criterion defining the humble package – a new role that catapulted the art of packaging to the forefront of visual communication: The brand. No longer was the humble package simply a means of facilitating the transportation of the product or enhancing the image of the manufacturer, it now had a life and purpose of its own: To communicate a brand, to adopt a personality of its own, to speak to the consumer and say: “You like me. You want to take me home, because I have something unique that you’re not going to get anywhere else!” Packaging has long since moved past just being a physical object that holds some form of visual appeal. It has become the embodiment of an experience; a tool to engage the senses and stimulate a desired emotional and subconscious response in the consumer. The theory of sensation transference states that whatever people see and experience on the package, they subconsciously attribute to the product itself. Essentially, the package has become the product. This was proven by a study conducted by marketing innovator Louis Cheskin, whereby the soft drink, 7-Up, was filled into cans that had 15% more yellow in the green of the design, than what the consumers were used to. This minor change in the brand aesthetic had such a significant psychological effect on the consumers that
they were absolutely convinced that the drink in these modified cans definitively had more of a lemon flavour than the 7-Up in the other cans. The package no longer serves to simply sell the product, but to sell itself and it does this by creating a brand experience for the consumer; a unique personality that they will come to know and love, and even form a personal bond with. People, by nature, crave personal interaction and relational bonds. Package design, through the communication of the brand, taps into this basic human need in order to establish a sense of loyalty and commitment in the consumer, ensuring that they come back for more.
P&G’s Herbal Essences packaging uses bright colours to communicate a brand that is luscious and comforting, but playful at the same time, resonating with a young, but classy, target audience. Note the subtle curves to the shapes that enhance the products elegant appeal.
So how exactly does a simple package achieve this sense of personal interaction? A package is a visual and tangible piece of design. It gleams at you from the shelf begging to be looked at and touched, and, if all goes well, taken home. It’s all about the sensory stimuli. The three things our eyes most readily recognise are colour, shape and size. The initial response to these visual stimuli will set the stage for the consumer experience. We know it’s all about first impressions – it’s that split second encounter between the product and the consumer.
THE ART OF THE PACKAGE:
THE POWER OF COLOUR: In the human
brain colour registers the quickest compared to an image or typography and is, therefore, the most powerful visual tool that be the difference between a successful package design and a failure. Colours also convey different emotional states to each consumer, which need to correspond to the mood and feel of the brand that is being communicated. As a designer it is essential to have an intimate understanding of the psychology and emotional powers of colour. It has the potential to transcend every other design element in the process while creating a brand. But you can also offend a consumer if you are not sensitive to the symbolic understanding of colours that differ amongst cultures. Not only should the designer consider what colours are most appropriate for the brand, but also what colours will resonate the strongest with the desired target audience, and most importantly, what colours are going to create the desired visual and psychological brand experience for this audience.
7-Up cans showing how colour can influence consumer perceptions.
Doritos chip package designed by Peter Parlov.
The Acne Jeans rebrand proposal (top) by Kevin Cantrell, demonstrates how a lack of colour can communicate a sense of simple, clean elegance. And, if used correctly, can create a visual just as bold as the use of a bright colour. Mentos product range (centre). Take note of the difference between the use of cool and warm shades in package design. Warm shades are generally considered more cheerful, comforting and sometimes playful, whereas cooler colours create an impression of calm, cleanliness and freshness. Mousegraphics design solution for Mez Pastilles (above). Combining black and white with subtle touches of colour create a feeling of elegant nostalgia.
Another visual element of package design is the shape of the package. Subtle and sometimes not so subtle variations in the shape of standard packaging serve as subliminal reminders and reinforces of the brand message that is being conveyed. For example, a slimmer box design can subtly communicate the benefits of a healthconscious cereal that promises a slimmer figure. Designers are becoming more experimental with the shapes of package solutions, not only experimenting with subtle variations, but also bold, sometimes outrageous forms that immediately make daring, exciting statements about the brand they are portraying. An example of this is the Doritos chip package redesign by Peter Parlov. Moving away from the traditional chip packet, Peter has created a cardboard box incorporating the geometric triangular shape, as well as the texture, of the chips itself. Not only is this a visually appealing, eye-catching design, but the structured geometric shape also helps keep the container closed when it’s not in use, making it more functional and practical than the conventional packet.
There has been advances in the tactile element of package design, creating a complete sensory brand experience. When texture and interesting shapes are incorporated into the design of a package, it encourages the consumer to reach out and touch, feel and engage with the product. Once the product is touched, the chance of a purchase is significantly higher. This concept of a multi-sensory package is fast becoming the most effective means to make a product stand out from the rest. Engaging all the sensory stimuli available to the consumer triggers emotions and responses in the brain. Adopting this approach to package design introduces a new league of packaging that has the potential to become one with the product, allowing the consumer to experience the product through the package. The concept The Yay! juice boxes designed by Naoto Fukasawa, combines colour, shape and texture to create a fruit juice carton that imitates the nature of the product itself. By taking on the nature of the fruit, this novelty design transports the consumer right to the heart of the product, without the need for logos and catchy marketing phrases.
Woolworths’ To go range of sandwich packages, uses cardboard, rather than plastic. The cardboard used is certified as coming from a sustainable and well-managed forest, and the transparent window is made from corn, not plastic.
THE GREEN BOX:
The 1980s marked the beginning of a move to both consumers, and designers, becoming more environmentally aware. As consumers’ awareness around ‘green’ issues increased, so did the focus on ‘green design’, with package design being at the forefront. From the conceptual phase, right through to production and transportation, the green concept is increasingly finding its way into the design consciousness. The pivotal role that package plays in this consumer-driven system, places it at the forefront of the green design movement. Designers are increasingly adopting the mantras ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and ‘cradle-to-cradle’ when approaching package design. Not only are they using environmentally friendly materials, such as recycled paper, natural materials or soy inks, but creating elements that the consumer can use more than once – increasing the product lifespan, and reducing waste.
The Yay! juice boxes.
Dieter Zermatten adopted the reuse and reduce approach when designing his Play bag, a design that won the House and Leisure Green Designers competition in 2010. This portable storage bag transforms into a play mat, reducing two products into one practical design that is versatile and durable, making the consumer’s life much easier, as well as reducing the strain on the environment. M&A Designs is a South African package design company that has, to a large degree, been leading the way in sustainable and environmental packaging in the country. They are dedicated to educating their clients, and guiding them in making environmentally friendly design and production choices. Not only do they always take the greenest route in every design solution, but also support sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices at the supply level. One of M&A’s biggest clients is Woolworths, a household name in South Africa that is well known for its commitment to bringing consumers the most environmentally friendly product ranges. M&A Design’s revolutionary new Appletiser bottle design has given new meaning to the concept of functional design. The most groundbreaking element of the design is the leaf shape that has been raised out of the glass. While this might just seem like a clever way of incorporating the logo into the actual glass of the bottle, it is an element that also takes on the functional role of the orientation mark of the bottle. So the leaf shape is the device used during the production process that ensures the bottles are positioned correctly along the production line for the placements of the labels. This mark, usually situated nondescriptly along the base of a bottle as a series of small lines, has been utilised as a quirky design element, enhancing
the overall aesthetic of the design and, by extension, the communication of the brand. Designers and marketers are realising that it is not enough just to adopt the green approach, but that bigger changes need to be far-reaching: impacting socially, as well as environmentally. Design can only claim to be truly sustainable if it assumes the responsibility of the environmental consequences of the material used, as well as the social consequences of the content. Package design no longer aims just to sell a product, but to make a difference in the environment, and to use its powers of communication to its most meaningful potential.
The Play bag (top). Appletiser bottle (above).
Sustainable philosophies lead to sustainable brands, which become sustainable products and packages. The South African company Give It Bag uses recycling to provide jobs in communities where it is much needed and to generate money to help those in need. Give It Bag makes use of old polypropylene packaging sourced from all over the world, each with a unique print or design. These are used to create beautiful designer bags, using specially designed patterns. All income received for the sale of these bags goes to various charity initiatives. This innovative design solution communicates the message to the consumers that they have the ability to make a difference in the world, by making small, but meaningful decisions. By becoming more informed about social and environmental issues, consumers are realising that the power lies with them and in the products they choose to purchase, and the brands they choose to support. Read more about Give It Bag here.
PUMA is an internationally recognised brand that has fully adopted the practice of sustainability. Not only have they been involved in numerous social and environmental initiatives, but their strong stand on sustainability and social upliftment influences their approach to design. Puma’s innovative new package is making waves in the packaging industry. Yves Béhar, founder of the industrial design and branding firm, Fuseproject, developed the concept for Puma’s Clever Little Bag. Moving away from the conventional shoebox, this design consists of a sheet of cardboard that is held in shape by ‘a clever little bag’. By completely doing away with the box, this design uses 65% less cardboard, no tissue paper, weighs less and takes up less space, which reduces resources required for shipping and replaces the harmful plastic retail bag.
Give It Bag.
PUMA’S Clever Little Bag.
The bag itself can be reused, and is non-woven, which means less work, and less waste. This innovative design solution will reduce the consumption of water, diesel and energy by 60% per year in manufacturing. It uses 8 500 tonnes less paper, and the difference in weight will save approximately 275 tons of plastic. If one good design solution can make such an overwhelming impact, imagine the possibilities of an entire design community adopting the same sustainable approach. View a video here. The Dreamball relief aid package designed by Unplug Design, transforms design into an active tool for upliftment in impoverished communities. This design, intended for third world countries suffering from poverty, war and natural disasters, can be reassembled by following simple instructions, to create a football for the children of these devastated areas. Not only does the Dreamball physically assist these communities, by providing relief aid, but touches the hearts of these communities, by facilitating personal and playful interaction between the aid workers and the children. Read more about the Dreamball Project here. People from all walks of life from all over the world interact with some form of package design countless times every day. The question is what we, as designers, communicate to a world that is constantly interacting with our designs. Remembering the famous last words of Spiderman’s uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility”, I ask what designers intend on doing with the gift we have been given? Will we remain set in the consumerist ways of making a product sell, no matter what the cost, or will we create boxes that lead the way in transforming our world? <
By Zelda Harrison
Stefan G Bucher is the man behind 344 Design and the Daily Monster – an online drawing and storytelling experiment. His monsters have invaded computer screens across the world, and their savage adolescence is chronicled in the book 100 Days of Monsters (2008). He has created gratuitously ambitious designs for Sting, David Hockney, director Tarsem and the New York Times, and works with a whole roster of brilliant, driven clients. His time-lapse drawings currently appear on the rebooted TV classic The Electric Company on PBS. In 2009 he published The Graphic Eye: Photographs by International Graphic Designers and a new Taiwanese edition of his first book, All Access: The Making of Thirty Extraordinary Graphic Designers. Two new books are in the pipeline for 2011. Stefan shared some insights into his word in an interview with ED>
PHILOSOPHY, MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION
Tell us about your art studies and your move to the USA: My whole life seems to be an ongoing quest to make my circumstances match with what’s in my head. I was born and raised in Germany, and while I’m glad for my education and for a safe and, in some ways, downright idyllic childhood, I also didn’t fit in at all. This was frustrating and depressing, and also made me deeply unpopular. Nobody likes a weirdo. During my first visit to California I immediately noticed how much better everything meshed together. I didn’t realise it until I made the move, but I think my head had gone to California a few years before me without bothering to let me know. I was just a little slow to catch up. There wasn’t really a cultural shift for me. I just found a place where things worked the way I’d always thought they should. This made me happy. I work really well here. Along those same lines, studying art wasn’t ever a choice, just an acknowledgement of what was already bubbling in my head. There was never even a thought that I’d do anything but art. It was a foregone conclusion. Art Center College of Design [Pasadena] just gave me some serious tools for getting ideas out of my brain in one piece.
New York Times Super Bowl logo (left) and The Electric Company ink sequence (right) designed by Stefan G. Bucher. The Graphic Eye: Photographs by International Graphic Designers, UK edition (left) USA edition (right) designed by Stefan G. Bucher.
What was your first (or favourite) job? Well, my first job was picking poorly done ads out of the local paper back in Germany, remaking them from scratch (all by hand with pen and ink and Letratone film), and then walking into the unsuspecting client’s store to sell them my version. It was the best! I got to draw, I got to fiddle with typography, I got to be judgmental, and tell people how I thought things should look – and I managed to get my drawings printed. That was the biggest thing about it – seeing my drawings in the paper. I was 15 years old then, and to this day nothing is real until it’s in the press. How has your career has evolved? Drawing came first. I became an illustrator, went to art school, then tried my hand at advertising on the romantic assumption that it would let me draw, design, write, take pictures and make films. I started designing CDs for record labels, which really was as fun and excellent as I had dreamt it would be. When the music industry took a turn, I discovered book design, which – in a roundabout way – led to the Monsters. Now I’m an illustrator-designer-writer who aspires to be an entry-level animator. Along the way I’ve been lucky to always have brilliant people in my corner who gave me encouragement, support and inspiration. For example, some of my earliest jobs were overflow assignments I got from a famous German cartoonist who liked my stuff, and who took me under his wing. Later I was fortunate to have great teachers and excellent creative friends. And of course, I’ve found clients who love and support what I do, but also push me forward.
THE MONSTER PROJECT
How did Monsters develop? What kind of themes do you explore through them? The first Monster ‘appeared’ on my arm as I was driving on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. It was a sunny afternoon, and the little guy seemed friendly. As soon as I got home, I tried to draw him and had so much fun making Monsters that I haven’t stopped since. Which sounds a bit contrived, I know – a vision made me do it – but that’s how it happened. I’m usually much more methodical, but the Monsters just showed up and took root in my brain. Visually they definitely show my love for Ralph Steadman, and if you trace them back through my earlier work, they have some Hans-Georg Rauch DNA, too. The only major themes that have developed are that the Monsters are neurotic, a little shy and goofy, sometimes frustrated or even angry, but never violent. I sometimes get requests to make some truly evil, nasty Monsters, and I can’t do it. It’s not in their nature. They do like pinstripe pants and high heels, though. They’re very stylish and have strong arches. What has been your audience’s response to the Monsters? The response the Monsters have received is beyond anything I ever thought possible. Hundreds of people started writing stories about them on the site. Some sent their own drawings and now teachers are telling me that they’re using the Monsters to teach drawing and writing skills to their kids. I had absolutely no idea that this would happen, but now I’m curious to see how far I can take it.
Tarsem’s The Fall designed by Stefan G Bucher.
100 Days of Monsters designed by Stefan G Bucher.
The Echo Park Time Travel Mart (EPTTM) shop façade and news display sign. EPTTM Mammoth Chunks and Leeches designed by Stefan G Bucher.
Jona Frank Right (left) and All Access: The Making of Thirty Extraordinary Graphic Designers (right) designed by Stefan G Bucher.
The Monsters have already crossed the world, and different media. What are the latest developments for The Monster Project? There is a Monster mural in Seward, Nebraska, a big new-framed Monster in a law firm in New York, and a whole gaggle in an ad agency in Brussels. I’m working on a new portfolio of large format Monsters, and on a few skunk works projects that I can’t talk about yet. More Monsters are definitely on the way.
DESIGN AS THE ULTIMATE CAREER
What have been some of the thoughts/experiences that you’ve shared with your students and vice versa? I actually don’t teach. I just visit a lot of schools and say irresponsible things. I have the highest respect for teachers, and when I did teach a class at Art Centre [Pasadena] years back I loved it. I hope to do it again soon, but right now I’m a better uncle than a dad. What have been some of the significant changes in design education in the past decade? I think a truly significant change in design education will come when most of the teachers will have grown up using computers. Right now there is still too much of a love/hate thing going on that makes some teachers ignore the computer, or place too much emphasis on it. Once that becomes a nonissue, and people who played Little Big Planet when they were six teach classes, I think it’ll get interesting. Regardless of the tools and techniques, it all boils down to discipline, anyway. Everybody have ideas. Everybody have a way of seeing the world, and an
opinion on how things should look. All you can teach people is how to turn all of that into actual work. And that comes down to discipline. How much time and effort are you willing to invest in your craft? Any advice for young designers with a great idea, looking to strike out on their own? Again, discipline is the answer. If there’s an idea that’s so undeniably brilliant that it’ll become real on its own… I haven’t seen it. Even the best ideas require countless hours of work and dedication to get them out into the world. You may need to spend years drawing or writing. Maybe you have to develop a whole new process for your idea. And if your idea is so brilliant that you can doodle it on a napkin, you may end up spending years finding the right person to show that napkin to. Right out of school I recommend that you take a staff job for a while. There are a lot of day-to-day things you just can’t learn in school. Things you need to know. You can learn them on your own, of course, but why not pick up some experience from people who’ve been there? How do you define yourself, American or German? It’s probably more accurate to call me a PrussoCalifornian — Bauhaus with an ocean view. < Find more Monsters here.
Cover design for STEP Inside Design (left) ink & circumstance (right) designed by Stefan G. Bucher.
TINGA TINGA TALES
REAWAKENING FOLKTALES FROM AFRICA
By Lorraine Amollo and Lilac Osanjo
Tinga Tinga Tales has taken the entertainment world by storm with stories and products inspired by traditional African folktales. Much like The Lion King of the 90s brought a breath of fresh air to children’s entertainment based upon African folklore, Tinga Tinga Tales, targeted at preschoolers, has been described as an ambitious project that showcases indigenous knowledge, packaged and narrated through modern technology.
Claudia Lloyd, head of animation at Tiger Aspect Productions in the UK can take credit for this fresh idea that has been packaged to appeal to young children all over the world. Tiger Aspect set up a fully-equipped animation studio in Nairobi and hired local designers, animators, musicians and writers to work on producing the show. Claudia saw the opportunity to develop Tinga Tinga Tales and inspired by her love for Africa, marshalled an impressive pool of African and international talent to tell the African stories to an international audience. The production of Tinga Tinga Tales started in 2008 when Homeboyz Animation (Kenya), CBeebies (the BBC Children’s channel in the UK) and Disney’s
Playhouse channel (USA) teamed up to start production under the direction of Claudia. The team has put together over 40 of the 52 part series and is scheduled to complete production late 2010. The first 26 episodes of the series are already airing in the UK. The elaborate equipment and production crew is working at the Homeboyz Animation studio in Nairobi.
Tinga Tinga Tales has opened a wide range of opportunities for talent in music, voice casting, art and design. The spin-offs include merchandise such as books, T-shirts, furnishing and cutlery. The first series were released in February 2010 in the UK on the Cbeebies channel and will soon be available in other countries.
Tingatinga art form. Having dropped out of primary school after completing only four years of education, Eduardo started producing art using enamel paint (also known as bicycle paint in certain parts of Africa) on masonite. The wild animals that roamed the African plains, which included the King of the Jungle, elephants and zebras, inspired his early paintings. The use of enamel paint ensured very bright and decorative colours, appealing to children of all ages. Over time, his relatives joined and brought various adaptations of Tingatinga art. The birds and animals are exaggerated and cheerful. The peacock is a common subject, rendered with repetitious motifs on the wings, long neck, sharp beak and long legs. The Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society (TACS) in Dar es Salaam was the visual inspiration for Tinga Tinga Tales – a lively collective of more than 50 Tanzanian artists painting wonderful creatures in bright colours with an intricate use of pattern and design. The original Tingatinga family from south Tanzania sits at the organisation’s very heart. Members
Tingatinga (or Tinga Tinga) is a term used to describe a highly decorative folk art style that has its roots in the southern region of Tanzania, bordering Mozambique. Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga (19601972) is the man credited to be the creator of the
Scenes from Tinga Tinga Tales.
Scenes from Tinga Tinga Tales Images courtesy of BBC CBeebies.
of TACS have taught many artists who have gone on to become recognised masters of the genre. Some painters have moved to other parts of Tanzania and even abroad. No matter where these artists reside, they remain linked to each other and to their homeland by family, friendship and, of course, their beautiful artwork. After more than 40 years a vibrant Tingatinga community has emerged and established itself as an original East African cultural tradition. In the early 70s a company developed which produced T-shirts especially for children under the name Tinga Tinga with animals depicted in bright colours. Today these T-shirts still command a
large market especially amongst tourists visiting Africa. It can be said that Tinga Tinga has emerged as part of the African experience.
ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS
Illustrators and designers, including Celeste and Melissa, both graduates of the University of Nairobi, design most of the characters for Tinga Tinga Tales which are then hand-painted in the original Tinga Tinga style by local artists such as Mbwana Sudi, Maulana Saidi, Hasani Kamale, Abasi Rafiki and Zachi Chimwanda. The hand-painted characters are then scanned and rendered in appropriate formats for animation by the design team.
When it comes to the soundtrack, the Tinga Tinga sounds are also very much African. One can immediately recognise the jingles associated with Eric Wainaina, a Kenyan singer-songwriter. He is famous for his Twende Twende song in which he collaborated with Oliver Mtukudzi of Todi fame. Eric is a famous singer and songwriter specialising in Afrofusion; sometimes with a Kenya blend of Benga rhythm and East African guitars. He has received numerous international awards, including the Best East African Artist at the pan-African 7th KORA All-Africa Music Awards and was recently named by the Guardian newspaper as a Kenyan cultural icon. In 2008 he was also named ‘Messenger for peace and non-violence’ by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime.
The voices in Tinga Tinga Tales are impressive with the likes of Edward Kwach, a famous radio personality, providing voice-overs. Children’s voices are also included in songs and used for characters. Alfred, one of the main designers and a graduate of the University of Nairobi says that the work is intense but that he enjoys every minute of it. He has been working in the animation industry for more than ten years. After graduation, Alfred pursued a career in graphic design before succumbing to the lure of animation. An opportunity came in 2009 when he was selected to join other animators from Africa at a UNESCO-sponsored workshop. At the workshop he got an opportunity to
Paintings by Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga, the father of the Tingatinga art form. BELOW LTR: Brown lion; Flamingos, Leopard and Untitled. Images courtesy of Africa Art Online.
produce his first full animated work, entitled Olokut. His love for animation has seen Alfred giving talks and workshops to university students. He is a founding member of the Association of Animation Artistes (A3, Kenya) that seeks to promote animators and consumers of animation. The smooth continuity of the series camouflages the many hours of concentration and hard work put in by the production team. Three animation teams of five animators each work on a 10-minute episode for up to five weeks. This work is intense and requires expertise in CelAction and Photoshop as the designers are tasked with creating backgrounds and props in digital format. The animators then come in to bring the stories to life and piece together each episode.
African narrative is anchored in traditional skills passed on from generation to generation and Tinga Tinga Tales is no different. The storylines are based on animals and natural resources such as water, drought, food and strength. Kenya has over 52 tribes, each with numerous untold folktales that can all be developed into Tinga Tinga Tales. In traditional folklore, the rabbit has always been the cunning one, often pitting large animals such as the elephant and the rhino against each other for his own selfish gains. The story of how the tortoise got himself a broken shell or why he wears a coat has developed from local communities who encountered tortoises in their environment on a daily basis. The peacock has always been the epitome of beauty because of its colourful
LTR: Hassani Kamale showing one of his paintings. Maulana Saidi showing one of his paintings. Zachi Chimwanda showing one of his paintings. A painting by Hassani Kamale. Images courtesy of Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society.
Paintings by Mbwana Sudi. Images courtesy of www.afrum.com
feathers and this is certainly not lost in the Tinga Tinga Tales.
FORM AND MEANING
The strength of the Tinga Tinga Tales lies in the educational value that is added in a very childlike manner. The producers go to great lengths to maintain the traditional authenticity of colour, form and storyline. Each storyline has a learning component that motivates positive behaviour and attitudes amongst young viewers. The stories express the need to uphold moral values and be consistent in doing good, while always showing gratitude to others. This again is consistent with African folklore, in which good always triumphs over evil. The one story of the tortoise and his
cracked shell holds, for instance, an underlying message to children that they should never be selfish and should always be ready to help others. Even cunning Hare and Rabbit are forced to turn from their wicked ways in order to survive. <
Images courtesy of Tiger Aspect Productions, BBC, Disney, Homeboyz Animation and Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society.
> View clips from Tinga Tinga Tales here. > View a BBC video news story on Tinga Tinga Tales here.
WELCOME TO THE
By Jason Aldridge. The very first time you go to the cinema as a child a certain magic is created and a familiar ritual ensues. The build-up of a long ticket-line (where you urge the adult to choose the seats right at the front), the sweets and other accoutrements are collected for the journey, and after the tickets are checked, you meander down a dark, burrow-like tunnel. Deep within, amongst many others, you take your seat in a padded landscape surrounded by curtains and soft shuffling popcorn boxes. Once settled, the whispers and sounds of suckling straws are muffled and seem crushed by the large dimly lit space above you. Suddenly, the lights die a slow-motion death – the darkness taking on the comforting warmth of your duvet on a winter morning, whilst the rain tip-taps outside. Turning out the lights like this when you’re fully awake eliminates those around you and the experience becomes all the more personal. Finally, the light flickers on the white space ahead, and through cinematic sound and filmic specks and scratches on the illumination of worlds far and wide, you become addicted and entranced. The home TV set is never again quite as awesome and the feeling of this sensory overload lingers on, long after the credits have rolled.
We cannot deny that cinema is a unique experience in itself. If a movie is released on DVD and on the big screen simultaneously, the consumers will still go to the movies because the outing is viewed as a special activity, a modern pastime. There is a new version though, a way to ‘upsize’ the cinema tradition through a pair of red and green filtered plastic glasses. The hero of the story is now elevated from the background and our perceptions of space and perspective – and also reality – are integrated into the world of the characters we watch. The 3D movies offer enhanced viewing and although animations, primarily aimed at a younger audience, make wider use of this technology, liveaction movies like Transformers 2 (2009) and Avatar (2009) make the 3D experience the hot new medium for cinema-goers. The specific visual attributes and subject matter are amplified in these films and the movie becomes more of an event when it’s only in 3D for limited time. 3D works by projecting two images of the same frame/picture, and the glasses ensure that each eye only receives one of the images via differing polarisation (darker and lighter tones) or colour/ chroma (red and green) for each lens (right and left). So when your brain puts the two images together, the 3D effect is created lifting the image from the screen and hovering above and in front of you. This simple explanation involves a more complicated filming and production process and with a budget of $237 million, James Cameron (director for Avatar (2009)) made the highest grossing movie of all time.
The first time I ever heard of 3D was when I was about six or seven years old, squinting through some green and red cardboard glasses into a kid’s dinosaur magazine and the image of an old black and white movie model scared me half to death. Films started off being just black and white images, a selection of wide shots that really resembled theatre. Then these collections of imagery started to benefit from improved film editing techniques and shot selection and the medium conjured up more climactic and suspenseful stories. With time came the addition of sound to the players’ voices and music to the surrounding cacophony of the film’s world and the live piano accompaniment was forgotten. Improved film stocks elevated movies from the default black and white to something which could truly rival paintings for their ability to evoke emotion through realistic and surrealistic shades, art closely imitating life in its real representation of colour. This was a total game changer. Even with innovations such as surround sound, VHS, DVD, HD technology and the digital revolution, as well as continuously improving filmmaking equipment and techniques, the 2D format has just been refined over the years. Movies, and they way we watch them, haven’t changed drastically since the last major innovation – the change from black and white to the first Technicolor film. The commercialisation of 3D marks a huge turning point in film history and it seems it will have longevity and staying power so that the 3D experience can be improved and refined. Some films are already dubbed by viewers as ‘...not worth it if you don’t see it in 3D...’ and so when watching the 2D
versions, the public’s opinion already suggests that While this seems elaborate or far-fetched, the design concept of storylines with multiple/alternate it’s a lesser or inferior experience. endings already exists. From those teenage novels Even sport has gone over to the 3rd dimension. A where you turn to a certain page, based on certain game between Manchester United and Arsenal choices you make as the character, to role playing was the first English Premiership game to be and computer games with different endings and broadcast in 3D on 31 January this year – Arsenal stories, based on which side you choose to combeing the first Premier League team to lose in 3D. pete on, the idea is already there. Now looking at the way 3D visually invigorates the actual viewing, The Masters has also enjoyed 3D coverage and the the audience’s choice or vote (calculated as a per2010 FIFA World Cup was also reportedly broad- centage) could affect the story much in the way a cast in 3D by some networks. This technology may reality TV audience votes with a remote at their be seen as a gimmick in some respects, but it cinema chair. The characters would complete the brings with it huge profits and success. It’s not as movie based on how the audience voted and so if every movie will now be in 3D, but it’s here to one could enjoy different outcomes of the same stay in some way, shape or form as part on the movie based on where the film was shown and with whom you were watching it. cinema experience. The 2D experience is still valid, and 3D is used when it is necessary to amplify the contents of a narrative, the digital effects and other imagery involved. The same principle applies to films that are shown in black and white as a creative choice and using film or HD cameras are to the filmmaker as using oils or acrylics are to a painter. So with the arrival of 3D, the future of how we experience and consume media is bright with many possibilities to consider. Maybe one day 3D can evolve to virtual reality, placing the viewer literally amongst the screen action and able to view the action from multiple angles. The experience would not be unlike the PC or console games available in which one is able to choose multiple storylines and alternate endings, depending on choices you make. The viewer could travel and weave through climaxes and cliff-hangers that the JJ Abrahms’s (creator of the LOST TV series) of the world could create. The purists would maybe brand the 3D movie as more biased toward eye candy, accusing filmmakers of shying away from credible storylines and originality within the narrative. With Avatar, critics like Owen Gleiberman for Entertainment Weekly (www.ew.com) says: “Cameron is such a skilled nuts-and-bolts filmmaker that the story he tells is never less than serviceable; it has none of the nattering clutter of one of the latter-day Star Wars films. But it’s never more than serviceable either. What it’s in the service of is the creation of a relentless ’Oh, wow!’ acid-trip videogame joyride.” And “As spectacle, Avatar is indelible – a true rush – but as a movie it all but evaporates as you watch it.” When asked by Fred Topel (for Crave Online) how important the 3D exhibition of the story is to the movie, James Cameron said about Avatar: “I don’t think the 2D, 3D, really affects the narrative power of the story. That has to exist as its own thing. And I think every film has to have a certain amount of
© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Dune Entertainment LLC.
darkness to appreciate the light. But I think the curious thing about this film especially, and one of the reasons that I was attracted to it, is it has real beauty in the film, by design. I mean, we wanted to balance the intensity and the terror, and kind of the darkness, with the moments of just transporting beauty. And I think a lot of films, most films, I would say, especially in the science fiction genre, don’t try to do that. They should, and occasionally they succeed. But to me, it was about doing both.” The bottom line, though, is that the 3D is yet another way to experience a certain type of movie. The experience for the viewer is designed for a certain target market, achieving that ‘wow-factor’ and much like a roller coaster or different rides with in a theme park, another vehicle for entertainment has emerged. James Cameron goes on to say: “I think what I’ve found over the years is that I’m enough of a fan that I share a certain base response with people that like science fiction and fantasy films the same way I liked them when I was a kid, when it was The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I want somebody in a theatre seat someplace to feel what I felt when I saw that stuff for the first time and it blew my mind. If I can do that then that’s the biggest thrill it is” (For Crave Online). Never before have there been so many outlets for artists to express themselves, and the creative industry continues to innovate and understand the public and the different types of viewers they serve. 3D technology is exciting and a marker for things to come, breathing life into the cinema when it seemed to be in decline. <
© DreamWorks & Paramount Pictures. Scenes by
Industrial Light & Magic – © TM and 2009 Dreamworks LLC. and Paramount Pictures.
Sprayon by Falko One.
By Weyers Marais. I am sure you will agree that there are enough articles, blog posts and interviews out there that entertain the debate about graffiti; whether it’s art or vandalism. This article won’t go that way, so relax and enjoy a glimpse of what is happening at the ‘top of the food chain’ as Falko One, local writer and pioneer from Cape Town puts it. Since the age of 19 Falko knew that he didn’t like fitting the mould. Studying graphic design emphasised this fact and he has since spent his time and energy looking for ways of doing things outside the mainstream. He is not only known as one of the best writers in South Africa, but also considered a graffiti pioneer. In May this year Misael hosted True Vocation, a Sportscene (Cape Town-based youth brand) initiative featuring Falko’s new Splitpiece work. ED> met him to find out more: When asked what inspired this work, Falko elaborated: “In 1992, when I was 19, I realised that I didn’t like doing what everybody else was doing. If there was new music I had been listening to and suddenly everybody else started playing it as well. I would stop listening to it that same day and find something else. So eventually I got tired of doing everyday graffiti, the same old, same old. I wanted to do something out-of-the-box that would change perceptions. For a long time I didn’t want to do any graffiti. I was uninspired and became a bit of a ‘graffiti hermit’. I don’t do graffiti in public, it’s been overdone. So whatever is mainstream, I always try to do the opposite. I do my painting in secluded areas where nobody will ever see it.”
“The seed for Splitpieces was planted with an idea two years ago, but it took a year for me to understand how it would work. What I wanted to show is that everybody is fighting for the same thing at the bottom, but there is something new going to happen at the top of the food chain. Splitpieces is basically one mural divided into pieces stretched over different walls in different places. Some pieces are done over three walls, others use eight walls. Although the walls are different sizes and dimensions, if you have to piece all the sections of the mural together it will fit like puzzle to complete the bigger picture.”
“When we started doing this, I was writing with Sethone. We just wanted to do this to see if it was possible. Only once we were done with the first three we understood what was really involved to make it work. In the beginning I did sketches and tried to work out all the measurements exactly, but then you always get a different wall than what was originally promised so at the end the process was not simple at all. Once we’d done the first piece we could at last show people what we had in mind and everyone automatically fed into what they thought it all meant. A very similar process to any other artwork, isn’t it? Once completed the acaLooking at the photographs of Splitpieces makes demics will come and interpret the art for you, it look quite simple at first, but then I realised that never mind what the artist originally intended to do.” all the walls had different dimensions and making that work must have been a challenge. The maths So was Falko trying to tell a deep, meaningful story must have been intense? with the Splitpieces? “When I first started I didn’t
have an explanation. The meaning developed as “I’m keeping the content as simple as possible; I the murals developed and as I continued to work, don’t want it to look like I tried too hard. A try-hard other people started interpreting the murals and and a wannabe are the worst. Less is more. If you see giving it meaning which is really great, if you think two girls in a club and the one on the right-hand about it. Some say the murals are unifying beside has her hair all done up, she’s got the makeup, cause they are done in different areas. Now it has the blusher, the fake eyelashes and the bangles become a unifying tool, because when you go ask and all while the other one is pretty plain with just for permission in one area to paint someone’s the jeans and a T-shirt, you are going to be more wall, you need to explain to people what you are attracted to the simpler one because she is real busy with and that their wall is part of a bigger and you know what you are getting. It’s all about goal. Then you show them the sketches to explain packaging. There are people in art who try too what the bigger picture is.” hard; they use all the colours and the extras presented in a beautiful package. But if you are really “People loved the idea, even though they knew good, you should be able to present your concept they wouldn’t see the completed work. They just successfully even as a skeleton and people would loved the idea that they were a part of something already be impressed. It’s the pretty girl theory!” bigger. I think people like to belong.”
Character 3 piece by Falko One.
Falko explains that the only thing you have to keep track of is your measurements, because that would be important for the other pieces to follow. “We had to work out the ratios and percentages for the scale of one wall to fit another, it was hectic. In Photoshop I only allowed myself to use three tools: brightness, contrast and transform. No cropping or cut and paste tools were used. The compuBy the fourth one there was no planning and Falko ter was just the tool used to bring all the pieces would just start drawing. This freestyle way allows together.” for the visuals to naturally develop while continuing with the creative process. The next piece in the puzzle needs to be informed by the previous one and you This quality of Falko’s recent work is really what always know in advance what needs to happen made the experience at the Splitpiece exhibition next. “The planning of the first lot made it really so special. Knowing that the images and different difficult, especially when we had to find a wall to pieces within one final work were not coordinated fit a specific piece, whereas when we were free- and manipulated by computer and that all the styling, we could just figure it out as we were go- pieces were done in a freestyle, highlights his ining along. The content just developed; sometimes credible skill.
Wondering how he planned his content without adding too many ‘bangles’ and still keeping it simple, Falko explained that the first three attempts did involve detailed planning because he also used this as a way to understand the process and the concept before he could really get into it. “I sketched out and did a little preview drawing for each one. I would sit and draw it exactly how it would be. Once on site you would have to measure it to get the sections right.”
influenced by what was around me or what had happened on the day”.
“Well ja, just one Splitpiece can take up to a month. It’s a mission, you fill your car with petrol, a boot full of paint, you have a skeleton idea for the sketches and off you go. Then you just mission until you find a wall. Sometimes you find the perfect wall, but then the owners don’t want you to write on it because they are selling the property or something. I was in Philippi yesterday, in the farm area and the same thing happened; there was this really beautiful, perfect wall, but the farmer wouldn’t let me paint it. You know, sometimes you just feel like giving up hope.”
Sportscene by Falko One.
own the idea and turn it into an advertising campaign for their brand. I was prepared to be their corporate slave as long as I could get funding to bring my concept to life. One Splitpiece is expensive if you take into account a tank of petrol, a month’s worth of work, a lot of paint and an assistant to work with me. The first corporate didn’t catch on to the vision, despite an initial positive response. So I went out and I did it on my own.”
“At the time I did a Sportscene campaign where I had to customise some shoes. This venture was meant to be because I ended up sitting next to the Splitpieces must be pretty expensive to do if you brand manager. Turns out she was leaving the take into account that Falko needs to travel all company in two weeks, though she still organised over the country to succeed with this concept and for Sportscene to give me x-amount of money to the materials don’t come cheap either. do my Splitpiece. The beauty was that they wanted nothing in return which is more than what one “When I first came up with the Splitpiece idea, all can be said about most corporates. They just wanted I had was the theory behind it and a few sketches. to invest in me to do a Splitpiece. So they gave me I took this idea to one big corporate, explained my the money and I went off and did one which I was idea to them and I even told them that they could really stoked with it was awesome. I also made a
video of the process which is a really great add-on to the foundation of this concept. They also allowed me to add the video to YouTube while they covered all my costs.” A few months later the same company agreed to pay Falko to travel throughout South Africa and do a number of Splitpieces with the agreement that he would eventually have enough material for an exhibition. It was not that easy for him to get the road trip funded but they also realised that without it an exhibition would not be possible. The exhibition was very successful. “Today I am really grateful to them for taking the leap of faith to invest in my idea and enabling me to do this.!” So what is next for Falko? He explains that he has a part II and a part III for Splitpieces but for now it is only an idea. He is first going to do a Splitpiece
Think chick by Falko One.
for Adidas. The idea is to eventually take each section and turn it into a toy. Eventually when you put all the toys together it will create the original piece again. He is also talking about a Splitpiece conundrum where he wants to do a Splitpiece of which the order of the pieces is not restricted. So no matter how you move the pieces around, you will always create a picture. “I’ve spent a week trying to figure this out, but it’s like a rubrics cube. It’s hectic. This idea should be launched in September and it will be a worldwide campaign.” Falko finds himself in a fortunate position as the content of this campaign will not be prescribed to him by someone else. “The grand finale Splitpiece would consist of doing one section on each continent to project the characteristics of the specific continent. For instance, in Europe I would like to get the Paris skyline in the background.”
which is great. But then you get the ones where you get told ‘This is how it’s going to work,’ which is really not that great. Working for yourself is tough, even when people think it’s so nice, you’re so lucky you can do that… No, it’s tough! You get up the same time, you’re on the road, you have to fight with people to get paid. People think that because you are self-employed, life is easy, but it is everything but. You must remember when you earn a salary there are many things that automatiFinally Falko would like to incorporate all the Split- cally get sorted for you. When you work for yourpieces into one book and travel the world talking self it is a very different ball game and you become a Jack-of-many-trades. But in the end I would rathabout his work. er work and enrich myself. So I’m happy, even if it Like with most other artists, you sometimes have means to struggle from job to job because at the to jump in and do other projects that will help to end of the day it’s for me.” < pay the bills. “The corporate gig is ultimately what pays the bills, doing a few covers, etc. Fortunately, with most of the corporate gigs I get a lot of leeway, > See more of Falko One’s work here.
As soon as these monstrous tasks have been completed it will be back to hermit-mode for a while. “I’ve got some other companies I would like to approach for similar work but a lot of work still needs to happen before that and it’s really difficult to get a meeting with the right people at these companies. Unfortunately, our world works on recommendation. You only get the work if somebody else said, hey, this guy is good, ask him to do it for you.”
THE HOTTEST ACT IN VIDEO DJ-ING
By Azane Louwrens
Craig Schackleton and Wayne Ellis-Lee from Afterlife are said to be the hottest VJ act in South Africa. Hailing from Durban, Craig is a self taught DJ who teamed up with Wayne, a sound technician and DJ. After combining their skills, they began what is today recognised as video DJ-ing. So where does Video DJ-ing originate from? The term itself became popular in its association with MTV’s Video Jockey but its origins date back to the New York club scene of the 70s. However, its antecedents date back as far as the late-1910s. Historically, VJ-ing gets its references from art forms that deal with the synesthetic experience of vision and sound. These historical references are shared with other live audiovisual art forms, such as ‘Live Cinema’, to include the ‘camera obscura’, the ‘panorama’ and ‘diorama’, the ‘magic lantern’, ‘color organ’, and ‘liquid light shows’. In addition to this, Video DJ-ing also has a number of applications. In the music world, instead of a band or DJ playing only music at the venue, Video DJs, like Craig and Wayne, will add creative video mixing and transform the same old songs into new styles and genres. Essentially, this is ‘music with movies’. These ‘artists’ have also taken this concept to the corporate world where they are able to transform a venue by bringing live video footage and company logos into the branding of the event. Video DJs, will in most cases, (and depending on the theme and event), pre-produce video footage. At the actual event, they will overlay this with various other projected layers ranging from simple colour overlays, to animations and live camera feeds. All of
these are operated separately and therein lays the newfound skill of Video DJ-ing. The audience however will experience this as if it is a single video. Their skills as DJs are evident when one considers that they may produce creative videos for a band they know little about. Their natural ability to translate music tempo and rhythm into various video layers within the creative video system is much like when normal DJs will simply; hence their name for this profession – Video DJ. If this is not cool enough, they recently started playing with VMS (Video Moving Systems) which takes projecting into a new dimension. Using movable mirrors in front of the projectors, the whole venue (from roof to floor) now becomes a canvas to project on. In the music world, notably they have worked with the band, Goldfish. Their first project was VJ-ing at a 12-week-long Goldfish gig in Camps Bay, Cape Town. The theme for this event was ‘Submerged’. Taking the passion of the Goldfish musicians, they pre-produced video footage of them surfing and having fun at the beach. This footage was projected onto two big screens as well as on the front of the DJ table. On the nights of the event, Craig and Wayne overlaid live footage as well as various other video layers such as the Goldfish logo, Goldfish animations and typical aquatic colour layers. The latter, combined with live footage of the crowds and footage of Goldfish on each night of the event, was mixed altogether into a ‘single video experience’, in support of Goldfish’s style of crazy visuals and animated characters.
They drew on the animation expertise of Mike Scott, who created the very first animated walking goldfish which was then adopted by the Goldfish band. Mike very cleverly creates storyboards of hand drawn characters and scenes. He then combines this with photos of the artists and mixes it to the beat of the selected music, whilst animating these layers into seamless Goldfish music videos. Craig and Wayne then use these videos during their VJ sets. As Goldfish improvises a lot during their live performances, Craig and Wayne sometimes have to improvise with them by creating video loops of certain sections within the song. They have to keep the timing and progression of the track together as seamlessly as possible. Herein lies the art of VJ-ing in the live music world. With regards to the corporate world, Craig and Wayne were involved in an event for a major retailer in Hout Bay. This was an evening function that was held in an outdoor venue. The ‘canvas’ that they used was the actual building where the event was being hosted. The building itself was a corner structure with recessed windows and cantilevered balconies. Cleverly, Craig and Wayne photographed the building and utilised their technical skills, together with the animated key parts of the architecture. For example, the outline of the building was ‘drawn’ in colour. They also emphasised balconies and recesses. This process is called video mapping. On the night of the event, they set up their projectors strategically so as to project the Video Map of the building onto the actual building. In rhythm with music the effect experienced by the guests was one of the actual building being drawn in outline form. It was almost as if the building was being sketched by an invisible artist. The entire projection was
Craig Schackleton in action. Afterlife performing with Goldfish.
Afterlife VJ-ing at Levi’s Young Guns (above left). VJ Software (above right). Afterlife performing with Goldfish (below).
The Afterlife team incorporates animation and images created by Mike Scott when performing live with Goldfish.
then rendered up with the company logo and event branding. These are just two examples of the work Craig and Wayne have done, but just imagine the endless possibilities of creatively applying VJing and video mapping. One is not limited to VJ-ing in the music world or video mapping at corporate events – these techniques can be applied at any occasion by any industry. There is so much more that Craig and Wayne want to do. I was blown away with what they are still planning. As technology evolves, they want to use this to improve their delivery of VJ-ing. For example, they want to bring the control of what is on the screens to the crowd through audience participation via technologies such as I-Touch phones, WII controllers and the like. What really impressed me about these VJs was the fact that they want to share their skill and knowledge. They are serious about social development and education of the youth of today so much so that they are offering an eight-week short course at AVTI (a music production school) in Cape Town. Next on their list is to take this course to Johannesburg and offer it through SCIM (Soul Candy Institute of Music). The next workshops will be hosted in August/ September and you can find more info at www.avti.co.za for Cape Town and www.scim. co.za for Johannesburg. <
> View videos of Afterlife’s performances
SA’S ZEF TRIO THRA
By Nicky Rehbock
With catchy and crude beats, pre-pubescent bodies, gold teeth, tattoos and meanlooking mullets, hilarious trio, Die Antwoord, have become one of South Africa’s hottest – and most unlikely – exports, landing a deal with a major US label that represents superstars like Eminem and Lady Gaga.
Scenes from Enter The Ninja, directed by Ninja and Rob Malpage.
ASH MUSIC SCENE
And all this since February 2010, when the group emerged from relative obscurity with a series of YouTube videos and their debut album, $O$, posted as a free download on their official website. crashed the group’s server, forcing them to switch their hosting to the major US-based blog site Boing Boing. attests to Die Antwoord’s cultlike global following. Their curious name is Afrikaans for ‘the answer’. ‘Zef’ refers to the group’s X-factor, which seems to simultaneously embody white Afrikaner workingclass trashiness and, according to them, “the ultimate style.” A quick look at YouTube today, four months on, shows that their Enter Within days it went viral and the un- the Ninja video has amassed expected swarm of hits, amounting 5.1-million hits, while Zef Side has to more than a terabyte of data, 2.2-million views, which clearly
South African newspaper Beeld says the term comes from an old make of car, the Ford Zephyr, which small-town folk here would pimp up with modified engines and bulging tyres, to rip through deserted streets during late-night dicing sessions. Disapproving neighbours called these rough types ‘real zefs’. Koos Kombuis, one of the country’s best-known alternative Afrikaans musicians and authors, said earlier this year that ‘zef’ is a word from his childhood, and means ‘common’. But, “these days it’s not necessarily negative. I like being common. It’s like wearing
Scenes from Zef side, directed by Sean Metelerkamp.
high heels with a tracksuit. Being audience and earned instant truly zef takes guts.” praise from well-known celebrities and respected publications.
And guts are certainly what Die Antwoord had in March and April, when they made their first two overseas trips. They began with a mini tour of Europe and the US, and then returned to North America to perform at the prestigious Coachella music festival in California, with a crowd rumoured to be as large as 85 000. Joining a line-up that included world-famous Jay-Z, Beyonce and Gorillaz, the South Africans sent shock-waves through the
Burlesque star Dita von Teese wrote on Twitter that the South Africans were among “the best of Coachella”, and later the New York Times commented that Die Antwoord “fully lived up to its reputation”.
The LA Times was also taken by the “deliciously trashy” trio, reporting that the “suspected novelty act proved they had an overwhelming magnetism and a ferocious, deadly serious lyrical flow.”
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
But who exactly are Die Antwoord, and why has their particular brand of music and brutal image created such a stir? The group call themselves a “fresh, futuristik rap-rave crew from the dark depths of Africa” (sic). Its members are conceptual artist Watkin Tudor Jones, who performs as the roughed-up gangster ‘Ninja’ alongside slinky blonde soprano Yolandi Visser, aka ‘Yo-Landi Vi$$er’, and a rather quiet, portly chap known only as ‘DJ Hi-Tek’.
maintain an air of bizarre intrigue. It’s never quite clear whether they are indeed the portrayed bunch of poor, low-life pals from run-down suburbia, or a slick assembly of manufactured personas created to thrill and shock audiences who’ve grown weary of conventional music genres. Either way, it works.
suggest,” reviewer Miles Keylock writes in the Mail & Guardian Online.
US-based music guide Pitchfork goes a bit deeper in its offbeat analysis Who the hell are Die Antwoord? , calling the outfit “Jones’ latest identity-skewing art project, which, on the surface, is just the most recent in a Writers following the craze have never-ending line of ‘did ya see their own opinions about the that?!’ blog-hopping music memes”. group’s strategy: But, “considering the mix of absurdity, genuine talent and impressive production values, you can’t help but think: are these
“Well, let’s just say that there’s a whole lot more method to their By opting for cleverly crafted, darkly surreal live shows than cryptic media interviews, the trio such seeming slapstick might
guys for real?” Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal writes.
SO BAD, IT’S GOOD
For those who may not immediately appreciate or understand the group’s skilful fusion, Richard Poplak, of Canadian publication The Walrus, offers an artful description of zef rap: “an ungodly potpourri of top-40 hip-hop, chintz house, rave music, DIY beat-making and bad techno.” In other words, a combination so wacky and disturbing you can’t help but be drawn in by it. Jones’s bad-ass alter-ego, Ninja – who has metallic incisors, heavy gold neck chains and a patchwork of prison-gang tattoos – is also straight out of the Cape Flats. In fact, “this is where Ninja spent years, mining for meaning among the violence, the misery, the strong familial bonds – developing not just a style, but an entire persona”, Poplak writes. Jones has been compared to Eminem in this regard, posing as a “white-boy rapper who successfully appropriated the energy and anger of the black ghetto”, editor Kevin Bloom comments in The Daily Maverick. But Die Antwoord themselves put it best in their $O$ album intro, implying they embrace even more than just “zef-ness” and Cape Flats street cred: “I represent South African culture. In this place, you get a lot of different things … Blacks. Whites. Coloureds. English. Afrikaans. Xhosa. Zulu.
The group’s heavy use of slang and irreverent lyrics emanate from the culture of the Western Cape’s coloured people, who were forced to settle on the dusty plains outside Cape Town during the apartheid years, so authorities could too make space for more white families within the city. Most communities on the socalled Cape Flats are descended from slaves brought to the country from east and central Africa, the Khoisan who lived in the region at the time of colonisation in the 1800s, and other indigenous African, and white people. This complex racial mixing – combined with a legacy of crossover culture, displacement and oppression – still haunt the area today, and crime, drug abuse and gangsterism are rife. But there are also likeable things that stem from this notorious place, like a highly expressive and oftenimpersonated dialect – a mix of mainly English and Afrikaans that’s often very funny if you get the gist – and a thriving hybrid of hip-hop music from groups like Brasse van die Kaap and Kallitz. It’s this that Die Antwoord has picked up on and, perhaps, parodied to blow the minds – and ears – of fans.
Watookal,” says Ninja. “I’m like all these different people, f****d into one person.” Yo-landi chips in, in her little voice: “Whateva, man.” Poplak believes this makes Ninja “the ultimate South African”. The idea is “thrillingly, gloriously radical”, and an essential step towards racial cohesion in South Africa, he writes. Well, we’ll never quite know whether Die Antwoord are actually out to unite an entire nation – or simply cause a bit of controversy and entertaining hype along the way – as they’ll probably never tell us, but that’s okay. Their rise to fame has been a gritty and fascinating study, and has carved out new, brave arenas of performance and expression. Let’s hope there’s a lot more to follow ... <
> View Die Antwoord’s website
> View the Zef side video here. > View The Ninja video here.
This article is republished courtesy of www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com
And all this since February 2010, when the group mate style.” emerged from relative obscurity with a series of YouTube videos and their debut album, $O$, posted South African newspaper Beeld says the term comes from an old make of car, the Ford Zephyr, as a free download on their official website. which small-town folk here would pimp up with Within days it went viral and the unexpected modified engines and bulging tyres, to rip through swarm of hits, amounting to more than a terabyte deserted streets during late-night dicing sessions. of data, crashed the group’s server, forcing them Disapproving neighbours called these rough types to switch their hosting to the major US-based blog ‘real zefs’. site Boing Boing. Koos Kombuis, one of the country’s best-known A quick look at YouTube today, four months on, alternative Afrikaans musicians and authors, said shows that their Enter the Ninja video has amassed earlier this year that ‘zef’ is a word from his child5.1-million hits, while Zef Side has 2.2-million hood, and means ‘common’. But, “these days it’s views, which clearly attests to Die Antwoord’s cult- not necessarily negative. I like being common. It’s like global following. Their curious name is Afri- like wearing high heels with a tracksuit. Being kaans for ‘the answer’. truly zef takes guts.” ‘Zef’ refers to the group’s X-factor, which seems to simultaneously embody white Afrikaner working- INTERNATIONAL HIT class trashiness and, according to them, “the ulti- And guts are certainly what Die Antwoord had in
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Slick by Tiffany Marx. Photo courtesy of AngloGold Ashanti.
Ensuring that her handmade pieces are high in quality and integrity, Tiffany Marx produces jewellery items that are both fresh and attractive. There was no hesitation for Tiffany to open her own studio straight after graduating from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. This step, she knew, had to be taken with confidence if she wanted to become an independent designer. exhibitions and design expos. “These are great and valuable platforms to meet potential clients and to catch up with your peers in the industry,” says Tiffany.
“Sometimes, when the opportunity presents itself, I loan all my jewellery out to friends and associates when they have to attend business functions or weddings and I load them with business cards and, voila! – an instant marketAs a start-up business, Tiffany had limited re- ing team. I have also established great relationsources for marketing and had to find innova- ships with the fashion editors of some top magtive solutions to make her mark in a very com- azines and I send them jewellery on a monthly petitive industry. She explains: “You have to get basis to use in their shoots. It’s tricky to get creative, especially when there is no marketing your foot in the door, but once there, the impact budget. I am very good at shamelessly advertis- is priceless, and although you do a bit of runing by wearing my own jewellery and sharing ning around, it’s fabulous advertising.” the details of the pieces with anyone who wants to know more. People love to listen to design- As in any business, communication and people ers who are passionate about their work. This skills cannot be emphasised enough. People immediately creates an interest.” love personal attention and if there is a mutual respect and a strong work ethic, it is a win-win situation to a potential client. “Making sure that I always get the contact details of potential clients does not only make for good business but also gives you the opportunity to build relationships with potential clients. Of course it is hard work not to lose touch with those who love your work, but people do appreciate that extra effort.”
Her pieces are quite eye-catching so people ask her about them all the time, so she is her own walking talking billboard. Although she has produced brochures and other marketing tools, the personal ‘showcase approach seems to work best for her. The public just love speaking to the actual designer and this is another reason why it is vital to attend and participate in
Tiffany describes her style as modern, clean and definitely not commercial. “Some of my work is very minimalist and other pieces are very feminine and pretty. It is important for me to keep producing fresh concepts. I also continue to try and reinvent existing things. I think I have managed to find a midway between way-out but practical and comfortable pieces. This is why I believe so many people appreciate my work. These pieces are also jewellery that I personally love to wear. It is very seldom that I need to produce a piece that does not excite me. So far so good, and, it’s great fun!” Tiffany explains that one of the most valuable abilities of any well-trained designer is to find inspiration in almost everything and anything around you. “I have always been inspired by nature – the shapes of pebbles, texture, line, balance and rhythm in organic shapes and landscapes. Japanese details and motifs also inspire me. The secret lies in the quality and the uniqueness and the skill you use for interpretation. This will determine the level of the final product.”
Besides being creative and a good designer, there are many other life skills that are vital if you want to be successful. In the field of jewellery design Tiffany feels that you first need to establish which part of the jewellery industry you would like to specialise in. Ambition is vital if you consider going solo like she did. To get your work noticed should be a major priority. You need to be a risk taker and a hard worker with strong work ethics and a game plan. Tiffany explains, “I did a test run before I went solo and started running my own shows and exhibitions, just to see what the response would be, and if I could stand a chance to be a successful independent designer. I never expected the amazing response I received and if I did not take the risk, I would never have known that I can make it on my own”.
Her favourite two pieces are undoubtedly those she designed for the AngloGold Ashanti Urban Tribes collection in 2009. “These two pieces were the biggest technical challenges to date and working with so much gold on such a big scale was pretty stressful and intimidating.” Together Independent jewellery designers are often chal- with Brett Bouwer, who is also a goldsmith, lenged with the struggle to strike a balance be- they tackled this exciting brief set by the spontween what they like and what the mainstream sors, AngloGold Ashanti. The theme was Urban public demand. Tiffany says that she has al- Tribes, and they had to choose a ‘tribe set’ consistways made jewellery that she loves and she has ing of five pairs of fictitious characters that inbeen really lucky that her style is popular with cluded their two pieces called The Futurist and the public. “I have not really paid much atten- Urban Street. “We even received personality protion to trends and fashion; just stayed true to files for these characters,” says Tiffany, “and they my sense of aesthetics and produced jewellery had detailed breakdowns of their hobbies, lifethat I love to wear. Every now and then I get style, interests and more”. Eventually Tiffany and private commissions that incorporate designs Brett set out to design pieces that would fit that my clients are dead-set on. Although I try their personalities and lifestyle. “Once the conand guide them, one also needs to understand cepts were finalised, we manufactured mock-ups and respect the fact that we all have a different from metal and paper and used these to detersense of what is beautiful.” mine the amount of gold we needed to request
Vision (above) by Tiffany Marx. Photo courtesy of AngloGold Ashanti. Cherry blossom brooch (right). Photo by Timothy Atkins. Rock ring (below) by Tiffany Marx. Photo by Timothy Atkins.
Satellite ring (above) and Bangle (right) by Tiffany Marx. Photos by Timothy Atkins.
LTR: Large pod ring, Curved flower ring and Volcanic ring by Tiffany Marx. Photos by Timothy Atkins.
from AngloGold Ashanti. The final results were pieces already reflect the natural elements that great and we were amongst the winners of the inspired them,” says Timothy. And that was competition in 2009.” Besides having a whole lot of talent and a brilenough. Keeping with a simplistic styling and showing the pieces in stark contrast with the black Perspex created the perfect setting to liant marketing strategy one also needs a number truly reflect the elements and unique characterof other creative tools to incorporate into your istics of each piece. game plan if you want a striking presentation of your final product. Creative applications like exTimothy continues: “When shooting jewellery hibition displays and photography can give the you have to know the complexities of lighting edge to your final display or marketing strategy, and explore it. Every photographer has his or provided that the application of the one discipline strongly complements the other. her own way of doing things, but I believe that by understanding the production process of jewellery can be an incredible help for the phoWorking with a photographer who understands tographic process. Due to the reflective nature the subject matter is crucial so that the true charof metals, I used a jewellery tent and constant acter and quality of the product can be reflected. light, which is specifically designed to provide Photographer, Timothy Atkins, who have been soft light. This process is very time-consuming collaborating with Tiffany explains that: “it is quite as each piece and every detail reflects the light crucial to first understand the jewellery, the differently. When shooting specific pieces, difcreator and the process of making the jewellery ferent parts of the jewellery reflect more than before you can snap away.” others so you have to carefully take different sections of the same piece at different expoElaborating on their latest collaboration, Tiffany sures while positioning the camera on a tripod. and Timothy explain that they have met several This process is call bracketing.” times to discuss and study the characteristics of the pieces and what it meant to her. Timothy And finally, after the shoot the best shots are believes that experimenting with different options is always a good idea so that one can eventually select the best option. In the case of Tifchosen and postproduction kicks in when individual stages of the shoot gets edited. Some photographs are combined through the use of
fany’s work the original styling that they planned software, while unwanted reflections and colfor the shoot was overpowering and took away our are also taken care of,” explains Timothy. the element of uniqueness. It seems that the synergy that is created by Tif“I eventually decided to photograph her complex fany’s jewellery and Timothy’s photography designs on clean black Perspex to enhance the makes this pair a winning combination. < shapes, shadows, reflections and focus. The
Weddings are complex affairs. For centuries soon-to-be-brides had a plethora of things to consider when planning for their ‘special day’ and priorities shifted from generation to generation to align with the zeitgist of the time. Yet one aspect remains the primary priority: The wedding dress. In most instances the wedding dress is the first and often the most expensive aspect to deplete the resources in the wedding wallet. But, unbeknownst to most, wedding desseses also deplete the earth’s resources. Very few brides ever question the impact that these often multi-layers of fabric and the abundance of jewels, lace and decorative accessories plastered on these dresses have on the Mother Earth’s resources…until now. Durban University of Technology Creative Fashion Design Development lecturer and owner of Dimity evening and bridal wear label, Wendy Schultz, is now questioning the eco-friendliness of these much-sought-after garments. She is currently completing a Masters Degree at the Fashion & Textiles Department. The focus of her study is the development of an environmentally friendly bridal gown collection for the responsible consumer. “I don’t want to just make wedding dresses. I want to create emotionally durable gowns that a bride will never want to get rid of, due to her emotional connection to the garment itself. Either the origin of the gown or the passion someone else crafted into it, creates this connection,” says Wendy. “I have been designing and making custom gowns for the last seven years. With each garment I become more and more aware of the lack of concern for the environment during the production processes, like the manufacturing of textiles and distribution. Today it is common to see a public figure showing off her show-stopper garment on TV or viewing gowns in the glossies emphasising the sheer quantity of the fabric and where it was imported from. By now, we are all well aware of the vast negative effects the global textile industry has on the environment. The saying ‘I’m only going to get married once so I want the best no matter what’ is no reason to be more wasteful and less responsible towards the environment on your wedding day.”
Reclaimed silk bourette and organic cotton (Soil Association certified) corsetted gown featuring a reclaimed lace peplum and self-fabric waist belt (far left). Back and front details showing reclaimed buttons made from glass, pearl and shell.
According to Wendy, her turning point occurred while doing research on this very topic for her MTech study, while trawling through the Internet on the look out for anything ‘eco and wedding’ related. Although, she discovered a wealth of ‘green’ wedding sites, they only pertained to vintage wedding dresses or second hand gowns. Although these may be more ecofriendly inclined than the normal wedding dress, they are not practical for women who need custom fits, or for those wanting to sport the latest Spring/Summer 2011/ 2012 collection with a ‘clear conscience’? “This insight presented a clear gap in the local market and I realised that an alignment between trendy eco-weddings and the bridal gowns worn to these functions
need to be created. I wanted to design a collection of gowns made entirely from environmentallyfriendly fabrics, whislt having socially and ethically sound processes in place,” says Wendy.
Wendy’s first step was to uncover what exactly could be considered eco-friendly when considering the various processes required by bridal gown design and construction. Fabric sourcing, design models and theories and technical sewing procedures all She says: “Thus far, I have put needed to comply with the vari- together a strong collection made ous sustainability standards. from re-useable fabrics which I have sourced from local antique and Wendy’s research indicates that second-hand shops. This will dethe sourcing of fabrics remains to termine the aesthetics of my probe the biggest hurdle which holds totype collection and will dictate back the development and growth everything to follow.” of an eco-friendly bridal movement. For a gown to be considered as an
EcoBride gown, the fabric must either be a new organic fabric, where the raw materials are farmed and the fabric milled close to its source of final use, or the gown must be a second-hand/vintage piece that would have otherwised been discarded. Both types are rarities in South Africa. Research on obtaining organic fabrics, and the EcoBride movement in general, continues to evolve with and as the textile industry develops.
The second step of development requires the most creativity and technical knowledge, as each piece of sourced textiles must be assessed according to meterage availability which is often very restricted especially with vintage materials. The condition of the piece also needs to be determined and if and how a pattern could be cut from it. “A prototype example of this is a vintage silk bourette safari suit which was cut up for a corsetted gown with an old tray cloth reinvented as a peplum!” explains Wendy.
To ensure creative thinking, design models and theories were incorporated into her thinking processes. Theories like emotional durable design, body dressing and the green fetish, cradle to cradle, consumer behaviour, and ‘slow’ versus ‘instant’ fashion systems, assisted in clarifying what needed to be included in the design process and assessing the development of the collection according to what should, or would, sell.
The EcoBride brand services that are offered also include the reworking of existing gowns, even those ancient 1850 heirlooms that have been in families for generations. These transformations of the old to the new, entail the creation of completely new or adjusted gowns created from the old and trousseau collections of lace and textiles, She explains that “these two propositions fit into the ‘emotionally durable design’ model, since the resulting gowns carry an inherent sentimental value to the owner. These gowns will never end up in the bin!”
Feather and organic cotton organdie hand-moulded hairflower (far left).Oversized sinamay and lace hairpiece made from lace off-cuts from the bridal gowns are used to embellish petals (centre and left).
Another design ethos of EcoBride is the recycling and conservative use of raw materials. All off-cut fabrics are kept to be used in the creation of hairpieces, small purses or bunting used at the wedding venue. In addition, EcoBride also sources and uses old architectural plans and recycles these to double up as pattern paper, therefore increasing the recyling footprint in the production process.
Woza Moya at HillAids and St Agnes Beader’s Association. The beadwork and crochet are used for all the extra embellishments on EcoBride gowns. “The emphasis on personal hand-crafted details and the use of sewing techniques which follow couture guidelines means that EcoBride can be branded as a ‘slow fashion’ brand,” says Wendy.
bridal range produced in South Africa. Now, soon-to-be-brides can be well informed about what they buy and where the gowns come from. Enjoying their special day is now made easier, knowing that their wedding and their dresses are eco-friendly. <
With anticipation ED> will watch Furthermore, EcoBride also com- the development of EcoBride and missions crochet and beadwork hope that this new brand will set from specialist crafters at local some valuable standards for a unemployment associations like truly environmentally friendly
Rich aroma. Refined taste.
Find your inspiration
THE DESIGN CHALLENGE OF THIS DECADE IS EDUCATION FOR ALL
By Mohammed Jogie
Xo [sic], it’s pretty simple. We designers live in a world that affords us tremendous privilege. From top design schools to dozens of industry professionals as mentors, even our standing in global competition is something that Bafana Bafana can take a lesson from if they have an ambition of being world champions. Include our Apples, Smart cars, Photoshop and oodles of Internet used for the critical research we require – we doing pretty OK. Many of us are thinking of the next Loerie, how much magenta to lay down for that fab corporate identity we’re working on and how it might translate on the web, and so on, and so on. I’m saying that this is cool but, as educated South Africans, let’s pause for a single moment... Imagine not having access to electricity, quality education, basic healthcare or running water. You don’t even have to drive to Nongoma to witness this phenomenon. Just pop into downtown Gugulethu, Alex or KwaMashu. You know, quality education is really the key to unlocking the potential of every one of our citizens and overcoming these seemingly insurmountable challenges.
As a design industry we’ve made progress like getting government to acknowledge design as a school subject, albeit with no or very little teaching talent to deliver it. Notwithstanding the fact that design is still not seen as a worthy discipline for a university entrance. But these are certainly challenges we can triumph over. At least our kids have access to design education from a young age, even if it’s not altogether perfect. I’d like to present a novel idea (that’s not mine at all). What if we could equip the ‘other’ kids with libraries in their homes, books and research, games and musical tools, email and the all-wise Internet. That one such tool is the XO Laptop from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) – a project led by none other than ex-MIT director Nicholas Negroponte. So why’s this so cool? It’s bloody well designed for a start, Apple cool! Check out pics of the current shipping XO here, and next generation concept designs by fuseproject here. It caters for the world’s harshest conditions including being able to work in direct sunlight. It can be charged with electricity
The important space that is The Kliptown Youth Program (top). Everything said (centre). “Check it out bru!” (above).
or an A3 sized solar panel. And, for me, what is The kids take ownership of the devices and take most compelling is the single-minded insistence them home. Because they have no electricity, the on the part of Negroponte and crew to not allow XOs are brought back to the Centre each day for selfish business interests to ‘poison’ this initiative. recharging. While the kids are at school, the team Please don’t get me wrong, I respect business motives, but in some priority areas it needs to be careclean the machines and host basic literacy classes for high-school dropouts. They also host after-
fully managed. This means we can throw on Ubuntu school classes for teenagers. Add to this the abiland write stuff in isiZulu if we needed to. Of course, ity for kids to use the devices for recording and it ships with Sugar, a Linux-based OS that offers a photographing special occasions at home and whole lot already. you’ll see that what Thulani and his team have achieved is short of a miracle. Thrown into the mix These babies cost in the region of $229 US. Yes, are sporting programmes, a feeding scheme for 350 it’s a little steep. OLPC want it to be sub-$100 and children, performing arts, a student exchange proare working hard on making that a reality. I urge gramme and a community vegetable garden. On a you to play their video (click here), which talks national scale, the team has helped deploy XOs in about kids being their mission and not a market. Dlamini, Swaziland, Limpopo, KZN and MpumaAnd that is the key. Its not about the tech at all, its langa. about education. The challenges are many. To date, government reAllow me to bring it back home and share an insponse has been unenthusiastic despite strong credible story that is unfolding by an incredible support from the district education authorities. team of social entrepreneurs led by Director Thu- Funding is an ever-present menace and real support lani Madondo and his team at the Kliptown Youth from corporates are thin, but improving. Program. The backdrop is the impoverished community of Kliptown, Soweto. Many will remember And our design challenge? Get involved. Support it as the place where the historic Freedom Charter the effort through active participation so that we was adopted so many years ago. Today, this community continues to be dogged by almost any social challenge one can fathom. Thulani, a 20-year old dynamo has established a facility with around 300 XOs catering for all who live there. On less than a shoestring and a dime, with passion and heart, they are transforming an entire community About the author: Artist, designer, writer and enand giving hope to generations. American families trepreneur Mohammed Jogie studied Fine Art and and individuals, not from South Africa or the local Graphic Design. He is founder of Creative Week corporations or governments, have donated every and principal of ‘my main mojo’, a specialist creaone of these computers. tive consultancy. < can help to design a future for all children, one child at a time. Kliptown Youth Program can be contacted at thu_ email@example.com
“Who you looking at?” (left). The Kliptown Youth Program Director and Programme lead, Thulani Madondo (right).
The Kliptown Youth Program veggie garden (left). Teens from the soccer programme join in (right).
Bunny ears up! (left). The charging station (centre). Charged and ready to go! (right).
DESIGNOMICS: DESIGN DRIVING ECONOMICS
By Fatima Cassim
One of the key themes which emerged at this year’s Design Indaba in Cape Town was the role that design plays in changing the world economy. In context of this prevalent theme, Bruce Nussbaum narrated the story of how he became a design guru. Nussbaum’s interest in the link between design and business began at Business Week, where his articles about incorporating elements of design into business methods generated immense curiosity and attention. The former editor at Business Week is now professor of Innovation and Design at the Parsons School for Design in New York and is regarded as a leading advocate for design thinking and innovation.
Nussbaum, a self-proclaimed birdwatcher, shared with his audience his experience of seeing a black swan while in Cape Town. To him, a black swan represents a harbinger and signifies a shift in trends; it is a concept of expecting the unexpected in today’s world and economy. In light of this, design can also be equated with the idea of being a black swan because we are currently faced with an important and interesting trend where design is becoming “more important to the bottom line than technology”. Nussbaum refers to this new trend of design driving economics as ‘designomics’. Today, design has matured into an independent and intellectual discipline that is increasingly being sought after as a means of bringing about unexpected and intentional change in the world. In the past there was a preference for business leaders to employ left-brain or more analytical thinking as a problem-solving method. Owing to the complexity of the problems with which they are now faced, these leaders have begun to realise the role that right-brain or design thinking can play in addressing contemporary challenges such as global warming and sustainability to name a few. More than ever before, designers, in their preferred black plumage, are being accepted into business circles and are no longer disregarded as ugly ducklings. The story of the ugly duckling tells of a little bird that is disregarded by the other ducks and is teased for being different, until he matures into a beautiful swan. The moral of the original tale is about transformation and about acceptance. It ties in well with
the way design, and more specifically design thinking, has been received over the years. The increasing acceptance and adoption of design thinking is also influencing the contemporary role of designers. Designers today are found upstream in the innovation process and they’re playing a more strategic role. In an interesting article on design thinking in the Harvard Business Review, Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO (an influential innovation and design firm in California) highlights this strategic role of design: “Now, rather than asking designers to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers’ needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results in limited value creation; the latter is strategic, and leads to dramatic new forms of value.” This changing role of designers within the context of business and innovation is being influenced by a number of global forces. Nussbaum identifies three such catalysts, namely the rise and fall of nations, the rise and fall of generations and the rise of new digital cultures. The rise and fall of nations refers to the transfer of world power “from the West to the rest”. The acronym BASIC illustrates this point by recognising emerging markets such as Brazil, South Africa, India and China as leading players in the global economy. With regard to the rise and fall of generations, Nussbaum discussed the nature of Generation Y. This generation differs from Generation X in that there is a shift of focus from “materiality to shaping systems”. This implies that there is a changing concept of the nature of
designed products and it also points to the significance of the design process and no longer only the end-product of that process. Within the design process, the value system is moving from one of owning to one of sharing and hence there is a great emphasis on cocreation and multidisciplinary teams. Nussbaum’s informal presentation and his “intimate dialogue with 1 000 people” at the Indaba were in keeping with this idea of a collaborative approach. The changing values of Generation Y cannot be separated from the influence of technology and the rise of new digital cultures. In particular, social media (such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter) are facilitating the rise of digital cultures and allowing them to co-exist with real-world cultures. More power is being placed in the hands of the people and, as a result, a new challenge for designers is to design with these people and not for them. All this points towards dramatic cultural and social shifts which business needs to consider in order for innovation to be relevant and sustainable. Consequently, design thinking, as a human-centered methodology, facilitates innovation through a better understanding of what people want and need. The current success of design in business internationally, with examples such as Apple, IBM and Sony as forerunners in the consumer electronics market, indicates that business today values a culture of design. Within a local context too, Nussbaum reflected on South Africa’s diverse and design-rich culture and urged South African designers to consider the ways in which a culture of design can drive the
South African economy. However, in order for such a culture to flourish and to aid the economy, it is going to be important for design thinking to be widespread within business. The advantage of design thinking is that it is not only restricted to designers but can be nurtured in areas or domains outside of professional design practice. Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, Canada, also affirms that “we are on the cusp of a design revolution in business” and as a result, “today’s business people don’t need to understand designers better, they need to become designers”. The challenge, therefore, lies in education’s ability to incorporate design thinking in general education as well as business education to produce “T-shape” thinkers – that is, thinkers who combine the vertical leg of analytical thinking with the horizontal leg of lateral and creative thinking. Since design is swimming in previously unchartered waters, there is no imminent end to this tale. This is only the beginning for design in business and ultimately, the secret of success for design is for it to continue to be like a swan: smooth and unruffled on top, but paddling furiously underneath. <
> View Bruce Nussbaum’s blog, Nussbaum
on Design, here.
> Tim Brown’s Design Thinking article in the
Harvard Business Review here.
THE GHANA THINK TANK:
DEVELOPING THE FIRST WORLD
By Christopher Robbins
I am an American, paid by the Japanese, to developed world had a lot to learn from tell how you think. At least I was. the developing world. For much of my life I worked in foreign countries, problem-solving in places far from my hometown. I grew up in New York City, but then worked in West Africa, former Yugoslavia and the Fiji Islands. During this time I saw how many international organisations hired people to solve problems in places they didn’t even live. New York could – and should – learn from Kokrobite (a small fishing village in Ghana).
The Ghana think tank begins
In 2006 John Ewing, Matey Odonkor and I formed the Ghana Think Tank. Carmen Montoya joined the project in 2009. In brief, the Ghana Think Tank is a network of think tanks from the developing world, formed to solve the problems of the First World. We started in 2006 with think tanks in Ghana, Cuba and El Salvador, and have since expanded to include Mexico, Serbia, Iran and Ethiopia.
These external solutions often didn’t work, or even hurt: replacing a well with a pump that then breaks, which forces people to go back to the river for their water source; building a chimney to help smoke escape from a mud-hut kitchen, which causes an increase in mosquitoes and malaria; designing technology to create local products that no-one To begin, we collect problems in a specific will use… community of the developed world – so far we have targeted the United States and the The irony was that while I saw external solu- United Kingdom: Boston, New York, Provitions fail, I was seeing tonnes of working dence, Westport, Cardiff, Penarth and Liversolutions coming from the communities pool. To get these problems, we use a number themselves. I saw people make a forge for of different techniques. We interview people melting metal out of mud and a goatskin. I on the street, build custom mailboxes, dissaw maps of ocean currents made from tribute postcards, and have even built a video woven sticks, and stories memorised with booth that records people’s 30 secondpatterns made from string. problems for upload to the think tanks’ server. Pretty quickly, I realised that it was ridiculous to think that the ‘developed’ world could have all of the answers for the ‘developing’ world. I had seen the impact of external solutions, and knew that in many ways, the We send those problems to our think tanks in Ghana, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Ethiopia, Iran and Serbia. The think tanks then propose solutions, which we enact physically back
Mapping out problems and solutions from the think tanks.
in the community that proposed the problems, whether they strike us as brilliant or improbable. In the past, solutions have involved games of street chess initiated between neighbouring but isolated cultures; renaming a dog ‘Love’, dog-tags and all; hiring immigrants to attend social functions in a wealthy Connecticut suburb; combating pesticide use through a dandelion promotion campaign, including dandelion recipe-books and replanting workshops; helping people replace the PowerPoint presentations in their lives with social theatre, and projecting slides of local traffic accidents caused by speeding onto public structures. Actions have ranged from tough (building cement bollards to prevent parking on sidewalks) to fun (painting the undersides of umbrellas with sunshine and then doing sunnyday things in the rain) to edgy (teaching drug addicts to build African instruments out of found materials, so they can play them to earn money instead of robbing.)
The El Salvador think tank (members of the rural radio station Radio Victoria) clearly takes a critical stance as they create solutions, using their think tank as a platform to interrogate American culture – a term they rightfully take issue with: “We are at the
centre of America, so why would you be
called America?” It was El Salvador who proposed many of the more socially awkward solutions, having us hire immigrant day labourers to attend social functions, and replace PowerPoint presentations with social theatre. Our Iran think tank (formerly the Sazmanab Project) uses humour and heartfelt gestures. Their solution for the generation gap was to collect ‘funny, dirty memories’ from the elderly. In Wales, they solved the problem of mean people on the street by designing T-shirts carrying the owners’ smiling portraits. “A large number of people have no concept of social interaction with other passing stran-
Cultural difference and problem-solving
The project is focused on the differences between cultures, and how these affect problem-solving and assumptions. Over the years we have found that our different think tanks do not form one solid front of the developing world, but each use their own strategies to solve other people’s problems.
gers. They look through you or worse, at you, like you’re something they’ve trodden in, with disgust and bitter resentment.” So we stopped people who were walking down the street with scowls on their faces, asked them to smile, took their photo, and made them T-shirts with their smiling faces. They were all invited to a T-shirt collection event, so they could meet, have a drink on the beach, get their T-shirts, and smile.
Funny, Dirty Memories (top left). Installing parking blocks dressed as Liverpool City workers (centre left). From the dandelion replanting workshop in Westport (left). Ghana Think Tank installation in Penarth, Wales (above).
In Wales, they solved the problem of mean people on the street by designing T-shirts carrying the owners’ smiling portraits.
It is important to point out that while the Ghana Think Tank project uncovers many problems and generates many solutions, the goal is not simply to solve problems through a cross-cultural process. We developed this approach to explore the cultural boundaries and blind spots that can “Now,” she said, “when I yell at my dog, I call often wreck a design process. him ‘Love,’ and it makes me love him more.” As a result, she said she has been taking Most designers (and I use that word broadly, him on more walks, making him less des- to encompass designers of ideas, solutions, perate for attention, and barking less. and scenarios) work in cultures outside of Serbia’s approach has been very practical, though interspersed with lots of jokes and laughter. The problem of people parking their cars on the sidewalk in front of a school was solved by us dressing as official city construction workers and installing our own parking blocks/bollards. By purposely seeking solutions from faraway places, our goal is to amplify these cultural On their suggestion, we fought speeding differences, to let a design process make in Westport by projecting public slide shows cultural difference apparent. So, we look of speeding accidents in the area at the for answers from outside the elite circles sites where speeding is a problem, and by of stereotypical think tanks, because we placing photos of local speeding accidents have realised that sometimes change under the windshield-wipers of parked cars. does come from unexpected places. < So, every think tank has a different approach > Learn more about the Ghana Think Tank here. to problem-solving, coming from very different cultural backgrounds. Some solutions have worked incredibly well, while others have been embarrassing struggles with unintended consequences. their own, even if they are working in their own country. Every industry has its own culture – in fact, every company has its own culture – so every designer must contend with the fact that his or her client is working within a different culture.
Ghana has a very people-focused practice. Their solution for the generation gap was to take families on greeting walks in the afternoon, knocking on the door of every house in their neighbourhood, whether they known them or not. They came up with the ingenious ‘Love’ solution, in which a woman with a dog who barked too much changed her dog’s name from Duke to Love.
Not just problems and solutions
Ad campaign for Jonga Trust, created by Greame Bettle and copywriter Robert Selmer-Olsen.
CANNES LIO CREATIVE CO
By Joe Krenzer Cannes, France. Home to many great artists and where the cream of the world’s young creative fraternity compete for the title of the best Cannes Lion Young Creative. Still in their early 20s, art director Greame Bettle and copywriter Robert Selmer-Olsen, from Jupiter Drawing Room (JHB), created an ad campaign for Jonga Trust, an organisation dedicated to restoring the quality of life lost due to treatable visual impairment. This brought them the honour to represent South Africa as finalists in the competition. Greame says: “A South African team has not won the international leg to date and that would be the ultimate result to do our country proud.”
“Not everyone c artist can come
ON YOUNG OMPETITION
ED> caught up with these two young creatives just before they jetted off to Cannes. Where did this venture begin and where did you study? Greame says: “I started out doing a diploma course in advertising at Varsity College but that turned out to focus on account management, so I enrolled at Vega Durban and studied under a great lecturer, Greg Tregoning, where I got my degree as an art director. I was then offered a job at Jupiter Drawing Room in Johannesburg and has stayed there ever since.” “We spend the majority of our lives at work and wasting that in an uninspiring job seemed such a waste. So that’s why I decided on a career in advertising. Each day brings with it new and exciting challenges and a chance to exercise the bit between my ears.” Robert explains that he always wanted to work in a creative field. “I tried acting but thought that I’d move to advertising in the hope that it would be a more financially stable career. After a short stint at Vega JHB I started work at Publicis. I then moved to Jupiter in November last year and things have been fantastic ever since. It’s amazing how fast things move in this industry.” Would you consider yourself to follow a specific style or trend? “Each brief comes with its own challenges and visual language. But it does help staying in the know of what’s hot and current – be it the latest YouTube videos or new media available. Just when you think you have seen it all, there is
can be a great artist, but a great e from anywhere.” Peter O’Toole
someone in the agency who will find something fresh. The Web has been great in that sense; your resources are vast and the users dictate trends. Not us,” says Greame. What inspired you to enter this particular campaign? “We wanted to focus on the quality of life you lose due to visual impairment. We were a bit worried that the eye chart was clichéd, but at the same time we wanted to keep the message simple. I suppose the final outcome was a happy medium between of simplicity and creativity,” says Robert. Greame explains that the process for the Young Lions was pretty hectic. They had 48 hours to produce the entry from start to finish. Although that’s not much different from some creative briefs faced daily. The brief was released on the Friday morning and they had the weekend to brainstorm and create the ads. “You have to do two press ads which are either two different ads or two ads that are part of a campaign. It’s daunting not knowing whether you’re going to land on something great or find yourself in the land of OK ads,” says Greame. “Then comes the waiting and wondering if the ads will do anything and trying to second guess what angles other people might have taken that could be better than yours.”
very common, it can be cured and requested donations to help a good cause. We were primarily targeting people with money to donate. The secondary market would be the people with eye problems to create awareness of available treatment.” Should design have a conscience and reflect something about our society? The response from both creatives was clear: “There is a big trend towards doing design that actually has a purpose. Opposed to just doing ‘pretty’ work. The nature of our industry is persuasive and we try and get people to buy, so we should at the same time give back to the community. This is a good way to use creativity to make a difference to people’s lives that very often don’t have a voice of their own. We think that all people who work with mass media should be aware that they have a huge responsibility towards large audiences.” According to Cannes Lion CEO Phillip Thomas “Winning the Young Lions Competition is a hugely rewarding experience that will change your career forever.”
Greame says, “We would love to stand up on the international stage and receive a medal. I think that would be a true career changer. In my opinion the South African leg is just the beginning. It’s “The medium was dictated to us in the brief. We the international win that would make all the difused the eye chart in a visual which represent the ference”. things you love that are gradually getting smaller to the point that they can’t be enjoyed anymore. When asked if they had any advice to young creaAll we had to figure out was what these things tives, they both replied that there are so many would be.” South African designers that are well respected and have received international acclaim. You can What message are you conveying and who was also follow your dreams, remain inspired and at your target market? “It’s frightening to know that the same time not forget to have lots of fun while some people in our country have treatable visual doing so. “If you love your craft it’ll love you back. impairment but don’t have access to basic medical care and so believe they are permanently blind. At time of writing, results of the Cannes Lions Young We tried to convey that this is a condition that is Creatives Competition was not yet released. <
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A LEADERSHIP LAUNCH PAD FOR YOUNG CREATIVES
Michael Craig, a 22-year-old interior design student of the Design School of Southern Africa won this year’s Design Achievers award. Michael developed the Dry-Pod, a concept for a compact shelter to protect homeless people from adverse weather and other conditions. The Design Achievers award ceremony was held at Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind on Africa Day, 25 May. A total of 18 students from various design disciplines took part in this year’s Design Achievers Award scheme. The scheme aims to develop design leadership amongst young designers and has been presented by the SABS Design Institute since 1987. This year eight design students from other African countries were also included in the preceding three-day-long workshops.
CHANGING THE FUTURE THROUGH DESIGN
In the late eighties the Design Achievers Award was born of the belief that opportunities should be created for young designers to define the future and to prove that South Africa is a country with great creative potential. This initiative is based on the fact that design leadership will grow the industry and that the design leaders of tomorrow will be instrumental in promoting and stimulating our country’s design, innovation and technology industries. For more than two decades young people from a variety of design disciplines have come together to share their design talent, to learn more about the world of business and to be nurtured in a creative environment in order to bring out the best in them.
The theme of the Design Achievers award is Hands-on, Minds-on, Hearts-on. Nominations are invited from all tertiary design institutions in South Africa. Students submit a design business concept which could contribute towards solving a social, environmental, industrial or cultural problem currently experienced in South Africa. The winner is selected on the strength of his or her leadership potential, portfolio work, as well as the viability of the design business concept.
LEADERSHIP TO CHANGE THE DESIGN LANDSCAPE
In her keynote address at the award ceremony, Dr Bonakele Mehlomakulu, CEO of the SABS said that the Design Achievers programme has proved to be so much more than was initially anticipated. She said that some of the past Design Achievers winners and nominees have made an indelible mark on the design landscape, both in South Africa and abroad. “There are those Design Achievers who’ve become outstanding leaders in their chosen fields; others again have excelled in design output. Others have achieved outstanding entrepreneurship and diversity in their careers and then there are those Design Achievers who have ploughed back their talents in the community through education and social entrepreneurship,” Dr Mehlomakulu added.
Michael Craig (top), winner of the 2010 Design Achievers Award. Runner-up, Chad Peterson (left), presenting his work to Dr Bonakele Mehlomakulu, CEO of the SABS.
One of the features of Design Achievers is that the adjudication panel mainly consist of past Design Achievers winners and participants who
A WORTHY WINNER AND RUNNER-UP
are willing to give of their time and expertise The adjudicators said that Craig displayed a to ensure that the winner and runner-up are thorough understanding of his social role as a worthy recipients of the Design Achievers title. designer and that he was mature with clear and focused goals. Michael will represent South The adjudication process is multi-dimensional African young designers at an international and aims to evaluate leadership skills, entre- design workshop in Zsennye, Hungary in August. preneurial potential and design and innovation talent. It consists of personal interviews, The runner-up was Chad Peterson (28), an induscurriculum vitae and portfolio evaluations, as trial design student from the Cape Peninsula well as a review of group interaction as the University of Technology. Chad developed Raw Creatives, a set of basic tools that will empower main foci. people in informal settlements to make furniture and other products. The adjudicators said that The adjudicators also consider the design Peterson was a determined student who was not business concepts required by the initiative’s afraid of hard work and that he approached realbrief, as a means of measuring nominees’ inworld problems with understanding and maturity. novation and design skills and entrepreneurial potential. For this adjudication component, nominees present design proposals which could contribute towards addressing aspects of social, economic, environmental or cultural challenges or opportunities. These are identified by the students themselves and are currently relevant in South Africa. The panel in 2010 consisted of Jacques Lange, chairperson, who was the Design Achievers winner in 1987. Other past Design Achievers on the panel were Donovan Goliath, Fatima Cassim, Kwame Khuzwayo, Monica Di Ruvo and Nick Hlozek. The panel also consisted of academic and design industry leaders, Mugendi M’Rithaa, Sune Stassen and Tendai Mhiza, as well as socioligist , Mary Crewe and industrial psychologist Michelle May. The other participants in the Design Achievers programme were Nomhle Booi (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), Helene Botha (North West University), Samantha Davis (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Claudia Groenewald (Inscape Design College, Pretoria), Helen Haddad (Central University of Technology), Jana Langenegger (University of Stellenbosch), Sipiwe Majaja (Greenside Design Center), Zamokuhle Mbuli (Lindiwe Kuzwayo Fashion Academy), Lulama Ntentesa (Durban University of Technology), James Rautenbach (Inscape Design College, Johannesburg), Micaela Reeves (University of Pretoria), Wendy Schultz (Durban University of Technology), Heidi Sparks (BHC School of Design), Magdaleen van Wyk and Anja Wilkens (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) and Thulisile Zwane of the Durban University of Technology. <
Nominees interacting with exhibits at Maropeng (far left). Zamokuhle Mbuli discussing her work with Dr Bonakele Mehlomakulu (left).
Nominees capturing the spectacular views of Pretoria during a site visit to Freedom Park (far left). Photo by Jana Langenegger. Nominees interacting with exhibits at Maropeng (left).
2010 Design Achievers nominees and visitors from eight other African countries.
By Suné Stassen
AFRICAN STUDENTS JOIN THE CRÈME OF SOUTH AFRICAN DESIGN ACHIEVERS
Over the past few years, students from other African countries are invited to join their South African counterparts during the three-day-long workshops that form part of the annual SABS Design Achievers award scheme. Even though they are not part of the adjudication process, the visiting students make presentations about their work and their education institutions. Year after year, the organisers find it overwhelming that the participating African countries that have the least resources for further eduDesign students from nine African countries cation develop young talent with an unbelievable participated in the three-day-long workshops ability to be resourceful. Add this quality skill to a which formed part of the 2010 SABS Design melting pot of passion and determination and Achievers scheme. what you get is a winning recipe for a talented future workforce that is equipped to deal with any challenge. This year was no different and the South African students had a lot to learn from their African peers. But, sometimes even the lecturers are limited in what they can offer due to a lack of students or a ED> caught up with two of the Design Achievers lack of interest in certain topics, which sometimes delegates – Lynette Diergaardt from Namibia and results in them only covering certain aspects of a Collin Ngoni Meda from Zimbabwe – to find out module. Thus the students don’t always have the more about the status of design in their respective opportunity to go through the whole process as thoroughly as they would like to. Lynette says that countries. sometimes you would only learn a certain techBack home Lynette Diergaardt not only produces nique, which you can’t really explore further due her own fashion range but she is also responsible to limited resources. “Namibia doesn’t, for infor the creation of most of her own textiles, which stance, have an industrial scale textile factory so really differentiates the fashion work she does it is really difficult to find employment, specifically from that of her peers. Continuously and tirelessly in this industry. I also believe that I have a lot to experimenting, she creates textiles that truly add learn from those who have been in their trade for to the unique look and feel of her garments, which years. I would really like to go and work in a facis really extraordinary for such a young talent. Na- tory and work my way up the industry ladder, but mibia still has a long way to go in terms of creativ- it is not possible for me to do this. So, now I am ity, with this only being a motion inside the walls designing my own textiles and creating my own of the university. Although there are few opportu- products because it is the only way I can actually nities to gain experience outside of their studies, market my fabrics. In general, as an industry, we the students are very fortunate to be educated by are basically left to our own devices and you can do whatever you want,” explains Lynette. top quality lecturers and designers.
Lynette says that because the University of Namibia doesn’t have big rooms where students can learn how to weave their own fabrics, they can only learn the basics of surface decoration, together with learning felting and weaving on a very small scale. “I want to learn all the aspects and processes of the textile and fashion business so that I can be equipped and skilled no matter the direction my business will eventually take. It is important for me to also understand all the processes so that I can one day do quality control and know what is needed to produce top quality products. We all depend on skilled people from a variety of sectors to ensure a successful production line.” As in a number of other African countries, many qualified people leave Namibia to pursue their career somewhere else. According to Lynette, some of them do return to Namibia but they keep a very low profile. “The most important designer in Namibia, that I am aware of, is my lecturer, Melanie Harteveld who studied in SA but came back to Namibia. She is doing fantastic work with her students and she is truly supporting us. In recent years she started the Pambili Association with the vision to have a strong impact on future design training, mentoring and research in Namibia through networking, exchange opportunities and much more. For her it is all about educating and empowering young designers, crafters and young professionals to become aware, involved and active in social design issues. I find this mentorship programme extremely valuable,” says Lynette. So from a university angle, creativity seems to have a very strong grounding but for the rest of Namibia, well let’s just say they have a lot to wake up to! Lynette explains that during the recent Miss Namibia contest it was evident that Namibia does not have
confidence in their local talent as they sourced South African designers for this event, certainly a less cost effective exercise. Local designers stood in disbelieve knowing that they would have also delivered a quality event. “As a designer it is really frustrating when there is a lack of confidence, combined with a lack of support, so for me, it was a wonderful opportunity to be invited to participate in the 2010 Design Achievers scheme. This was a chance for us to see that there are people who really care and that want to support and help us in our careers, without hidden agendas. I love learning and wanted to meet as many people as possible in my field so that I can gain as much knowledge from them as I could. It was an amazing experience especially because there were people from all over Africa. It really came as a surprise and I did not expect all of us to be on a similar wavelength especially because we all came from different economies, social structures and politics, but we all jelled extremely well and this was a very inspirational experience.” When asking her what vital skills she has developed that will stand her in good stead in her private and professional work ethics, Lynette responds: “I have wanted to be a fashion designer for a very long time. I knew that I also had to take business management and accounting. Even throughout my years at university and through my choice of workshops, I made sure that I developed my knowledge in marketing and business management, together with my creative skills which I have always felt is my strong suite. Some people have already commented positively on my business proposals, so I decided to set up my own business as I feel comfortable and confident that I can really give it a go.”
Lynette Diergaardt’s collection of gowns inspired by the Renaissance era and contemporary Namibian wedding gowns.
Zimbabwean Collin Ngoni Meda with a few examples of his work.
Collin Ngoni Meda is a second year student at the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA), established in 1999 by acclaimed designer Saki Mafundikwa. Today, against all odds, ZIVA is celebrating a decade of design excellence.
reasonable price. And, we know that we are not going to earn much for our design because the people have no insight into the need of a balancing act between our design costs and their printing costs. There is also no appreciation for the research and effort you put into a job and When speaking to Collin, it seemed that the therefore no need to add value in the eyes of the situation in Zimbabwe did not differ from many client. They don’t think that have to pay for it.” other African countries. In his opinion, the creative industry in Zim is a bit ‘all over the place’. Now it’s a question of ‘how can this ambitious Most people leave the country immediately af- young talent take on this enormous task to ter they graduate and the chances are slim that grow an appreciation for the creative industry they will ever return. When they do return after and, at the same time, change a nation’s permany years it is evident that they are com- ception?’ Through small baby steps. “I have pletely out of touch with their heritage and will started a ‘freebranding’ project, through which try and enforce a style that is not typically Zimbabwean. “Which is why we don’t even have a Zimbabwean ‘look or style’,” explains Collin. “And even if graduates do want to stay after graduation, the people in Zimbabwe have no understanding about the importance of brand development and the contribution that design can make for a more prosperous country, hence the reason that employers don’t see the use of paying you for what you are worth. This in itself forces young designers to pursue a career elsewhere.” To develop and grow a creative industry, Collin feels that they do have some systems in place but Zimbabwe seriously needs to upgrade. “For instance, I don’t know from what century our current printing methods are from. So we tend to either do our printing in SA or outsource it to other countries. People will take advantage of our current situation and charge us astronomic amounts in US$. So, when you have a client that needs 1 000 letterheads we are put into a really tight spot – not to out price ourselves but still deliver top quality work at a I hope will be able to educate the clients. As the saying goes: Start in your own backyard first and grow it from there. I intend to work through the street of businesses where our design school is situated and offer the businesses a free branding proposition. This initiative could provide a vehicle to educate businesses about the power of branding and I truly believe that once they see the benefits we would have planted a very powerful seed.” But, as we all know, there is a very fine line between throwing your weight behind a good course and putting a value on the expertise you bring and the time you spend bringing it. Sometimes it has a lot to do with the ability to survive with a very basic kit, “because everything is sometimes so destitute that we are almost forced to just jump in and think basics before pay,” explains Collin. This young man is seeing the ‘freebranding’ project as his CSI project and a way to give back to his community. He already, long before his studies, registered his own company which
dealt with computers, until he wanted to focus on graphic design. Upon re-establishing his company with a friend, he realised how little interest and knowledge the Zimbabwean people had for design. “Because of my own appreciation for design, this situation motivated the ‘freebranding’ project, which is really something I do outside the company. So yes, we do have paying clients. As a branding company we want to show appreciation and development of brands. I guess in my privileged position in comparison to others – I get food, I have a place to sleep – this makes it a lot easier for me to do work for free. I sort of have more favours than the need for money,” explains Collin. “Saki Mafundikwa has also taught us to look after ourselves, to become a jack of all trades and to not be afraid to experiment and try out other design areas.”
in double mediums adding English as their second medium. “If you work across borders and with forward thinking countries then you can take your skills there and create a winning team,” commented Bongani Ntombela, a past Design Achiever. Allen Charlis Muziki from Uganda reminded us through his own work that the power of creativity is still used for social commentary and awareness campaigns and that illustrations and sketches can become the voice of ordinary people, a mere powerful vehicle to educate a nation. In Kenya, Michael Kituto Muiya told us that it is custom to place a qualified designer in a leadership position like a project manager, which is pretty in-
teresting as most people consider designers to be nothing else but ‘arty farty’. The latest craze in Kenya is the newly developed animation industry, which is OTHER AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES already experiencing a boom, especially after the Emmanuel Twagirimana, from Rwanda, explains launch of Tinga Tinga Tales in the UK, soon to be how the 1994 Genocide in his country negatively launched in Kenya. Produced on location in Kenya by impacted and affected the existing manpower short- Tiger Aspect Productions in conjunction with Homeage in all fields of expertise. Rwanda now has to boyz Entertainment, Tinga Tinga is a perfect example rebuild a new workforce and is forced to call on of how creativity can be used to preserve cultural other countries to supply experts, especially in the traditions and storytelling of real African stories. fields of engineering and design sectors. They are striving to develop a knowledge-based economy Zophia Kukua Palmer, a young student from Ghaand have even sent students abroad to study na, told us that her country is working more and fields like engineering and science so that they more towards applying art and design to effect change and will also be launching award schemes can bring the skills back to their country. to drive this. In conclusion she left us with her faIn the mean time, the Kigali Institute of Science and ther’s words of wisdom: “Thinking is your capital, Technology (KIST) is also seriously addressing this innovation is your enterprise and hard work is issue through offering a variety of engineering and your success.” This has been Zophia’s personal industrial related courses like architectural and mission statement ever since.
civil engineering, as well as Art and Humanity studies that include design, jewellery and more. With most of Other delegates included Raymond Akorah from their lecturers coming from neigbouring countries, Nigeria and Segametsi Portia Kapele from Botswana. < like Kenya and Uganda, they have decided to teach
To recognise outstanding achievements in any area of brand communication, advertising, communication design and experiential design, The Loeries launched the Young Creatives Award initiative in 2007. To be considered a talented young individual at the beginning of your career, you have to be under the age of 27 and submit a portfolio of your work. Two of the 2009 recipients awarded as the best new emerging talents in SA, were announced at the Loeries Awards in Cape Town. Both recipients received a Gold Loerie plus an all expenses paid trip to the international One Show in New York City. Sanjiv Mistry, a copywriter from Ogilvy in Cape Town and Jo van der Linde, art director from Net#work BBDO, were the well deserving recipients. Shortly after their return from NYC in May of this year, ED> met up with these two jetsetters. Not really knowing at the time that she could be a future talent, Jo van der Linde only took Art as a school subject because her teacher advised her to. Needless to say, Jo received distinctions and
By Suné Stassen
eventually decided to study at the AAA School of Advertising. When asked what exactly an art director at Net#work BBDO does and what the day to day schedule on a new project is, Jo explains: “As soon as I receive a new brief it is my responsibility to conceptualise an original idea for the advert, whether it be for TV or print media. This process should ideally develop in collaboration with a copywriter, followed by a creative director’s review, before it is approved and the final concept presented to the client. At the moment I don’t have a copywriter, which prevents me from working on bigger projects where teamwork is required.” But, working for such a well-respected agency will definitely stand her in good stead and having already worked on big accounts like Nedbank, Chicken Licken and Mercedes Benz can only predict an even greater future for this young talent (View Jo’s portfolio here). “The best piece of work I had the most fun working on was the Chicken
Licken campaign for 2009,” says Jo. “Even though the brief was quite open, we still needed to communicate to the public, that when ordering any of Chicken Licken meals you have a choice between ‘Hot or Not’” (View the ad here). Sanjiv Mistry started off by gaining a BA Degree from the University of Natal before he completed his LLB through UNISA, whilst also working towards a Copywriting Diploma at the AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town. Straight after college he began working at The Jupiter Drawing Room as a junior copywriter. “Currently, I’m a copywriter at Ogilvy (Cape Town). Together with my art director, Prabashan, I conceptualise ads and other communication campaigns for our clients, helping them to engage with their target audiences in meaningful, memorable ways. Prabashan and I are just one of about 12 creative teams in the agency. Our responsibilities include selling the ideas to clients, as well as seeing the ideas through the various stages of production,” says Sanjiv.
He explains that one of the great things about working at Ogilvy is the stature and range of clients they have. He has personally worked on projects for huge international brands like Volkswagen, Castrol and Coca-Cola, as well as well-known local brands like Old Mutual and The Sunday Times. “Clients are, I suppose, the biggest difference between the real working world and the student world. Sometimes, no matter how right, how perfect or how revolutionary you feel an idea may be, when the client doesn’t agree with you you’re forced to shelve that thought and come up with something else. You really need to have a thick skin and learn to not take the rejection of an idea personally.” Last year they shot a commercial for the Volkswagen Golf 6. It told the story of a cheetah who had to have its leg amputated, but who still got to feel the thrilling rush of being a cheetah by riding in Volkswagen Golf (View the ad here). “The entire experience of making that ad, from the brainstorming process to the pre-production and selection of a director, to the post-production and reception that the commercial
Jo van der Linde (left) and Sanjiv Mistry (right).
received, was something that I’ll always treasure. Because everyone, at the agency and the client, were all on the same page, everything seemed to just fall in place with little fuss. I wish that happened more often,” says Sanjiv.
THE ONE SHOW IN NYC
When asked what his expectations were for the trip to New York, Sanjiv says: “I was extremely excited about going to the One Show. Relatively speaking, very few awards are actually handed out, so the standard is exceptionally high. I was looking forward to immersing myself in the brilliant ideas that city had to offer, together with the anything-is-possible culture of New York.” He continues, “…more than anything, I’ve learned that digital communication is the epicenter of everything. Sure, you can still do the occasional amazing poster, billboard or radio advert, but the way things work overseas is that digital media (whether online or mobile) forms the heart of the campaign and everything else revolves around it.” Jo says: “…it can become extremely overwhelming with so much to see and do. New York works around the clock and truly never sleeps! Winning a money prize cannot replace experiencing another country – it is priceless!” She says that apart from seeing great work at the One Show, her favourite experiences had little to do with advertising – they were to be found at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). “William Kentridge had an exhibition MoMA. It was so amazing to see, that I had goose bumps walking through. Also,
Castrol Oil journey billboard (top row), copy by Sanjiv Mistry. VW Golf 6 Cheetah ad (centre far left). Biker Gang print ad for the new Golf 6 (centre), copy by Sanjiv Mistry and Prabashan G. Pather. Musica Rock R&B poster. (above), copy by Sanjiv Mistry. Design Indaba Interactive Travel Brochure (left),copy by Sanjiv Mistry and Livio Tronchin.
MIGRATE Magazine (top). Chicken Licken Hot or Not campaign (above). Art direction on both projects by Jo.
at MoMA was an exhibition by performance artist Marina Abramović called The artist is present (View the exhibition here). Before this I never really knew what performance art was about but Abramović made it quite clear with her ‘oh so patient’ work.” For Sanjiv this has been, without a doubt, one of the most memorable experiences of his life and career. “I would highly recommend entering The Young Creatives Awards. The prize of a trip not only gives you the opportunity to see and learn from incredible work, but affords you the chance to explore the world as well. It broadens your horizons and acts as motivation to strive for better and better ideas.” When asked to comment on local advertising schools, both Jo and Sanjiv agreed that institutions should prepare students better for the workplace. They should be stricter and more realistic with their deadlines. Giving far too much time for one project is unrealistic because it creates unreal perceptions of what is actually happening in the workplace. “The graduates are not being prepared enough to handle hectic deadlines and heavy workloads,” says Jo.
2008 Loerie Award Annual (centre top). Art Direction by Jo. Lenticular poster for Ghost Pops designed by Jo (left). Cell C Eco Diary designed by Jo (above).
“Advertising schools need to be more stringent in their assessment of ideas and their students. Far to often, you see stale ideas littering student portfolios. Advertising students also need to study advertising history, because the only way to do something fresh and new is to know what has already been done,” concludes Sanjiv. <
A ROAD TRIP TO NEIGHBOUR STARDOM
By Roberto Millan
Roberto Millan, Tuks Information Design graduate and currently a master’s student at the University of Stellenbosch, recently won accolades for his series of autobiographical comic strips, Hello Neighbour. Roberto shares his train of consciousness when it comes to comics – from narration to production and the theory that underscores this art form.
A road trip down to the East Coast from Pretoria never seemed half as bad as the commute wayward to the Western Cape. Familiar long barren stretches of earth extending from horizon to horizon. A narrow, grey-gravelled crux where nature meets the road and animal meets its maker (more often than not in stiffened repose and bloody profiles). “Thank God I’ve got something to read,” I said to myself, though reading would never be the same again. Not with my dad. At least not in Afrikaans anyway. It was only a week earlier that Suzette Snyman, an illustration lecturer in my undergraduate studies at Tuks, had lent me an unpublished manuscript of My Ma was ‘n Mooi Vrou. The manuscript was an unedited version of previous master’s student, Karlien de Villiers’s work. The book encompassed an autobiographical comic of her life growing up in white apartheid South Africa, the emphasis being on her life, and not apartheid. My interest in graphic literature goes as far back as Winnie the Pooh, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake. Not to mention those incredibly detailed Marvel cards they used to sell in sexy, gold aluminium packaging at CNA counters across the country. I remember the biographies of characters on the back of each card with detailed descriptions of the character’s life history, method of incarnation and power specs. One learnt more about the X-Men through merchandising and the cartoon series than through the comics from which they originated.
Hello Neighbour by Roberto Millan.
Pencilled layouts of two frames from Hello Neighbour by Roberto Millan.
More importantly, these products only perpetuated the stereotype that comics were meant for kids and that the adult market only consisted of ‘fan-boys’ living vicariously through super-hero versions of themselves.
What makes the work even more interesting is the manner in which Spiegelman brings the narrative full-circle by illustrating the conversations between him and his dad. It’s important to realise that Spiegelman is telling his father’s story through his own eyes. Maus uses autobiographical storytelling One could argue that the graphic novel was eventu- by way of comics to tell what has been classified as ally able to legitimise itself as a literary genre, one of the single most important graphic narratives championed by seminal graphic novelists such as next to Joe Sacco’s Palestine. The Schindler’s List of Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman throughout the 60s comics one could say. and 70s. The question remains what exactly would beget a more adult-orientated piece of work within My Hello Neighbour forms part of a series of autothe field of graphic novels? Could such a piece of biographical comic strips that reflect on my life as a literature constitute a legitimate literary work? I child, the domestic issues that came with it and my dare not mention detective comics, vomics (horror Mediterranean heritage (my name – Roberto Millan comics) or images of half-clad Amazonians running – says it all). It was an ordinarily balmy summer afviolently towards the reader with sharpened spears ternoon by many standards and we’d just arrived and a temperament to match. Although these com- back from lunch out with the family. Rufus, the nextics can be considered more adult, they still fall una- door neighbour’s frisky dachshund, was caught redbashedly within the target market of the post-pu- handed doing the nasty with Honey, the family Labrador. It was through the same crack in the bescent fan-boy. neighbour’s wall that Irene (one of my sister’s closMy interest in comics certainly doesn’t use its dis- est friends at the time) would occasionally slip position in the past to play on previously stereo- through, stop and ask for pasta. typed conceptions of how comics are meant for kids. Controversial comics artists such as Robert Crumb and the Bitterkomix crew already made their point when toy-toying with shock-value stereotypes regarding sex and race in their run for the money. I believe the ascent of the graphic novel into the field of literary legitimacy lies firmly within the genre of non-fiction and autobiography. It is through autobiographical representation that Art Spiegelman won the exalted Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his Holocaust narrative Maus (Volume 1). Both volumes of Maus tell the remarkable story of Spiegelman’s parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and became famous for its portrayal of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. The work is largely biographical as the artist anchors the narrative through a series of one-on-one interviews with his father Vladek.
Hello Neighbour is made up of ten frames, each carefully planned in three separate stages of production. I had documented the memory in my journal years back, and finally found the opportunity to start illustrating it near the beginning of 2009. The frames had first been constructed as a written script where sequences were determined by a fixed dialogue and narrative.
Once a script had been produced it was possible to move on to the second stage of the process where basic layouts of each frame could be planned and roughly illustrated from memory. I had a very clear sense of where, when and what was happening at the time of the experience and only needed to run through two or three compositional pencil layouts before illustrating the final pencil rendering in detail.
Reference images were used for certain objects dictionary. A cheeky play of “What does this such as certain types of plants in our garden at the mean?” and “It means that”. I wasn’t used to readtime, or the inside of my father’s car. ing in this way and neither was my dad. “Read the sentence again,” he’d say. “I’m not sure Rob. Say it The final stage involved the inking of the work. I was again?” Coincidentally, My ma was ‘n mooi vrou fortunate enough to get my hands on some square- largely dealt with the estranged relationship betipped calligraphic pens. What’s great about those tween the author and her father. I’d hoped my fapens is that they provide for a dynamic brush stroke. ther wouldn’t pick up on it, but if my Afrikaans was You can’t fake a good brush stroke by colouring it in, anything to go by, he’d figured out both the author’s so it made sense to use a pen that would make ink- story and mine. ing the work just as fun as pencilling it. Pierre van den Heuves aligns his definition of the reader-author contract with the notion that the author, through the creation of an autobiographical text, sets out to make himself the protagonist of a narrative, if not combining his roles as a narrator and main character. Communication that usually occurs between characters in a narrative is addressed directly to the reader as a result and it’s the ambiguity between narrator and protagonist that encourages a dialogue between the reader and an autobiographical text. Research also suggests that the reading of comics requires active participation on the viewers’ part. Where animation and film only require a reader, comics demand a different sort of reader involvement. This suggests that comics extends itself beyond the boundaries of viewing and marks an active shift towards reading and interpretation. The result is that the relationship between the audience and the creator is affected, as well as the rate at which information is acquired. Autobiographical representation within comics holds a unique disposition in terms of its potential as a democratic narrative art form where participation and viewer involvement allow for a level of intimacy that isn’t present in alternate literary modes.
ABOUT ROBERTO MILLAN
Roberto graduated with a BA Information Design degree from the University of Pretoria and is currently completing his final year of MPhil in Visual Arts (Illustration) at the University of Stellenbosch. He also works part-time for the CCIBA (Centre for Comic, Illustrative and Book Arts – www.cciba.sun.ac.za ) as project assistant and website manager.
Founded in 2009, the CCIBA is an interdisciplinary research, teaching and service institute based in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Stellenbosch. The Centre is involved in the development, promotion and teaching of the various dimensions of comic art, illustration and book art. The Centre also aims to extend and consolidate the work undertaken by a number of parallel and related initiatives that have taken place over the last five years: The Comics Brew Festival of International Comic Art; the TransAtlant-ink exhibition and the Young Cartoonist Project; the Stellenbosch University Department of Visual Arts programme and MPhil in Visual Arts (Illustration); the establishment at the University of Stellenbosch Library of a Special ColI’d always struggled with the taal [language] and lection of Comic Art; the Durban Cartoon Project; regretted not bringing along an English-Afrikaans and the Igubu Comics Project in Cape Town. <
KATE MOROSS’ GUIDE TO FREELANCING
By Sarah Stewart
Kate Moross is a designer and art director who Kate is involved in many multidisciplinary projects. was initiated into the design world during her BA She is the owner and director of ISOMORPH Records Graphic Design studies at Camberwell, University who sign bands and release limited edition vinyl of the Arts in London. It was during her university records, she has a signature clothing range at Topshop, has a signature Kate Moross range of products, years when she was designing band posters for has opened a temporary pop-up shop with other clubs that she landed her first major client – a young designers, regularly designs music videos Cadbury’s billboard campaign used across Britain. for the musicians on her label and is now running This was the start of great things for Kate. She was her own design firm WE ARE ISO. And she is only eager to finish her studies and have more time to 23 years old! dedicate to the work that was flowing in. She has since designed campaigns and advertorials for In an interview with ED>, wunderkind Kate shared Nike, Vogue, Virgin Mobile, Pepsi and Diesel. some practical advice on work ethics, business
practice and legal issues for students and Interning at a few companies will most young designers who plan to work as free- likely tell you what you do not want to do lancers. and this is good to know. Try everything you think may fulfil you and do this while you are young. Stay hungry to learn.
Kate’s philosophy is centred on the idea that design should be inclusive, not exclusive and she argues that as a consumer herself, she likes commercial products to be well designed. When it comes to choosing your clients, Kate’s advice is to not impose your ideas onto a project but instead select work that you believe in.
Once you have started freelancing, research a project and be thoroughly prepared on every aspect of it. Actively search for experienced people in industry and ask their advice. Ask them specific questions as these are much easier to answer and will be more beneficial to you. Be honest when informing a client of the services you offer. Specify what you can do and never say you can do something if you are not confident about doing it. Be open-minded and read! Kate sites Keith Haring, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Sol Lewitt, Steven Pinker, Malcolm Gladwell, Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag as the scientists, thinkers and writers who inspire her the most.
Take responsibility for your education before and after your tertiary years. University provides a platform for learning where you will not be spoon-fed. Take every opportunity to add to your body of knowledge and develop your skills. Use your time at university to grow your portfolio and experiment with ideas, typefaces, colour palettes and more. If you have already begun to take on freelance work while studying, continue after you have finished your studies. However, it is wise to work for a corporate company for a period of time to learn how the business works. While working for a company, pay close attention to how business is run so that you can develop a sound understanding. Once you feel confident with work operations, minimise your work hours to a part-time basis and start taking on freelance work.
Being punctual and developing a good work ethic are the two most important characteristics a freelancer can develop. They do not come naturally and have to be worked on. Be diligent and work hard. Even though you may be a one-man show, your clients will expect you to have the necessary software, to answer the phone, to have work done on time, to return emails and to always be able to make meetings.
Kate Moross Foil Tee.(far left). TELEPATHE T-shirt (left).
Comanechi Gossip Panthers ‘06 tour poster (far left). Cutting Pink with Knives poster (left).
When accepting a project proposal, talk to the client, understand fully what his/her expectations are, probe them with questions, then talk to experts, think about the proposal, write it down, understand it fully and then begin to draw.
travel, flexible time and the luxury of being your own boss. Kate has found that the only difference between working for a big or a small company is that their attitudes differ. The process that she follows when tackling a project does not differ.
Having a Internet presence is necessary, but seeing that everyone has a website today, one has to work a lot harder to secure work. Kate says that the majority of her work comes from meeting people and word-of-mouth. One needs to become aware of networking. Do not become a brazen, overbearing promoter of yourself but confidently share who you are and what you do. The boundaries between friends and clients can often become blurred.
Ask clients what their budget is. There will be occasions when they will not want to disclose this information. If they do, however, you need to advise them whether the amount is too high or too low. Be honest.
When you start freelancing, charge a low price and in some cases, when the experience will be beneficial to you or your portfolio or you are serving a philanthropic Kate represents a new breed of profession- organisation, work for free. Slowly build als whose life is work and whose work is up your fees as the demand for your work life. Individuals like her share the philoso- increases. Increasing your rate should be phy that life is too short to spend so much proportional to the demand for your work. time working in a job you do not enjoy. When working out your fee you need to The negative aspects of working for consider all disbursement costs addiyourself are unreliable income, stress, tional to your labour cost. Disbursement mania, pace and the fact that you do not is the expense of running your office and have any guarantees or support struc- would include your materials, printing, ture. Therefore, it is a good idea to cre- electricity, cleaning staff and more. Factor ate a channel for accessing help and as- in the location where you work – whether sistance when needed. Never be too it is part of your home or a separate office. proud to ask for help. There are various ways that you can charge The positive aspects of working for yourself for a project. An hourly fee is when the include the possibility of money, excitement, designer charges a set rate for the time
23 Illustrations for the Nike Dunk – Be True exhibition (top left). Mural for D:U:M: Radio (bottom left). T-POST, June 08, Issue 37 (left).
LTR: Don’t Panic poster, Identity for Chromatics. Collaboration with Alex Sushon and Sick of nature flyer series.
Window doodle for Topshop (top left). The Teenagers T-shirt for Merok (top right). Testcard flyer (bottom left). Polydron catch photograph (centre right). Sony Walkman advertorial for Vice UK. (bottom right).
actually spent working on the project. A fixed flat or stipulated fee is when the designer and client agree on the designer doing work for a specified amount of money. Fixed fee is set to fixed events and covers you for changes that might be made to the finished work. The designer must accurately estimate the necessary time and overheads expected for the project. This can be difficult if the scope of work is not clearly defined. Define clearly what the project entails i.e. what you the designer is responsible for. You will find that there will be some jobs that you work a lot harder on for the same amount of money as an easier job. Kate advises that graphic designers ask for 50% upfront and 50% on delivery of work. Know what you need to earn each month and work hard to double it.
send them a letter of appointment that will state who you are as the designer and who the individual or company is that is employing you. The letter is addressed to the individual who will be responsible for paying your fee. The letter will define what the scope of work, by what date it will be completed, how much the work will cost and how much and on what basis the designer will be paid. The letter will be accompanied by a separate document that dictates the conditions of engagement or terms of agreement. Both parties and a witness must sign these. Conditions of engagement will include a clause that refers to copyright and would state that all design work remains property of the designer unless the client buys the copyright. The client has the right to the use of and benefit from authorised copies of the work. A secondary clause will state that the payment of the fees must be made 30 days on receipt of invoice. Prime interest rates will be charged for any overdue accounts.
Register as self-employed and employ an accountant to file your annual tax return.
Kate began working without pre-agreed contracts and says that while 90% of her clients Kate Moross finds fulfilment in creating visual have been trustworthy, she did have a bad ex- design that has a conceptual foundation and a perience, which left her to learn the hard way. considered aesthetic that together successfully communicate a narrative. Do you love what you A contract is a safety measure for both the de- do enough to wake up every morning and work signer and the client, as neither party wants to for yourself? < be taken advantage of. When an individual or company accepts your proposal you need to All images courtesy of Kate Moross.
CAN ARTY-FA A MASERATI?
You are young, passionate completed your studies and famous designer. But nev finding any job is hard eno pressure from your family to not help. So what about creativity with sound busin
RTY DRIVE ?
By Weyers Marais.
and fearless. You have just d you dream of being a world ver mind your dream job, ough as it is and the added o start earning a living does t the trend of combining ness skills?
According to Bruce Nussbaum, a former editor at Business Week and design thinking advocate, creativity is THE core competency today. He says that design can be the bottom line for business. Nussbaum is not the only expert who holds the view that the design skills you have learnt at varsity are in fact a prime commodity today.
become mainstream during the past decade or so). After varsity life speeds up drastically so you have to be open to learn and at the same time stay on track with the demands of the industry. Next up is the design map. Nope, not the job market, the design map.
Nussbaum also made the statement that “design is all-encompassing”. This suggests that the design While still in varsity I decided not to go and look for a industry is large and finding your ideal spot in it job but rather to establish my own design business. could be a great challenge. I have found a great tool I had to find a mentor who could help me develop to narrow this search. different life skills from those I developed at varsity.
For the purpose of establishing design recognition, During my first consultation with Murry Kilgour, my the European Design Training Incubator (edti) has business coach, he asked me what my strengths drawn up a comprehensive map of the design inwere. After extensive research on Marcus Buckingham dustry – all on a single A4. While originally designed and Donald O. Clifton who wrote the book Now, Dis- to represent the full scope of design and its value to cover Your Strengths, concluded that every person the business sector, this map can also be helpful to possesses a collection of strengths strung together designers. Once we become more familiar with our with unique nuances. Throughout the book they em- strengths we can use the map to find where we phasise that the world’s paradigm of working with could possibly fit into and play a role in the design strengths and weaknesses is back to front: The industry. The map is divided into three parts: doworld says that you should recognise your weak- main, specialities and deliverables. Now it becomes nesses and do your best to improve them. The authors clear why we have to know our strengths before we say, though, that we should, in fact, rather focus 90% job hunt, because just as the map illustrates, you of our time strengthening our strengths and as little don’t go straight from domain into deliverable unas possible time on our weaknesses. Just outsource less you know what your specialities are. New them. They also say that your strengths are aligned knowledge about your strengths and passion can with your passion and, therefore, working within help you navigate the map to a place where you your strengths is where you will be happiest. You could be happiest and most productive. With this I can just look at what you are passionate about to don’t suggest it is any easier to find your place, but know what you should be focussing on. My first ses- the map from edti certainly eliminates a lot of sion with the coach taught me that this is a funda- guessing and unnecessary branching out on the mental point of entry that can make the difference way to doing what you are passionate about. between chasing a salary and chasing a passion. By now you are probably saying, “enough with all Discovering your strengths is incredibly empower- the preparation, I thought it’s time to make some ing and offers revelations about yourself and your money”! Well, the toughest lesson I learnt after potential, but this is only the beginning if you want starting my business is that if you do not underto be a ‘lifelong learner’ (an industry term which has stand the value that you add you will sell your work
and services at the wrong price. Such a venture cannot be cost-effective or sustainable. When discussing the value of design, Nussbaum refers to it as “the new bottom line of business”. In other words, where the main focus of business has traditionally been profit, Nussbaum suggests that design can be of so much value to your business that it should be considered as your business’s bottom line. In a special report regarding the value of design, Helen Walters quotes a few prominent designers and design business people on their views about the value of design for business as they have experienced it. IDEO partner Diego Rodriquez’s view is that “good business arises from a design-centric process that incorporates marketing, research and ideas”. This point supports what Nussbaum says about design as a bottom line. RKS Design’s Ravi Sawhney and Deepa Prahalad mention four areas where design can create value for business: “Understanding the consumer, mitigating risk, boosting marketing and branding, as well as driving sustainable business practices.” If you put Sawhney and Prahalad’s words into design language you might understand it better: In the design process we consider the end user (marketing and understanding the consumer), we do research on materials, processes, cost and the social and environmental
A selection of Weyers Marais’ Lamps which have become the signature pieces for his design business.
impact of our design (research and sustainable practice), and we generate a multitude of options for design solutions through a creative process (ideas and opportunities). The one area they mention and which is perhaps most familiar to communication designers, is branding. Branding focuses on the corporate identity and entrenchment of the value systems of a business of which just one dimension is the organisation’s logo. Let’s take the brand value of a well-known SA brand like Woolworths.
Woolworths recently appointed Vince Frost, a worldrenowned Australian designer as their new creative director. Frost was appointed specifically with the task of evolving and overseeing the implementation of the new Woolworths brand. When comparing the old and the new Woolworth’s logos, it is immedi- This brings me to my next and final point: How deately evident that simple changes to a logo have the signers relate to business. power to reposition a brand in the consumer market. It is fair to say that a seemingly simple creative application can have a disastrous or profitable effect on a business. Comparing the old and new Woolworths logos we can recognise the old identity as sophisticated and classic. In keeping with changing times it has evolved into a more modern brand that remains sophisticated. Other well-known brands like Puma, Adidas and Levi’s can be recognised in an instant. Removing their unique identity would be a disaster to these brands and business would certainly suffer. Creativity and design are a lot more powerful than usually recognised. We are talking about the bottom line of business; a successful logo and brand identity will increase the profit margins because their connection with their target market is spot-on.
There are many design management blogs available on the Internet and they are all in agreement that design has an incredibly valuable role to play in business. If businesses perform because of value added through design, then there is potential growth for the economy at large. The edti was established as a platform for sharing resources and a meeting place for partners in Europe to benchmark learning in different areas of design. The edti understands that design has the potential to boost the economy and is therefore investing in the development of design education that will produce future designers who can add value to business. They also understand that for this to happen, designers need to be able to communicate with the business sector and understand business practice.
The potential value of design in business is usually underestimated. It is time for us as designers to join the business world. I know that Business Studies is usually not our favourite subject, but it is perhaps the most important than you think. Give it a chance, you might just find it fascinating! Developing the skills to successfully read your target market, producing top quality products and services and strategising your business accordingly should be an energetic and passionate venture. Shortly after starting my own design business just 11 months ago I learnt that I can’t just wing it with my creativity and people skills. “Creative, technical and business skills are the vital ingredients we need for a successful studio. Yes, we do differ from other businesses because of our primary skill; creativity. Talent is not always enough
to ensure success. If you really don’t have an interest in business then it would be very wise to make sure that you surround yourself with people who can add further value to the business. We need technology to execute our creativity and we need business skills to make a living and to help us manage the creative/technical process,” says Greg Branson, president of the Design Business Council in Australia. This means that although it is all good and well to know the design process and be able to apply critical thinking, we will only ever chase salaries or live from job to job unless we can supplement these skills with basic business skills. In a short article on a creative business Branson elaborates on what he sees as the required basic business skills for designers. He says that we need to be able to distinguish between clients and find those who are best suited to our creative and technical skills. We need to market ourselves to those clients in a unique way to create a demand for our services. Part of this is being able to communicate the value of our design to clients. As an extension to our communication skills, we need to learn to establish a solid design brief with the client to ensure that the direction is clear – both to us and to the client. Then we must have the skills to match that brief with an estimate that values our creative and technical skills, as well as ensuring a profit.
Woolworths recently appointed Vince Frost as their new creative director. Frost was appointed specifically with the task of evolving and overseeing the implementation of the new Woolworths brand.
Whether we start our own business or go and work for a design firm, our skill sets need to develop in a business context. We, as young designers should realise, as the people quoted in this article did, that business is a part of design and design is a Well-known brands like Puma, Adidas and Levi’s can vital part of business. <
be recognised in an instant. Removing their unique identity would be a disaster to these brands and business would certainly suffer.
ARE YOU COMPETENT?
By Fatima Cassim
Dear Confused Creative I am writing this letter to you with my ruling pen so please read carefully. In your first year after graduating from the institution of your choice, you need to have a New Year’s resolution. For starters, I would suggest 300dpi. Things will appear much clearer that way. Okay, on a more serious note, in order for you to better prepare for an entry-level position within the design industry, irrespective of your design discipline, there are a number of skills and competencies which you need to consider. According to Joanina Pastoll, creative director at Cross Colours, the entry-level expectations of design graduates in South Africa “is actually quite high”...
Dear Dr Truth Oh gouache. Being an entry-level design graduate makes me feel like I’m in first year all over again. The stress has set in and I don’t know what to do. I have Hunted. I have forced myself to Net#work. I even went as far as visiting Jupiter and other places that Mather. I haven’t had any success in getting a job in the design industry and all I want is for someone to hire me. I am so confused. Please help.
The following information, which is compiled from responses by professionals in the design industry, provides some insight and advice to assist you in meeting the demands of the highly competitive industry.
a more verbal form of communication and therefore being articulate and having good interpersonal skills is a key competency. If you can communicate effectively, you are more likely to gain trust from the other designers and clients. Ultimately, building Entry-level design graduates need to possess tech- trust is important to gain support and to secure nical and conceptual design skills relating to the more work. design discipline which they have been trained in. Technical design skills comprise of knowledge of the basic elements and principles of design, understanding of media and materials, and a good grasp of discipline-related terminology. Graduates also need to be proficient in the relevant software. Like communication skills, presentation skills can Equally important to having the necessary technical also be divided into two related categories, namely skills, design graduates should have good problem personal presentation and portfolio presentation. solving abilities. You should have the ability to think Personal presentation refers to the way you concritically and conceptually. Although design skills duct yourself when applying for a job and in parform the basis of building a career in design, most ticular, within an interview situation. During an indesign professionals believe that success in this terview you will be asked questions by the prospective employer to determine whether you are industry is not just about creative talent. a suitable candidate for the job. You will also be expected to discuss and demonstrate your level of Entry-level graduates in particular need to be proacconceptual and technical design skills. These skills tive and show some initiative, and in the end, sucare generally assessed through a portfolio of your cess depends largely on your attitude and willingwork. Johan van Wyk, Creative Director at HKLM, ness to work hard. maintains that a “Portfolio should be able to be consumed in ten minutes by a prospective employer and it must speak for itself, as often it is viewed prior to an interview. Actually, the digital portfolio often secures an interview.”
The ability to communicate effectively, both visually and verbally, is an extremely valuable skill for graduates. In the industry, designers do not work alone and you are required to communicate your ideas with the rest of their creative team, and most importantly, with clients.
In context of the creative team, there is a strong emphasis on visual communication. For example, drawing, sketching, modelling and making are some of the tools which designers use to externalise and Firstly, be selective in your choice of work that you share their ideas. In contrast, clients tend to favour include in your portfolio. The work selected must be
Your portfolio therefore acts as your personal branding and promotional tool and hence, the presentation of your portfolio is extremely important. Think of your portfolio as a personal narrative that shows your skills that you have acquired as part of your education, as well as your personal style and approach. In light of this, there are a number of practical considerations.
fairly recent and should demonstrate your expertise in your specific design discipline. It is also advisable to choose one or two projects that show versatility and provide a broader view of your abilities and interest. Secondly, it is essential for you to know your strengths and to be able to discuss the projects in your portfolio. According to Joanina Pastoll, you must be able to discuss your concepts in a clear and succinct manner. Johan van Wyk shares this sentiment when he says that “someone who is bright, keen with diverse interests, and who can communicate who they are in ten minutes, stands the best chance.” This view clearly substantiates the emphasis on both presentation skills and communication skills.
are numerous. In keeping with the general view in favour of internships, Johan van Wyk reiterates that doing an “internship is super valuable. Not so much as in a CV requirement, but in the way it impacts on the production standard of your portfolio and the contacts you make while doing your internship.” Making contacts and networking are valuable in that they can help you with referrals and recommendations when you are looking for a job.
Professional conduct is a broad area that comprises a number of key skills including teamwork, organisation and time management. Working in the industry is different to being a student because graduates will be expected to work in creative teams rather than by themselves. The professional enviAlthough most graduates would have little, if not ronment dictates that you put yourself aside and any, formal work experience, internships are invaluadopt a collaborative mentality. A good starting able as a means of gaining some hands-on experipoint is to understand the vision and mission of the ence in an actual work environment. Where possicompany in a mature and meaningful way. ble, you should try and secure an internship in an established design company while you are studying. The choice of company where you intern is im- Good organisation and time management are other portant and should be selected based upon your competencies that will stand you in good stead as goals and personal interest in terms of design. The an entry level designer. As previously mentioned, amount of responsibility and work that an intern is creative skills are not the only requirements needed assigned depends largely on the individual com- in order to be successful in the design industry. You pany. In addition, although most companies hire also need to exercise your left brain thinking skills interns, the companies are busy and can’t give you as well. You will be required to organise and mana huge amount of mentoring time. Therefore Joani- age your workload, liaise with clients and meet na recommends that you should rather spend a deadlines, to name but a few. It’s all about being relatively long time at a company (like a few weeks professional and having a good work ethic. during the holidays). This way, students can build a good relationship with the employees at the com- Good luck, and always remember: designing great pany and also prove themselves in the work which means being true to your abilities and always pushing boundaries. < they have been tasked with.
Being an intern is not necessarily an easy job and although you may not be remunerated, the benefits
Dear Dr Truth
Oh gouache. Being an entry-level design graduate makes me feel like I’m in first year all over again. The stress has set in and I don’t know what to do. I have Hunted. I have forced myself to Net#work. I even went as far as visiting Jupiter and other places that Mather. I haven’t had any success in getting a job in the design in- Equally important to having the necessary technidustry and all I want is for someone to hire cal skills, design graduates should have good problem solving abilities. You should have the me. I am so confused. Please help.
Entry-level design graduates need to possess technical and conceptual design skills relating to the design discipline which they have been trained in. Technical design skills comprise of knowledge of the basic elements and principles of design, understanding of media and materials, and a good grasp of discipline-related terminology. Graduates also need to be proficient in the relevant software.
Dear Confused Creative
I am writing this letter to you with my ruling pen so please read carefully. In your first year after graduating from the institution of your choice, you need to have a New Year’s resolution. For starters, I would suggest 300dpi. Things will appear much clearer that way. Okay, on a more serious note, in order for you to better prepare for an entry-level position within the design industry, irrespective of your design discipline, there are a number of skills and competencies which you need to consider. According to Joanina Pastoll, creative director at Cross Colours, the entry-level expectations of design graduates in South Africa “is actually quite high.” The following information, which is compiled from responses by professionals in the design industry, provides some insight and advice to assist you in meeting the demands of the highly competitive industry.
ability to think critically and conceptually. Although design skills form the basis of building a career in design, most design professionals believe that success in this industry is not just about creative talent. Entry-level graduates in particular need to be proactive and show some initiative, and in the end, success depends largely on your attitude and willingness to work hard.
The ability to communicate effectively, both visually and verbally, is an extremely valuable skill for graduates. In the industry, designers do not work alone and you are required to communicate your ideas with the rest of their creative team, and most importantly, with clients.
In context of the creative team, there is a strong emphasis on visual communication. For example, drawing, sketching, modelling and making are some of the tools which designers use to externalise and share their ideas. In contrast, clients tend to favour a more verbal form of communication There’s a new place for creative minds. and therefore being articulate and having good Design skills thousands of professionals and positions from architecture interpersonal skills is a key competency. If you can With our database of to web design, you’ll discover just the job to inspire you or the ideal bright spark for your company. Upload your CV or search today and find communicate effectively, you are more likely to
all your creative resources in one place. How’s that for an idea? Visit pnet.co.za
EURO RSCG 4847/E
Can design contribute to social development and create awareness amongst communities around social issues? Presently, this is a question of great concern in South Africa because of the imbalances brought about by the apartheid system, which weakened our society for decades. After South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the nation has seen many progressive changes as it slowly overcomes social issues such as overcrowded informal settlements, high unemployment rates, a lack of education and high crime rates. These issues – amongst others – often fuel designers’ and artists’ interpretations of the world around them. Many South African designers use their creative skills to communicate such social issues, as well as promoting design in local communities, whilst simultaneously addressing the issue of unemployment.
Beadwork by Monkeybiz.
promote the artists behind the work. Unfortunately it often happens that high-end designers exploit these same communities and craftswomen by using their skills and talent and ‘proudly’ taking all the credit for the hard work done. This scenario leaves very little room for the promotion of the people behind each work of art. If people are promoted, as in the case with Monkeybiz, social development will happen more effortlessly and others will inspire others to replicate their success in their own communities and lives. A young designer tackling the issue of unemployment in South Africa is Chad Petersen, a student currently studying industrial design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Petersen has developed RawCreative; a business concept that promotes a sustainable way of empowering and
Statistics show that over 25% of South African’s are unemployed, more so in the informal settlements. By integrating these communities into the economy, people can support themselves and promote their own socio-economic development. A project addressing this issue directly through design is Monkeybiz. Martine Jackson explains that the women who work for MonkeyBiz focus on their economic development and empowerment through the creation of beadwork derived from African traditions passed down to them over generations. These women have established a community of over 450 bead artists who conceptualise, design and produce their beadwork products, which are sold locally and abroad. Their employment model works; something others could definitely learn from. The craftswomen working for Monkeybiz are given artistic freedom to produce work by using their own designs and creating a notion of collaboration, which in turn directly
employing people through design. What is unique about this project is that the workshops are based in the community, thus eliminating the expense of travelling by its employees. Each employee is taught valuable skills and given the opportunity to be part of other training workshops to develop their own business skills and acumen. By educating people, one allows communities to grow in a sustainable way. Most people do not know what they are capable of achieving because they are unaware of the opportunities available to them simply because of the nature of their upbringing. Designers and design skills have much to offer underprivileged communities but before any action can be taken extensive research needs to be done in the area in which projects are intended to thrive. As an example, Petersen spent time in Hangberg, an informal settlement in Hout Bay. Spending time with the locals taught him how to understand their specific social and geographic issues, which gave him valuable first-hand knowledge, which he could later use in
creating a sustainable design solution that could he wishes to tackle, overcome or portray and integrates this consideration into his design. This allows be beneficial to all parties involved. that important social message to have a voice – so “The revolution that is needed involves the con- to speak – bringing its message across in an inspirsumer, client and government realising that sus- ing manner. “This affects the commercial market, which in turn influences the bigger manufacturers tainable development is not only viable but necesto become more sustainable,” adds Martin. In so sary for the future of South Africa,” comments doing, a small niche product can have a great inMokena Makeka, architect and principal and founder fluence on the commercial market and the fact that of Makeka Design Lab. Sustainability in design it carries a message of a social nature helps a great plays a major role in contributing to social developdeal in creating an awareness of social issues. “I ment through the implementation of three princistarted my career at the same time as the birth of our ples: The economic, the social and the ecological new democracy. Much of my design work has been dimensions of design. For a design to be successful an exploration and expression of our new emerging all three aspects have to be considered; some in cultural identity. For example, the Zulu Mama café more detail than others depending on the relevance chair, which was woven in Khayelitsha as part of my to the designer’s agenda. However, all three prin- job creation project, the Riempie couch, the Fiela ciples are completely interrelated and can often feather lights and Songololo sofa were all designed create problems where there are seemingly none. and created as a direct response to our society’s need What is evident is that the responsibility of a design- to find a new identity for itself at this pivotal moment er to be aware of all these principles and their re- in history.” Martin has also launched the New Slant sulting relationships is of paramount importance. shelving system, which was designed by disabled craftsmen for NPO Carecraft, “There is a great need One such designer who is tackling the complexi- to employ the disabled in this country, which is ties of design principles head on is Cape Town- usually overlooked by most,” concludes Martin. based Haldane Martin, one of South Africa’s most successful furniture designers. When Martin works It is evident that design contributes in a substanon a new design, he first considers a social issue tial way to social development through the efforts
LTR: Zulu Mama café chair, New Slant shelving system and Fiela feather light by Haldane Martin.
and 12 high school learners who attend schools that participate in the MTDTD programme, as well as exposure and opportunities for participating learners in the professional and corporate arenas. Adjudicators of the annual national design competition Another such initiative is the Making the Difference have noted that year on year competition submissions Through Design (MTDTD) education programme – one have become a mirror of the social issues South Afriof the ways in which Woolworths contributes to up- cans are faced with on a daily basis a desire to rectify lifting education in South Africa. The programme’s the imbalances the country faces. goal is to enrich the educational experience and bring the visual art and design curriculums to life The MTDTD education programme sits firmly as a for Grades 10, 11 and 12 learners and teachers. pillar within Woolworths’ Good business journey, a comprehensive five-year plan (launched in 2007). MTDTD, a corporate social investment initiative, was The plan incorporates a series of challenging tarlaunched in 2006, in association with the Western gets and commitments centred on four key prioriCape Education Department, Design Indaba and Sappi. ties: accelerating transformation, driving social The initiative comprises a 600-page design resource development, enhancing Woolworths’ environmanual which serves as a valuable and much needed mental focus and addressing climate change. teaching tool to support educators to teach design on a daily basis. The manual is made up of 23 modules divided into four broad categories namely: Communication Design, Surface Design, Product Design and Environmental Design. These categories cover subjects as diverse as advertising, textiles, industrial design, animation, jewellery and ceramics, architecture and theatrical design. Other aspects include an annual competition, which is open to Grade 10, 11 There is no doubt that the efforts of all these dedicated role players in the design arena greatly influence society as a whole as well as various cultural spheres. Through perseverance and hard work they create a more informed, inspired and innovative country, allowing for positive growth and a sustainable future through design. <
of willing individuals, organisations and retailers that have the passion, determination and courage needed to promote the awareness of social issues through the medium of design.
PHOTOGRAMS PINHOLE PHOTOGRA
By Inga Forde
PICS MADE FROM BASIC T
Photograms and pinhole photography are two ways of producing a photographic image without the use of a camera. Although both methods do require a darkroom, photographic chemicals, photographic paper and an enlarger, the methods are easy to execute and one can expect beautiful results.
developer for one minute, then one minute in the stop and four minutes in the fixative. Once the print has been fixed, it must be rinsed for ten minutes in running water and then hung up with a plastic peg until dry. Objects that can be used include old photographs or images copied onto transparency paper in the negative (black & white reverse); old x-rays; food items such as, rice, pasta shapes, hundreds and thousands; jewellery, glass beads, silver chains, silver stars; glass bottles; string, thread, ribbons, lace... basically anything that has an interesting shape and is either opaque or slightly transparent.
A photogram is a negative image made by placing objects onto light sensitive photographic paper and then exposing the paper to the light from the enlarger. Depending on the transparency of the objects used, one can achieve different results. Essentially where the paper is exposed to full light it turns black once developed; where the light is held back completely the paper remains white once developed and where objects of Pinhole photography follows similar variable transparency have been used, principles to regular photography; the various tones of grey are seen. only difference is that your camera is a tin with a tiny pin hole for the lens and a These tonal variations are achieved by blob of Prestik® (Blu-Tack®) as your shutturning the aperture of the enlarger to ter. Any size tin can be used to construct the smallest f stop, f 5.6 or f 4.5 and ex- a pinhole camera – pinhole cameras have posing the paper for approximately two even been made out of shipping containto six seconds. Mix photographic chemi- ers! You need the following to make your cals according to the instructions on the pinhole camera: A tin with a metal lid bottles. When developing your print in (plastic lids are no good), matte black the chemical baths, it is important to fol- spray paint, a hammer, a nail, silver tape, low the correct development times: The a pin and Prestik®. exposed print must be developed in the Once you have sourced a good tin, spray
Top left: Photogram by Ceil Reyneke. Top right: Photogram by Gina vd Ploeg. Bottom left: Photogram by Kelly Mouton. Bottom right: Photogram by Lara French.
the interior of the tin and lid with the black spray paint, allow to dry. Hammer a small hole into the side of the tin using a nail, cut a strip of silver tape and cover the hole carefully. As you smooth the tape in position you will see an indentation
where the hammer hole is positioned, pierce a tiny pin hole in the middle of the indentation. Cover the hole with a blob of Prestik® – now you have your ‘lens’ and ‘shutter’. Once your pinhole camera is complete you are ready to start taking photographs. You need to load your camera (tin) in the darkroom. This means cutting a piece of light sensitive photographic paper slightly smaller than half the circumference of the tin and placing the paper opposite the pin hole on the inside of the tin. Make sure that the shiny side of the paper faces the pin hole. You are then ready to start. Remember when choosing your subject matter get close to your subject as the pin hole usually creates a wide angle. Remove the Prestik® that was covering the pinhole and try and ‘shoot’ with the sun behind you and position the ‘camera’ on a very stable surface. Depending on the light your exposure times will vary considerably. Be prepared to first test for the best time for your camera. Generally speaking with a small to medium sized tin, in bright sunlight, your exposure time should be between 10 – 30 seconds. On an overcast day or in a very shady area your exposure time could vary from 1 minute to 5 minutes. You could also shoot indoors, but be prepared for longer exposure times. If you have tested for the correct time and kept your tin completely still, you should expect a negative image of
good quality. Once you have developed your image in the photographic chemicals (same as discussed for photograms), your image should appear crisp, you should achieve white, black and grey areas and the grey areas should show a good tonal variety. If the image is too light you need to expose for a longer period of time, if the image is too dark you need to expose for less time. Remember that your pinhole photograph is a negative, so your light areas will appear dark and your dark areas will appear light on the print. This negative can be turned into a positive using the contact print process. Photograms and pinhole photography are fabulous teaching tools to demonstrate basic photographic principles, such as, available light and shutter speed (or exposure times), as well as demonstrating how a camera works – albeit at a very basic level. These methods can be used to introduce photography to learners from Grade 7 to Grade 10, as a further more technical study of photography is suitable to learners in Grades 11 and 12. < Inga Forde teaches Visual Art and Photography for Grades 10-12 at the Frank Joubert Art Centre in Newlands, Cape Town.
Top: Pinhole photograph (negative and negative) by Catherine Muller. Centre: Pinhole photograph (negative and positive) by Kelly Mouton. Above: Pinhole photograph (negative and positive) by Kelly Mouton.
ANIMATIO OPENS N YOUNG C
Only ten years ago, the idea of animation as a career path for a young South African was about as fantastical as this imaginative visual art form is in itself. But, with a boom in animation blockbusters from companies such as Pixar and Dreamworks, and the likes of Aardman Animations’ Oscar winning Wallace and Gromit, the popularity of animation in all it’s forms has grown considerably, with a great demand for skilled animators to enter the workplace. And with South Africa gaining ground as a top film destination, it has now also starting gaining ground as a competitive animation industry that is looking to tackle big international projects. The Western Cape has developed a world-class animation industry over the past decade and local studios and animators are sought after across the world. The winning formula is that South Africa produces generalists – animators who have a broad understanding of the technical and creative requirements within this new and exciting visual environment. Local animation studios of approximately 30 to 50 people are producing work of the same quality as studios of 1 500 people in Los Angeles. The local industry is also effective and highly productive. Already, this home-grown industry has a number of feature length, uniquely South African, projects set to hit both local and international circuits within the next year or two, some already having been planned for stereoscopic (or 3D) theatrical release. One of the biggest challenges facing the industry, however, is capacity. Capacity to contend with the international projects that employ anything from 100 to sometimes 400 animators per project is hard to achieve, simply because there are not enough skilled animators out there. Linton Rensburg, media officer of the Cape Film Commission reiterates that: “We need to grow our human and skills capacity to be able to take on the work that we are being awarded.” It was for this very reason that the Cape Film Commission, in public-private partnership with the Service SETA and the False Bay College, launched the Animation Academy at the Good Hope Campus in Khayelitsha. Officially launched in March 2010, the Animation Academy grew out of the Animation Industry Development Initiative (AIDI) which was launched in 2009. The first phase of recruitment started with a number of workshops introducing
ON ACADEMY NEW DOORS FOR CREATIVES
potential candidates to career paths in animation, as well as allowing students to submit their personal work for assessment. The Academy is the first institution of its kind specifically located to allow access to previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa. All course work and learning outcomes have been developed in collaboration with leading education and animation experts in accordance with world-class standards. The Academy has already caught the attention of international players. David Sproxton, CEO of Aardman Animations in the UK, officially opened the Academy in Kayelitsha, being humbled by the high standard of work already shown by some of the candidates and of the local industry in general. Aardman Animations is recognised as one of the leading animation studios in the world, to young people wanting to work receiving eight Oscar® nomina- in the animation industry. He says: tions and winning four. “When I was briefed about the Cape Film Commission’s plans for an AniFor over 30 years, Sproxton has mation Academy in Khayelitsha, overseen the development of the it interested me enormously. I’m company from a two-man part- very keen to see where we can nership to one of the pre-eminent help and hopefully this is the beanimation houses in the industry. ginning of a long term relationship Sproxton and fellow founder Peter with South Africa and the Cape Lord were awarded CBE’s (Com- Film Commission.” mander of the British Empire, a title ranking higher than knight- The Academy currently accepts hood!) in 2006 in the Queen Eliz- 80 learners per year. Anyone inabeth’s Birthday Honours. terested in enrolling can contact As well as feature films and TV productions, Aardman produces approximately 75 television commercials each year, using a wide variety of animation styles, from stop frame, productions in CGI, Flash and mixed media. the Animation Academy’s Head, Gary Kaggelhoffer, at the False Bay College’s Good Hope Campus directly, for enrollment criteria on 021 361 3430. <
Image from Wallace & Gromit
Aardman has always been keen Grand Adventures. © Aardman to provide support and training Animations Ltd.
WANT TO STUDY
By Chevawn Blum
If it’s medicine, it’s science. If it’s business, then it’s accounting. And what if it’s design?
Jumping from high school to any first year study is tough, especially when you are doing a course that, until now, has never been a complete focus – in matric you are taking six other subjects, excluding design. Studying a design-related discipline at tertiary level opens doors to careers such as interior, communication, fashion, textile, jewellery, theatre, industrial design and even engineering and architecture. It is a growing career choice and, as such, has meant changes and enhancements in the South African curriculum. The question of whether or not what you learnt at school and what is expected from you at first year tertiary design level is on par, still stands. Design means a new set of skills and different dimensions of study that you may not have experienced before or learnt at school. High schools that do offer design as a subject choice are doing what they can to prepare you for future studies in the design field. Although curriculum approvals and methods of teaching may be different depending on for instance whether you are based in Gauteng or the Western Cape, what is expected of first year students in various design fields is pretty straightforward. Group work, even though it may feel like the bane of your existence, is considered a vital part of design education. A student studying at the Open Window described it as ‘the buddy system’ and without it a student will really struggle. Critical thinking, you may think, means to think outside the box but what happens when tertiary design institutions want to see no box at all? Taking on a heavy workload should be pretty average for any art and design high school student. This helps prepare students to handle the huge expectations, hectic workload and time management required of them at tertiary level. Being able to communicate
It is also advised that any student does their own research into a possible career choices before making any decisions. Not only is there is a variety of information available but students can also visit many of the open days at tertiary design institution to find out more about the different design disciplines. Open days are the best times to ask questions to the relevant lecturers as well as the stuNot only do the design curriculum and the expecta- dents, who will give you the best perspective on the tions set at school need to be standardised across current course they are studying. the country, but teaching basic design principles also needs to be compulsory. A solid set of skills All the skills and practices you learn in high school like technical and observational drawing skills, an will be refined and nurtured in your first year, where understanding and ability to work comfortably with you will gain thinking and coping tools that will cera variety of media in a 2D and 3D format, a solid tainly benefit you in the long run. understanding of colour, texture, shape and line and the ability to strategise, solve problems and Acceptance into most tertiary design institutions is develop conceptual skills are just a few necessities based on a section of student’s portfolio admisthat should automatically develop while taking de- sions and their ability to display creative problem sign as a school subject. However, at the moment, solving skills, among others, that can be honed and it all depends on the varying expertise that a teach- harnessed into strengths within a design career. er provides and the resources available at schools. Some institutions will even require an entrance test Tertiary institutions do not expect an advanced or and an interview to make sure a candidate is able specialised design student to walk through their to meet certain skill levels. doors but they do expect a student to have mastered the basics, so that he or she may proceed to Good general knowledge is a quality that will stand a higher level of education with confidence. in your favour, along with perseverance, dedication, and of course the critical ‘P’ word – passion. Design basics are a part of the foundation year in any design course and the understanding and execution thereof cannot be emphasised enough. Although tertiary still has the enormous task of leveling the playing fields amongst first year students, the basics of design education have not yet been standardised at schools and the student’s level of knowledge largely depends on the expertise, knowledge and the teacher’s ability to interpret the design curriculum. This reflects a great deal on how a student approaches design skills. For that reason, high schools and some tertiary institutions work very closely together to know what they expect from each other. If it’s medicine, it’s science. If it’s business, then it’s accounting. If it’s design, then it skills – and there’s no limit to what can be learnt and what skills can be gained. < For more information on design careers and institutions that offer design courses visit:
with people, not only verbally but visually as well, is a common expectation at tertiary level and there is no high school subject that focuses predominantly on this skill alone. However, unbeknownst to the student, he or she gains many varied skills from being at high school even if, at the time, it feels like a waste of time.
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