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NO. 3 2011
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FEATURES 14 > Oona Scheepers: A fairytale from Prieska to Porsche
24 > Fabrica: 10 questions for Omar Vulpinari
38 > Re-sounding (architectural) success
50 > After the glass shoe
COMMUNICATION DESIGN 64 > Frost*: Understanding the serious playground of business and good design
76 > Summer Olympics 2016: Rio’s brand sculpture gets the thumbs-up
88 > The sound of music BUILT ENVIRONMENT
BUILT ENVIRONMENT > Capsulation for 9 hours
INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 104 > Transit cases: Chairs from Mexico
112 > Glass, a fragile yet giant industry
124 > Designing the world: An introduction to a sustainable future and the role of industrial design
130 > The jury adjourns
136 > Designing for life
DESIGN PROMOTION 144 > Leimei Julia Chiu: A champion for design promotion across boundaries
148 > DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA: A new lens on the known world
CREAM OF THE CROP 156 > Knitting for initiates
162 > Moving images: Time to catch a wake-up call
166 > Vases for lifestyles
172 > All stars below
178 > Design sensibility
182 > Vega School of Brand Innovation shines brightly
CREATIVE LEARNING 188 > Images for change: A sustainable bond with spaces and places we occupy
194 > Authentic African stories. The real deal
200 > Cross-Pollination
208 > Sketch Assembly: The Merry Company. An exercise in collaborative sketching
HIGH SCHOOL RESOURCES 216 > Design for yet another age
222 > Growing young talent
230 > Recommended reading
A new year has begun and just when we think we are a little more familiar and comfortable with the trendy titbits of 2011, another list of X-factors make the front pages. Technology makes our world so pliable and malleable that it can reinvent itself again and again. Unfortunately the rules of Mother Nature is less pliable and struggles to adjust to the world’s greed for success – so much so that she reacts more and more in despair and desperation. Thinking, working and doing everything sustainably is not trendy anymore or even limited to a minority group in society. It is slowly becoming an everyday lifestyle. Just imagine the immediate change if we could live in a world where it is second nature to act responsibly in everything we do? Designing a different world sounds like an enormous task but it is certainly possible, and even more so if we change our teaching methodologies to rather fit in with the changing needs of the world around us. It is also imperative to move towards developing a ‘culture of design’ that will not only ensure a better educated consumer market that will force businesses to become more competitive in We also showcase a different set of design fields like glass, ceramics Suné Stassen Editor
quality and output, but also create a culture that is characterised by a gradual increase in strategic thinkers, true leaders, problem solvers, innovators and entrepreneurs. This is another reason why we are keeping a keen eye on creative city Cape Town who is currently getting ready to bid for the International Design Alliance’s World Design Capital 2014 designation. In this edition of ED> we introduce you to a number of designers who are impacting greatly on the world around us. One being South Africa’s own design star, Oona Scheepers who is a great success in the automotive industry. Véronique Vienne contributes a special interview with Omar Vulpinari, head of Visual Communication at Fabrica, the Benetton Group’s communication research centre, and we ‘re-sound’ architectural design when talking to local talent Don Albert who recently launched the book, Sound Space Design. Meet Zimbabwean-born shoe designer, Liam Faye and learn how he uses his native country as inspiration for most creative decisions that he make.
and knitting. The Sound of Music introduces the world of sound design and we specifically look at production companies Milestone Studios and Adelphoi Music. As a great designer, strategic thinker and brand developer, Vince Frost certainly needs no introduction. While using the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a measuring tool, DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA is taking count of the true impact of the creative industry on economic development. Brazil is also starting to take stock and we have a look at the branding development of Rio Olympics 2014. We also explore the teachings of biomimicry and the Cross-Pollination workshops where nature is a vital mentor in developing better solutions for the changing world in which we live. Also check out the experiential and collaborative methods of the Sketch Assembly, as well as the latest hot talents under our Cream of the Crop section. It is indeed a rapidly changing world. Have a great and inspiring read.
FOUNDER > Cameron Bramley CHIEF EXECUTIVE > Karuna Pillay GROUP EDITOR > Jacques Lange EDITOR > Suné Stassen DESIGN & LAYOUT > Bluprint Design CONTRIBUTORS > Jimena Acosta, Fatima Cassim, Maran Coates, Vikki du Preez, Jennie Fourie, Melissa Haiden, Kigge Hvid, Jess Henson, Janine Johnston, Angelique Kendall, David Larsen, Anastasia Messaris, Beth Peterson, Chad Pietersen, Erin-Lee Saunders, Sarah Stewart , Liani van der Westhuizen, Retief van Wyk, Marlé van Zyl, Véronique Vienne SALES DIRECTOR > Jeff Malan © 2011 DESIGN>MAGAZINE PRODUCTION MANAGER > Stacey Rowan ISSN 1814-7240 ADMINISTRATION > Michelle Swart Number 3, February 2011 W: www.designmagazine.co.za Twitter: http://twitter.com/DESIGNarrow PUBLISHED BY > DESIGN>MAGAZINE T: +27(0) 12 346 7788 F: +27 (0) 12 346 2559 E: firstname.lastname@example.org COVER ARTWORK > Rob Mills, Edge of light 2, 2004. Pigment ink print on rice paper worked over with beeswax and oil paint. Dancer, Kristin Wilson from Natalie Fisher's Pieces of a Dream. © Rob Mills, www.signsoflife.co.za
DISCLAIMER: No material may be reproduced in part or whole without the express permission of the publisher. No responsibility will be accepted for unsolicited material. The publisher accepts no liability of whatsoever nature arising out of or in connection with the contents of this publication. The publisher does not give any warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of its contents. The views and opinions expressed in DESIGN>EDUCATION are not necessarily those of the publisher, its endorsers or media partners.
By Chad Petersen
The multibillion-Rand automotive industry has many designers vying for a position in the field of vehicle design. This highly competitive field makes it extremely difficult for aspiring designers to find a job. So it should come as a surprise that a farm girl from Prieska, a small town in the Northern Cape, has managed to cement her place in the international automotive design industry.
A fairytale from Prieska to Porsche
The ash heap was her favourite place where she would find broken porcelain objects, glass and other interesting bits and pieces to create fantasy worlds. This, together with her fascination for semi-precious stones that she found on the farm, formed the basis for what she loves doing today, which she says are “cars, colours and materials”. Oona studied Graphic Design at the then Cape
Oona Scheepers is South Africa’s very own ‘star’ automotive designer who has managed to make it big internationally, designing for prestigious companies such as Porsche, Audi and most recently Volkswagen AG where she is head of the Design Studio for Colour and Trim. Her humble beginnings found her playing in an old ash heap on the farm and at this point Oona never dreamed of becoming an automotive designer but always knew that she would do something art or design-related.
Technikon (now Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and drew a few automotive illustrations while at Tech but this was mostly to please her car-crazy husband. She could never have dreamt that this was a sign for her future success. After completing her diploma she applied for a job as a layout artist at Car magazine. She really wanted this job but was turned down. This incident was a huge turning point for her, instilling a lot of drive in her to become successful. She now looks back thinking that not getting the job was actually a blessing in disguise because had she been
LEFT: Oona Scheepers with some of her tools of trade. RIGHT: Colour range of the new Volkswagen Polo.
accepted for the job she might not have become the amazing automotive designer she is today. Oona quotes the Dalai Lama who once said that what you don’t get is usually the bigger gift, and this is something that in hindsight makes complete sense to her. Oona’s husband Stef worked at British Leyland and Renault in Elsies River until the companies withdrew from South Africa. After this there was not much else relating to the automotive industry in South Africa for Stef to get involved in so the family relocated to the UK in 1987, where Stef got a job in automotive design. After spending two years in the UK, they moved to Germany in 1989. Initially they only planned to be abroad for two years but those two years have become 20! After moving to Cologne in Germany, Oona was unable to work since she did not have a work permit. She started drawing portraits of the kids in their son’s kindergarten and little did she know that this was going to be her ticket into the wonderful world of automotive design. One of the fathers was so impressed with Oona’s art that he offered her a job and promised to sort out a work permit. At this point she knew nothing of what the job offer would entail and was surprised to find out a few days later that she would be working in an automotive design studio. Initially she was hesitant to accept the position but her boss told her that automotive design was all about proportions and she has mastered this skill through her portraits. “That was 21 years ago and I have
never looked back with any regrets,” says Oona. The rest, as they say, is history. Her first permanent position was at Porsche where she was involved with the design of the Carrera GT. For her, working on the Carrera GT is one of her career highlights: “It was the birth of new car development when the Carrera GT had its so-called rollout” It was dusk at the test track in Weissach when the engine roared up for the first time and blasted down the straight. The feeling is indescribable and every time I think about it, I still get goose bumps.” Oona draws much of her inspiration from nature. She believes that nature holds the key to the perfect colour palette. This can be seen in the Porsche Cayenne that was inspired by the Kalahari’s colour palette and the Audi TT by the shades of a Free State thunderstorm. “There is nothing that beats the colour and textural inspiration that you get from nature. Nature has a few golden rules and if you keep to them you can’t go wrong. I love using South African landscapes when selecting colour – it is pure and crisp. It’s almost like looking at everything through a polarising filter,” she explains. She also mentions that many designers often get their inspiration from everyday life, architecture and furniture design. Here, she says, you can find the perfect balance between contemporary materials and colour. When asked how her studies in graphic design helped her refine her automotive design skills,
TOP: Design team of the Porsche Carrera GT.
BOTTOM: Porsche Carrera
GT interior. ©Porsche.
she explains: “The basis of any creative profession, be it architecture, furniture design or automotive design, is a solid foundation in art. I am responsible for design, colour and trim, which means I develop the colour programmes for all our vehicles, exterior as well as interior. As a graphic designer I had a very good intuition and knack for colour, texture and composition. This has helped a lot.” The colour and trim form one of the three classic pillars of automotive design – the other two being exterior and interior. Everything you can see, feel and touch on the vehicle comes from the colour and trim designers. She explains that only when all three elements are in harmony does the car become a perfect unit.
In recent years computer-aided design has become more and more prominent in automotive design studios and with good reason: it allows for a more realistic representation of a design and changes can be made easily without having to redraw the whole concept by hand. However, Oona says that there is no substitute for the “mighty pencil” because any good designer will still start with original sketches and ideas on paper. “The essence of good design is the skill of delivering good drawings.” Walter de Silva, chief designer at Volkswagen, finds time to draw each and every day. “To draw should be second nature and it should be an unconscious act. You should automatically start sketching when you see a piece of paper and a pencil/ pen without giving it much thought. There
FAR LEFT: Oona Scheepers with the new Volkswagen Polo. © Volkswagen. LEFT: Original drawings of the third generation Volkswagen Polo supplied by VW Design. Although technology has certainly added great value to this industry, and the initial design phase is definitely more computer-oriented than in the past, it is fair to say that any good automotive designer will still create initial concept sketches on paper before enhancing it on computer with the aid of 3D renderings and virtual reality. Interestingly enough something like clay modeling still has a very hands on role in the design process and makes it possible for all concerned to see and touch a real life sized model. © Volkswagen.
TOP LEFT: Oona Scheepers and Stefan Sielaff, head of Audi Design with the Audi A5 3.0 TDI quattro. © Audi. TOP RIGHT: Audi A6 interior sketch. © Audi. CENTRE: Selection of interior trim materials. © Audi. BOTTOM: Trim variants for the Audi R8. © Audi.
will always be hundreds of pictures trapped in your mind that need to escape onto paper,” says Oona. Mentors are very important in a designer’s life – they are there to inspire and to keep one motivated. Walter de Silva is one of Oona’s mentors and to her he is one of the greatest automotive designers. He makes the final decisions on a design and he understands how to define the identity of the brand. This makes him the ideal mentor and an asset to the Volkswagen brand. “Having the privilege of working with Walter is like being part of a live thriller” says Oona. She left Porsche to join his team at Audi and later followed
when he was called to head up design at Volkswagen. The more time the designer spends with his or her product, the more successful the bonding process. Oona explains that one needs to understand the car and react to its needs. The automotive designers are actively involved in the process from the very beginning through the first initial sketches, of which there are hundreds, until the start of production. The exterior designers start with the design and are very closely followed by the interior designers. The colour and trim process, which Oona leads, starts in this phase as well. Colour and trim stay on board the design process for much longer than the rest of the design department to sort out all the final detailing needed for a new vehicle. The design process of a car, as one can imagine, is extremely complex. From scratch through to the marketplace takes about 48 months of intensive work. It is for this reason that predicting rather than following trends drives Oona’s work. She explains that longevity of proportion is more important than the detailing on a design and she strives to create timeless designs that are not trenddependent. She lives by the design philosophy of “Keep it simple – every line has a function!” When Oona stepped on board at Volkswagen she was responsible for the VW Polo which
became her ’baby‘. The Polo is a global product but if one looks closely at the design of the Polo in different parts of the world, you will notice slight tweaks in the design. Oona explains that Volkswagen AG values the concept of localisation. All right-hand drive Polos, as well as the Cross Polo are built in South Africa and when they build the cars locally, she makes sure that they get as much local content into the product. This allows for clear differentiation between markets. Oona has close contact with all the production plants worldwide, which include South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, the USA, India, Russia and China. And it is important for her to have regular international contact to make sure that all market demands and needs are met. “The intercultural challenges are extremely exciting and I love collaborating with the designers from the different countries,” says Oona.
the best results when put under immense pressure. Adriaan van Hooydonk, chief designer at BMW, once said that it is important to find a rhythm similar to that of top sportsmen who are also not able to constantly fight for the gold medal. This strategy avoids burn out. “I had excellent training growing up in the Karroo. The Karroo taught me endurance. Twelve years of boarding school also taught me a lot of discipline – these two qualities make you succeed when others tend to give up,” says Oona. “Creative people hardly ever have breaks. By this I mean that even at home designers are always absorbing new ideas so their antennas are always set on ‘receive’.” Some of Oona’s best ideas come during the night, which is why she has a notepad and pen next to her bed. “Of course it is not always possible to make out the scribbles in the morning.” Oona concludes: “South Africa is alive with
The automotive design industry is still a predominately male-dominated profession. However, Oona says that she has absolutely no problem working in this profession and that she actually enjoys it. She goes on to say that as in every profession, you have to earn respect regardless of your gender. “One of the most important things is to try and keep emotion out of business. It is not always easy for females to stick to the cold business facts,” says Oona.
possibilities and South Africans need to know that they have every right to stand proud. If one is ambitious, have clear goals and believe in yourself, you will make it, no matter what your circumstances are. Success is just a by-product of dedicated hard work.”
About the author
Chad Petersen is an industrial designer specialising in consumer electronics with a particular focus on socially responsible design. He is currently working at …XYZ in Cape Town. <
There is constant pressure in the automotive design industry to always 'up your game' to improve on models and compete with other manufacturers, and creative people deliver
TOP: The new Amarok from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the company's first foray into the bakkie market. Working across the entire Volkswagen product range, Oona Scheepers says that the Amarok is the one project that is most influenced by her country of birth. “As I grew up on the back of a pick up, this is a true homage to South Africa." © Volkswagen. BOTTOM: Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's state-of-the-art car plant, one of the most advanced automotive factories in the world.
By Véronique Vienne
Photo by EJ Camp
10 QUESTIONS FOR OMAR VULPINARI
Serving humanity and art in roughly equal doses
A new generation of dreamers is coming of age, young people who believe that humanist convictions can shape their future. Omar Vulpinari is among a handful of experienced educators who actively support their aspirations and efforts. As head of Visual Communication at Fabrica, the Benetton Group’s communication research centre, Vulpinari is helping them become the kind of communication designers who will make a difference.
The work atmosphere at Fabrica is unique – some have compared this intercultural campus to the Bauhaus. Fabrica’s studio consists exclusively of young designers from all over the world who develop campaigns for clients with a social agenda. The Japanese architect Tadao Ando has transformed an old Palladian villa into one of the most remarkable contemporary landmarks which has become home to Fabrica. The place, and the people working on the premises, expresses, in 21 century language, the
address the most pressing social issues. V> Fabrica is located less than 30 minutes from Venice. Every two years, at the Venice Biennale, the most provocative contemporary artists worldwide exhibit their most recent projects. It’s such a stimulating environment, isn’t it? O> Fabrica is definitely in a very fortunate cultural and geographical position. It is located just north of Treviso so by car it’s 30 minutes from the culture capitals of Venice and Padua, 40 from Cortina (the heart of the Dolomite Mountains), and another 40 from Lesolo, the most popular beach-culture coast of the Adriatic Sea.
art and design residents who stay at Fabrica for 12 months, but also for visiting design educators, entrepreneurs, promoters and writers. In fact, many prominent artists and designers passing through the region frequently stop at Fabrica for casual visits, lectures and workshops, making the institute a very special and dynamic ‘thinkhub’ in a global network of design-led innovation. V> Your visual vocabulary is direct, bold, often unnerving (your Global Violence Prevention campaign or anti-smoking ads, for instance). You don’t seem to be afraid of controversy. Is getting people upset about issues a Benetton tradition? O> Truth sets you free, but
values elaborated by architects like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe – values that the architectural critic Peter Blake had described as “serving humanity and art in roughly equal doses". In a recent interview, Omar Vulpinari explained how he tries to create memorable and artful campaigns that
This makes the Fabrica experience very appealing, not only for young international
can also hurt. Our images are about universal realities that need to be communicated
and addressed, but in a universal audience context this can mean displacing someone. Very often our images are direct, and for this reason disturbing, but this is not a stylistic/self-marketing choice. International research efforts in social communication have demonstrated that when behaviour change is required through visual communication, the message and its language must be direct and emotionally impacting to be memorable and therefore effective. For example, countries that adopt those disturbing but realistic photographic images of smokerelated diseases on cigarette packs have on average an immediate drop of 20% in tobacco consumption. V> Your residents (as Fabrica’s grant holders are called) are young communication and product designers, video makers, photographers and interaction designers, most of them under 25. And they stay with you for a year or two, maximum. Plus they come from around the world. Yet your centre creates socially aware campaigns that are surprisingly consistent in terms of message and image. What’s your secret? O> First of all, it’s natural for any environment doing distinctive
work like Fabrica to attract people who are aligned with that nature of work. We are mostly known for our communication design for social concern through our global campaigns for United Nations and for 19 years of publishing Colors – The Magazine About the Rest of the World. Secondly, our selection process is very sensitive towards sincere care for design as a social agent of change. This also means looking for candidates who have strong image-based communication skills that can transcend perennial language barriers and have a more direct impact in a global multilingual context. Thirdly, my being at Fabrica for 12 years now has probably also helped a lot in maintaining consistency of message and image. V> Massive change will not happen with old ideas. You are a pioneer of what you call ‘lateral thinking’. What makes this approach really different? O> ’Lateral thinking ideas‘ first need ’Lateral thinking funding’. Unfortunately very few governments have effective research funding policies. Italy is definitely not one of them as our university research funds are almost the lowest in Europe, and still falling.
Essentially, lateral thinking is about thinking without (or with less) fear of failure. Advancement and creative solutions cannot come from environments that cannot take risks of failing. In the end, the privilege of being able to afford failure first of all requires illuminated governors/entrepreneurs/patrons and their support. V> Is providing students with reallife clients and real-life challenges one of the new possibilities you see for people who teach communication design? Is it what ‘practice research’ is all about? O> It’s not a new possibility but it’s an increasingly relevant one. In a world and market of growing multiplayer complexity the designer cannot avoid collaborating closely with the end-user, the client and numerous other stakeholders and professionals in different disciplines (scientists, programmers, business consultants, and more). Therefore, the designer’s project-based training cannot any longer be focused on the slowtrack classroom-simulation basis. Practice research must take the students into the clients’ meeting rooms and to the streets of public service. This will not only turn out as a real benefit for the student but also for the market and the community.
TOP: Japanese architect Tadao Ando has transformed an old Palladian villa into a remarkable contemporary landmark which has become home to Fabrica. BOTTOM: Fabrica students at work.
V> Are you foreseeing social networking as a way to promote long-term environmental and humanitarian responsibility? What we learnt from the Obama campaign is that the Internet can trigger change — but how do you sustain a new vision over time? O> Certainly. I think that social networking is an extraordinary vehicle for long-term social change and will become more so when issues like China’s government censorship and Africa’s lack of adequate infrastructure are resolved. But because we are in the realm of social networking it’s more a question of who will determine the long-term vision. Here is where I see the great importance of the hundreds of thousands of design students we have globally today. If all these future designers embrace the enormous social responsibility they have from day one of their careers, and take advantage of the communication potential of social networking, they will absolutely be able to make a very important contribution to sustaining and spreading a new vision over time. This is my most important mission with residents at Fabrica and also my students at the IUAV University of Venice in San Marino.
Client: UNWHO Road Safety | Art director & photographer: Yianni Hill | Creative director: Omar Vulpinari Campaign commissioned by UNWHO for the First United Nations Global World Road Safety Week 2007. The campaign includes five posters and public service announcements addressing “young road users” which are the most frequent victims of road accidents. © Fabrica 2007.
Client: UNWHO Child Injury Prevention Campaign | Art director: Valery Gudenus | Photographer: Piero Martinella | Creative director : Omar Vulpinari The global campaign was commissioned by World Health Organization and UNICEF for the launch of the World Report on Child Injury Prevention in 2008. The campaign aims to convince policy makers to implement preventative measures for the top five injury causes. © Fabrica 2008.
V> I have a bone to pick with you: I don’t believe that ‘expanded media’, which is central at Fabrica, is really going to transform the way we think and behave. I would compare the blending of all disciplines to the Tower of Babel, not to the invention of the printing press. Can you convince me that the world is a better place because I can take photographs with my iPhone? O> If anyone can effectively, easily and economically document images, text and sound any and every instant of their life, anywhere they are, I’m sure the world will be a better place in many aspects. Just think of the citizen journalist phenomenon. Today we have more uncensored information shaping our reality, coming from off-the-street people with phone cameras and blogs than from professional journalists. Another example is the e-reader that is already giving us the possibility of having thousands of e-books in our pocket wherever and whenever we want them. Personally, and I’m not alone, this is definitely comparable to the invention of the printing press. V> You are probably better informed than most regarding the numerous problems and conflicts afflicting people around the globe.
Client: Ulss 9 Treviso: Mamma Beve Bimbo Beve | Art director & photographer: Alizée Freudenthal | Fetus photo © Contrasto | Creative director: Omar Vulpinari Fabrica conceived the symbolic image for the communication campaign Mamma beve, bimbo beve (Mummy drinks, baby drinks) for USSL 9, the public health unit of the Treviso area, Venice, Italy. © Fabrica 2010 COLORS magazine issues – Madness, Slavery, Trujillo and Tours – under the creative direction of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. Adam, a South African, was a Frabrica resident in 1998 and creative editor for Colors from 2000 to 2003. Adam and Oliver are a photographic team who have been collaborating for over ten years and are now based in London.
Kuduro series by Chris Saunders, a South African photographer and filmmaker. In 2010 he won a year-long grant at Fabrica where he researched and helped produce two issues of Colors magazine and worked on various video and photo projects for United Colors of Benetton and Fabrica. © Chris Saunders.
LEFT: Pantsula series. CENTRE: The Smarteez series. RIGHT: The Tshe Tsha Boys series by Chris Saunders ©
In your opinion, what was the most pressing social issue in 2010? O> No doubt that global warming is always at the top of the list. The UNWHO has global warming effects on human health as its current priority, because the Earth will regenerate in time but humanity could be in front of the so-called ’sixth extinction’ of life on the planet. V> You are a vice-president of Icograda, the global body for communication design. What specific impact do you have on its philosophy, strategy and programmes? O> Currently I’m leading two major projects: the Icograda Design Education Manifesto 2011 and Iridescent – The Icograda Journal of Design Research. The Icograda Design Education Manifesto 2011 is a core document that defines Icograda's position on design education, taking into consideration the emerging themes of technology, inter-disciplinarity, cross-disciplinarity, design research, entrepreneurship, design management and design thinking. Iridescent offers an international peer-reviewed publishing platform for innovative research with a specific focus on issues of relevance
to contemporary communication design and curriculum development. V> You told me once that you are not interested in “design for designers” but that you’d rather champion “ideas for people”. I want to make sure that I get what you mean. Are you saying that too often designers try to please themselves rather than have a real impact on their audience? O> Some young designers are too often influenced by ‘designer cool’ and by what other designers think of their work – often featured out of context on their personal websites. In the name of peer-related approval I see too much work that is not focusing on the essentials of the message required by the client and the user. This can happen not only because of ego-centred agendas, but also because it’s very easy to be creative and cool with what is not essential, and very hard to be creative and cool with only the essential. I myself have not been alien to this attitude in the early stages of my career. My experience makes me think it’s part of the common personal evolution that all designers deal with sooner or later.
Client: UNWHO World No Tobacco Day – Show the Truth | Art directors: Namyoung An and Gabriele Riva | Photographers: Piero Martinella and Sebastiano Scattolin | Creative director: Omar Vulpinari | Teeth photo © Province of British Columbia, brain photo © Commonwealth of Australia and child photo: © World Lung Foundation. World No Tobacco Day is celebrated around the world on 31 May. The theme for 2009 is Show the truth: picture health warnings save live”. For this occasion UNWHO commissioned a global campaign to urge decision-makers to apply pictorial health warnings on all packages of tobacco products. © Fabrica 2009.
The body of work, Die Vier Hoeke, is an in depth photographic study of the South African Correctional Services system. These photographs originally started while Mikhail Subotzky was an undergraduate student at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, are now complimented by a new series, Umjiegwana. Mikhail was a Fabrica resident 2006 and has subsequently exhibited in major galleries and museums worldwide. © Mikhail Subotzky.
The Albino series by Pieter Hugo. Pieter, a South African photographer, worked in Fabrica’s photography department for two years. His interests alternate between socially aware documentary photography, especially on themes relevant to Africa and other developing countries. Pieter's series of portraits of albinos are actually fragments of mirrors. When you really look, those pale, transparent eyes, that hair of a color without color, that fragile and delicate skin, they really tell us about ourselves. They bring out fears and our prejudices to the surface. © Pieter Hugo.
RIGHT: From the series Die Vier Hoeke by Mikhail Subotzky ©
About the author
Véronique Vienne is a former magazine art director and editor and has written extensively on lifestyle trends, design ethics, and business practice. She is the editor/author of Citizen Designer and The Education of an Art Director (with Steven Heller), Art Direction Explained, at Last!, Fresh Dialogue Three and Fresh Dialogue Four and a collection of her essays on design was published by Graphis Press under the title Something to be Desired. She teaches a graduate course in design criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a visiting professor at the BeauxArts School in Lorient, France, and a lecturer at Parsons Paris.
for UNWHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDCP, UNICRI, Max Planck Institute, The World Bank, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Witness, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Instituto Terra, ArteFiera, Istituto Luce, The New Yorker, The Walrus, Flash Art, Electa and Cult TV – Fox International to mention just a few. Omar also teaches Communication Design at the IUAV University of Venice in San Marino. <
About Omar Vulpinari
Omar was born in the Republic of San Marino and raised in the USA. Today he lives in Treviso, Italy. Since 1998 he has been Head of Visual Communication at Fabrica, the Benetton Group communication research centre founded by Luciano Benetton and Oliviero Toscani. Here he has been creative director for social and cultural communication design projects
RE-SOUNDING (ARCHITECTURAL) SUCCESS
By Anastasia Messaris
With the release of their new book Sound Space Design: The Architecture of Don Albert and Partners (Pythagoras Media Company, 2010), Don Albert & Partners have the opportunity to showcase their conceptually innovative, technologically astute and slightly unconventional method of creating universal architecture. ED> spoke to principal architect Don Albert about key issues surrounding their approach to creating sound spaces. ED> Central to your investigations of space and innovative design is your idea of ’not knowing’. The communication designer Bruce Mau stated in his An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth that: “Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.” I find this idea appealing in that it fits into your idea of ‘not knowing’, that the progression of the wander is undoubtedly both more DA> Yes certainly, and that ‘process-driven’ approach is something promoted by many designers, physicists and educators, including Thomas Heatherwick, Isaak Newton and Aristotle respectively. I think in any of our un-built work, the ’end product’ is merely drawings, models, animations and images, so here the process is more rewarding simply because there isn’t a built work as such. Of course this media is still an architectural artefact. I would go so far as to say that ALL our projects’ processes are more rewarding to me as an architect than their built manifestations, fulfilling and more beneficial than the end result. It may be interesting to note that Mau’s An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth seems to condense what I think your practice is about: growth and discovery, both for your architecture and for the environment in which it is situated. Has there ever been an occasion in which you found the journey vastly more rewarding than the end product? Has this shaped your idea of ‘not knowing’ at all?
The Millennium Tower provides an ideal urban focus, new symbol and powerful identity for Durban, Africa's busiest port. The tower is a port control and vessel-tracking facility. It communicates fluctuations of sun, wind and tide, while symbolising the growth and transformation of the city into the third Millennium. It is a 75 m high kinetic sculpture that add significant information for the local surfers, sailors, fishermen, workers and holiday makers.
because, in general, the memories I have of the projects are in the making. I rarely get to use and experience the buildings as a client would, or the public would. In any case, architecture is in the mind first and foremost. ED> How have the advances in computer technology aided in your design exploration? DA> When I started practising as an architect, I used an abominable piece of software on a PC called TurboCAD. It was really crude 3-D. When I got to UCLA, real-time movement through 3-D environments was just being pioneered on Silicon Graphics machines the size of an average car, using military flight simulation software no less! Nowadays that kind of computing power resides in a cheap laptop, let alone an Apple PowerBook. Software has improved exponentially too. Today Rhino Grasshopper and similar software are capable of doing mathematically rich generative scenarios that a decade ago could only be done through MAX SP and Mathematica, both of which were impenetrable
Views of the book Sound Space Design: The Architecture of Don Albert and Partners.
software to most architects. At each step, we at Don Albert & Partners have tried to keep abreast of, if not be ahead of, the curve. Having said that, and as noted in ‘not knowing’, I am very sceptical about how BIM is affecting the industry from a creative point of view, as I believe it short circuits a lot of abstraction that should occur in the design process. ED> In your book you call yourself a contextual architect and you explain context as something that is not entirely rational, that is fluctuating and circumstantial and will most certainly alter within the lifespan of a building. You also (quite refreshingly) draw influence from pop, specifically the music videos of Kylie Minogue and Dawn Shadforth. In this way I see pop (or popular-ism) in itself becoming a context. Is this a correct correlation? DA> Yes, certainly. Although popular culture is an intangible thing generally, it certainly is a ’context’ to me.
ED> Does this then correspond to your beliefs of an architecture of longevity, that the buildings people like to look at and inhabit (i.e. are popular) will have the most lasting success as a design? But if pop (or popular) abides by trends, does that mean that the architecture that pop or popular-ism produces is also a trend? Furthermore, how does your version of pop context differ to that of say, the Century City’s and Caesar’s Palaces of pop context? DA> There is obviously a question of taste in everything, however, my view on pop music, as much as pop architecture, is that the song itself, or the building itself has to be intrinsically meritorious from a ‘structural’ or ‘functional’ point of view to enable any kind of longevity or appreciation in the first place. There are rules, but the most important quality of pop is currency. This is what elevates it into the popular consciousness and might separate it from the competition, however from that moment on, i.e. the moment it has registered as ’popular‘ it becomes legacy, precisely because it was once novel enough to
register as such. I hope I am making sense, but I think a simpler way of saying it is that everyone remembers a fresh take on something, or something that is original and new. The imitations are generally what are not ’lasting’ as you say. We will always remember Lady Gaga’s Poker Face even if it’s hideously dated today. The song only broke through at a certain time, because it was great POP! From that moment on though, it becomes a ‘classic’.
THIS PAGE: Stills from Kylie Minogues' videos Can't Get You Outta My Head (left) and Love at First Sight (right), both directed by Dawn Shadforth, showing a distinct appreciation for the structural possibilities of fabrics and simplistic computer generated grids that were popular in 1980s video games and music videos. These concepts were reinterpreted in the structure of the building trusses which modulated up and down in a simplistic fashion, filled with mesh to allow natural air flow into the building, Proud Heritage Clothing Campus, 2005. View the videos here. OPPOSITE PAGE LEFT: Design study for the balcony of the diner at Proud Heritage Clothing Campus, Warehouse 1. FAR RIGHT: Proud Heritage Clothing Campus.
There is nothing wrong with being ‘on trend’, but its far more interesting for me, to be pioneering. The Caesar Palaces of the world, whilst being popular venues of commerce and retail, are not particularly innovative aesthetically, so if I had to split hairs, I would say I am interested in intelligent, innovative ‘POP’ (music and architecture), as opposed to works that are following an already established trend. One finds, particularly in South Africa, that the design culture is especially trend-driven, and lacks depth and conceptual rigour as a consequence. In almost all design and architectural
publication in South Africa, there is an attitude that ‘as long as it looks trendy, it’s ok’. The current big trend is ‘green’, or ‘eco’ of course, which I feel has become somewhat of a facile pretext for conceptualisation, as if the concern for sustainability has never been on any architectural agenda before. ED> Both your writings and your architecture convey a relentless sense of enthusiasm and optimism. It is a feeling of looking forward (in pre-conceived notions of culture and context, of budget and technology, of form, of education) as opposed to a very strong South African tendency to look back to previously defined ideas of context and identity. Perhaps this is why you seem to court a fair amount of controversy. Can you respond to this? DA> I actually don’t know about any controversy. I certainly haven’t seen anything in print. I can imagine what you are writing of though, in terms of the way I have been shunned occasionally by certain groups in the academe and in the profession, so a fair response to your question would be that certainly, I am not interested in self-fulfilling
and limiting regurgitations of the past, period. The history of South Africa is an appalling one, and is not to be shied away from, however, I believe that we need to fashion a positive vision of the future, one where our commonalities and capacities as human beings are amplified, as opposed to our differences, which, seventeen years into socalled democracy, still seems to be the case. ED> Your (in South African terms) unconventional method of producing architecture is occasionally conceived locally as a Eurocentric way of designing, and the consequent architecture is then viewed as best suited to the cultural and technological climates of Europe. But was there ever a time when you were startled by how very South African you seemed in your design process, when your way of creating space was so obviously local? DA> I think if you look at how certain neomodern architects are designing from California, to Spain, to China, that there is nothing especially European, or Eurocentric in them,
and by extension, in the approach of Don Albert & Partners, unless you are suggesting that all neo-modern (process-driven?) architecture is Eurocentric? I have a big problem with that statement, for many reasons, but mostly because I believe that Western civilisation draws on extensive roots and borrowings from Africa in the first place. I think that there is a great degree of sensitivity towards ‘specificity’ and context in the architecture that I regard as inspirational and merit worthy. The key for me is how to abstract contextual issues (as opposed to forms) in order to unleash their power and create new ideas and new architectural forms and spaces. I also don’t see anything particularly problematic with being influenced by local forms or morphologies either, as long as there is some critical attitude towards such physical hegemony. Furthermore, I don’t see why or how that notion of abstraction belongs exclusively to Europe when in fact, the idea of abstraction belongs to everyone, and is very alive and well in Africa. Do these critics who view our process as Eurocentric not know of the abstraction in carved African masks that influenced Picasso (and thus the whole of modern art), or the wonderful mathematics and abstraction involved in Zulu beadwork? Or how much the Greeks in fact borrowed from the Egyptians forming the bedrock of Western civilisation, amongst many, many other examples?
I think the connection between so-called Western modernism and African, and the Eastern cultures, is a deep one and should not be oversimplified in the criticism of modern architecture. ED> I personally sense enormous growth in your designs between the initial concept and the final architectural product. To me it seems your grasp of intricate and alternative technologies is able to transform your vision into an architecture that is (in your own words) “robust enough to endure and meaningful enough to be valued.” Yet in your book you speak relatively little about technology and more often about concept. For you, how does the one influence the other, and at what stage is technology thought about as a concept in itself? DA> To me, technology is an enabler, not an end-in-itself. It is the tool that allows us to be creative, to see things differently, to make things differently. There is no single technology that is inherently any better than any other. I am very happy to draw on a drawing board, if that is all that is at hand. It’s what you do with it that matters; and that is why the concept is always stressed in our office, not the medium. Of course, sometimes the medium informs the concept, and vice versa, but it’s about the idea ultimately. I am not interested in pontificating about certain technologies, as these, inevitably become redundant sooner or later anyway.
The Fingerprint House concept was their first attempt at a digital, algorithmic design process. The basic idea is to create a HIS and HERS type web-enabled, flash-generated software that would enable you to design for different clients, as it would automatically generate a hybrid of the clients' tastes. Don Albert and Partners believe that Internet-enabled house design has great potential in the future. View the videos here.
ED> In the commercial reality of architecture in practice, how do you manage to convince your clients of the importance of concept? DA> Usually the concept should be big enough to survive commercial realities and should obviously be borne of the same. I can think of only one example in the past when the concept just couldn’t be achieved for reasons of budget. That’s not a bad track record! ED> In an interview with Nic Coetzer you called the current practicing architects in South Africa “a small new elite”. Do you think a lack of interest from government and an
THIS PAGE LEFT: Diagrams of Organic House, Cape Town – searching for three-dimensional common spaces (double volumes) and then converted into a spline system inspired by Peter Eisenman's 'virtual house' process. RIGHT: Spline diagram. OPPOSITE PAGE: Views of the completed Organic House.
increase in architecture of commercial gain has contributed to this? Where do you feel the current state of South African architecture is in terms of discourse, education and practice? If we continue in this vein what do you think the eventual outcome will be? DA> I am not clairvoyant, but I do believe that a dwindling economy, coupled with a
lack of intellectual rigour, rampant corruption, a lack of concern for meritorious appointments and a paucity of competitions and genuinely public debate (i.e. involving city planners and administrators) on architecture in South Africa, as is currently the case, is going to have a negative long-term effect on the profession. The climate of public commissions in architecture should always be the litmus test of a nation’s values, and its value in architecture. At the moment, there is a coterie of 'glamorous' architects doing well for themselves, and there is a justifiable concern for 'green' architecture which is worthy and will hopefully have a greater impact on commercial developments, however, in the main, the art and role of architecture is simply not on the radar in South Africa and is practically ignored by government. Until something radical happens in that regard, I see very dire consequences for South Africa, and not just from a purely architectural point of view. We need to see architects returning to an active position of intellectual and commercial integrity.
ED> Your book is an exciting new addition to the chronicles of local architectural theory and practice. What prompted its production and have you learnt anything through the process of recording your thoughts and documenting your discoveries? DA> Thank you. I think your preceding question, more than anything, alerted me to the fact that South African architects need to engage with each other and their audience more. We need to be proactive, and of course, document what is going on in our heads, if anything. Your questions are indeed a welcome outcome of the process of taking the time to take stock. I think that I have learnt that making architecture is much easier than making books about architecture, but unfortunately I will be doing more of that too. My next book, incidentally, is going to be the first in a series on Pop Architecture, one pre-millennium, and one post.
ED> You have studied in both California and Durban, at two very different institutions. Are there any aspects of the educational process at each institution that you believe
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature building, 2009. This complex is a microcosm of the province's landscape, geology and diverse cultures. Drawing on the accretive nature of building in Africa, and indeed in all life-forms, the architecture fuses vernacular and futuristic geometry into a hybrid that is able to change and grow without compromising the aesthetics. A landscape of ceremony and celebration is devised by emphasising outdoor eventing particular to Zulu culture and by imbuing certain areas like the Ensamo (sacred place) and Olwandhla (artificial ocean) with ceremonial functions that incorporate ancestral approval and blessings. The building is conceived to render unto the nation, an elevated status of the province known as the Kingdom of the Zulu, whilst giving the Legislature and Administration the authority, space and technical ability to perform its duties.
should be incorporated into the study of the built environment? DA> Each had their pros and cons. The standard of education and of the teachers at both, in my time anyway, was outstanding. If I had to be glib, I would say that the South African education, which stems from the British, like it or not, is inherently more interested in the minutiae of building, the structure, the envelope, and the detailing (i.e. it is Victorian in outlook, and also, rather fond of industrial building processes and materials), whereas, in the USA, the agenda is possibly more Greek, (i.e. it is more about space, proportion and meaning) which I think is a Jeffersonian influence, who of course was a great
architect, and not just the President of the United States. It would be wonderful if South Africa had an architect for President one day, wouldn’t it? NOTE: ED> would like to thank Don Albert for his continuous enthusiasm, interest and involvement in both the practice of architecture and this article.
About the author
Anastasia Messaris graduated with a Masters in Architecture at University of Cape Town. Her research topic dealt with music as an inspiration to and generator of space. Focus areas of her career are architecture as a social construct and architecture of light. <
O’Toole, S. & Gunning, S. (eds.), 2010. Sound Space Design: The Architecture of Don Albert and Partners. South Africa: Pythagoras Media Company. Mau, B., 2010. An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth [online]; available: www.brucemaudesign.com
Trumpet House, view of master bedroom from below. The client was particularly enthralled by Art Nouveau, which became an entry point into the design. Although the house was never destined to be built on the initial site, the Trumpet House design perfectly demonstrates 'a not knowing' approach. During a site investigation it was envisioned that the building should rest within a grove of jacaranda trees and that a very flexible scheme to the precise location of the trees, would be ideal. View the videos here.
By Maran Coates. Liam Fahy’s unconventional background has greatly affected the man he is today. Having launched his company, Liam Fahy London in 2010, specialising in women’s luxury shoes, Liam seems to be following the natural progression of an already award-winning shoe designer. Amongst his most important successes was winning the first ever Fashion Fringe Shoe competition in the UK in 2008, when he was picked from six finalists. Liam’s innovative, diverse design experience and unusual As part of his prize Liam got a paid internship alongside Rupert Sanderson, learning the secrets of true Italian craftsmanship and design. Liam says, “Italians work to live. They do not live to work. And you need to speak Italian if you want to work in Italy.” Sanderson is quoted as saying, “for me, it's refreshing to be able to work with such a young and enthusiastic mind.” conceptual signature styles impressed the judging panel which included the legendary Manolo Blahnik.
I Ashi Bionicus range. © Liam Fahy London.
© Liam Fahy London.
EARLY YEARS AND INFLUENCES
As a youngster growing up on a snake farm outside Harare, Zimbabwe, his isolated African upbringing crafted his fundamental approach to design. By focusing on designing from the inside through to the outside rather than designing the outside only, Liam captures a sensibility of what he calls “our African aesthetics’ powerful signature which emphasises functionality and simplicity”. Liam’s strong aversion to capitalist corporations, along with his design approach, means that the commercial weapon in his design is to focuses on quality craftsmanship and conceptual interpretation. His frustration with capitalist corporations stems from the fact that Liam has seen the social and economic effects of mass production and poor quality imitation in his own country, as well as other third world countries. Liam’s conceptual process is based on his personal theories of physics and psychology which he couple with the powerful tool of research. As part of his personal philosophy Liam talks passionately about the number two. “The most important number in design is two. Perfection in nature supports this. There are two main hemispheres of the brain, two eyes, two ears -the list is endless. Nature always maintains balance, simplicity and minimalism.” Liam further interprets this number by looking at contrasting characteristics that rely on the tension between the opposites. This tension creates energy and strength.
The role of ‘two’ gets interpreted into other contexts where it implies symmetry, ‘positive and negative, black and white and rigidity and flexibility which he always use in his designs. From a very early age Liam’s Lego collection sparked his interest in physics. For him, Lego portrayed the “very close relationship with graphics and geometrical proportions, especially in relation to structures and movement”. The I Ashi Bionicus range of boots he designed is an example of both the use of structure and movement and also of his research which won him the 2006 Linea Pelle Footwear Award in Milan. Liam’s conceptual formula for success seems to be pretty straightforward and in many of his interview responses he mentions the role of research. “You can never do too much research. I love the research process. A project will always evolve as you do more and more research.” As an example he explains that the I Ashi Bionicus range was inspired by a myriad of sources, ranging from a telephone handset, a ceramic plate, Bjork’s music video All is full of love, Apple iPod, Toyota i-series, i-robot, armadillos, the joints of crabs, the tops of coffee cups and helmets. The overall concept emphasises purity and simplicity in form through clinical colour and minimal construction. Though the inspirations are futuristic in some sense, the conceptual principle is rooted in functional simplicity.
Liam proudly says: “Some people look at how shoes are made and design a shoe that conforms to that. I like to design a shoe and then invent a way to make it.” With this in mind Liam then thinks of the ‘how’ part which is where he poses questions like, “can I combine an inflexible incongruous medium to a traditionally flexible and soft product? Or could the product be mechanical, have moving parts like pressing a button that opens the top? Or can the heel be altered with a remote control?” In the end the I Ishi Bionicus boots were made from a neoprene ‘sock’ with vac formed plastic gloss caps and detailing. Liam first experienced ‘the theatre of fashion’ where design and psychology meet when he was head boy at Harare International School. Here he learnt that entertainment gets the audience’s votes. “Entertainment and emotion depend entirely upon personal perception. Psychology is the biggest component of entertainment.” For some the entertainment is in the fleetingness of fashion itself. However, engaging the emotions in that experience adds another dimension to Liam’s work. By considering and experimenting with functionality, internal construction, acoustics of the product, light properties and touch, Liam reacts to his clients preconceived perception of footwear. Liam has also made the connection between his homeland and his career. The experiences
on the farm where he grew up have, for instance, given him the knowledge to look at a sample of python leather and determine its authenticity and also recognise the species and its age.
FOLLOWING HIS PASSION FOR DESIGN
After high school, Liam briefly studied at the local international art school. At the same time he spent time learning about the value of social thought through his informal training with local artists, mainly stone sculptors, welders and painters. “Zimbabwe, I think, has the highest concentration of sculptors in the world. We used to make art just for the sake of it and left pieces in strange places for someone to find one day.” Liam left art school for what he calls a hiatus and “a break from the conventional Western definition of work”. The hiatus was spent along the Zambezi River with the Batonga tribe. “It is their completely different way of looking at life that interested me.” Many people in the area have a two-hour commute to work, work 9-6, no lunch, two-hour commute home, microwave meal, sleep, and repeat this Monday to Friday.” Living in Zimbabwe meant that Liam did a lot of travelling when he was younger. “It was pretty isolated so it made me want to get out there and see what was going on.”
Wassili range. © Liam Fahy London.
Deciding to study abroad seemed to be the most obvious way to do that, where he could embrace his passion for hands-on design. After his hiatus, Liam left for the UK to study at the prestigious De Montfort University in Leicester where he enrolled to study shoe design. When reminiscing about his student days at De Montfort University, Liam notes that the “strange thing is that out of 20 students on my course, four of them were Zimbabwean! It must be something in the water.” He says that many of the foreign students have a unique approach to design. Based on the impact of their culture and upbringing, Liam says, “I can look at a design now and tell if it was a Japanese designer, an African one or an English one.” However, his advice to any African who wants to study abroad is “to go straight to work experience” but that “most of what you learn is not what you are taught but what you teach yourself.”
The Safari range of high-end boots referred directly to Southern Africa’s colonial period of the 1900s. Liam added to the authenticity of the boots by using materials such as khaki, canvas, mahogany and vegetable-tanned natural leather. Most interestingly, Liam took his inspiration to another level by moulding the shape of the heel on the butt of a vintage revolver from the 1900s. After graduating Liam got a job at a consultancy that was designing for the Cushe footwear brand. He says: “I learnt more in one week than I did in three years at university.” During this period Liam spent almost every month in China and Hong Kong, visiting huge factories, eating strange things and doing work for clients such as Harley Davidson and Caterpillar. He says that this firsthand experience of the commercial process was a shock to his creative system but was a great learning curve.
Being an achiever seems something that comes naturally to Liam (or maybe due to the ‘Zimbabwean water’). In 2003, Liam was awarded H.I.S Presidential Award for his academic achievements at school and while at university, he was awarded first place in the Drapers Designer of the Year Award in 2006 in the UK with his Safari range.
VIEWS ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY
Liam believes that the contrast between the Chinese and Italian processes is immense. Having seen the vast worlds between quality crafted footwear from Italy and the massproduced imitations in China, Liam had the experience to decide where he wanted to align his own business. Also, the time Liam spent with the Batonga tribe in Zimbabwe,
TOP: Safari range. © Liam Fahy London. LEFT: Charlotte black satin. © Liam Fahy London. RIGHT: Charlotte printed satin. © Liam Fahy London.
allowed him to get to know people who bear the brunt of mass production. “Every country and footwear industry in Africa have suffered because of a lack of protection from their own governments from what we call ‘footwear dumping’ or ‘predatory prices’ originating from China. Nobody wins but the corporation or the dodgy government minister.” There are many designers who believe that creativity is suffering because of the fast pace of fashion. Liam sees the impact that publication dates, sales seasons, VIP events and special issues place on have on the quality of the product and on the design itself. Some mass-produced labels can go from idea to store in under a month, yet for smaller design houses this usually takes six months. This gives mass-produced brands more than sufficient time to imitate and capitalise on others’ ideas. His other concern is that “audiences are being diluted by the ‘atomic’ creation of media platforms for fashion marketing such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and vlogs. The result is that shoes no longer last a year, they are in vogue for a month, max.”
I’M MY OWN BOSS
Liam Fahy London was officially launched in 2010. From the onset Liam had to decide where his new business would stand on creating and supplying clients with magnificent shoes. Liam notes that “in China the factory does it all, but in Italy the designer has to do everything, all the sourcing and even the packaging”. Liam Fahy London only makes limited edition ranges which are available on its e-boutique and through VIP agents around Europe. “We really want to maintain a sense of exclusivity and authenticity with our clients, even if it means turning down large orders and customers. For me it’s not about the money, it’s about the appreciation of the article.” Liam’s latest collection for Spring/Summer 2011 was inspired by two opposing elements: leather and metal. He employed ‘metal-smithing’ techniques that were used to make armour and helmets in the 13th century for the nickel or silver embellishments on the new shoe collection. Though ancient methods were utilised, it was important for Liam that his shoes be classic and “highlight and complement the foundations of a strong wardrobe”. “Most fashion designers tend to create collections that have a superficial aspect to them that don’t really go deeper than the
TOP: Charlotte purple satin. © Liam Fahy London. LEFT: Cerise mirror patent. © Liam Fahy London. RIGHT: Cerise black satin. © Liam Fahy London.
surface of what their audience can see – colour, patterns and silhouette. Many people spend too much time with their heads down instead of sitting back and thinking.” Liam quotes Pierre Cardin who recently said: “There is no more fashion because there is too much fashion.” Liam draws on the diversity of his work and life experiences to create richness, including the contrasts between the intensity of Chinese production, the quality of Italian craft, the practical functionality of Zimbabwean art, as well as the context of living and working in London. When asked what is next, Liam answers with the most unlikely yet suitable reply for a shoe designer: “I’ve always liked the idea of a glass shoe – it’s just finding a way to make it work.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maran Coates is currently doing a Masters degree in Fashion Design at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She has a particular interest in conceptual fashion styling, social commentary and critical fashion journalism. <
TOP: Chaunte python navy. © Liam Fahy London. BOTTOM LEFT: Caresse caramel. © Liam Fahy London. BOTTOM RIGHT: Caresse navy patent. © Liam Fahy London.
N OLLECTIO DUATE C 2010 GRA SHOW
WIN A NANO
By Marlé van Zyl. These days it could be
difficult to use the word ‘design’ without the name Vince Frost or Frost* coming to mind. The innovative, out-of-the-box thinker has taken the design and business worlds by storm and with studios in both London and Sydney and with his eyes fixed on expanding the base to Dubai and Asia, it seems that his staff of 35 might soon be growing exponentially. You might recognise his fun speech bubble design for the retail signage at Sydney Airport or the environmental graphics he did for Sydney Park Playground that simply oozes playfulness. Or his name might sound familiar as the man who won awards such as the D&AD silvers, golds from the New York Society of Publication Designers as well as the New York and Tokyo Art Directors Club, Futuretainment book, Abundant exhibition, Sydney Airport brochure, State Library annual by a team of expert panellists.
UNDERSTANDING THE SERIOUS PLAYGROUND OF BUSINESS AND GOOD DESIGN
report, State Library Centenary typeface, Woolworths South Africa packaging and FUTU Magazine. He is the man behind a range of projects including TV graphics, large wayfinding systems and books despite also being named one of the top 100 most influential people in Sydney by The Sydney Morning Herald in its December issue. In the magazine he is referred to as “the visualiser”
In an interview with ED> this creative genius gave us a sneak peek into his cheerful world of graphics and brands. Vince Frost, born on 23 November 1964 in Brighton, UK, is a man who believes that “the core to success is aiming for success and getting it as right as possible”, and that is exactly what he is doing. When asked about his inspiration his answer was simple: “the client”. From the moment of meeting
To celebrate Actew AGL’s 10th anniversary, the company commissioned Frost*, in collaboration with renowned Canberra-based artist, Robert Foster, to create a sculptural installation for the foyer of their new headquarters, 2010.
with the client and hearing their desires and objectives the ideas and images start popping into mind, he says. He and his staff then start brainstorming and try to visualise ideas and test their quality and viability. He describes it as an exciting process, which involves lateral thinking, strategy and creative exploration. During his formative years, designing was something that excited him, but he first had to do a lot of soul searching and struggling for a while to find a possible career until he stumbled across a design school, the West Sussex College of Design. He was determined not to waste one single opportunity and jumped in 100%. He drew inspiration from magazines such as The Face and in his first job his early inspiration came from watching senior partners at Pentagram London working on solving problems. One of the founders of Pentagram, Alan Fletcher, is also one of Frost’s icons. He describes him as “amazing but a gruff designer and an incredibly witty thinker, whose ideas always seemed effortless but they were clever, spot-on and eventually made you smile once you understood them”. From the days of watching his seniors, always aiming for the best solution you can achieve with the opportunity in front of you, Frost still believes that this is the core of success of any project. “Be hungry to please your clients and involve them in the process. Try and capture a unique point of difference with every project. Collaborate because if you want to work in isolation, become an artist”. Frost is very enthusiastic about collaborations across different creative disciplines, as he believes that “bringing in anyone
with a new and different input that shakes up predictable thinking” is great for a unique development of each project. Together with a major retrospective of his work entitled frost*bite: Graphic Ideas by Vince Frost, which was exhibited at the Sydney Opera House, he also launched a book entitled, Sorry Trees. The book formed part of his exhibition and the title he explains “was an idea I had after thinking about all the trees that died with every job I had specified over the years. The book is full of case studies and captioned with explanations on how and why they grew into what they did”. Readers can expect a unique insight into the daily working practices of his award-winning design studio. Unlike some, Frost admits to his contribution to an unsustainable environment and today he shows great responsibility towards the environment and social development – hence the reason why they are a carbon natural studio that aims to minimise waste. Despite technology, which allows for mass-production, consumerism and mass communication through various social media platforms, Frost still believes that print and paper will not disappear and will always be used in some form or other. Might it be due to greed or survival, “Man has always designed ways of using natural resources, and today we need to continually look for new ways of capturing energy with little or no negative harm to the environment. Creative thinking can bring about new concepts and innovative ideas that can make this possible.” Every season trends come and go, but according to Frost trends must not be
TOP: Retail signage for Sydney Airport, 2010, incorporating devices such as speech bubbles and witty captions for a tone that is fun and approachable – almost as though the Airport is having a conversation with you. MIDDLE: Abundant Australia, Venice Biennale book, 2008. BOTTOM: Advertising campaign for the Sydney Dance Company, introducing the 2009 dance season.
TOP: Celebrated publisher Phaidon Press commissioned Frost* to design the first truly comprehensive collection of Indian recipes, demonstrating the incredible diversity of Indian cuisine. The inspiration for the design came when visiting a small Indian grocery around the corner from the Frost* studio. The design team noticed that the rice came in a cotton bag, which coincidentally had the same proportions as the big India cookbook. Every chapter is printed on different coloured stock to suggest the texture and colours of India, 2010.
LEFT: Book design for Rizzoli Publications, 2006. CENTRE: Trio, property development magazine. RIGHT: One-off Frost*flat for Trio in Sydney, 2009. Frost* was one of four companies commissioned to design the interior of exclusive apartments in the newly developed City Quarter. The 3D team at Frost* had great fun bringing its type and ideas to life. They created new homeware products such as typographical cushions, limited edition prints, bed spread, beach towels, plates and table runners.
TOP LEFT: Frost* has developed a very successful signature range of fashion, accessories and homeware products. RIGHT: Packaging for Woolworths South Africa, 2010. The in-house design studio Frost* has set up for Woolworths has begun rolling its first new packs onto shelf, the initial stage of what will be a mammoth packaging redesign program, eventually encompassing more than 5000 items.
overlooked: “Trends have lots of power and what is popular today creates interest, PR, demand and sales.” The same can be said for the power of the creative industries. Because everything that is manmade has been designed, Frost explains that design is not only there to make things look nice: “Design can be bad too”. He states that human ideas are unstoppable and we will relentlessly continue to think up new ways to make things better and simpler. “We all want a better world in which things work well, easy to clean and sustainable. And we all want to put our own ideas into reality. Therefore creativity can be seen as powerful and wonderful. Society progresses through inquisitive minds,” he continues. Frost was first introduced to typography by his dad who worked as a letterpress compositor. Typography, the expression of words, is a very powerful, creative and social tool as words are the expression of ideas and thoughts. Therefore, it can be seen as a different communication system through creating visual stimulus and engagement with the reader, audience or consumer. When Frost worked at Pentagram London they only had four fonts they could choose from which were Helvetica, Franklin Gothic, Garamond and Bodoni, but although it was a limited ‘palette’ they were all very proud of it. Times have changed and today there are millions of fonts to choose from and a great variety to express design: “We spend our childhood learning how to spell and read. And then our lives and eyes are hit by typographers and designers.”
At present Frost is also appointed as the creative director of Woolworths, South Africa where he works closely with other design companies. One of his first major challenges was to be the ‘caretaker’ and manage the different applications of the new brand identity during the recent transition phase from the old to the new. According to Vince it can become important for such a trusted brand to change their identity, as the company should always “remain relevant and front-of-mind with its customers”. One might wonder what the risks are when such a trusted brand decides to go all the way and whether the new would add value to an already valued company. But according to him “it’s a competitive changing environment where innovations and designs need to be constantly developed to meet the demand and improve our lifestyles. Woolworths needs to always be modern. The danger with any brand is that, in time, it can appear to become complacent and dated, with the effect of not appealing to its customers or younger new potential consumers. Woolworths is a company that seriously values design and quality like I have never experienced before. It’s very much a leader in the world by being determined to be different and make a difference in everything it does. To stay different you need to constantly change,” Frost explains. When he was asked to comment on whether South Africa has the correct ingredients to be a global role player in fields of design he seemed puzzled by the question and asked why people think that life, work or design might be better elsewhere? Or why should it be important to design in a specific ‘South
African’ way? “One should rather focus on where you are and do good work. We are all different, be yourself and stand tall.” While there is still a common misconception that design is simply a frivolous industry, in reality it can be a major role player in aspects of innovation, job creation and intellectual property that will contribute to economic prosperity of any country. Frost admits that at first he didn’t quite understand what design was, until he was about 18 years old. Although he was aware of the world of design it did not mean that he understood the process behind the projects and how the things he experienced came about. He refers to the world’s image of design as “fashion or home ‘make- over’ channels”. According to him people need to be educated to the fact that design is everywhere and anything can be seen as a form of design, whether referring to an accountant designing a better financial system or a chef designing a tastier meal. He therefore prefers the word “create” to the word “design”. Currently designers are often seen as problem solvers, people who strive to find a solution for every obstacle and one can expect nothing than the same positive attitude from Frost, as he believes that design can be used in so many ways to fix problems and have a role to play in all communities. Whether you are living in a first world, developing or third world country one should strive to “think big for even small problems and believe that anything is possible.”
Today we experience a sense of a global style, which Frost is very excited about. One can no longer clearly distinguish between one countries approach from another’s. In the past designers seemed to be much more secretive about their ideas, but today it is certainly customary for most designers to communicate openly about their projects and ideas. Frost believes that this type of collaboration and sharing is of great value for the development of unique ideas and for individual development as it is vital to learn from each other. When asked if he had any advice for young graphic designers the reply was simple, “have fun, listen, explore, question, learn and make”. Being passionate about what you are doing and going about life in a positive way is the key elements to his success. It seems that there are no definite rules or guidelines to becoming a great designer except for hard work and perseverance and to do and explore whatever feels natural to you, “and if you fail...try, try again” he concludes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Besides being a qualified scuba diver, Marlé van Zyl also achieved a Degree in Drama and English Studies at the University of Stellenbosch. She enjoys writing about anything that is informative and can add value; as well as current news, no matter the field. <
TOP: Refreshing strategy of Sydney Airport’s airline marketing collateral, 2010. Sydney, as a hub, offers something that most other cities in the world can’t – its unique outdoor lifestyle. This brochure needed to use the city itself as a selling tool for the airport. Frost* wanted to realise the idea of the true Sydney visually and reflect its famously cosmopolitan, confident and easy-going personality in the design philosophy, engaging the reader with an exciting sense of vibrancy. LEFT: Cover of Zembla Magazine, Issue No. 5, 2004. RIGHT: Book cover of Some Trains in America.
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SUMMER OLYMPICS 2016: RIO’S BRAND SCULPTURE GETS THE THUMBS-UP
By Jennie Fourie
Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach was abuzz on New Year’s Eve when a million people saw the launch of Rio Summer Olympics 2016’s brand identity. Developed by the agency Tátil, a Brazilian company specialising in strategic consultancy, brand building and management, the brand Rio 2016 breaks new ground with its sculptural form. The brand mixes volume and form, light and shade. It has a front and a back, and can be viewed from multiple angles. According to Beth Lula, manager of the Branding Department of Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Tátil entered the process of designing the logo along with 138 other competitors. By the end of several qualification The logo was the result of a co-creative and collaborative process that lasted almost two months generating more than 50 options up for consideration and producing hundreds of renderings. The design process brought together multidisciplinary teams from the agency’s offices in Rio and São Paulo. The stages, the proposals submitted by the eight remaining agencies were evaluated by a multidisciplinary evaluation commission, composed of 12 professionals enjoying both national and international market recognition for their experience in brand design and approval. The team finally made their decision in Tátil’s favour.
Guanabara Bay panorama. Photo by Anatoly Terentiev.
brand Rio 2016, the designers believe, epitomises the Olympic spirit and its athletes, as well as the nature, feelings and aspirations of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Tátil says that the logo is based on four concepts of contagious energy, harmonious diversity, exuberant nature, and the Olympic spirit. Supporters raved at this colourful, multidimensional masterpiece, while hard line critics immediately started scanning for a scandal. Critics soon found something to hook onto – alleged copying. However, this was soon rejected by the creators of the Rio identity who proved that similarities with the logo of the Telluride Foundation in Colorado were vaguely coincidental.
The colour choices for the official Summer Olympics 2016 logo are based on the Brazilian environment as well as the character of it's people. "Yellow symbolises the sun and our warm, vivacious and happy nature. Blue expresses the fluidity of the water that surrounds us, and our easygoing way of life. Green represents our forests and hope, a positive vision that inspires us to go even further," explains Tátil's creative team.
Fred Gelli, Tátil’s partner and creative director told the GloboEsporte.com that the agency did extensive research to guarantee the design was unique. "For some reason, we missed that one," Gelli said, when he acknowledged the similarity with the foundation logo. "The brand is radically different because it is tridimensional," Gelli said. On the other hand, could the foundation’s logo also have elements of the logo of the Rio Carnival of 2004 (the similarities are glaring and an obvious
copy of the Rio Carnival logo) and what similarities were there to be found with Henri Matisse’s painting, The Dance that was painted in 1910? The plagiarism claims, in this instance, were somewhat of a long shot.
Controversy’s the name of the game
Olympic branding programmes are notoriously prone to controversy. Since the inception of the modern Olympic Games at the turn of the previous century there has not only been fierce competition on the sports fields and in the water, but life-and-death contests have also been fought about who would be hosting the event that is presented every four years. But the battle doesn’t stop once a host city has been appointed. Then follows the race of who would get the prize contract of designing the host city’s logo or emblem. Cities invest massive resources to host these prestigious events and they call upon their most talented designers to come up with an emblem that would not only embody what the games are all about, but also what the host city wants to show the world when it comes to its geography, it philosophy and its essence. Barring the mutters of copying when the Rio logo was unveiled, the general verdict has
The logos of Sydney 2000 and Vancouver 2010 both attracted controversy due to 'appropriation' of symbols originating from ancient indigenous cultures.
The original bidding logo vs the official logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Te redesigned logo attracted much criticism from the design community, the citizens of London and other quarters, spawning a plethora of love/hate blog posts and polls which were further fueled when the development costs became public.
been positive. In a newspaper poll conducted in Brazil more that 70% of respondents liked the logo. This figure is in stark contrast with the 80% of respondents who gave the London 2012 Olympic Games logo the thumbsdown in a BBC poll conducted in 2007.
Shown here are the logos for the final bidding cities for the 2016 Summer Olympics including that of Rio which drew much praise. "The Sugar Loaf in the shape of a heart represents the Brazilians' indisputable passion and vibration for sports. The exclamation point replacing the numeral 1 in the writing 'Rio 20!6' symbolises Brazil's heightened expectations with the chance of hosting the event," said Ana Soter, designer of the Rio bid logo. It is standard practice for winning cities to change their logo after the initial bidding process. The new official logo for Rio 2016 drew much inspiration from the original bidding logo.
Respondents did not rate this controversial logo as gold, silver or bronze, but just about across the board gave it a wooden spoon. Comments buzzing over the Internet described the problematic emblem as a smash. Someone commented that it looked as if the logo had been dropped on the floor and it broke. And as if this wasn’t enough, a segment of the animated footage promoting the 2012 London Games had to be removed from the organisers’ website, as it could apparently cause epileptic fits. Other recent controversial sports logos have included the logo of the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010. The logo depicts an inukshuk, a symbol used by the Inuit people of Canada's arctic regions. For centuries the Inuit have stacked rocks, sometimes into human forms, to create guideposts for travellers. The designers saw the logo as an "eternal expression of the hospitality of a nation that warmly welcomes the people of the world with open arms every day." But some people felt that the symbol did not reflect the native art and
culture of the Vancouver region and the rest of British Columbia, such as totem poles. One comment from an Inuit elder summed it up when he asked whether the logo depicted Pac Man or Frankenstein. Other controversial logos include that of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, mainly because of a complicated and drawn-out process calling for submissions. The logo included a boomerang to depict aboriginal culture, but many critics thought this inclusion to be forced. The fact remains – it’s a highly complex process to design a sports emblem or logo. Not only does the design team have to depict the spirit of the event and the location, they also have to take cognisance of the subtexts involved and how the logo would be received internally, as well as by a broader audience that, in many cases, include most of the nations of the world.
Official logos of Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1924
Images courtesy of IOC/Olympic Museum Collections.
In recent years, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 seem to have done it right, with the design teams behind the branding programmes receiving more acclaim for a job well done than criticism. Even the harshest critics could find little fault with these, which were beautifully executed in their rollout.
and in a dancing mode. The shape of the logo is formed by the space between the dancing figures and resembles one of Rio’s most magnificent landmarks, Sugarloaf Mountain. The vertical shape between green and orange and the horizontal shape between green, orange and blue, both make up the shape of the Sugarloaf. This landmark comes to life and gains a three-dimensional perspective, with volume and cut-outs. Contours create the topography of the city in our imagination. A brand-sculpture, infinite, that gains textures and shapes, transforming it into an object. As one commentator said: “The final logo of the Summer Olympics 2016 is in complete affirmation with the culture and colours of Rio de Janeiro, the host city and the spirit of Olympics Games.” We can go with that. All that remains is to see how the brand will be rolled out. If the success of the logo is anything to go by, this will indeed be a celebration of what can be achieved by design.
But back to Rio
Advertising specialist, Washington Olivetto describes the Rio 2016 brand as having “graphic harmony and continuous movement needed in the practice of all sports”. It can be still or in 3D, with angles suggesting infinity. Designer Ricardo Leite also waxed lyrical about the logo which he describes as “a sculpture or jewellery that gains new angles as it turns”. A logo of an international sporting event should reflect the country in which the event will be held. One of the premier design elements that can be used to this end is colour. Previous logos that used colour (or the lack of it) to great effect have been the starkly beautiful black-and-white op-arty logo of the Summer Olympics 1968, hosted by Mexico and vivid blue of the Athens Olympics 2004 that brings to mind the Aegean Sea in all its sparkling splendour. Barcelona’s logo for the Summer Olympics 1992, on the other hand, used a vivid palette of red, orange and blue resonating with the rings of the Olympics emblem. In the case of the Rio logo colour is an embedded theme. The theme is carried out by three human figures in green, blue and orange (again reflecting the Olympics’ rings) holding hands
In conversation with the Tátil design team
What was the initial brief and how did their original interpretation change as the project developed? "The Olympic Games Committee’s original brand evaluation briefing included the following: • To reflect the local culture having a universal understanding, in line with Olympic values;
Although initially presented in two-dimensions, the logo was conceived as a three-dimensional form as these models illustrate. Tátil's creative team describes it as "a sculptural brand for a sculptural city". © Tátil.
The development process of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics logo
First drafts with carioca's topography references and volumetric studies.
Initial logo study with visual reference to human figures and the shape of the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Attempt to make the logo more organic and fluid.
New study of the logo's shape, emphasising the three human figures by making them more robust. In addition, the first volumetric study was made with plastic dough.
Original draft of the final logo.
New draft attempting to make the logo more organic.
Study on the logo's expression lines.
Study to include other shapes of Rio's topography to the logo's curves.
Three-dimensional volumetric study made from the final logo's shape.
The final logo.
• To avoid local stereotypes; • To be innovative and to inspire and thrill a diversified public; • To transform the city and the country’s image in synergy with the transformation moment of the Olympic movement." How did this project differ from other branding projects that that the company had developed in the past? "The method was the same used in others brand creations. We used our tool 'BranDirection' to create the four inspiration pillars: Olympic spirit, harmonious diversity, exuberant nature and contagious energy. The difference is that the brand was born from a cocreative process of collaboration that lasted
This brand matrix plots the values that Rio 2016 logo aims to represent. © Tátil.
almost two months. Our staff immersed themselves in the Olympic world, in the
A process consisting of extensive research, brainstorming and co-creation guided Tátil's multidisciplinary creative team throughout the development of the Rio 2016 logo. More than 40 people, including strategists, designers and editors, participated in the process. © Tátil.
relation of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic spirit, working together on the two main themes: transformation and passion." What were some of the challenges and the solutions the design team faced? "We followed and accomplished all the procedures and strict requirements set by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee. Internally we took serious precautions to insure the brand remained unpublished and unique until its official launch. We were very happy and proud of the final results, especially because the brand was approved by members of the judging committee and its members from IOC, BOC, federal, state and local government, marketing consultants that worked in the Beijing and Athens Olympic Games, and design agencies’ representatives."
About the author
Jennie Fourie has roamed the South African media landscape for the past 25+ years. At present she is a freelance copywriter, journalist and media consultant with a special interest in innovation and design. Industrial journalism is a passion and she has been coorganiser of the corporate publication competition of the SA Publication Forum for the past ten years. She has been a judge in a variety of publication competitions, both locally and abroad. Jennie holds a Masters degree in Journalism. <
Animated 3D sequence of the Rio 2016 logo by Super Uber. See more about the making of the logo here.
Scenes from the original The sound of music movie.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
By Fatima Cassim
It has been over 30 years since its release, but The Sound of Music is probably one of the most memorable movie musicals of all time. The opening sequence, in particular, is a splendid piece of film-making. The viewer is presented with aerial views of the snow-capped Alps surrounding Salzburg, before zooming into a lush field where we are introduced to Maria, played by Julie Andrews. The cinematography needs no further elaboration because by now I am sure that you want to break into song, acknowledging that, indeed, “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” Now, imagine the scene without the chirping birds and the adventurous singing spirit of the nunturned-governess .... (Silence). “No sound?” you may ask. Yes, it is very difficult to separate the sound from this scene and much of the success of this film is due to the design of sound. In most creative productions, such as films and commercials for example, sound is not treated as a stepping stone for the creative family but it’s rather more like a governess that tugs at your heartstrings. Sound design plays a pivotal role in conveying meaning and is used to strengthen and support moving images. It creates a mood and helps to simulate a more real experience for the viewer. Owing to the increasingly audio-visual nature of contemporary culture, sound design has matured into a vital discipline and is now a This role and purpose of sound design is perhaps mostly known within the context of
sought-after profession with numerous applications and possibilities.
By definition, sound design ranges from designing, recording and manipulating sounds to serve a specific purpose and create meaning for a variety of productions ranging from the more traditional applications such as theatre and film to television, computer games and even live performances. Sound design encompasses both music and sound effects and varies according to the medium and context for which it is created. The purpose of sound is to set a tone and create the correct ambience for a production or product. Ultimately, the success of the sound, together with the other visual elements is to ensure that viewers are entertained and/or immersed and to encourage them to suspend their disbelief. This implies that sound designers need to reference previously created sounds, such as previously recorded songs and sound effects but they also need create new sounds. In light of this, a sound designer plays a creative role in composing and editing different sounds.
the film industry. Even during the silent era, when the marriage between synchronous sound and image was not possible, silent movies were often accompanied by live musicians and sometimes sound effects were also made by the tation with sound film technology during the silent era, 1929 marked the turning point in film when sound became standard in Hollywood. Many directors began experimenting with the creative potential of sound and began incorporating this into their work. Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail and William Wellman’s Chinatown Nights are early examples of the successful use of creative sound design. Sound also facilitated the growth of different film genres, such as musicals. This transition was slower in other countries such as China and Japan, mainly due to economic reasons, but they soon followed suit. The 1950s was another important decade for the development and progression of sound design since in Hollywood, sound design began to influence theatre productions. Following from this, the 1980s and 1990s also saw rapid growth in sound design with the introduction of musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) and digital technology playing a key role. Since then continual advances in digital technology have influenced sound design to such an extent that it is now applied to new areas of media including television, commercials as well as the Internet and computer games. New software continues to be developed with unlimited possibilities and applications and as a result, sound designers today are dependent on being at the forefront of technology. A good grasp of the various sound and picture platforms, such as Final Cut Pro, makes it easier
Corporate campaign, titled Let’s reach for the sun, created by Adelphoi Music for the Aditya Birla Group. Click here to see the commercial.
projectionist. Although there was experimen-
for sound designers to interface with the different media in which sound is necessary. Owing to the wider application of sound today, sound designers need to liaise with many different designers, hence making the profession collaborative in nature.
sound designers are founder Murray Anderson and Warrick Sony, who joined the company in 2001. The two are currently in a creative partnership doing commercials, film scores and music for theatre. In 2005, Anderson and Sony won Best Music Gemini Award, one of Canada’s highest accolades, for their creative collaboration composing the music for Madiba: The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela. According to Anderson, other recognisable work that the studio has done includes music/jingles for many television advertisements like the Klipdrift Met Eish series, recording African stars like Yvonne Chaka Chaka, HHP and Baaba Maal, and international artists like Annie Lennox and Queen. View the company’s portfolio, which spans over 20 years at www.milestones.co.za A younger but nonetheless extremely successful production company specialising in music and sound design is Adelphoi Music. The company, currently with studios in London and Berlin, originally started out in 1993 and has a huge amount of experience in the music and sound design industry. Adelphoi Music caters for a wide variety of global clients in the advertising and media industries, creating innovative audio for commercials, digital, television, film and network branding. According to the company, “with 13 full-time staff and a large network of highly talented freelancers, Adelphoi Music Ltd has the best professional team to satisfy any music or sound requirements, no matter how diverse the brief. Recognition of Adelphoi's work includes industry awards such as Emmy, Clio, D&AD, New York Festivals, Midsummer, BTAA, LIAA, ADC, Aerial, Kinsale Shark and Promax.”
Viral campaign for the launch of Sony’s 3D World. See this magnificent 3D display here.
At present, sound design is an expanding and diverse area both as an academic discipline and as a career path. The demand in sound design for various media has been the driving force behind the success of a number of sound design companies within an international as well as a local context. Two companies which bear testimony to this are Milestone Studios and Adelphoi Music, local and international companies respectively. Milestone Studios is Cape Town-based and has a long tradition of excellence in all aspects of sound design. Murray Anderson started Milestone studios in 1987 to record demo songs for musicians such as Robin Auld, Lesley Rae Dowling, Robbie Jansen, Louis Ribeiro and many others. Since inception, the studio has grown in size from a single room in Woodstock to a state-of-the-art studio in 2007, designed by ex-South African architect Ivan Kadey, now based in Los Angeles. The new studio complex boasts vintage analogue and state of the art digital sound equipment and offers a full range of audio services including original music recording, audio production and post-production for commercials as well as film scoring. The staff of Milestone Studios has enjoyed great success in their careers. Two noteworthy
LOOK AND LISTEN
The following three recent examples of sound design in advertising, by Adelphoi Music, illustrate the power of sound.
The Aditya Birla Group is a multinational corporation with its headquarters in India. From being present in eight countries, the group has expanded and now has operations in 25 countries. According to Dr Pragnya Ram (executive president Aditya Birla Group: Corporate Communications) the diversity and ethnicity that the Group represents is
very large and that is what they wanted to represent with their third corporate campaign, titled Let’s reach for the sun. Working again with Mumbai-based design and communications specialist, Vyas Giannetti Creative (VGC), The Aditya Birla Group’s brief was to capture the fact that despite the diversity of the Group, they are one team with one voice. Consequently, Preeti Vyas, CEO of VGC says that the company used music as a metaphor to bring to life the essence of the brief. Mathias Zentner, graphic designer turned director, was called on to lend his expertise to the motion graphics and Aldelphoi Music was responsible for the sound. The arresting visuals would not have had the same impact were it not supported by the spellbinding musical orchestra produced especially for this advertisement. It is a fact that the marriage between the audio and the visual in this example is what drives its success. In 2009, Anomaly was appointed as Sony Electronics’ key strategic and creative partner. For the launch of Sony’s 3D World, Anomaly created a viral campaign comprising of a series of advertisements that were filmed in 3D but then aired in 2D. The result was a blurred, double exposed sort of image. In the advertisement, viewers are encouraged not to adjust their TV sets and the advertisement concludes with the following pay-off line: “Maybe it's time to get a 3D TV.” The advertisement first aired on in three European countries during the final of the Champions League in Madrid. This event was also marked with a unique outdoor projection on a building in the capital's Plaza Santa Ana. For this projection, Adelphoi Music created an intense sound design. In particular, the
pinball section simulates the arcade game in an unbelievable way. In the context of an open space such as the Plaza, the sound must have created an electric ambience with the ringing clicks and other synthesised sounds, lending itself to the entertainment quality and ultimately to the success of the outdoor campaign. Skandia, an investment company, sponsored the UK sailing team for the Olympic Games. For this event, Skandia selected London-based, independent creative agency, St Lukes to create an advertisement to leverage their sponsorship in the run up to the Olympics, bringing to life the brand’s unique perspective. The resulting design includes gripping footage of Skandia Team GBR coupled with an equally gripping sound design produced by Adelphoi Music. The intention of the agency was to demonstrate the team’s brilliant sailing prowess through careful planning and calculation, which is in keeping with Skandia’s work ethic of applying a meticulous approach to investment to help their client’s achieve their financial goals. See this gripping commercial and experience the UK sailing team for yourself by clicking here. In all three examples the sound is used to strengthen the visual language and provides a compositional structure for the final products. Sound design forms an integral component of the creative unit and just like The Sound of Music reminded viewers about the importance of family and the universality of music. The three examples also highlight the central role of sound in contemporary visual communication design.
Television commercial for the Skandia. Click here to see the commercial.
So, if you are Sixteen Going on Seventeen and sound and music are a few of your Favourite things why not consider sound design as a future career option?
of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria. Her research focuses on the culture of design in the current creative economy and she is particularly interested in the strategic role of design within this changing environment. <
About the author
Fatima Cassim holds a Masters degree in Information Design and is a full-time lecturer at the Department
© Nacása & Partners
CAPSULATION FOR 9 HOURS
The first capsule hotel is believed to have opened in Osaka, Japan in 1979. Originally designed as a layover sleeping space for business people, capsule hotels have become the low-cost solution to Japan’s exorbitant accommodation rates. Capsule hotels are regarded as transit spaces and they are located close to central business districts, are low-cost and their small tubular sleeping pods are most often rented to business people who want to catch up on a few hours of sleep. 9h is a new capsule hotel located in Kyoto, Japan. The name refers to the nine hours that on-themove users generally require for showering, sleeping and relaxing. 9h is groundbreaking in its approach towards these three principal functions. The design focuses on maximising the experience of showering, sleeping and relaxing. This new breed of capsule hotel shirks the kitsch and claustrophobic associations of Shibata spent three years on research and product development and convinced her client to invest in a new concept that redefines what a capsule hotel is and can be. Part of her research involved staying at a capsule hotel which enabled her to identify existing problems. Capsule hotels often have cheap and kitsch associations and viewed as a last Fumie Shibata, president of Design Studio S, first joined the 9h project as a product designer. She is responsible for the design of the sleeping capsules and all of the branded amenities. Her design philosophy is that spaces and products only become worthwhile when they are useful to society. As her involvement and level of responsibility increased, she was appointed general creative director of the 9h project. stereotypical capsule hotels and is wholly capable of competing with luxury accommodation.
By Sarah Stewart
resort as most users would rather prefer to stay in a standard hotel if they could afford to do so.
As an experienced product designer, Shibata believes that consumers make decisions based on their needs. Most standard hotels offer varied services that often include entertainment, catering and spas but always place most emphasis on the rooms that guests retire to. While most hotels might offer entertainment and leisure facilities, 9h offers optimised sleep as its unique selling proposition. The 9h capsule hotel questions the stereotypical view of a hotel. Instead of restricting you to your room, 9h becomes an extension of the cityscape where people share communal spaces. 9h has attuned itself to the needs of those who have a hectic urban lifestyle, catering for those whose
lives revolve around work or to tourists travelling alone. 9h becomes a dependable infrastructure that users will choose because it suits their lifestyle.
designer Takaaki Nakamura to design a clear visual identity that reflects the keywords ‘seamless connection’ and ‘signs with inlay’ as conceptual guidelines. The graphics are an integral part of the design. It’s completely integrated with the interior and form a visual language that is able to guide and inform users of directions and instructions without the user being dependent on written words. This visual language is visible in the wayfinding system that is applied on floor and wall surfaces which signal capsule numbers, directions to the reception desk, lockers, etc., ensuring that guests
automatically know where to go. This integrated system reduces language confusion. The branding of the 9h acts as a unifying element that creates a visual language of black and white, clean lines and geometric shapes. The cohesive visual language is also seen in the branded, duel function 9h slipper bag which provides storage for slippers as well as acting as an information manual to guests. Furthermore, individual sachets of shampoo and soap replace typical large communal dispensers that are often found in capsule hotels and bottled water, toothbrushes and signature night robes
What distinguishes 9h from its predecessors is its seamless integration of functionality and clean modern aesthetic. In order to change the capsule hotels’ typecasting as cheap accommodation, it was critically important that the branding of 9h was repositioned as a ‘reasonable place to stay’. Shibata directed graphic designer Masaaki Hiromuro and interior
OPPOSITE PAGE: Views of the reception area showing the strikingly simple wayfinding system which assists guests in navigating their way throughout the hotel. © 9h. THIS PAGE: Each sleeping capsule is fitted with Panasonic’s advanced system for good sleeping with computerised control lighting that will wake you up with artificial light according to the time the user sets. © 9h.
are amongst the other branded amenities. 9h is situated in a long and narrow nine-storey building and divided into ‘Gentleman Only’ and ‘Ladies Only’ floors accommodating 125 capsules in total. In a capsule hotel where individuals share ablutions with other members of the same sex and travel the distance from bathroom to sleeping pod, privacy is a major consideration. For this reason, men and woman have separate lifts, bathrooms and lounge areas. As a core consideration, Shibata’s design focused on maximising the space by keeping all passages to
one side of the building that feed off onto different guest facilities. The Ladies Only facilities include a lounge floor, a floor with showers, washrooms and lockers and two floors of sleeping capsules. The Gentleman Only floors have similar facilities but no private lounge as men are expected to use the public lounge. With sleep being the priority at 9h, particular attention has been paid to the design of the sleeping capsules. Manufactured of fibrereinforced plastic, the capsules are slightly rounded and organic in shape. Top and bottom rows of sleeping capsules are positioned in a hive configuration. Each
capsule is fitted with Panasonic’s advanced system for good sleeping with computerised control lighting that will wake you up with artificial light according to the time the user sets. This removes the user’s need to interact with an audible alarm which would disturb other users. Specialised ergonomic pillows and four-star quality bed linen improve the user’s sleep experience. The facilities available at the 9h are appropriate for a nine-hour stay but users are also allowed to check in for up to 17 hours.
9h provides its patrons with various amenities such as bottled water, fresh towels, slippers, night robes and basic toiletries. © 9h.
Fumie Shibata’s advice to aspiring designers is to be aware of what is going on around them every day. She does her best to use natural resources and her aim is to design products that can be utilised for an extended period of time. She says that: “Design is not almighty, but many things can be improved through design. Design gives us multiple points of view, which may make it possible for us to find a breakthrough on various kinds of contradictory events and ideas around us.” A capsule hotel definitely questions what an individual actually needs within a living quarter. In the past Western users have been sceptical of capsule hotels, considering personal privacy to
be an essential need. With 9h redefining the individual’s perception on the capsule hotel concept, there has been much speculation over whether this new breed of capsule hotels will be well received by Japan’s Western counteracts. Is the West ready for the capsule hotel? Why not? We vote yes.
About the author
Sarah Stewart is a BTech Interior Design graduate from Cape Peninsula University of Technology who is passionate about user-centric design that fosters social behaviour within communal spaces. She believes that everything is a medium and is continually amazed at the power design has to positively affect people and change their preconceived ideas. <
The stunningly simple wayfinding system assists guests in navigating their way throughout the 9h capsule hotel with limited use of writing. © 9h.
Chairs from Mexico
By Jimena Acosta
TOP: Installation views of Transit Cases: Chairs from Mexico exhibition. Visit the site here. BOTTOM: Butaque by Clara Porset, 1950.
The exhibition Transit Cases: Chairs from Mexico, curated by designers Emiliano Godoy, Renata Fenton and myself, Jimena Acosta, aimed to show contemporary Mexican design to a European audience, which has had little contact with Mexico and its contemporary culture. For decades Mexican culture, unfortunately, has been represented internationally by a handful of modern painters such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, or by archaeology exhibitions featuring pre-Hispanic artefacts. These images have constructed stereotypes about Mexico that do not help to create a cultural context that nowadays produces functional and beautiful objects. Our curatorial team used the national representation model as a way of presenting the present of Mexican design. The exhibition includes six overarching themes that bind the pieces together: Design for everyone, By the
sea, Spaces for conversation, Playful attitudes, Design for the few and Time for leisure. Design for everyone is about all the democratic design efforts such as the Arrullo Chair by Oscar Hagerman. His easy and inexpensive design enables any Mexican carpenter to build this chair and reproduce it as many times as he pleases. By the sea puts together pieces that were used in tropical conditions such as the Acapulco Chair, and the Compadre. Spaces for conversation is about the chairs that were made to sit on and talk for a while in coffee shops and restaurants. Playful attitudes refers to the shapes that challenge the concept of a chair such as the Criollo by Edgar Orlaineta. Design for the few is based on those examples design as one of a kind and limited editions such as Mecedora M by Colectivo NEL. The show was curated for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and between 2009 and 2010 functioned as a ‘cultural ambassador’
BELOW: Silla para el Eco by Mathias Goeritz and Daniel Mont, 1952-3. LEFT: Acapulco, designer unknown, 1960. CENTRE: Arrullo by Óscar Hagerman, 1968. RIGHT: IA by Bernando Gómez Pimienta, 1999.
in six European cities – Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, Eindhoven, Brussels and Copenhagen. As the curatorial team we are proud that contemporary Mexican design had an audience and that we are part of a bigger effort to make Mexican design visible in an international arena. We selected the chair as the subject matter because this piece of furniture can efficiently and graciously tell a history of contemporary design and the materials, forms and colours that integrates it. The curatorial team made an effort to link the recent production to a few modern predecessors that were also
included in the exhibition, as well as two vernacular pieces that have been used by everyone for decades such as the Acapulco Chair and the Equipal. We also included designers that do not live in Mexico City such as Mauricio Lara (Guadalajara), Mumo Design (Guadalajara) and Marilies Gelens (Oaxaca). Other designers included in Transit Cases: Chairs from Mexico are: Adriana Domínguez. Yessica Escalera, Héctor Esrawe, Ezequiel Farca, Héctor Galván, José García Torres, Emiliano Godoy, Mathias Goeritz, Ernesto Gómez Gallardo, Bernando Gómez Pimienta, Óscar Hagerman, Cecilia León de la Barra, Daniel Mont, Liliana Ovalle, Abraham
Peyret, Clara Porset, Luis René Quintero, Dení Reye, Kenya Rodríguez and Karla Vázquez.
From the beginning Transit cases was planned as a travelling exhibition, so the installation and general idea would have to adapt to different venues. Since we included valuable historical pieces such the Butaque by Clara Porset, we thought that the best option would be to make contemporary reproductions that could be shipped abroad without putting the few existing originals at risk of damage or loss. The task was not
simple as it required the permission and help of the owners, in the case of the Butaque, the Porset’s estate is taken care of by the Centro de Investigaciones de Diseño Industrial (CIDI) at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. This was an incredible and rewarding experience and we respected every detail and curve of the original Butaque, and subsequently found that the fibre weaving techniques, traditionally made by skilled artisans, are sadly disappearing in Mexico.
TOP: Martes by Marilies Gelens, 2003. CENTRE: Luna by Dení Reye, 2002. BOTTOM: Pedazo de Escalera by Liliana Ovalle, 2003. RIGHT: Knit chair by Emiliano Godoy, 2004.
The exhibition was also accompanied by a compact educational component entailing a collection of images that visually explain the origin of each chair, the ways in which it is commonly used and some historical background. As a curator I’m pleased that many different audiences saw Transit Cases: Chairs from Mexico and it is our hope that this vehicle contributed to building a positive perception of Mexican culture abroad.
TOP: Banca Falcón by Héctor Esrawe, 2004. BOTTOM: Criollo by Edgar Orlaineta, 2006.
LEFT: Chac-seat by Mauricio Lara, 2005. RIGHT: Stitch Kit by NEL Colectivo, 2005. BOTTOM: Silla Sam Corona by José García Torres, 2005
About the author
Jimena Acosta Romero (Mexico City, 1972) is an independent curator focusing on contemporary art and design. She holds a MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and a BA in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana. She has curated shows for museums and galleries such as the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, MUAC in Mexico City or the A+D Gallery in Chicago. She also writes in magazines such as Arquine, La Tempestad and Código 06140, and teaches at Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión in Mexico City. < Photos by Dante Busquets, courtesy of Godoylab.
From a cooking fire lit by Phoenician traders on a sandy beach, the fortuitous birth of glass has benefitted and intrigued mankind for thousands of years. This initially opaque molten mass was developed not only as a raw material for trade, but also formed into products ranging from monetary trading beads to status objects in the form of mouth-blown wine cups serving royalty and generals. Murals found in Pompeii (79AD) show the earliest depictions of blown
glass vessels holding fruits and liquids. Hard and unyielding when cold, yet soft and malleable when molten, it is one of the most versatile, difficult and most taken-forgranted media known to mankind. These extreme qualities have, however, intrigued artists and patrons alike, giving rise to a world of beautiful objects and difficult techniques. The manipulation of glass as medium showcases a country’s industrial and cultural development
GLASS, A FRAGILE YET GIANT INDUSTRY
By Retief van Wyk
Glass platter by David Reade ©
in the true sense of the word. Glass has always had the allure of the fine and fragile but no glass industry is complete without its factory giants that supply flat sheet glass windows, bottles, glasses, lamp shades and automotive windshields. With its humble beginnings in the 1870s the South African Glass Company was the first to melt glass in South Africa. Today this local industrial market is dominated by PFG Building Glass, CONSOL for vessel making and smaller
companies like Africa Glass and Northern Hardware and Glass, to name but a few. This huge industry is, however, not the focus of this article, which rather highlights the development of the relatively young artistic glass profession in South Africa. The nature of this manmade medium lends itself to various forming techniques ranging from the inert cold state to the fluid, molten state. The variable states of
molecular disarray in the glass medium, as it is subjected to rising temperatures, allow the glass to obtain various degrees of softness enabling industrial and domestic application and of course creative intervention. For the sake of clarity I will briefly mention the techniques, starting at the cold inert state, going up in temperature. Cutters and polishers manipulate the cold, hard state that produces products such as stained glass
LEFT: Blown glass works by Guido van Besouw. CENTRE & RIGHT: Glass artworks by Liz Lacey, Red Hot Glass.
windows or sculpted forms carved from either laminated or a solid hard glass mass. As the glass softens, round about 610°C, coloured glass, moulds and fusing kilns enable the slumping/fusing artist to produce works serving refined utilitarian and ornamental artistic tastes. As the temperature rises and the glass starts to melt, round about 850°C (depending on the type of glass), the very patient kiln caster carefully observes the glass flow into the carefully prepared moulds, made to support the heavy molten mass. Once filled the mould is gradually cooled for days, sometimes weeks, depending on the thickness of the glass piece inside. Once cold, the process returns to the cleaning and polishing of the object. Then there is also glass flame working that allows glass makers to manipulate coloured glass rods, at about 1100°C, into the most beautiful and intricate beads and jewellery items. Keeping glass molten at 1200°C allows one to gather and blow the glass, either freely or into moulds. This technique is very popular and
although equally difficult as any of the above, it remains a spectator’s art.
Leading the way
The South African artistic glass movement was started with a keen interest in the medium by Shirley Cloete (1921-2010). She studied painting at Michaelis School of Art in the 1960s but soon started making glass mosaics from scraps found on rubbish dumps and in the ocean. Legend has it that she often dived at Danger Point to observe the colour of the ocean to translate it back into her glass work. Cloete initiated her glass blowing career with instruction from Anette Meech at the Glasshouse in London in 1974. She settled on the Morgenster estate in Franschoek, where she started a small glass blowing studio. She was soon joined by David Reade who, with his studio knowledge and skilled craftsmanship acquired on the
Glass artworks by Nelius Britz, Cape Glass Studio.
Isle of Wright, helped form what is known today as the artistic glass movement in South Africa. Reade can be hailed as the ‘great helper’ who with his kind and focused love of the medium helped not only Shirley Cloete, but also assisted in establishing the only teaching institution focusing on hot glass techniques in Southern Africa, the CONSOL Glass House at the Pretoria Technikon, now known as Tshwane University of Technology, in 1995. The partnership between Cloete and Reade lasted only a few months and Reade joined forces with glass artist Gary Thompson
at Gallery G in Cape Town, producing glassware and developing an awareness of glass as a creative form. Reade, with the help of Dutch studio glass artist Kea Verweij, started a blowing studio on her farm in 1986, and eventually his own studio in Worcester. Reade is one of a few studio owners who actually blow the glass himself. Reade’s glass studio called, The Barn, has recently been expanded and now has four young glass blowers producing minor masterpieces with Reade at the helm producing the major, if somewhat traditional, masterpieces. I call these masterpieces, for the
works are technically superb and usually of a grand scale. A visit to The Barn studio can be complemented by relaxing at the tea garden after watching the blowers at work. Another central character in the early development of studio glass was Elizabeth Lacy. Born in Lusaka, Lacy received glass blowing training from Reade and subsequently started Red Hot Glass with her husband, David Jackson, who manages the enterprise with Lacy. She also oversees the production team that consists of young local and foreign glass blowers. Their skilful development of her designs have
Glass artworks by Jeannette Unite.
created items ranging from perfume bottles, one-off glass sculptural vessels, escalating into mammoth installations for casino environments all over the African continent. Red Hot studio is situated on the Siedelberg Wine estate in Paarl and ensures a rewarding visual and culinary experience for tourists visiting the studio, winery and top class restaurant. Industrial lampshade producer Glamosa Glass, formed in 1956, collaborated with Martli Jansen van Rensburg to form a contemporary glass blowing studio called Smelt, in Melville, Johannesburg. The Smelt studio has subsequently
closed down, but the Smelt ideology still continues with designs by Jansen van Rensburg and fellow artist Sielja Vos, being produced at the Glamosa factory in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. Henk Nel, a young glass blower who interned at Red Hot Glass, has now started his own small studio at the Backsberg Estate in Franschoek. Much to the delight of his visitors, especially holiday makers, Nel produces traditional blown studioware and other colourful glass ornaments. A self-taught glass blower Guido van Besouw started off as a stained
glass artist in 1977. In 1996 Van Besouw upped the temperature and built his first furnace and started glass blowing in 1997. Today he is a well featured artist in various public spaces and collections. His studio is situated in Kloof, Durban. Situated in Swaziland, is a mediumsized glass factory called Ngwenya Glass that produces on a large scale. Ngwenya is well known for its solid glass animal range, wine glasses and most recently its tableware for the Boardmans retail group. Owner Chas Prettyjohn has over the years developed strong ties with foreign glass artists and
Glass artworks by Sue Meyer.
often invites students and young designers to collaborate at the Swaziland furnace, resulting in fun-filled glass workshops.
well-equipped studio is frequently occupied by collaborators like Sue Meyer, Abraham le Roux and Tom van Hove who together with Britz are responsible for large architectural kiln cast installations suspended from steel cables. The gallery represents local and famed glass artists from England and Australia and is a must see for any serious glass collector. Britz has 18 years of experience and is a leader in kiln casting glass art. This difficult and time-consuming kiln casting technique is one shared by another ceramicist-turned-glass
artist, Sue Meyer. Meyer is based in Cape Town and works from her studio in Fish Hoek. Britz and Meyer are considered to be South African pioneers of kiln casting. Turning off the temperature completely one can now look at the artists who are brave enough to attempt working the medium in its hard state.
The flow and fusing of glass
Situated at the bottom end of Long Street in Cape Town is the Cape Glass Studio and gallery, EDGE. Owned by ceramicist turned glass artist, Nelius Britz, EDGE gallery is the first and only of its kind in South Africa. The adjacent large,
Glass sculptures by Lothar Böttcher, Obsidian Glass.
Stone cold, in it’s hard state
One of the most established cold glass factories must be Universal Crystal Glass Factory in Krugersdorp. Polish father and son duo, Bronek and Damien Cholewka continue a tradition initially gained in Poland and settled here in 1981. They do anything from masterful cutting and polishing to slumping basins and glass furniture. Then there is also Cape Town-based Terry Haden who is well known for his skill at cutting and polishing
as well as producing glass trophies. Back in Gauteng, perhaps the most artistic and adventurous of this cold working group is Obsidian Glass, owned by Lothar Böttcher. He started off at the Pretoria Technikon, studying glass and sculpture as subjects, but eventually moved abroad to focus on glass cutting at the Hadamar Glass School in Germany where he completed his journeyman course in 1997. On his return to Pretoria he set up Obsidian studio, producing solid glass pieces as trophies and unique works of
art sought after by collectors and galleries alike. Visits to the studio are by appointment only. Böttcher also teaches part-time at the CONSOL Glass House at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria. The ancient art of lead window making is one of the most well represented glass techniques of all. Fanus Boshoff from Pretoria has run his dalle de verre (thick cast glass in concrete) and stained glass studio for two decades. He operates with three skilled craftsmen producing a full spectrum
Stained glass works by Fanus Boshoff.
Glass jewellery by Lynkx SA.
of liturgical and private designed stained glass windows with various important commissions. Cozy Lamp Place, also in Pretoria, is run by Leonie Meyer and is well known for her floral decorative imagery. Meyer also offers classes in this technique.
educational alternative could be the short courses offered at the Glass Forming Academy (GFA) in Pretoria. The owner, Marileen van Wyk, obtained both her BTech degree Fine Arts (Glass) and MTech degree Education, at TUT. With the assistance of her highly skilled team, she offers bead-making (flame working), kiln working (fusing and slumping) and also glass blowing. Although the courses are non-credit bearing, the level of instruction is high and studio space can be rented to continue with the skills acquired.
If you want to learn more
When it comes to classes and training in glass forming, the options are few but here are some choices. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University situated in Port Elizabeth offers stained glass education, glass forming and flame work. This course forms part of their Fine Arts course and is well-known for in-depth education in the various techniques included in the stained glass art form. Short courses are also available at the Summerstrand campus. The other two options are both found in Pretoria. The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) offers a degree in Fine Arts, with glass as medium of choice. The subject glass is studied in conjunction with other subjects like painting, sculpture, printmaking or ceramics over a three-year period. This culminates in a fourth year, focussing only on glass, resulting in a BTech, Fine Arts qualification. The other
Various leading South African artists like Gordon Froud, Clive van den Berg, Berco Wilsenach, Jeanette Unite, Michaella Janse van Vuuren and the recently deceased revered painter, Robert Hodgins, have tried their hands at glass as a creative medium. Glass is versatile, beautiful to behold, difficult to manipulate, intriguing to some and seductive to others. Make a small commitment to yourself and look around at the various manifestations of the medium as found in your everyday life. You will be delighted to see how often it serves you either aesthetically or practically. Visit a studio and see the artist at work,
take up a glass hobby or enjoy the thin glass that holds your wine. Best of all, recycle! Offer your respect to the earth that gave us this sand to make glass.
About the author
Retief van Wyk is the subject leader of Glass and Ceramics as offered at the TUT Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Pretoria. He is the author of Glass production in India (1999), Leading Trends in Studio Glass (2005) and also The Ceramic Art of Robert Hodgins (2007). His glass and ceramic works are in various public and private collections and his commissions include clients like Ophra Winfrey, SASOL, Karel Nel, the Minister of Finance, CSIR and ATKV to mention a few. < All images courtesy of the artists.
Glass artwork by Retief Van Wyk.
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DESIGNING THE WORLD
An introduction to a sustainable future and the role of industrial design
By Vikki du Preez
Earth images courtesy of NASA Blue Marble project.
Today we see the word ‘sustainable’ on highend retail products, in corporate annual reports, on billboards, in social awareness campaigns and in magazines, but what does it really mean? And, why is it so important for industrial design? The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries changed the way we viewed and produced products. No longer were products handmade and scarce. With the rise of industry and new industrial production methods products could be produced faster and at a fraction of the cost. No longer were products only functional, they became a way to physically represent wealth and status. Today, nothing has changed. Global and national brands fight for our attention, encouraging us to buy their mobile phones, cars, clothing and digital cameras, resulting in unnecessary mass consumption. Global consumption, a growing world population and the excessive use of fossil fuels have placed immense pressure on our planet. Primitive man consumed energy primarily to find food but modern man consumes energy for agriculture, transport, technology and many other purposes. Global warming, natural resource depletion, rising sea levels and extinction of fauna and flora are only a few of the problems that we face today as a result of consumption patterns. So, where do we go from here? How do we start to change how we live and how we choose products? How do we find the balance between our actions – as consumers and as inhabitants of a fragile earth? How does design, and industrial design specifically, play a role in finding the balance? Critics and designers themselves have asked these questions repeatedly.
Three major phases of growing awareness have been highlighted in the move to a more sustainable world. The first phase, which occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, is characterised by a growing awareness and the development of organisations, which address environmental and social problems (Bharma and Lofthouse, 2007:1). Numerous NGOs were founded during this period including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and, in South Africa, The Endangered Wildlife Trust. During this phase, people from many different backgrounds, countries and cultures became aware of one frightening shared reality: that the planet, as a giver of life and sustenance, was in grave danger of being destroyed. The ideals and views that characterised the first phase towards a sustainable future were finally discussed by world leaders at the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference). The conference focused not only on our responsibility as a species to protect the earth, but also on the social responsibilities that we have towards one another. This conference elevated social and environmental concerns into the realm of government and international legislation. The second phase is characterised by a continued interest in sustainability at governmental level during the 1980s. Various catastrophes such as the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and social unrest preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall spurred global debate and a call for change. The ideas formulated during the first phase were formalised in numerous environmental laws and standards across the globe, including The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, implemented in India, the United
Kingdom’s Food and Environment Protection Act of 1985 and the South African Environment Conservation Act No. 73 of 1989. The global focus on environmental and social concerns, which began during this phase, developed even further during the third phase of awareness at the beginning of the new millennium (Bharma and Lofthouse, 2007: 2). Various wars in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and other regions during the 1990s and 2000s resulted in heightened social unrest, poverty, inequality and environmental devastation. At the same time, lifestyle choices in many first world countries continued to contribute to environmental problems, such as sea, land and air pollution. Despite the development of appropriate legislation, a growing awareness of the implications of our actions and the tireless efforts of NGOs and concerned individuals, the environmental and social problems highlighted in the 1960s are still relevant and pressing today. Overconsumption and a relentless appetite for the ‘new’ contributes to an even more dangerous modern threat to the earth and society: the unperturbed consumer. Even though we have the benefit of past experience and a mass of information regarding issues
of sustainability, we simply cannot imagine a world without our designer coffees, imported clothing, fuel and diesel gluttonous 4x4s, new cell phones and exotic fruit in excessive packaging. The design, production and disposal process of the items and products we find so irresistible often contribute to the environmental and social problems we are meant to be addressing if our species hopes to survive on this planet. Industrial design, as a profession, plays a key role in addressing the impact that product design and manufacturing have on the environment, exploring solutions to both social and environmental problems through design and design thinking.
community with statements like: “There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them” (Papenek, 1985: ix). Papanek did not disapprove of industrial design as a discipline, but commented on the link between industrial design and the production of unnecessary mass consumer products, which were often not functional and merely desirable. Although Design for the Real World was not well received by all designers at the time, it did grab the imagination of a new group of industrial designers who realised the importance of social and environmental design considerations. These designers realised that design could make a noticeable difference, and focused on functional design for third-world regions and minority groups. Papanek and other writers of the time form part of the first stage of moving towards a more sustainable design ethos (Bharma and Lofthouse, 2007).
From the story of Design for the Real World, to Manzini and beyond
Victor Papanek, a designer, educator, critic and philosopher, focused his life’s work on investigating questions around socially and ecologically sensitive design. In 1971 he published Design for the Real World, which documents his views regarding social and environmental awareness in design practices. Papanek advocated responsible design and caused outrage within the industrial design
The third stage in the development of sustainable design practices transpired during the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of ‘green’ consumerism and sustainable design considerations. Ezio Manzini is a key figure in this period, as well as the Design for Sustainability movement, focussing on both social and environmental concerns. A feature in the designs and writing of
Manzini is his focus on human beings and an acknowledgment of their indigenous knowledge and culture. The solution to social problems may not necessarily be a product or service, but may be an adapted process or system, which addresses the needs of the community. The role of the designer is consequently quite different, requiring the designer, through design thinking, to gain a deeper understanding and awareness of the situation. Through this awareness, the designer can identify the most suitable solution – whatever that solution may be. Since the 1990s and 2000s the focus on sustainable considerations in design practices has become more pronounced. Many large corporations now actively develop sustainable practices and publicly state environmental and social intentions to which the corporation can be held responsible. SustainAbility, formed in 1987, is a consultancy that helps the world’s leading brands create new visions in line with sustainable trends while, at the same time, addressing the requirements of good business value. Jacque Fresco, a designer, innovator and futurist, often uses the holistic design focus of sustainable objects and systems in his lectures and writing. His passion for sustainable practices can be traced back to the Venus Project, which he started in the mid 1970s with his partner Roxanne Meadows. The ultimate goal of the project was to design a space where mankind, nature and technology reach a balance and can exist indefinitely in a sustainable manner. The 2006 film, Future by Design, reflects on the life and work of Fresco and the impact that his research, design and views on sustainability have had on modern design processes. On a practical level, many industrial design products today have adopted one or more sustainable characteristics including the use of indigenous
materials and labour, an extension of the product life cycle, and more. Design, in this way, becomes a functional representation of our goals regarding a sustainable future. There are, however, various problems facing sustainable products. The one that recurs most is that these products are often expensive. It is important to view any sustainable system or product within a specified context, and also, to consider the long-term consequences of the product.
produces clean drinking water from polluted water sources. The design of these products addresses real world problems through actual products and design thinking. Lynedoch Eco Village, and the Sustainable Institute located within the village, is another example of a move towards a sustainable lifestyle in South Africa. Lynedoch is located in Stellenbosch and, as an eco village, has three main goals: to develop a learning precinct at the centre of a socially and economically viable mixed community, to develop practical ecologically designed urban systems that can be implemented in other areas, and to develop the property into a financially viable project. The Lynedoch Eco Village represents achievable sustainable living for all.
African industrial designers are introduced to the importance of Design for Sustainability and reflect on views of writers such as Papanek, Manzini and Fresco, to ensure that future products are not only desirable, but also contribute to a better, more sustainable world.
Bharma, T. and Lofthouse, V. (2007) Design for Sustainability: A Practical Approach. United Kingdom: Gower Publishing Papanek, V. (1971) Design for the Real World. New York: Pantheon Books Papaken, V. (1985) Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. United Kingdom: Thames and Hudson.
A South African perspective
South Africa, and the African continent as a whole, benefits from the focus on and development of sustainable design practices. Given the high levels of violence, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and medical requirements in South Africa, it is imperative that sustainable systems and products are developed to address these issues. Through various initiatives designers have the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of people living on the African continent. The EcoSan Dry Sanitation System, designed by Dave Maartens, Anton Maartens and Jan Joubert, is a safe ablution system which requires no water and the AquaNow Portable Water Purification System, designed by Ian Vroom and Carlos de Nobrega,
One last idea
We so often hear the phrase, ‘we only have one earth’ and yet, our habits as consumers display a lack of understanding, or complete disregard, for the finality of the statement. Our choices, big and small, impact not only on our future but also on the future of those who come after us. The balance between a positive prosperous lifestyle and global devastation is more fragile than many would like to believe. Through education, new generations of South
About the author
Vikki du Preez is a multi-disciplinary lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Her focus areas include the theory and history of Industrial Design and Surface Design, as well as the research and development of learner-centred design education practices. <
All images courtesy of Jacques Lange except for top left image on page 126 sourced from http://images. google.com/hosted/life/ and sustainability model on page 128 sourced from Wuppertal Institut.
THE JURY ADJOURNS
The Design Challenge from INDEX: Design to Improve Life addresses education-related issues in the developing world by design.
By Kigge Hvid, CEO
Education is the second of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The target for this MDG is to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, are able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Achieving universal primary education means more than just full enrolment. This MDG also presupposes quality education, meaning that all children who regularly attend school learn basic literacy and numeracy skills and complete primary school on time. Literacy remains among the most neglected of all education goals, and millions of children are leaving school before acquiring basic skills. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, young adults with five years of education have a 40% probability of being illiterate. About 759 million adults lack literacy skills today. Twothirds are women. UNICEF and the Danish-based non-profit organisation INDEX: Design to Improve Life has challenged design and business students from around the world to develop solutions that can improve educational conditions in developing countries. The participating students have worked for months on solutions with names such as Soap Shish, Elephant Walk Desk, Lilly Pad and Wash Wheel. The first two challenges focus on how to make a sustainable and comfortable floor for temporary use in classrooms without furniture and how waste materials can make environmental More than 1 000 students from 29 countries across the globe joined the competition, which resulted in 115 submitted design solutions. These solutions address four issues as defined by UNICEF, based on its work in disaster areas and developing countries. Recently the design challenge jury adjourned. Members include prominent design thinkers, including Nii Commey Botchway, communication designer & educator; Carlos Vasquez, CFS Design & Construction, UNICEF; Look White, CEO, INDEX:; William Fowler, Director, Global Education, Cisco Systems; Kim Fridbjørg, Architect MAA, creative director, Built Identity; Kippy Joseph, associate director, Rockefeller Foundation; Hanne Bak Pedersen, deputy director Supply Program, UNICEF Supply; Elizabeth Scharpf, founder and chief instigating officer, Sustainable Health Enterprises; Ana Karinna Sepulveda, alumna global leadership fellow, World Economic Forum; Jack Sim, founder, World Toilet Organization and Peter Stebbing, professor Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd.
Overall winner of the Design Challenge, Teddy Bag by François Verez and Ane Eguiguren, Université Technologique the Compiegne (UTC) and Elisava School of Design (France and Spain).
TOP: Akshara Learn As You Play by Sayantani Dasgupta and Meghma Mitra, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology (India). CENTRE: Elephant Walk Desk by Stephen Pennington, University of Notre Dame (USA). BOTTOM: Lily Pad by Shiny Lam and Joey Loi, Ryerson University (Canada).
friendly and inexpensive school furniture. These challenges emanate from the chronic lack of adequate quality education infrastructure and facilities, particularly school structures and furniture for students. In many cases, the traditional classrooms and furniture are either not available or, when they are available, are old and dilapidated. Furniture is in short supply or undersized and students often use alternative objects such as their books, bags, bricks, and logs to sit on or even sit on the bare floor, under trees, or in an open space. The conditions are uncomfortable and demeaning to both students and parents. The third and fourth challenges focus on hygiene issues such as avoiding the stigma of menstruating girls in schools and how to produce a soap that cannot be stolen or lost, thus ensuring hygiene in schools, especially for 'un-pure' girls. Poor environmental conditions in the classroom can make both teaching and learning difficult and children’s ability to learn may be affected in several ways by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene conditions. Statistics show that diarrhoeal diseases, intestinal worms and other debilitating parasites affect unacceptably high numbers of schoolchildren – about 40% of an estimated 578 million school-age children are infested with worms. Schools are described as places with intense levels of person-to-person contact, as highrisk environments for children and staff and are likely to exacerbate children’s particular susceptibility to environmental health hazards. The simple practice of washing one’s hands with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia,
which together account for 3.5 million child deaths annually. Topping the general hygiene challenges is the fact that many girls miss school from the onset of puberty because they face the embarrassment of menstruation at schools where toilets are unclean, have no doors and are shared with the boys. Parents also do not want to send girls to school during menstruation, sometimes for cultural and religious reasons, but often because of the lack of running water, safe sanitation and consumables such as sanitary pads. For instance, 94% of girls in Uganda reported problems at school during menstruation and 61% reported staying away from school during menstruation. But in a different world not far away solutions to challenges like the above are exactly those that can ensure a child's education and give them a crucial edge in a future filled with great challenges. According to UNESCO’s 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report the number of children out of school has dropped by 33 million worldwide since 1999. In South and Western Asia the number of children that are not in school have more than halved – a reduction of 21 million. But the latest numbers show that 72 million children are still out of school and if the trend continues, 56 million children will still be out of school in 2015. Improvements are urgently needed and every small step counts. The finalists of the challenges, selected by the jury, were invited to Denmark in February 2011 where they worked with international and Danish funders, investors and companies to ensure the realisation and distribution of their designs.
The finalists are: Akshara Learn As You Play is a fresh perspective on the traditional alphabet book in the form of a toy, similar to a jigsaw puzzle, which helps children assimilate language better through tactile experience as well as developing motor skills which are important for children at a primary school level. Elephant Walk Desk is a locally manufactured and sustainable furniture solution, which targets primary school children to create a more collaborative and engaging classroom environment. Lily Pad is a water lily-shaped mat made of hemp, which ensures a comfortable and flexible seating option in schools with uneven floor surfaces. Lily Pad is a contemporary design that addresses the problem of uncomfortable learning environments whilst responding to the natural environment through the use of sustainable materials. padBack is a sanitary protection solution for rural areas. The aim is to ensure that girls do not drop out of school due to stigma related to their menstrual cycle. The padBack is a self-maintaining system and the pads are made of papyrus and biodegradable nonwoven fabric. Reach & Match is designed to create an educational and playful kit that assists the emotional, communicative and cognitive development of young children with visual impairments. It provides children (three to six years old) with a unique bridge to Braille literacy. The design provides tactile strategy
and hearing pleasure through sensory exploration and can build motor development, special awareness and logical intelligence through sensory play. Soap Shish is inspired by an abacus and uses the colourful and slippery features of soap and thereby attracting kids to play with it, whilst at the same time cleaning their hands. It aims to provide hygiene to schools at all times, preventing the soap bars from being removed or melted. Teddy Bag (the final winner) is a school bag that turns into a desk. It allows children to carry all they need to study – in school or at home. It is made from cardboard making it light and the simple production process enables the bag to be produced in developing countries with ease.
About the author
Kigge Hvid has led the development and growth of INDEX: Design to Improve Life since her appointment as founding CEO in 2002. In leading the Danish government's mandate to advance the humanist tenets of Danish design, Kigge is a frequent panelist at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos and is a member of the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Design. In 2010 she joined the board of Danish shipping foundation Lauritzen Fonden as well as the internatioal advisory board of the Hong Kong Design Centre. <
Images courtesy of INDEX: and the entrants of the Design Challenge.
TOP: padBack by Cansu Akarsu, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea). CENTRE: Reach & Match by Lau Shuk Man, Monash University (Australia). BOTTOM: Soap Shish by Cansu Akarsu, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea).
DESIGNING FOR LIFE
By Beth Peterson
Copying the structure of the nano-scales of a butterfly’s wing has made colourful, non-toxic paints, fabrics and cosmetics. Photo by Izzy LeCours, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
TOP: The kingfisher's beak is so aerodynamic, the bird can dive for fish without making waves. Photo by Flickr photographer wildxplorer, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute. BOTTOM: Shinkansen Bullet Train is based on the shape of the kingfisher's beak. Photo by Pagemoral.
Imagine we had access to an encyclopaedia of ten to thirty million sustainable designs that have stood the test of time for over 3.8 billion years. These blueprints of sustainable living could enable us to do all the things that humans need and want to do, but completely without the waste and toxicity that is compromising our survival. Well, according to biomimics, we do have this extraordinary design resource readily available – we only need to recognise the true and incredible value of Nature to be able to start learning from it. Biomimicry is described as both a science and an art. The word derives from the Greek, bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning imitation. It is a term that was coined by natural sciences writer, Janine Benyus in her seminal work Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature. Biomimicry proposes that we can find the answers to all our problems of sustainability by regarding Nature as our mentor, measure and model. All the plants and animals alive on the planet today know how to live sustainably. They have innate strategies to feed themselves, harness energy, make materials, store information, heal themselves and conduct their business of living. They do all of this not only without harming the eco-systems that sustain them, but they actually enhance their environments through living and dying.
In other words, all other species that we share the planet with, inherently promote life. It all seems so obvious and begs the question: How is it possible that throughout thousands of years of human innovation we have failed to recognise and draw on Nature’s sustainability expertise? The answer is all about attitude. Humans have long believed that they have dominium over the natural world; that it exists apart from us and solely for our use; that we are entitled to extract whatever we like from it and despoil it however we choose. It is an eco-illiterate view that is bringing us perilously close to our own extinction. What underpins biomimicry is a shift to a much saner and hopeful way of viewing the world. Our industrialised lifestyles may offer us delusions of grandeur beyond Nature, but no human technology has ever changed the fact that we are inexorably part of Nature, fully dependent on the Earth and its networks of interconnected living things. Instead of looking at what we can take from Nature, we need to start looking very closely at what we can learn from it. Biomimicry is a growing field of designers, engineers, scientists, developers, researchers and many others who study Nature’s ideas to better understand not just what works, but what survives on the planet. By analysing Nature’s designs and models and by using
an ecological standard to measure the sustainability of human innovations, we can engage with the genius of life. Throughout the world people are realising that the more we emulate the natural world in every possible way, the more chance we have to achieve sustainable human communities. This is what inspires biomimics to explore a host of exciting and inspiring designs for life. The bumps on the back of a Namib beetle have motivated the design of water-harvesting panels in dry areas, eliminating the need to drill below ground. Self-cleaning paints, textiles and glass surfaces have been made by mimicking the surface of the lotus leaf, doing away with the use of toxic detergents. A silent, low temperature manufacturing process produces an exceptionally durable, clear glass based on the same process an abalone uses for selfassembly. The flowing spirals of seashells and ram horns have inspired the design of optimally efficient fan blades and propellers. Copying the structure of the nano-scales of a butterfly’s wing has made colourful, nontoxic paints, fabrics and cosmetics. A vaccine exists that does not require costly refrigeration because it has been produced by using the natural process that a resurrection plant uses to remain in a desiccated state for long periods. A bacteria-resistant surface coating based on the structure of a shark skin, was made possible after it became known that nothing can attach itself to a shark’ skin. While there are many examples of biomimicry in practice, there is even more happening in research fields. The Land Institute studies prairies with the aim of developing a model of agriculture that uses edible perennial grains grown in polycultures to replace the unsustainable
Blue mussels attach themselves to rocks in harsh conditions using only natural adhesives. Photo by John Davey, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute. The microtopography of shark skin inhibits growth of microbes, meaning that nothing can attach itself to a shark’ skin. Photo by Erik Charlton, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
'Lightweighting' is commonly found in nature which makes a design strong and light by optimising geometry and structure. Strategies include hollow parts, ribs, posts, corrugation, trusses, and gussets. Photo by Jim Champion, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
Self-cleaning paints, textiles and glass have been made by mimicking the surface of the lotus leaf. The microscopic structures on lotus' surface are super-hydrophobic, causing water to roll off and take particles with it. Photo by Claire Houck, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
Termites live in extremes: extreme heat during the day and extreme cold at night. Their mounds are ventilation structures that maintain temperature, CO2 levels and humidity in the nests below the ground. Photo by J Brew, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
The design of Eastgate Centre is influenced by the passive heating and cooling structures of termite mounds. Photo by Mandy Paterson, courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
The structure of owl feathers reduces noise. Photo courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
Humpback whales have bumps on the front of their fins, allowing them to turn on a dime underwater. Photo by Christine & David Schmitt, Courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
monocultures of needy annuals that are currently our staple foods. Researchers at the University of Arizona are studying how a leaf captures energy with the aim of producing a solar cell the size of a molecule. Others are studying the capacities of the blue mussel to learn how to create a non-toxic underwater glue. Industrial ecologists are looking to mature hardwood forests to model a closed-loop economic system. Nature’s store of designs is so tremendously vast and diverse that it is conceivable that the solutions to all our design problems already exist. We just need to know how to engage with Nature as a teacher. In the face of our crisis of unsustainability, it is arguable that eco-literacy is an essential 21st century life skill; and for the designers who are shaping our world, it is then also a crucial job skill. Benyus suggests an immersion in Nature and entering into a “sort of intimacy with Life on Earth”. At the core of biomimicry training is getting out
into Nature; exploring, observing and questioning how life works. Biomimicry South Africa is a network affiliated to Benyus’s Biomimicry Group and headed up by Claire Janisch. Biomimicry workshops, training and presentations are now available. To contact Biomimicry South Africa, email email@example.com and for more information about biomimicry visit www.biomimicryinstitute.org. To become part of the global biomimicry network join www.asknature.org
About the author
Beth Peterson is a professional writer with a special focus on sustainability, human development and natural history. She also provides unique ‘writer-at-the-table’ creative services – ideas generation, storytelling and strategy for brands and organisations. <
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The Jupiter Drawing Room 44130
Creativity takes courage. Just ask Guy du Toit.
Overcoming one’s fears is easier said than done. That’s why we sponsor the Absa L’Atelier – an art competition that rewards brave, young artists with the opportunity to live and learn at the world-renowned Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. As a look through the list of past winners will testify, when courage and this kind of opportunity come together, greatness is sure to follow suit. Visit www.absa.co.za for entry details.
LEIMEI JULIA CHIU
A champion for design promotion across boundaries
In August the SABS Design Institute was instrumental in bringing Leimei Julia Chiu to South Africa as the international guest adjudicator of the 2010 SABS Design Excellence Awards. According to Adrienne Viljoen, manager of the SABS Design Institute, the presence of international adjudicators in the Design Excellence Award scheme creates an international benchmark and adds credibility to the entire process. It also offers an international perspective on the South African design industry. Previous international names that have added lustre to the Design Excellence Awards adjudication panels were Satish Gokhale, awardwinning industrial designer from India (2004), Marcelo Aflalo, architect and designer from Brazil (2005), Eric Anderson who taught industrial design at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in the USA (2006) and Lorraine Justice, director of the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic who joined the judging panel in 2007. Carlos Hinrichsen, past president of Icsid was the international adjudicator in 2009. Leimei Julia Chiu, by all accounts the most respected and experienced design promoter in the world, has never been restricted by boundaries. She moves easily across disciplines, cultures and geographical borders. Leimei is currently the executive director of the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organisation (JIDPO) and a professor in the Department of Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University.
Born in Taiwan, Leimei was raised and educated in the United States and later in Japan, offering her a diverse cultural and academic foundation. This might be the reason why she has chosen to help designers and design students to promote their work across national and cultural barriers. She herself has traversed disciplines by starting off as a mathematician before moving on to become a promoter of design. Before her current position, Leimei was director of the International Design Center Nagoya. She also worked with major Japanese corporations, as well as with governments and academic institutions in over 35 countries across Europe, North America and the Pan Pacific Rim. She is an executive board member for the advisory council of METI (the Japanese Ministry of Economics & Industry) to implement national design policy in Japan, as well as the mayor’s advisory council on implementing the 10-year strategic plan (2010-2020) for the future of the city of Nagoya and strategic visions for the economic development of the central Japan region. A stalwart in professional design associations, Leimei has become Icograda's first female president elect. She will preside over this organisation’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013 when she becomes president for the 2011 to 2013 term. Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) is the world body for professional communication design. It was founded in 1963 and is a voluntary assembly of organisations concerned with graphic design, visual communication, design management, promotion, education, research and journalism.
From 1997 to 2001, Leimei served as an Icograda vice-president and executive board member of the International Council Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) from 2007 to 2009. A recipient of the Mainichi Design Award (jointly with the 2003 Icograda Congress VISUALOUGUE planning team) and Icograda President’s Award, she has served on numerous competition juries including Red Dot Design Concept Award, Brno Biennial, Design for Asia Award, World Design Leadership Award, BIO, Adobe Design Achievement Awards and the Good Design Award.
The role of design awards in design promotion
During her visit to South Africa, Leimei spoke at length about the role of design awards in design promotion. She was adamant that a discussion about design awards should reach further than just a conversation amongst designers in the design community. And she should know, as she currently serves on the jury of the Good Design Award, Japan's only overall system for evaluating and promoting design. The Good Design Awards is a comprehensive programme to evaluate and encourage design and is organised by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organisation (JIDPO) of which Leimei is the executive director. This award, commonly known as the G Mark, has been in place since 1957 when the Japanese government realised that design was essential for breaking the cycle of poverty that was in place after Japan’s defeat in WW2. Since then in the region of 35 000 designs have been awarded the G Mark.
Click here to read more about the Good Design Awards.
It is interesting to note that the Good Design Awards operates on a screening policy that is expressed in five words: – HUMANITY: Inspiration for products and conceptual embodiments – HONESTY: Perceptiveness toward contemporary society – INNOVATION: Concepts to pioneer the future – AESTHETICS: Imagination for prosperous lifestyle culture – ETHICS: Reflecting on society and environment Leimei insists that the Good Design Awards is all about the people who will eventually use the designs. It boils down to a basic philosophy that design is a humanitarian act put in the service of the human community. Leimei believes that the G Mark concept could work well for South Africa, as it has never awarded individuals, but rather companies, organisations and institutions that have excelled in design. With the G Mark comes many training programmes, seminars and more to encourage entrepreneurship and design and this could also help to bolster the South African economy, should such a concept be carried through locally. Design can be applied to meet the challenges faced by South Africa at present. Leimei made the suggestion that design could, for example, be applied to redesign education, encompassing different disciplines of design like communication design (for learning material), architecture (for school infrastructure) and more. Design could also be applied to public services to improve infrastructure.
Leimei shared the insights on the SABS Design Excellence Awards process and products. She was most impressed by the attention the adjudicators paid to the different entries and the knowledge they displayed in a variety of fields. Compared to Japan where great attention is paid to detail and small elements, Leimei commented about the sheer size of many of the entries. She was particularly impressed with the huge treasure of indigenous knowledge that was applied to award-winning products and the fact that most of the products were designed to overcome challenges faced by South African society. So, for example, was the award made for a modified armoured car to her an example of designing for security where a disadvantageous situation could be turned into an advantageous one. The first wholly South African designed aviation aircraft also elicited positive comments from Leimei. She was impressed by the expertise and research efforts that were applied and the fact that collaboration between disciplines and institutions could lead to an award-winning product. Leimei believes that design and design thinking can be applied to building a nation, just as the G Mark did for Japan in the previous century. Japan’s Good Design Award was initially a vehicle for government to work with industries to show how design thinking could help business to incorporate new strategies to become more successful – create jobs, grow the economy. It will bode well for South Africa if government would follow the same strategies here on the tip of the African continent. <
A new lens on the known world
By Jess Henson
The 2010 FIFA World Cup helped South Africans and their continental compatriots to wake up and work together to welcome the world with a vigour not seen before. If your goal is to live and thrive in the metaphorical global village of 2011, this is the time to focus and find out about DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA.
The multi-media library otherwise known as www.designingsouthafrica.com holds a host of light boxes with detailed audio-visual insights into South African urbanism, design and development.
2010 was big. We worked hard, played even harder and joyfully hosted an event of global proportions that boosted South Africa’s social, economic and infrastructural development by leaps and bounds. Most importantly, we did this by ourselves. If last year’s successes are anything to go by, 2011 is going to be even more
amazing. And if we can learn from it, we can build on it. For that, we need to focus and put ourselves centre stage. Perhaps the most profound achievement of 2010 was that we have begun to believe in ourselves in a global context. We became one – sharing workloads, sharing lifts
to the fan park, sharing a vision, celebrating and achieving. It’s a pretty picture, in retrospect, and it can serve a greater purpose than beautifying the mantelpiece of our national pride. Planning and strategising for a new year means looking back and learning from the previous one.
LEFT: Safety and traffic flow are key in any inner city. Thanks to collective vision and a new pedestrian bridge, crossing Buitengracht Street in Cape Town is now easy, and it comes with a view. Photo by Cape Town Tourism. CENTRE: Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium is a new icon on the city map and an architectural feat that proves that the country’s talent is capable of creating and producing first-class products. Photo by Bruce Sutherland and City of Cape Town.
But how can you confidently step into the new if you’re not sure what you’re looking at?
identity. It’s not instantly obvious just when and where, and who and what were done to make us proud of our cities and the souls living in them, of our hard work and hope. It feels as if we were thrown into a time machine, and by some miracle, came out clean, ready and really happy to be in the present. That ‘miracle’ is called connectivity. Connectivity means that South African cities fed into design and architecture, which fed into a world event, which fed into the economy, building the country. Connectivity brought us first-time visitors and turned them into
returning friends. A concentrated portion of these came from South America. Connectivity saw Brazil importing its samba musicians and capoiera dancers on dedicated cultural exchange programmes “to enhance an awareness of Brazilian culture” as 2010 Western Cape co-ordinator, Dr Laurine Platzky stated. They joined us in the streets, on stages, in the stadia and behind the scenes. Connectivity resulted in experts from all disciplines and fields pulling together to prepare for the event, and the country delivered, on time, to the masses, to
In the wake of the World Cup
The FIFA 2010 World Cup was exciting and overwhelming – so much happened so fast. Most of us have mental snapshots of moving through the streets with strangers or monumental stadia filled with waving arms. There were thousands of related events and new initiatives, roads being remodelled, airports revamped and media campaigns redesigning national
Abitare is an international design magazine that responded positively to DESIGNING_ SOUTHAFRICA’s invitation to see for itself that progressive South African urbanism is on the rise. It explored how ‘African’ our stadia are, with a focus on Johannesburg. Image by Abitare magazine.
international media and ultimately to you and me.
DESIGNING_SOUTH AFRICA – a meeting of minds
DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA is a collaborative exploration of how design, creativity and architecture affect cities and society. In a local context, DESIGNING_SOUTH AFRICA is a discovery of South African urbanism that uses the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a focal point for these evolving relationships. Contained in a multimedia website, travelling exhibition, a book, and an ongoing forum of experts,
this comprehensive compendium of World Cup-related developments and design is, in effect, a lens and a library, an exchange, a reference guide and a dialogue. The project uses analysis, critical commentary, panel discussions, photography, audio and video to tell the story of urbanism and design in South Africa and beyond. The result is a series of snapshots of South African design and urbanism showcasing expertise, identity, public transport and spaces, economic development and service delivery.
Connecting the dots
To continue the connectivity, to build and work together to do things better, we need to be able to see it and to build on these lessons and benefits. Imagine that we would have a loop and a link helping us to understand and think about where we’ve been, what we’ve learnt, where we’re going and how to do so optimally. Imagine DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA.
Urban realities and sustainable solutions
Urbanism – a word referring to urban character or an urban way of life – is not just a thought trend; it’s a worldwide movement. More than half the world’s population now lives in an urban centre and open-platform thinking is necessary to connect the dots. In keeping with global population and development trends, South African urbanisation is on the increase as more and more people migrate to economic centres to thrive. The blossoming, colourful, haphazard sprawl of informal
shantytowns at the entry and exit of every major city and town in South Africa is a clear indication that thorough planning is necessary as population density increases. DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA is taking notes in the hope that everyone will get involved in the conversation, from expats to experts, students to street sweepers. Planning means looking at the whole picture. The whole picture involves the whole world, as the project origins illustrate. DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA started in 2009 when creative and
cultural commentator, Zahira Asmal, lived and worked in Lisbon. There she met with a group of design critics and editors while working on the ExperimentaDesign Biennale. “It was an opportune time to invite the world’s most illustrious design critics and editors to South Africa – it being the World Cup. I was also curious about what urban and design projects were kicking off developments, and how the national government, municipalities, tourism agents, architects and designers were working together to ‘Design South Africa’ for the World Cup.
LEFT: DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA has contributed to coverage of South African development with editorial in the renowned design, interior, fashion, art and lifestyle magazine, Wallpaper*. Image by Wallpaper* Magazine. CENTRE: Another guest of DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA, Icon magazine aptly and cheekily dubbed their June 2010 issue 'The Africa Issue' and investigated Cape Town’s city's transformation towards the World Cup as well as featuring fine young architect, Mokena Makeka. Image by Icon magazine. RIGHT: Zahira Asmal has developed a framework for DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA and directs its various executions; in articles, as a book and travelling exhibition, in broadcast media and on the web. Photo by Antonia Steyn.
“I invited the editors to key urban centres in South Africa to explore the developments with me, meet the relevant people, as well as experience first-hand what they would report in their respective publications, with the aim of publishing a book on the impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on South African cities.
on the topic of South African design and urbanism across the world.
came third in the Best City category. While still in its initial stages, in
The project’s multimedia documentary platform, www.designing southafrica.com, features in-depth panel discussions on nation design and identity, lessons learned from the World Cup, and new urbanism and World Cup legacies.
2010, DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA single-handedly engaged a dialogue with the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Belgium and China. The project invited and hosted visitors from international independent media. The positive spin-offs included one-on-one exchanges between media and field experts, as well as dedicated urbanism and design-related articles in nine high-profile, international publications covering transport, architecture, graphic
Contributing to the dialogue
In the past year, DESIGNING_ SOUTHAFRICA has established itself as a vehicle for information exchange, generating dialogue
Johannesburg was nominated for the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2011 for 'Best City' due to DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA hosting the prestigious international lifestyle magazine in South Africa in 2010. The result: Johannesburg
design and brand identity. Notably, a cover on the November 2010 issue of Wallpaper* magazine. DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA coverage extended to five continents in nine languages.
to serve on the DESIGNING_ SOUTHAFRICA Advisory Panel.” The experts making up the panel include Edgar Pieterse, urbanist and director for African Centre for Cities; Mokhena Makeka, an architect who focuses on sustainability and durability; and Henning Rasmuss, director of Points Architects and Urban Designers. ”Perhaps this is an opportunity to create a national council to advise on all South African creative executions.”
Onwards, upwards, outwards – The DESIGNING_SOUTH AFRICA directive
In its endeavour to support a wider interdisciplinary discourse and tell the story of new spaces, new identity and new thought in the wake of the World Cup, DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA makes a point of: • engaging government, municipalities, the private sector, tourism agents, designers, architects and educators in the delivery of efficient service
Experts from all areas
A notable World Cup success, Zahira notes, is that “design thinking and applied design work was seriously contracted, the result being a cohesive national expression that was celebrated by South Africans and the world. We want to continue on this trajectory and have sourced experts
LEFT: Johannesburg city from the sky. The World Cup has helped South Africa reach a global audience and express itself in an authentic, natural and newly South African way. Image by Michael Meyersfeld. RIGHT: DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA has its sites set on Brazil as a partner in global information exchange and the ongoing dialogue of urbanism. São Paulo is its largest city. Photo by Nelson Kon.
• shifting negative perception to positive ones, locally and globally • highlighting development initiatives and achievements in design, architecture, public transport and public spaces • granting global access to South African expertise, and enabling sharing of expertise between Brazil and Africa. The near future sees DESIGNING_ SOUTHAFRICA publish a book with panellist insights and expert essays, roving international exhibitions (Durban, London and Berlin), as well as a focus on Brazil, host of the FIFA 2014 World
Cup and the 2016 Olympics. A visit to Brazil in January will forge ties. In addition to sharing knowledge of lessons learnt in the World Cup, Zahira says that “we have similar social and developmental concerns that I would like to explore with the Brazilians”. With South Africa now included in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as a developing nation of increasing power on the world market, sharing knowledge can be invaluable going forward. 2011 is already looking good. We would do well to invest in each
other and ourselves. “Nation building and development require collaboration,” concludes Zahira. “No city is an entity on its own anymore, especially with communication technology, and the ease with which people travel. We have to collaborate and share information and expertise. It’s essential.”
About the author
Jess Henson covers the arts, design and urbanism for print and pixel with a focus on integration, education and elevation. <
By Maran Coates. Laduma Ngxokolo, a
young South African knitwear designer, has been named the top new creative talent in his field by the UK-based Society of Dyers and Colourists' (SDC) annual International Design Competition 2010. Laduma’s range of jerseys titled The colourful world of the Xhosa tribe was awarded first place at the prestigious evening ceremony held at the Clothworkers Hall in London. The SDC’s annual International Design Competition received 500 entries from 100 tertiary institutions representing ten countries including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Once the young initiates (amakrwala) rejoin society, they are required to throw away all their old clothes that they wore as a boy and Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, United Kingdom and South Africa. The competition required that all entries show evidence of colour use as an integral component of the design process as, well as incorporating social responsibility. Laduma’s range was inspired by his culture and heritage but more specifically, traditional Xhosa beadwork and food. However, the most fascinating consideration of Laduma’s jerseys is his intended clients: initiates.
then to don new clothes. This uniform of sorts consists of smart trousers, a blazer or jacket, hat and formal shoes. Though there is an element of individuality about the garment selection, the whole body has to be covered for three to six months. Once dressed, the young men have to appear and behave as responsible ‘gentlemen’. Throughout the country there are various interpretations of this uniform but often young Xhosa men dress like Scottish golfers or 19th century Englishmen, says Lin Sampson in article for Times Live (Clothes that make the man, 11 April 2010). Laduma’s concern is that this image or attire represents a British context
Once young Xhosa initiates rejoin society, they are required to don new clothes which commonly consist of smart trousers, a blazer or jacket, hat and formal shoes. Photo by Araminta de Clermont at Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, from the series A New Beginning.
Presentation boards of Laduma Ngxokolo's winning entry for the Society of Dyers and Colourists' annual International Design Competition 2010.
and has been unquestioned for generations. For Laduma this required ensemble does not reflect the initiates’ Xhosa cultural aesthetic and “is too Western” for his liking. “With my knitwear collection, I intended to remind my fellow South Africans where we come from and how that makes us distinctively different from other parts of the world. I felt that there is a need to celebrate my culture in a way that would be relevant to my society.” In order to make the garments more relevant to both the initiates and the initiation practice, Laduma referenced two staple symbols of Xhosa culture: samp and beans (umngqusho) and traditional beadwork. Laduma used the texture of the umngqusho, as inspiration for the texture of his jerseys, which are knitted in a blend of kid mohair and merino wool. Many traditional beadwork references are used which form a vital part of ceremonial regalia to signify social status and is presented or worn for major rites of passage such as initiation celebrations. The zigzag pattern, Laduma says, is a symbol of strength and is very popular in local beadwork. Laduma used the inspiration of this zigzag pattern in various contemporary applications in the sweaters as can be seen in his mood boards. Another important point of reference for Laduma’s inspiration was the role of colour and its symbolism. Although Laduma says
that his initial research gave him little help in colour symbolism as it was found that of all the tribal groups in South Africa, the Xhosa valued colour symbolism the least. The most important colour for his jerseys is ochre, which is traditionally used to dye cotton blankets in various shades of red or rust. The ochre is extracted from the earth in various parts of the Eastern Cape and led to the Xhosa also being referred to as the ‘Red Blanket People’. An ochre paste is also used for a period of time on the initiates’ faces once they re-enter society after their isolation period. This ochre colour is used in various ways in all of Laduma’s garments. Other colours with strong symbolic meaning include white symbolising purity and the power of spiritual healing, while turquoise is associated with diviners. Dusty pink and yellow have lesser symbolic meaning and is used as complimentary or contrasting colours for aesthetic appeal. Laduma’s interest in textiles, he says, started at a young age when his late mother taught him how to knit. Laduma had to use his skills soon after he learnt to knit as he had to help care for his family’s financial needs once his mother passed away. He says of his late mother that she “always taught me to never be in a comfort zone. So, I always question the relevance of the work that I design”. For Laduma the role of the next generation forms the foundation of his design philosophy, which is interpreted into
Laduma Ngxokolo's final designs for the The colourful world of the Xhosa tribe range.
a question that he constantly poses: “What relevance can the work that I design have in the present and the future”? With this in mind, the quality of the garment is most important, using premium quality mohair and merino wool provided by his sponsors, Cape Wool and Mohair South Africa, both of whom awarded Laduma bursaries for his studies. For Laduma the idea of passing something on from one generation to another is truly key to his view on Xhosa culture in a culturally evolving South Africa. His creative family have passed their skills and also their
heritage on to him – and this is his greatest source of influence. His mother was a seamstress, his grandfather an artist and his sister is a fashion student. Laduma is in a good position to one day pass something of great value on to his own emerging generation. Laduma has just completed his BTech at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and is planning to use his winnings (£1 000 – ZAR10 900) to set up a business that will make his knitwear designs available to the world. <
Time to catch a wake-up call
Do you ever fast forward during the ad breaks while watching TV? Yes? It’s time to pause and catch a wakeup call as watch-worthy advertisements, or public service announcements, are making waves on M-Net. There are more to these advertisements than meets the eye. Unlike most commercial advertisements that promote products and services, the intention of public service announcements (PSAs) is to create awareness about an issue, change perceptions and encourage action. It is this call for action that is one of the aims of M-Net’s various corporate social investment (CSI) projects. The M-Net Vuka! Awards, one noteworthy CSI project, was
The theme for the 2010 Vuka! Awards was aptly named Art with a heart. Almost 200 entries were received by the deadline in October last year from which 28 finalists were selected by a panel of judges from the film and advertising industry. The awards scheme consists of three categories: Newcomer (student), Contender (young professionals under 28 years of age) and Professional filmmakers. The Newcomer category saw a huge increase in student entries in 2010 with a total of 116 entries, as opposed to 67 in 2009. The winning entries were selected by the final judges across a range of crafts such as direction, cinematography, concept and script. One of the judges, Festus Masekwameng, chief creative officer at MotherRussia, said that the 2010 Vuka! entries addressed a broader range of social issues than before and that mainstream issues such as HIV/Aids, road safety and homelessness were tackled: “this time the approaches were very different: more uplifting and less guilttripping”. Winners in all three categories were acknowledged at an awards ceremony held at the Theatre on the Track in Kyalami, Johannesburg, on 30 November 2010.
By Fatima Cassim
introduced in 1999 as a platform to reward and nurture South Africa’s filmmaking talent while providing vital exposure to social causes and charities”. Vuka!, the name of the project, means ‘wake up!’ in Nguni and now in its 11
year. The Awards calls on advertising agencies, budding filmmakers and students to create public service announcements for worthy social causes as well as nongovernmental organisations and charities to highlight and address pressing social issues in South Africa.
to Amy, the group saw merit in the concept because despite the recent xenophobia attacks in the country there was little communication about refugees in particular, as opposed to the anti-xenophobia sentiments that are commonly expressed. A visit to the Jesuit Refugee Services’ offices in Braamfontein proved very worthwhile to the team when they were given an opportunity to speak to two young ladies working for the organisation. The team listened to a number of accounts about the plight of The Vuka! Award for Best Newcomer went to the team from the University of Pretoria for their innovative animated PSA for the Jesuit Refugee Service, with its stirring message of fighting xenophobia by beating ignorance. Information Design students, Morné Venter, Amy van Vuuren, Karen Meyer and Micaela Reeves were honoured in this and several other categories on the night for their excellent PSA. The other categories for which they received awards included best animation, editing, script and soundtrack. Judge Peter Carr commented that “a lot of time and effort went into the making of this film which could One of the student team members suggested doing a PSA for the Jesuit Refugee Service and the team decided to focus their concept on the refugee’s point of view, instead of the usual South African’s point of view. According For the project, the team conducted research and even interviewed some high school students who are refugees. Speaking about their personal engagement with the refugees, the team said that “the stand its own in the professional category. This is for me the standard that I hope more newcomers will look to in their future productions, to craft their work as well as this.” This sentiment about the quality of work in the Newcomer category was shared by judge Masekwameng, who said that he was “especially impressed by the quality of thinking from the Newcomer category”. refugees which at first made them feel unbelievably ignorant to the suffering of refugees. The team’s initial meeting altered their perceptions and substantiated their need to create awareness about this social issue and also gave them a lot to go home and ponder about. Another benefit of the visit was the fact that the organisation was extremely excited about the opportunity which motivated the students even further.
thing that struck us with these stories is that all these young, young kids came to South Africa because they saw the country as ‘this shining beacon of hope’ on the continent. They thought that they would be taken care of and be able to live a normal life. But the reality was very far from that. These kids live in poverty and go to school with other children who don't want them there. They all said that if they had a choice, they would not want to be here.” From their findings it became clear that for the most part, South Africans do not understand who refugees are, why they are here and why they are allowed to be here. This seemed to be the main problem and gave the team a clearer idea of what content to focus on for their PSA. Consequently, the team decided that what they needed was “a non-sentimental, punchy animation that showcased the facts” and illustrated the difference between an illegal immigrant and a refugee. They kept the execution simple and the text straightforward. The visual style incorporates cell animation, photography and hand drawn type to keep the communication interesting and fresh. The students worked
with Kyle McIntyre to produce the sound which is an integral component of the PSA and ties the animation together beautifully. When asked about their creative process and involvement with Jesuit Refugee Services, the students affirmed that by the end of the project, they had all changed their perceptions. One team member even exclaimed: “we started as quite a useless group to be honest, compassion wise, only to become a bloody powerhouse of refugee-loving strength! If nothing else, and if no one else, this project changed the four of us.” The feedback from the students is heartfelt and demonstrates the worth of participating in such a project. Social innovation and creative collaboration are also key drivers for M-Net’s corporate social investment so they continuously strive to improve and sustain their projects. During the past two years, M-Net has spent time examining all aspects of the Vuka! initiative. Koo Govender, M-Net director of Corporate Marketing & Communications, promises that “in 2011 the Vukas! will be a more holistic experience with a bigger focus on training and development opportunities and more viewer participation”.
The Vuka! Award for Best Newcomer went to the team from the University of Pretoria for their innovative animated PSA for the Jesuit Refugee Service, with its stirring message of fighting xenophobia by beating ignorance.
All the Vuka! finalists are flighted on air for a year, beginning January 2011. For the full list of 2010 winners and finalists click here. <
VASES FOR LIFESTYLES
By Erin-Lee Saunders. With a tangible
current of vibrant creativity floating through the air, the moment had finally arrived for Carrol Boyes to announce the three winners of the Metal 2010 New Designer Search Competition. The prestigious event was held at her new store in Canal Walk offering the ideal setting for the announcement and to show off the wellexecuted prototypes. This year’s initiative was themed VASE-aLifestyle and 133 aspiring product designers submitted their prototypes with the hope of winning one of the cash prizes totalling R90 000. Only ten finalists had the opportunity to present their original and beautifully crafted designs and I suppose that the decision must have been a rather tough one.
LTR: First prize winner, Urchin is by Carson Smuts. Second prize winner, Eclipse by Cobus van den Berg. Third prize winner, Towering Tree-Ou by Chris Bradnum.
I was particularly attracted to the Towering Tree-Ou, which was designed to display all parts of a flower, including the stem. The vase is made up of two cast metal components that are repeated three times to form the vase structure, a glass holder and a hinging base. I was also attracted to the fact that the top diameter of the vase can simply be adjusted via a cable to accommodate a variety of thicknesses of the plant
on display. Towering Tree-Ou took the third prize in the competition and was designed by Christopher Bradnum who is a practicing design consultant and head of the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Johannesburg. Second prize went to Eclipse, an inverted vase designed by architect, artist and designer, Cobus van den Berg. Eclipse is part
of a trilogy of objects collectively titled Lunar. Cobus describes his creation as having both a functional value and a symbolic meaning, and cited his particular interest in sacred geometry, especially the circle, as the inspiration behind Eclipse, an inverted vase. I was truly inspired by the wealth of talent that this year’s ten finalists exhibited, especially when I saw heads turning and watched how faces lit up when the winner was announced. Carson Smuts took home first prize and earned himself R50 000 for his vase called Urchin. Carson says that he feels highly honoured to win this prestigious award. A Bachelor of Architectural Studies graduate from the University of Cape Town and currently enrolled in the Masters of Advanced
Architectural Design at Columbia University, New York, Carson explains that he enjoys working across all scales of design and feels that when designers from different disciplines work with and learn from each other, the results are always enhanced by the collaboration. Carson claims that he has not yet had sufficient experience in the product design industry and sees his win as a great opportunity to be able to learn from Carrol Boyes, who is one of the leading product designers in Africa. For this project Carson experimented with resins and 3D prototyping that enabled him to produce the accuracy and details in the curvature which he had initially required. “Coming from an architectural background, I feel that there should also be a synergy
TOP LTR: Brio by Brad Fraser, Echo by Philip van den Berg and Metropolis by Mohammed Chohan. BOTTOM LTR: Voupot by Nina Holm, Configuration by Helena Klawikowski, Loft Vase by Geoffrey Brown, 9T by Raoul de Villiers and Pyramid Vase by Warren Matten.
TOP LTR: To Barbara by Oupa Vusimusi Mokwena, Narcissus by Phil Oosthuizen, Skeleton Vase by Jared Cohen, Slice by Dale Holmes and Morabaraba by Oupa Vusimusi Mokwena. LEFT: Fluid by Albie Spangenberg. RIGHT: Paradisea by Jeanne Fourie.
between structure and beauty. My intent was to create a vase that was structurally sound, yet elegant.” He explains that the brief asked for a design of a vase that was ‘fresh and functional’. With the prototype resting on three stems, Urchin creates a minimal structure and a perfect balance, while the arrangement of the stems remains free as well as playful. He says that “Nature always achieves perfect balance with minimal structure, where the form appears elegant, yet seemingly haphazard.” Carson concludes that Carrol Boyes has managed to do what many artists and designers fail to do and that is to create a solid and
sustainable business based on the power of design. “I am very excited to see this competition continuing in the years to come.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin-Lee Saunders has a Diploma in Journalism from Varsity College. She currently works for SABC Radio Broadcasting where she is a producer and occasional newsreader. <
By Erin-Lee Saunders. Developing and
nurturing young talent is essential for future growth. The Loerie Awards, first held in 1978, is passionate about this aspect and initiated the Loeries Young Creatives Award achievement of talented individuals’ at the beginning of their careers. Individuals under the age of 27 working in brand communication (advertising, communication design or experiential media) submit a portfolio of their work and the winners receive a Gold Loerie Award, as well as an all-expensespaid trip to an international award show. This year saw some new categories being introduced which included a section for creative professionals. In between the riveting sounds, flashing wonders and nail-biting moments, the most talented were announced. Reijer van der Vlugt, an art director at FoxP2 and Mbuso Ndlovu, an art director/ designer at Y&R each took home the Loeries Young Creatives Award and a Gold Loerie. ED> met up with the well-deserving individuals.
REIJER VAN DER VLUGT
Reijer studied Multimedia at City Varsity and continued studies in visual communication, specialising in art direction at the AAA School of Advertising. “I am qualified in anything I put my mind to,” says Reijer. “Due to the nature of creativity, hours vary gently”, explains Reijer when asked about his day-to-day schedule. He mentions that he could work until 2am on one day and arrive at work around 2pm the next day, as long as the workload is managed according to a deadline, anything goes. He says it can be very stressful at times but liberating if one enjoys it. Generally, Reijer believes in approaching a brief from as many angles as possible. As an art director, he works very closely with his copywriter. Together they would get a brief from a client and think of how they’d interpret and express the requirements in the most creative way. His working process often consists of lots of research, thinking, continuous drawing, writing, going for a brisk walk, trying out the actual product/ service, an incredible amount of coffee, experimenting, learning what doesn’t work, the list goes on and on as each brief is unique. “The only consistent formula that works for me is: find the truth, say it simply in an interesting or beautiful way.” Reijer says that he experienced a strong adrenaline rush coupled with fear and ecstasy, followed by a sense of relief and satisfaction when it was announced that he had won the Loeries Young Creatives Award. “It’s a great feeling to get industry recognition for hard work.”
in 2007 which recognises outstanding
Project: Drive Dry initiative Advertising Agency: FoxP2, Cape Town, South Africa Creative Directors: Andrew Whitehouse, Justin Gomes Art Director: Reijer van der Vlugt Copywriter: Justin Osburn TOP RIGHT: Reijer Van Der Vlugt.
Project: Print campaign fo Master Lock Agency: FoxP2 Creative Directors: Justin Gomes, Andrew Whitehouse Art Director: Reijer van der Vlugt Copywriter: Justin Osburn TOP RIGHT: Mbuso Ndlovu
Mbuso also believes that his achievement at the 2010 Loerie Awards is the absolute highlight of his young career and he explains that there’s no greater feeling than being recognised by the industry as a whole, both locally and internationally. He studied Visual Communication and focused on graphic design and art direction. “I am very passionate about creativity and wanted to study something that was related to the subject, and getting exposure develops confidence.” He says that he has been particularly fortunate to have worked for two global agencies – Saatchi&Saatchi and Y&R – and he highlights the opportunities and experience that
Client: UNICEF Agency: Y&R Johannesburg Chief Creative Officer: Michael Blore Executive Creative Director: Liam Wielopolski Copywriter: Ian Franks Copywriter: Sebastian Schneider Art Directors: Alison Stansfield, Mbuso Ndlovu
Client: UNICEF Agency: Y&R Johannesburg Chief Creative Officer: Michael Blore Executive Creative Director: Liam Wielopolski Copywriter: Ian Franks Copywriter: Sebastian Schneider Art Directors: Alison Stansfield, Mbuso Ndlovu
he gained while working on many international accounts. “It is pretty enlightening to realise that, as the creator, one can change and impact on the mindsets of consumers around the world.” He continues that having global clients also present its own list of logistical problems and sometimes these clients try to direct the brief and delegate what they think is best for the South African market. Mbuso says that this approach to the South African market does not always work.
He has also been working on a couple of big projects such as repositioning one of SAB’s major brands. He is very excited to travel abroad, especially to meet his peers at the international awards show: “It will be great to make relevant contacts which could further enhance my learning and career!”
2010 STUDENT LOERIE AWARD WINNERS
Students also did well at the 2010 Loerie Awards and from 380 entries, 109 were short-listed as finalists. Two student Gold Loeries were awarded to Chrizanne van Breda, Marize Engelbrecht and Shannon Devy, from AAA School of Advertising Cape Town, for their National Geographic Calendar and Clayton Swartz and Jessica Crozier, from AAA School of Advertising Johannesburg, for their print advertising campaign for Leatherman. Three Craft Gold Loeries were awarded to
According to Mbuso a creative must always question the brief; understand if the strategy is spot-on for the brand; identify the target market; identify methods of engagement by its users and see that the concept is in line with what they are trying to achieve through any of the creative vehicles. Generally, this is how Mbuso approaches each brief. He finds brainstorming useful and surfs the Internet for inspiration, looking for cool videos, artworks, design, movies and blogs. Having fun while you work is a priority for Mbuso and working in the creative industry makes this all very possible and accessible: “Kind of learning while having fun doing so.” He believes that the UNICEF Child Soldiers and XBOX Need for Speed are by far the best projects that he has worked on to date. These projects have been awarded and recognised both locally and internationally and he specifically enjoyed the craft detail that went into executing each piece. Mbuso is currently working as a designer/art director at MetropolitanRepublic, a crossplatform agency. He particularly loves working on local accounts such as MTN, SAB, FNB, Wimpy and Vuzu.tv, to name just a few.
Chad Goddard, from Vega, the Brand Communications School Johannesburg, for his book, Fortywords; Michael Tymbios, from AAA School of Advertising Cape Town, for his graphic novel, Onwards!; and Johan Horn, from AAA School of Advertising Cape Town, for his publication, 10 Things you should know about sport. Other tertiary institutions that received Silver, Bronze and Craft Certificates were from North-West University, Vega, the Brand Communications School, Red and Yellow, Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, The Open Window, Greenside Design Center, City Varsity and Tshwane University of Technology. <
By Janine Johnston. In most people’s
minds design means veneer, the finishing process, the cherry on the top. Nothing could be further from the true meaning of design. Steve Jobs got it exactly right when he said: “Design is the fundamental soul of manmade creation.” When we recognise design sensibility at the core of our business – people and environmental development – only then will we create sustainable success. Sustainable design entails the theories and practices that cultivate ecological, economical and cultural conditions that indefinitely support human wellbeing. We’re at a stage where environmental intervention must begin at a product’s conception because even though the world is filled with remarkable people, we are still consumers and we’re consuming at a rapid rate. Consumption is emotional; purchases are status symbols and style is transient. The Journal of Advertising Research published a study that showed emotions are twice as important as facts when people make buying decisions. These are characteristics of
the world’s wealthier 20% who consume 80% of global resources. If the 80% less fortunate individuals want to adopt the models of consumption so widely and powerfully promoted by contemporary industrial society, they will not find the resources to do so: there is insufficient clean air, water, energy and land for 6 billion to consume in the same way as the ’rich‘. This environmental pressure creates social and political tensions. The ratios 80/20 and 20/80 express the desperate need for alternative lifestyles, new proposals and designs on how we can improve our choices and actions so that these are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. A new design revolution is underway, one not seen since the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s: ‘Eco design’ takes the emotional, ecological and economic factors of our society into account. This is design for a sustainable future. Innovators and inventors are no longer waiting for overall change in the system – they’re driving the change. Projects are approached as ’solutions for people‘– making new products and services accessible
to the widest possible audience with the least possible negative impact. Efficient design carefully measures the energy, resources, costs of production and its influence on local and global communities.
“If there was no design there would be nothing to do and nothing would progress or get better. The world would fall apart.” – Anna, age 11. Maybe it is time, after all, to put the design
Sounds like a walk in the park, but in reality, and particularly in Africa, we are faced with enormous social and environmental developmental challenges that push the design sector from centre stage. Designers practising sustainable design are challenged even more than those just doing conventional design. There’s a lack of education and understanding about sustainability in design and the choice of materials is limited. So, our creative communities are faced with these hurdles as well as other common design challenges, such as costs, short schedules and meeting client demands. Management guru, Tom Peters, sees design as the principal reason for emotional attachment (or detachment) relative to a product or service or experience. “Design is arguably the no.1 determinant of whether a productservice-experience stands out – or does not. Furthermore, it’s one of those things that damn few enterprises put – consistently – on the Front Burner.” Designers are the catalysts that make a sustainable future possible. Today’s ultimate design challenge is to create durable products and services that minimise adverse impacts on the environment, while making everyday life simpler and more pleasant.
of our future in the youth’s hands. Enter the Eco Design Initiative, a South African non-profit organisation with the objective to develop opportunities for youth entrepreneurship in the field of sustainable design. By facilitating skills and cultural sharing amongst youth, the Initiative aims to raise awareness and understanding about sustainability and to encourage the adaptation of sustainable design practises. During 2011 Eco Design Ambassadors from South Africa and Sweden will participate in an interactive skills and cultural exchange which will entail the Fresh Talent Workshop and the Eco Design Showcase, to be hosted in Cape Town and the City of Malmö. Calling for positive action towards our sustainable future, the Initiative calls for No Kak! This is a vernacular South African way of expressing one’s intolerance to nonsense and this campaign implies no waste, no pollution and absolutely no harm. The Eco Design Initiative debuts in Cape Town in February 2011. Cape Town is one of Africa’s most important design hubs. It’s beautiful setting, pedestrian-friendly city centre and interesting urban landscape is a
magnet for creative people. “We are proud to be one of the global cities championing sustainability through various redesigns of the way we live, work and play and we feel it is enormously appropriate that we host the new and exciting Eco Design Initiative. We truly believe that design can play a major role in future-fitting Cape Town for generations and we feel sure that this initiative will bring that message home even more clearly,” says Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO, Cape Town Tourism. The Eco Design Showcase will be a spectacular display of design prototypes, sustainable concepts and design stories, as portrayed by young Swedish and South African participants. The exhibition launches at Iziko Slave Lodge, Cape Town on 25 February and will be open to public until 9 March. Built in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company to confine the Company’s slaves, the Slave Lodge is today a museum dedicated to highlighting histories of slavery and human rights. Under the umbrella theme From human wrongs to human rights, and through permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum strives to increase awareness on issues such as human rights, equality, peace and justice. “Such issues are directly affected by climate change and the Iziko Slave Lodge is therefore pleased to host young designers’ perspectives on possibilities for our sustainable future,” says Fiona Clayton, curator, Iziko Slave Lodge.
While the exhibition is running in Cape Town, the Fresh Talent Workshop will engage 30 eco -inspired designers in an intensive learning, skills and cultural exchange programme which will run from 28 February to 4 March. Twenty South African participants were selected as finalists in the Eco Design Competition in 2010, which called for entries from design students and entrepreneurs across South Africa. For the past few months, these ’Fresh Talents’ have been producing their sustainable design prototypes to be the feature of the international Eco Design Showcase. They meet with Eco Design Ambassadors, Apokalypse Labotek, Righteous Fashion, Swedish Ninja and Liv Andersson (from Sweden) and the LIV Green Design team (South Africa) to be inspired to innovate with sustainability as the front-ofmind objective. The Fresh Talent Workshop programme will also include contributions from South African design educators and sustainability champions. The challenge presented to the participating designers will be to reinvent the space of an under-resourced youth centre, using a supply of waste materials. With the participating designers’ creativity and ability to innovate, waste will be up-cycled to create products of greater value to better serve our community. This positive community action inspires respect and pride in diversity, while encouraging the application of good design to improve the lifestyles of all our society’s people.
The initiative is included as a case study in Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid book for this prestigious international title. The Eco Design Initiative’s headline activities are staged when the city is ’buzzing design and creativity’, coinciding with the launch of Cape Town’s bid activities during Design Indaba 2011. “As much as it is about positioning our city as a place with great design capacity, bidding for this title is an important way for us to hone our ability to use design thinking in addressing many of the social challenges we face as a city.” This impactful meeting in Cape Town will then proceed to the international leg of the Eco Design Showcase at Malmöhus, Scandinavia’s oldest surviving Renaissance Castle. Malmö Museum has cooperated with museums and organisations in South Africa for many years, with particular focus on issues related to the democratisation of cultural heritage, diversity, empowerment and human rights.
The winner of the Eco Design Competition will enjoy a Sustainable Design Tour to Sweden to attend the launch of the exhibition in Malmö on 15 May. The no kak! ingen skit! Eco Design Showcase will be open to Scandinavian audiences until late October. These exciting activities are the first steps in the Eco Design Initiative programme to facilitate more qualified educational exchanges between South Africa and Sweden. Through sharing skills, culture and innovation amongst talented youth, the campaign aims to further global sustainable development objectives. The Eco Design Initiative is supported and sponsored by an impressive list of organisations which include: The Swedish Institute, Swedish Arts Council, Proudly South African, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID), Malmö Museum, Iziko Museum of Cape Town and DESIGN>MAGAZINE. <
For more information visit www.nokak.com
VEGA SCHOOL OF
of thinkers with the expertise to generate healthy brand ideas, linking business profit to adding value to the lives of people has been realised. Pertinent and purposeful, their commitment to cultural and social responsibility comes naturally and is reflected through context, content and creativity. Vega’s reputation as a hotbed of creative talent and a new breed of thinkers has been further entrenched by the impressive list of industry accolades received in 2010. One of Vega’s biggest triumphs was the success at the Pendoring Awards 2010. Vega Durban students, Sharleen Hollick and Senzo Zulu, received two Gold awards for a group effort for their Blindside print campaign in English, Afrikaans and Zulu for the NGO, Kick Racism. Hollick’s execution of the Afrikaans advertisement in the Blindside campaign also won the overall Student Award, with Brendan Loughrey winning gold in the Truly South African category. A member of the judging panel commended the “combination of intensity and subtlety” in the work as well as its “outstanding synthesis of concept, copy and design”.
To the rule-breakers and the revolutionaries... To the ones who don't do conformity, and don't do ordinary... To the ones who want to spin the world on its head... To those of you looking for wisdomwithmagic.
When Vega School of Brand Innovation started ten years ago, few would have predicted the impact that one tiny renegade branding school would have on the lives of hundreds of students and the branding community. Vega’s aim to inspire a new breed
TOP: Blindside (Afrikaans, English, Zulu), a series of hard-hitting print advertisements that convey the essence of the Kick Racism organisation. Team: Sharleen Hollick, Brendon Loughrey and Senzo Zulu. BOTTOM: Flipside, a series of message-based T-shirts that convey the essence of the Kick Racism organisation. Translation for Zulu execution: Indololwane is the Zulu word for 'elbow' which is used as a shibboleth in the context of xenophobia. When challenged, if someone cannot pronounce the word properly it is presumed they are a foreigner. Team: Sharleen Hollick, Brendon Loughrey and Senzo Zulu.
Amongst the seven Loerie Awards won by Vega in 2010 was the Bronze Loerie for the book cover designs for H.G. Wells’ novels designed by Shaun Mill and tutored by Nicci Martin. Furthermore, at the 2010 Vuka! Awards, Vega students won the best concept for their TV commercial MIA, for Missing Children South Africa, while their Seeds of Change commercial for Project Heifer won for best animation. As part of its endeavours to produce outcomes-based, integrated and interactive training, Vega launched the annual Brand
Challenge a few years ago. At the end of each year, clients from industry, corporates, NGOs and government sectors brief students on specific challenges facing their unique brands. Students from both the strategic and creative degrees are placed in integrated strategic and brand communication teams and are then required to do in-depth research and propose innovative solutions for these clients and their real-life briefs. In the past clients such as Discovery, MNet, Protea Hotels and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund have briefed students who have brought fresh thinking and new ideas to build and sustain their brands. All records were broken in 2010 with 30 briefs received across the three Vega campuses. Clients included The Sharks, The Foschini Group, Sony, Sappi, The Brand Museum, The Ceres Group, SABC3, Animal Action and Grant Thornton, to name just a few. In exchange for the integrated brand and communication campaigns prepared by the students over a five-week period, clients make a contribution to the Vega Bursary Fund that enables previously disadvantaged students to enter the brand communications industry. Approximately R900 000 was generated in 2010. Ten years since its founding, Vega has grown
Book cover designs for H.G. Wells’ novels designed by Shaun Mill.
from small beginnings and is now part of The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd group and has grown both physically and philosophically, yet its essence remains unchanged: constant endeavours to teach, live, breath and embody the wisdomwithmagic philosophy. It has grown in stature and now counts among the top private design education institutions in South Africa. <
INTEGRATED BRAND COMMUNICATIONS
DIPLOMA IN BA DEGREE
IN BRAND BUILDING & MANAGEMENT
BA HONOURS BA HONOURS IN BRAND LEADERSHIP
CREATIVE BRAND COMMUNICATIONS
CREATIVE BRAND COMMUNICATIONS
JHB (011) 521 4600 PTA (012) 343 3669 DBN (031) 266 2595 CT (021) 425 7591
IN PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Vega The Brand Communications School, is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private further and higher education and training institution under the Further Education and Training Colleges Act, 2006 (reg. no. 2009/FE07/003, prov. to 31/12/2014) and the Higher Education Act, 1997 (reg. no. 2007/HE07/002).
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Find your inspiration
Liani revealed to ED> how her curious nature, a handful of disposable cameras and a group of young people managed to challenge her role as an architect and sole creator to move beyond the design of buildings towards the design of new creative processes of engagement.
By Liani van der Westhuizen. One would have
thought that five years of notoriously late nights and hard work at architecture school would have squashed my curious nature, but with a MArch(Prof) degree from the University of Pretoria under my belt and two and a half years of work experience, I was surprisingly eager to be a student again. With a scholarship from the Audi Design Foundation and a confirmed place on the Design for Development MA course at Kingston University in London, I embarked on further postgraduate studies in October 2009.
Illustration of Cambridge Road Estate. © Liani van der Westhuizen
Activity: Capture/ Investigate Equipped with a disposable camera the participants were given three days to visually document the subjective reality of their everyday life and environment before the next activity took place. An accompanied ‘instruction book’ served as a quick reference of technical things to remember, and included a list of emotions and themes to consider whilst exploring their environment.
During the run of my studies in sustainable development I became progressively interested in how I could use the design process as a problem-solving tool and deploy my skills to empower users to demand more from the places and spaces they occupy. My master’s thesis investigated the social impact of the built environment and allowed me to challenge my role as sole creator and architect by involving children and young people on a social housing estate in Kingston (where residents experience poorer health than in more affluent areas of the borough), in developing ideas to improve their environment during a participatory workshop. Faced with the daunting task to deliver a weeklong workshop during the summer holiday in a foreign country with no specialist knowledge on how to engage with children or facilitate a workshop, I was ready to throw in the towel. But design is considered a solutions-orientated discipline, and I soon realised that I could use my design skills to plan a creative process to assist the participants to firstly explore
their environment, then respond and reflect on their findings, together with an opportunity to visualise future solutions – all of this through the means of a camera lens. Equipped with disposable cameras the young people were given three days to visually document their everyday life and environment before the rest of the activities took place. An accompanying ‘instruction book’ served as a quick reference of technical things to remember, and included a list of emotions and themes to consider whilst exploring their surroundings. Photography was favoured as medium as it puts less pressure on young people to be verbally articulate and neither do they need particularly good drawing skills to express their ideas. Once developed, the collection of photographs taken by the participants was used as a resource to promote critical dia¬logue about positive and negative issues within their built environment. A series of activities challenged the young people to voice
TOP: Polaroid layout of young people's photographs. BOTTOM: Collage of young people's photographs.
their emotional response to the photographs. The key themes that emerged from the process were a lack of green space and opportunities to play. These were used as ‘informants’ to compile recommendations for suitable public space interventions on the estate. The project proved to be a good opportunity to broaden participation with a group that is usually excluded from spatial decision-making processes and put equal weight to young people’s voices as to the other stakeholders involved. The range of activities contributed to the participants’ understanding of design quality and allowed me to assist them in evaluating their existing spaces and articulate how their spaces affect their ability to realise their aspirations. It also encouraged them to demand more from their local spaces. The process was extremely valuable as it afforded the participants the opportunity to explore their relationship with their built environment and provided them with new skill sets to further their creativity and selfexpression. In turn, it offered me the chance to employ my design skills to greater relevance and work with the young people to develop their own ideas without predetermining what the outcome might be. Most importantly, the project marks a shift in my own professional focus where I aspire to put end users at the heart of all my future endeavours to ensure that the process of designing and building becomes a rich learning experience for all involved. Fingers crossed that it will keep my intellectual curiosity acute.
Activity: Mad/Glad/Bad/Sad A collection of photographs, represe and objects in and around the estate the young people were challenged t pictures made them feel. They were this by using only four words: mad, b
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In addition to being an architect, Liani van der Westhuizen has an avid interest in the role of design within education and is involved as a part-time studio lecturer at the School of Architecture at the University of Cape Town. <
Activity: Alter my ego Each participant received a copy of a took earlier on. The task required th contribute or alter the image, either
enting different spaces e were pinned up, where to comment on how these e however restricted to do bad, glad or sad.
Activity: Photo-voice Discussions about the photographs produced during the week, gave the young people the opportunity to pick their favourite photographs out of the group, as well as the preferred picture which they took themselves. The activity did not only allow them to select their favourite picture
a photograph which they hem to positively r through text or drawing.
Activity: Draw my estate This activity used an open play area on the estate as an outdoor classroom, where the young people where given the opportunity to visually propose (through sketches) how the space could be altered and improved either through temporary or permanent changes.
THE REAL DEAL
Over the past two years South African media organisation, Africa Media Online, together with Dutch organisations, World Press Photo, FreeVoice and lokaalmondiaal, have been running a project called Twenty Ten: African media on the road to 2010 (and beyond), training over 120 journalists from 34 African countries to tell Africa’s story from an African perspective on the run up to and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Africa Media Online’s managing director, David Larsen, tells the story.
By David Larsen. It was early July 2008. I had just
sent out a blog posting on our Digital Picture Library Manager blog when I received a phone call at our offices in Pietermaritzburg from Maarten Koets, deputy managing director of World Press Photo. I had been introduced to Maarten via email some years previously by Shahidul Alam, head of the Drik photo agency in Dhaka, Bangladesh, while Maarten was still head of training at World Press Photo. Since then I had been trying to find some common ground between us around the training of African photojournalists. World Press Photo not only runs the world’s largest annual photojournalism competition, but has also conducted innovative training programmes for photojournalists in Africa. My blog post had been about our up-and-coming African Photo Entrepreneur Programme (APEP) that we were about to run in August 2008. Maarten picked up the phone to say that what we were doing with APEP was exactly in line with a project that
World Press Photo and another Dutch-based organisation, FreeVoice, had conceived to empower African journalists ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At last we had found some common ground! During the next month Maarten, myself and Africa Media Online’s media manager and owner of Moonshine Media, Dominique le Roux mapped the parameters of that common ground, in the midst of the Cape Town leg of the APEP programme. By the time we were done, Maarten looked across the table at Dominique and I, laughed and said: “When I share this with everyone in Holland people are going to fall off their chairs. It is so huge!” What we all recognised was that the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a massive opportunity, not just for South Africa, but for all of Africa. What we had worked out was a plan to make sure that we as Africans get to tell Africa’s 2010 story from our
Learners from a high school in Cape Town take in some of the multimedia productions produced during the Twenty Ten project at the Twenty Ten On the Road Exhibition at the Waterfront in Cape Town. The travelling exhibition was a major output of the Twenty Ten project and will travel to five other African countries. Other outputs included a photo book, content to sell to media around the world and a documentary film. © David Larsen/ Africa Media Online.
A visitor is captivated by the Twenty Ten On the Road Exhibition at the Waterfront in Cape Town. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online.
perspective. This fitted in with Africa Media Online’s passion to enable locals to tell Africa’s story. The plan was to recruit and train over 100 journalists from all over the continent including photo, radio and text journalists. These would be known as the All Stars. These journalists would then report on the lead-up to the event from their home nations and the content would be distributed to African and global media markets. Participants, or their employer media organisations, would get 50% of all revenue from sales. From these All Stars, a Dream Team of 18 journalists would be selected to come to South Africa during the World Cup and report on the event while other members of the All Stars continued to report from their home nations. The partner organisations would work to their strengths – World Press Photo would train photojournalists, FreeVoice would train radio and text journalists, Africa Media Online would provide the technological backbone to recruit the journalists, market and sell the content through its global distribution network and provide the logistical support for the Dream Team while in South Africa. Another Dutch organisation, lokaalmondiaal, would represent the content to the Dutch public via the website www.roadto2010.nl and write a book about the project, which would be published by the Topenmusem Press in Amsterdam. Tropenmuseum would also produce an exhibition about the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa in their main exhibition hall that would become a major gathering point for the Dutch public to engage with the event. All of this, of course, depended on successfully raising funds. I met Aik Meeuse from FreeVoice in September as he visited South Africa with a 2010-related Dutch delegation. He was confident that the Dutch Postcode Lottery would award us the funds. “It is such a fantastic project,” he said.
He was right. At a glittering award ceremony in Amsterdam in February, Twenty Ten: African media on the road to 2010 (and beyond) was presented with a cheque for €2.2 million from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Soon afterwards the organisations met in Amsterdam to work out the details and the project began to take shape. We built an application system and hundreds of professional journalists from all over the continent applied for the training programme. From September 2009 to February 2010 we ran six training blocks in Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Journalists were trained in radio production, writing, photojournalism and multimedia. All-in-all over 120 journalists from 34 countries in Africa were trained. After receiving the training each journalist had to produce three stories, two while being mentored and one on their own. From the 120 or so All Stars a panel of judges selected the top 18 journalists to become part of the Dream Team. The Dream Team was invited to come to South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup to cover the event. At the same time, in the run-up to
Children from a Cape Town high school visit the Twenty Ten Exhibition. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online.
the World Cup, All Stars as well as Dream Team members were commissioned to do stories from their home countries for which they were paid. Several All Stars continued to be commissioned during the event while the Dream Team was in South Africa producing work on the ground.
website, as well as being distributed to Africa Media Online’s network of agents around the world. The content was also used to produce a book, Africa United, and a travelling exhibition Twenty Ten on the Road. Most aspects of the project worked well and in
An editorial team guided the journalists in what they produced and ensured the work was of sufficient standard to be offered to the market. Features that were produced were published in newspapers and websites around Africa and were sold directly by Africa Media Online’s special project
spite of the usual attrition of journalists who for one reason or another did not continue with the process, we certainly saw significant progress in skills development in a number of journalists, particularly in the Dream Team. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the project was the sales of
TOP: Nigerian photographer, Andrew Esiebo, capturing sound on a playing field in a Lusaka township as part of a multimedia production. Andrew and other photographers learnt skills in the production of multimedia feature stories. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online. BOTTOM: Photographers from six different African countries participating in the Ghana workshop together
with trainers Greg Marinovich (South Africa) and Chris De Bode (Netherlands). © David Larsen/Twenty Ten. RIGHT: Danesius Marteh from Liberia captures sounds of Lagos traffic as part of a production of a radio story during a Twenty Ten workshop held at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online.
the content. Africa Media Online was driving that aspect and in spite of significant effort and distribution networks that reached around the globe, sales of the content were minimal. There were a number of reasons for this including the glut of free content that was available to editors at the time. The fundamental issue, however, was that the Twenty Ten project produced feature stories – photo, radio, text- and multimedia features. The markets for features have changed radically in the past few years and there are now very few places, locally and internationally, that features can be placed. With the markets absent there could be no ongoing production of this kind of content after the project had run its course which was certainly a desired outcome of the project. We at Africa Media Online had
hoped Twenty Ten would become the kick-start for a continent-wide features agency that could continue to tell Africa’s story from an African perspective. While market realities did not allow this to happen, there is perhaps a silver lining to this cloud. What the inability to create a sustainable market for this material had done was to bring into sharp focus the increasing reality of the new markets where the producers of content are able to interact directly with the consumers. The mass media mediators in the middle are being cut out and it is the age of the personal market. For us at Africa Media Online the Twenty Ten project has pinpointed the need, not just to equip professional journalists with hard skills in media production, but also in entrepreneurial skills and an understanding of markets and ways to access them.
Twenty Ten workshop in Ghana. World Press Photo's Friederiek Biemans discusses a photo story with South African participant photographer Alexia Webster. © David Larsen/Twenty Ten.
Workshop in Accra, Ghana training African photographers and text journalists. South African Twenty Ten photographer, Davina Jogi (centre far side) gets a different perspective to the local press. Participants in the project were taught how to create in-depth photo stories, and not simply capture the obvious. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online.
To this end the final element of the Twenty Ten project comes into its own. Africa Media Online is pulling together a team of international experts to write an online resource that will be freely available to photographers all over the continent. Known as the African Media Entrepreneur Programme (AMEP) the resource will seek to give photographers an understanding of the markets for their work, how to place themselves in those markets, how to access them and how to deliver quality products that meet the markets’ needs. We are expecting that the online resource will operate as the basis for online mentoring and the running of physical courses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Larsen is managing director of Africa Media Online. A journalist and photographer by trade, David graduated from UCT with a BA in social anthropology and environmental and geographical sciences, and also graduated with a DipCS and MCS from Regent College, Canada. He founded Africa Media Online in 2000. David's passion, to see Africans telling Africa's story to African and global audiences has led him to develop systems for the effective delivery of media content, develop training that ensures African media and museum professionals are keeping up with global trends and standards, and develop markets for Africa's story. <
Nigerian photographers Adolphus Opara (centre) and Andrew Esiebo (right) hone in on a Ghanaian cheerleader at a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Ghana and Sudan. Ghana won the match and was the first African team to qualify for the World Cup. © David Larsen/Africa Media Online.
Dutch trainer Chris De Bode (centre) and South African trainer Greg Marinovich (right) discussing a shoot done by Ethiopian photographer Michael Tsegaye. The workshops held in six countries around Africa were focused on the production of features that had the potential to be sold to publications and broadcasters. © David Larsen/ Africa Media Online.
By Suné Stassen
Karen Suskin is a true change agent. Her commitment and passion for design education and her exhaustive search for new and more integrated ways of doing design have lead to the development of a creative and innovative teaching practice. A practice shared in Cross-Pollination. “The Cross-Pollination workshops explore the role of designer as mediator between culture and nature and endeavour to understand nature as a powerful source to stimulate an organic type of thinking that is fluid and flexible. A thinking which enlivens the ability to perceive connections between things – the connection to us, others and that of the environment,” she explains. As an interdisciplinary designer, educator, multimedia artist, Karen can be found exhibiting her art work at major venues one day, and on another day mentoring and motivating aspiring designers to change their manmade world into one that is more inclusive, collaborative and sustainable. “Designers, like all citizens, are required to become agents of change,” she says. But in most formal institutions “personal development is not given the attention it deserves and this is a critical component of the work that I do. Cross-Pollination confronts prevailing conventions and urges participants to find more authentic and integrated ways in which to arrive at the outcome” explains Karen. She has always followed a sustainable path, long before the rest of us became aware of the necessity for it. One of her largest creations was the construction of her straw-bale
home 12 years ago. She achieved this with the help of husband Anthony, family and a small local workforce. Karen explains that Cross-Pollination addresses change within and outside the design studio. Its teaching methods are aligned with David Sogge who said: “learning has to move to the heart of practice.”
So what exactly is Cross-Pollination all about? “The shift we are experiencing in design is a response to a complex mix of some of the negative features of modern life like over-consumption, depleted natural resources, alienation from nature and antisocial behaviour. A manifestation of this shift is the radical changes taking place in nature herself – we are being rocked out of our complacency by global climate change and ecological catastrophe.
The problems we face have been caused in large measure by the disconnected way in which we think about, do and relate to the world. We can no longer afford to view life through the familiar lens of materialism alone, but must evolve to a way of thinking that recognises nature as our teacher. We must expand our field of vision to encompass the living world as our university. By returning to nature's genius, we may find that we can craft interconnected and intelligent design solutions, which benefit both people and nature” says Karen. Karen explains that the Cross-Pollination series of workshops that she presents is really a response to the above and an invitation to all who want to explore and develop new ways of thinking, learning and doing design in a more connected and intelligent way. “The challenge is to make space for the emergence of new insights through developing our self-knowledge and consequently expanding and enhancing our engagement with the world which we inhabit.” So who exactly is the Cross-Pollination audience? Cross-Pollination creates a forum for design educators interested in exploring better practice to come together to develop their personal skills as well as a sense of camaraderie within their field of expertise. The workshop series is relevant to all design educators committed to self-study and building future capacity. “Support is given for developing new learning systems, developing partnerships and future networks in the form of cross-institutional collaboration, envisioning and re-structuring of a department, or developing an institutional working
group. The other area that Cross-Pollination focuses on is the emergent design student” says Karen. The student programme helps designers understand that the primary function of design is not perfecting form. This definition is far too narrow and completely ignores design’s vital connection with cultural life and nature, hence the title of the workshops. Karen says that design education cannot be excluded from this mismanagement and material manipulation. She continues: “there is enough evidence that we are doing something wrong. Cross-Pollination creates a forum in which to learn individually and collectively, and where the principles of selforganisation and transformation are explored.” Cross-Pollination is part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s design programme and is presently being offered to all design institutions across disciplines nationwide. Karen, Haldane Martin, an industrial designer, process art and social facilitator Helen van Zyl and two social development practitioners Alan Kaplan and Sue Davidoff, facilitate a week-long residential process. This takes place bi-annually in a wilderness area outside Cape Town where students and professional designers from diverse disciplines participate in an extended creative process, inspired by close observation of nature. So why is it so important for designers to become agents of change? The current ecological crisis and the social dilemma we are facing call for a different type of action.
“Through ecological catastrophe it is clear that our existing world is unsustainable and that nature is nudging us towards some sort of shift which could be that of inner responsibility and outer sustainability,” says Karen. “Humanity is crossing a major threshold. The boundaries that surrounded consciousness centuries ago are no longer fixed, and it is not only the physical world which implies reality. Instead of sending voyagers to discover unknown continents, the exploration of inner frontiers is taking place” (Lievegoed, 1985:223). According to Karen, this less travelled and rather uncertain path summons us as designers to become agents of change. It’s moving from an intellectual, conventional materialistic outlook that views the human being as ‘ego system’ to an outlook that views the human being as ‘ecosystem’ which includes man and nature as mutually interdependent. “Only then do I believe will we find a more life-engendering way of doing design in the future.” How do we do this? This is achievable through establishing different methods of teaching. Designers must engage in a learning journey, which enables them to gain a grasp on the complexities and the relations between man and nature and all the delicate nuances between. “It’s a new way of developing a ‘living thinking’ approach which is as flexible, agile and adaptable as Nature herself. This entails accurately and sensitively ‘reading‘ or observing the connecting patterns that make up the dynamics of life,” says Karen.
In rising to the challenge of change, Karen says that “design education must address its present traditional definition of knowledge and ask: How do we shift educational systems from traditional knowledge and the known to being in the knowing and liberate design from its own ingrained patterns and entrenched habits? Furthermore, in accepting the less recognised modes of perception such as intuition, inspiration and imagination, I believe the design process will unfold in more organic, conscious and connected ways.” “Once the designers are equipped with this knowledge and understanding, it should become second nature for them to develop their own experiential pathways and align their personal potential and ability to harness creativity with purpose-filled intention and innovation.” As William Blake so beautifully said: “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower…” suggests the unity of microand macrocosm and establishes the possibility for designers to experience the world as an interconnected whole. Our modern way of living and modes of gathering knowledge has numbed our ability to mobilise our thoughts. We need to learn again how to understand the fine relationships between things and find new methods to partner them so that we can create a true overview of the needs of the world. “Only now we can truly move towards a human agency that can positively contribute to meaningful change,” explains Karen. “The lawfulness we experience in nature is a golden thread that runs through the
Cross-Pollination programme and guides understanding towards our own individual purpose and that of humanity. I believe this is the way to empower designers in leading design to the heart of a sustainable future.” The intention of Cross-Pollination is that each designer finds the courage with which to cross self-imposed boundaries and discover a living balance between their holistic mode of thinking – which includes imagination, intuition and inspiration and acknowledge these faculties as trusted modes of cognition – alongside the complementary analytic and rational mode of thinking. “This way we can reground our knowing through lived experience, enabling us to find new ways of being in the world in the future. ““Now the design process becomes more conscious and our actions all the more responsible,” explains Karen. She says that the six modules included in the workshops are “sensitively designed to embrace change and redirect attention from the object or end product to the process, the journey. The designer is cautioned not to try and fix the design result prematurely with a solution, but rather understand
to their best ability the experiential nature of each process and create space for a deep emersion into each project.” Although the studio space is informal and the workshops broadly experiential, the course is highly structured and disciplined. The creative process will stimulate both personal and collective dialogue around new ways of thinking that is in tune with issues such as social revitalisation, ecological sensitivity and new economical development. And the difference between the CrossPollination methodology and that of biomimicry? Karen concludes: “I see CrossPollination as a universal approach to design that doesn’t only consider the technical aspects of design challenges, but also the transformation of the designer and his/her relationship to society and the environment. Cross-Pollination shares the values and life principles subscribed to by biomimicry, and both are inspired by a vision of a just and sustainable world. Cross-Pollination is an integrated approach to design that strives to avoid creating the problems that require technical solutions.” <
TOP: Mixed Couple – we see a young Khoikhoi and Dutch woman holding hands, except that both are dressed in a hybrid costume that draws on both Khoikhoin and Dutch costume history. TOP CENTRE: Hand on boob. TOP RIGHT: Threesome – the Sketch Assembly have set up a composition that sees a young Dutch couple and a young Khoikhoin relaxing together around a table. RIGHT: Hand up Skirt.
AN EXERCISE IN
THE MERRY COMPANY
of photography, communication design, industrial design, fine art, clothing design, production design and architecture. The entire project, which spanned four months, culminated in an exhibition held in the Michealis Gallery at UCT’s Hiddingh Campus. Opening on 19 October 2010, the small gallery space was packed to capacity. The hordes of art aficionados who came expecting to see a typically pristine Putter-style exhibition would have benefitted from receiving the brief that the Sketch Assembly was a visually-based educational project, not a body of new commercial artworks. The previous two movements in Putter’s Hottentots Holland cycle took the form of sumptuously staged, pristinely styled photographs inspired by the merging of the local contemporary and the local historical. Sketch Assembly can be seen as the third installation, and although the outcome was more a display of the process work rather than the final products, it clearly communicated what goes on behind the scenes of a photographic shoot.
By Melissa Haiden. At the beginning of
2010 Andrew Putter began his fellowship at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The Sketch Assembly project subtitled The Merry Company, was born out of his desire to set up a project that would straddle his interest in arts education, interdisciplinary collaboration and histories of interracial contact in the Cape. As his collaborators, Putter selected a group of 30 young creatives working in the fields
REMEMBERING OUR VISUAL DIARIES
Displaying the origins of one’s work is not a new idea. Anyone who has taken art or design at school or varsity will be all too familiar with the stipulated visual diary – the hours of frilly decoration we poured into that little book in order to bump up our accumulative assessment mark. Ultimately, however, the outcome was pretty but contrived. Sketch Assembly served as the sort of visual diary our educators could only have dreamt of. The exhibition made public what is usually the intimate and hidden creative process behind an artwork. The underbelly of creative processes is comprised of diversions, seeming mistakes or small moments of ‘fluke-ish’ cohesion. Snuffling amongst the spidering clusters of sketches and meticulously documented test shoots taped to the walls, the guests familiar with Putter’s previous works would not find the product they had come for. The modest size of the ostensible final products drew attention away from their identity as the ‘end-product’, thus amplifying the process as the creative work itself. We are being educated to move away from the old fashioned idea of the emphasis being placed solely on the finished product. Some people just didn’t seem to get it. I overheard a guest telling Putter that she hoped he would finish the project.
elegant Hiddingh Hall staircase. To your left was the Sketch Assembly workroom. The small space was a bustling hub of action. The collaborators were working away, slightly under the influence of iTunes, coffee, rusks and apples. At the time the walls where covered in progress works; duplications of source material, preparatory sketches and photographs from test shoots. The tables seemed to be an organised chaos of concertinaed hessian ruffs. Sitting at the table was a designer piecing together lutes and Dutch mustjes made from cardboard cut-outs. Handmade wigs, painstakingly twisted and rubbed into dreads from nylon weaves perched upon polystyrene heads. On the shelves and windowsills were pots of clay and mud makeup. On the mantelpiece of the fireplace were clusters of carefully selected costume jewellery from the UCT’s Drama Department and other interesting pieces crafted from baby tortoise shells.” Then there was Putter’s impressive library of source material, which he constantly encourages the collaborators to consult. Just off the workroom was the vaulted ceilinged Hiddingh Hall, which serves as the airy setpainting and construction studio. Eventually, when Putter approved the compatibility of every element, this grand, naturally lit space was the location of the photographic shoot.
BACK IN TIME – A VIRTUAL VISIT TO THE WORK SPACE
Working on this project was something unique and I still recall walking up the
THE WORKS IN PROGRESS AS PRIMARY FOCUS
Most conventional commercial creations conceal their origins – they are presented as products without presenting its history, a
TOP LEFT: Work in progress for Mixed couple shoot. LEFT: One Small Seed magazine cover shoot. TOP RIGHT: Painters at work. ABOVE LEFT: Make-up in progress. ABOVE: RIGHT: One Small Seed magazine cover shoot.
RIGHT: Threesome test shoot. BOTTOM LEFT: Some of the Sketch Assembly members. BOTTOM RIGHT: Threesome test collage.
process that has been demolished long before the final presentation. It’s like when we see a sculpture on a plinth in an auction house; the traces of the generative process such as the working and pre-photographs, sketches, dirty rags and redrafting have long-been thrown away or hoarded back into the artist’s workbox. The opposite was true for Sketch Assembly. The Sketch Assembly exhibition was a metaphorical workbox. Those who attended the exhibition could not have missed the conversations set up by the intricate physical documentation of discoveries, diversions and dead ends. These preparatory tests and sketches were arguably presented as creative works in their own right.
Dutch scenes of high society to create hybridisations of the original culturally distinctive and segregated source material. One clear stipulation was that all the costumes, props and scenery had to be drawn from the original bodies of source.
THE COLLABORATIVE ASPECT
Collaboration always connects the participants and their shared workplace, letting them explore multiple possibilities through sharing of ideas and dilemmas they face along the way through a wider pool of references and experience. The collaborators were constantly showing their work to each other and testing out the compatibility and thus they concretised the development of abstract concepts and thoughts. It was a valuable experience to have creatives from so many different disciplines, collaborating in one space. Experimentation was key and collaborators were encouraged to work outside their comfort zone and field of expertise, sharing their valuable experiences and skills with the rest of the group. Joint ownership is always an issue with collaborative work, which presents its own problematic financial implications. In this case the collaborators were not affected since Putter ensured that the project was not geared toward commercial ends. The fact that Sketch Assembly was not a commercial project was also liberating and in a way alleviated the pressure of having to please the audience who were familiar with Putter’s previous work.
THE SUBJECT MATTER AS SECONDARY FOCUS
The work featured in Sketch Assembly was strictly based on the hybridisation of two bodies of source material. The project was geared towards the self-conscious imitation of the first body of source: four Dutch ‘merry company’ prints (popular art in Dutch households of the 1600s). The second body of source material consisted of the rare drawings of the Khoikhoi and San living at the time. The new images were to be a mischievous re-imagining of the early interaction between indigenous Khoikhoi and the Dutch youth of the Dutch East Indian Company in the 1600s. The structure of the Dutch Merry Company images would be translated into the contemporary format of digital photography depicting models of European ethnicity carousing with models of mixed ethnicity. The Khoikhoi and San subjects and elements would be integrated into the
TOP LEFT: Hand up skirt test shoot. TOP RIGHT: Work in progress for Threesome shoot. BOTTOM RIGHT: Work in progress.
THE EDUCATIONAL ASPECT OF COLLABORATIVE WORK
“Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously students and teachers” (Freire, 1970, p. 72). Those with an interest in education will have come across the influential theories of Paulo Freire who challenged the teacher student dichotomy and those in the performing arts will be aware of the collaborative projects that were facilitated by Augusto Boal who tested out Freire’s theories. Freire disagreed with the teacher-student dichotomy. This ‘feeder-eater’ relationship has been spatted and theorised over in the papers of many philosophers and theorists including Rousseau and Dewey. However Freire’s approach was the most dramatic as he maintained that the authoritative role of the teacher should be completely abolished and replaced by a teacher-student relationship based on the teacher having the same capacity to learn, as the student has to teach. The reciprocal relationship between Putter (as the facilitator) and the 30 collaborators was the backbone of the educational vein of the Sketch Assembly project.
identify the actions of its maker. In other words we ask ‘What did the creator physically do to make this happen?’ Sketch Assembly displayed the work (noun) and the work (adj.). The focus of appreciation of any creative performance cannot adequately be articulated in an exhibition of the residue of its creative process (i.e. photographs, sketches, etc.) let alone in a magazine article. The best way would be to let in an unobtrusive audience during production. The work (verb) of the collaborators was elemental to the appreciation of Sketch Assembly, so only by actually witnessing the creators at work, could the creations be exhibited with utmost integrity. Ultimately Sketch Assembly articulated that artworks are actually just the vehicles through which creatives articulate a particular creative statement in carrying out a performance. The performance (the act of generation) is the creation. Or less radically, any creation’s origins are an integral part of an artwork or appreciation thereof. The allure of the work was clearly the outcome of pooled creativity. The project displayed the wry humour, discipline, and integrity of the facilitator and the collaborators and ultimately succeeding in the actualisation of reams of theoretical writings on crea-
THE PERFORMATIVE ASPECT
The project’s arguable status as performance art is another aspect for consideration. As viewers we somewhat follow a generic pattern of perception and appreciation. We perceive the material object, then we evaluate it according to the quality of the experience we have through engaging with it (sometimes requiring familiarity with written theory). We are interested in how the physical properties came about, wanting to
tive process and collaborative education and execution.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Haiden studied Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town. She is currently a member of the Siyasanga Theatre Company at Artscape on the foreshore. < © All photographs by Paul Ward.
Water Jar, Yangshao culture, Neolithic period ca. 5000 - 3000 B.C.
By Angelique Kendall. Ceramics is one of
the oldest applied arts disciplines going back more than 30 000 years, sometime during the last Ice Age. During this time people learnt to fashion objects out of mud and fire them at high temperatures as a means of making them more durable. Besides functional ceramics made and used for practical purposes such as the storage of food, statuettes and figurines of both animals and humans were also fashioned for ritualistic and spiritual purposes. By studying the remains of ceramic shards and intact objects, archaeologists have uncovered a spectacularly vast trove of treasures that tell the story of human history and the development of civilisation. In ancient Mesopotamia one of the earliest forms of writing – the cuneiform – was inscribed upon hundreds of thousands of clay tablets, documenting the daily lives, economic transactions, literature and spiritual beliefs of the highly advanced Sumerian
civilisation. The Sumerians are also credited with perfecting the potter’s wheel and making clay bricks, which were used to build temples and cities. William Morris, the British artist and writer who lived in the 18th century, did much to rekindle interest in the ceramic manufacturing industry. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution, where machines and factories began mass-producing utility objects for sale to consumers. Finding much of the products made in this manner to be dull and devoid of ‘life’, Morris instigated the Arts and Craft Movement. Thanks to this movement, we now have designers employed in manufacturing companies, bringing their keen artistic eye to visually enhancing products and making them more desirable as worthy and cherished objects. No doubt marketers also soon realised the importance that aesthetic appreciation holds for consumers.
CLAY AND ITS CONNECTION TO AFRICAN MYTHOLOGY
Clay also features in certain creation myths from around the world, including tribes in Africa. Myth has it that Wongengi, the creator goddess of the Ijaw people of Nigeria fashioned dolls from clay and breathed life into them to create humans, while the chief god of the Congo’s Bambini people created people from clay; black clay made black people, white clay made whites, and red clay made the pygmies. A little closer to home,
Kgobeane, the son of the high god Kgobe in the Northern Sotho tradition, sat like a potter making a vessel, fashioning humans out of clay.
beautiful things, whether those things are functional or not. As people’s tastes are so diverse there is really no limit to the variety of styles that can be designed.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS AND USES
It is very easy to understand the allure of clay. In its wet form, clay is a highly pliable medium that yields willingly under the direction of the creator who manipulates it. And yet, once it is fired, clay becomes one of the toughest and most durable materials. Ceramics has one of the highest melting temperatures of all materials on earth and has therefore been used for millennia in diverse and innovative ways in art, industry and science. Today, for instance, it is used to coat heaters, in exhaust engine components, in computer chips and even as a buffer and protective layer on space rockets and trans-terrestrial shuttles.
CERAMICS AS A CAREER
Ceramics offers a diversity of career options. As it is a process-driven industry, there are many areas in which to specialise, be it scientific experimentation involving glaze technology, or the manufacturing of moulds used in fabrication. Some are excited by the gathering of and dealing in raw materials, while others find the complexities of kiln building and firing a professional attraction. Still others may see themselves as a studio potter, throwing on the wheel and hand building; whilst others may be more influenced by contemporary art and decide to use the medium for process work and in concept-driven artworks. One thing is for sure: a certain level of tech-
Of course we are most familiar with the ceramics used as tiles in our homes and the crockery that holds our drinks and meals. These can be visually diverse, from the most basic industrial mass-produced functional ware used by catering companies and the like, to quirky and artistic handmade pieces which speak to the senses and create sentimental attachment.
nical skill is required in order to achieve results. Not only does that mean that those trained in this discipline possess sought-after skills, but also that there is the opportunity to continually develop further skills and technological advancement, which equates to a high level of job satisfaction and personal achievement. Working in ceramic factories, one could ex-
Aesthetic values are important for people at some innate and intrinsic level, and most people like to surround themselves with
pect the thrill of operating large machinery and kilns, or work as a designer, exploring new forms, shapes, colour and pattern
TOP LEFT & BOTTOM RIGHT: A beautiful example of a celadon glaze. Image from The Art and Craft of Clay – A complete Potters handbook, 4th edition by Susan and Jan Peterson. TOP RIGHT: Artist Luo Xiao-Pin with his artwork Times Square Talks. Image from The Art and Craft of Clay – A complete Potters handbook, 4th edition by Susan and Jan Peterson. BOTTOM LEFT: Some functional ceramics. Image from The Art and Craft of Clay – A complete Potters handbook, 4th edition by Susan and Jan Peterson.
TOP LEFT: Chinese Longquan Celadon from Zhejiang, Song Dynasty, 13th century, Musée Guimet in Paris. TOP RIGHT: Japan's Living National Treasure, Shoji Hamada. ABOVE: Works by Emily Myers. Image from The Art and Craft of Clay – A complete Potters handbook, 4th edition by Susan and Jan Peterson. RIGHT: Ceramics used in space vehicle. Image from The Art and Craft of Clay – A complete Potters handbook, 4th edition by Susan and Jan Peterson.
configurations to pass on to the ground crew who produces new commercial products. As a studio potter you would be more selfdirected, working on your own or in a communal studio where you would be involved in all areas of clay, from its wet form, all the way to its final glaze firing. Some potters find it a thrill to gather their own clay and glaze materials straight from Nature, working close to the land, whilst for others depend on pottery suppliers who provide the clay and raw materials needed via retail sources. Working in retail as a ceramics supplier is also a rewarding career option for anyone interested in and knowledgeable about the clay and pigment industry.
Ceramics is exciting and challenging as an art medium too, as it comprises the threedimensional sculptural form as well as a two-dimensional painterly surface. It is possible to make some exceptionally innovative, conceptual and aesthetic artworks with clay. Designers are equally excited by ceramics for the same reasons, even if they conceptualise functional mass-produced ware. It would be very exciting to see some new, fresh ideas for ceramics touching different spheres of life in future, opening up the possibilities of what can still be done.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angelique Kendall is a visual artist who lives
... AND OTHER AVENUES
Not everyone may make a full-time career out of clay. Some may enjoy it as a part-time hobby/leisure activity, or decide to teach techniques in workshops or schools. Ceramic classes could take on the form of art therapy – some people will vouch for the calming qualities of clay. For instance, the Japanese have for centuries used ceramicmaking as a revered technique for meditation and they love the medium so much that they even declared one of their best potters, Shoji Hamada, a living national treasure.
in Cape Town. She has some experience in both making and writing about ceramics as an art discipline. <
GROWING YOUNG TALENT
By Suné Stassen
As in any successful collaboration, refined teamwork and communication skills are known to be critically important, not just for effectively communicating one’s ideas, but also for building honest and trustworthy relationships and mutual respect amongst all participants. It’s also about sharing great ideas and allowing someone else to make them even better. In a world of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, working together as a unit is vital if you are striving for success. Every year when the Woolworths Making the Difference Through Design (MTDTD) programme introduces its annual high school design competition, an energetic buzz emerges amongst the participating schools and everyone starts checking their competition, betting that this year their team will be the best of the best. Well, 2010 was no different and while South Africa was already celebrating the FIFA World Cup, nothing could stand in the way of the national winners of MTDTD. Freedom Fighters, as this creative team from Zwartkops High School in Centurion likes to call themselves, were over the moon twice when they took top honours in the MTDTD national high school design competition. Introducing ORIGAMI, their new clothing brand, they have not only designed a new clothing range, but also its brand identity and marketing campaign, which included two commercials for radio and TV. Another striking component was a photo shoot showcasing the clothing range, which was smartly presented in a magazine format.
Their integrated business, identity and marketing strategy impressed the MTDTD judges enough to comment that the team members, Bianca de Beer (17), Lanthe Louw (17), Mareli Jooste (18) and Bianca Boshoff (18) “showed maturity, professionalism and creativity beyond their years”.
For the Freedom Fighters teamwork was the essence of their success and they had regular status meetings during which they discussed all aspects of their campaign: “The meetings were very important to us because that is where we brainstormed and shared ideas.”
“I have found that one person may have a great idea but, it takes objective opinions, planning and uniqueness from everyone to grow it into a practical, yet creative idea. One person cannot carry all the innovative responsibility alone,” says Bianca de Beer. The team explains that the main task given to them was to come up with a realistic and practical design idea and expand it into an entire campaign. It could either be an event, awareness campaign or new product. “The brief contained a lot of fine print which had to be read carefully – our first reaction: This is going to be hard work...Okay, let’s do it!” For them it was easy to get going because “we all agreed on fashion as the main focus and after splashing out wild ideas during the initial brainstorming session, the idea of the ‘Freedom Fighters’, a fashion design company, was born. We started with loads of inspiration and passion and new concepts kept pouring in from everybody. We then spent an additional day on planning the dynamics of the project.” Once the company’s name was finalised, the next step was to develop a concept for its launch range. The team explains: “Origami is the name of Freedom Fighters’ first clothing range and the style is simple, calm and natural. Origami is symbolically connected to the Japanese paper folding art’s principles of simplicity and calmness. We also decided that the overarching consideration of the Freedom Fighters’ campaign should focus on a strict environmentally friendly policy, which is represented by the paper-shaped origami crane logo. The crane is also a well
known symbol of freedom and for us represents what the company stands for.” Freedom Fighters followed a pretty impressive and structured design process, starting with extensive brainstorming that included a lot of sketches and ideas doodled on paper, careful planning and setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities, experimenting with colour, fonts, photos, fabrics and many ideas. They then made comparisons and eventually chose the best concept, collected and bought fabrics to construct the first garment. They then developed storyboards for the television and radio commercials and the layout of a magazine. Finally they went through an evaluation process that included individual and team reflections on the final outcome. “We believe that we had a good balance between planning and creating. We also had open and honest communication throughout the process. Every team member had a chance to share her ideas and feelings and nobody’s opinion was nullified.” For them, communication skills were vital and the group quickly realised the importance of reflecting and sharing crucial information: “We also had confidence in each other’s design skills and creative abilities.” Yet, everything didn’t go as they had originally planned, but that’s always part of the real world design process. Bianca de Beer who was responsible for the magazine explains: “We looked at the six anchor campaign components – logo, merchandise, prototype, TV ad, radio ad and print media – and how to incorporate those
into a magazine format. I spent hours paging through inspiring magazines to get a good grip on the look and feel of a professional layout. For the catalogue, which was our main focus in the magazine, I experimented with different solutions and developed options to share with the group. They then gave me feedback and the final solution was a real group effort. The idea for the catalogue was to give it a relaxed yet professional tone. I then focussed on the main look en feel of the clothing range and used it as a guide for most of the final solutions. For Biance Boshoff editing home videos in the past gave her some experience in filming the TV commercial but she had to learn a lot more on the job. “The outcome was based on a series of experiments that came out well. Some of the shots that I originally imagined didn’t work out so well because we didn’t have professional cameras or lighting.” She continues: “We listened to a lot of music for inspiration. It was very important to have the right audio for the video because we didn’t have any dialogue and the music would set the emotional stage for our commercial. I wrote and visualised the type of scenes we would use and roughly sketched it. Luckily my mind works like a movie so the angles and cuts came easily. I wanted to create a big contrast between being a prisoner and having freedom. We used the city, taxi rank and parking lots in the first part and a wide-open field in the second. We used two days for the shoot and a friend as our actress. Editing took a long time and I still think I could work on it more. We were very privileged to have a musician friend who composed the audio for the video.”
And the shoot? “We all had a hand in choosing the wardrobe for that exciting day but the weather was a challenge. On the day of the photo shoot it was cloudy and we were a bit disappointed. At the end it was the clouds that added a stunning and dramatic backdrop, a unique effect that was really perfect! Shooting the taxi scene while it was raining was not ideal but eventually added a perfect droopy and sombre feel that was a good fit for our storyline,” says Bianca Boshoff.
Being in matric brought on a different set of stresses for Mareli and Bianca Boshoff as studying for their final exams could certainly not be ignored and late night emailing to check on progress and little sleep were the order of every day. Yet, that is part and parcel of what careers in the creative industries require. Bianca Boshoff hopes to follow a career in design while Mareli wants to study dramatic
arts and be an actress. For now, Lanthe has her sights set on coaching trampoline overseas and Bianca de Beer who is in Grade 11, is considering becoming an architect. One thing is certain; these girls have certainly set the bar very high! <
DESIGN>MAGAZINE No. 18
World Architecture Festival honours the best of the best by Jacques Lange
For three days in early November the world’s architecture aficionados waited in suspense as the World Architecture Festival (WAF) unhurriedly announced the 25 category winners of its 2010 awards. As in the past two years since the WAF awards’ inception, the competition was fierce and the panel of 66 jurors – comprised of architects, allied professionals, clients and critics – had the grueling task of selecting the best of the best from 512 entries and 236 short-listed finalists. READ MORE HERE >
In conversation with Elmo Swart by Jennie Fourie
What you see is not what you get. South African architect, Elmo Swart, with his quick smile and easy, engaging manner is much more than just surface. Spending time with Swart propels you on an amazing journey of deep insights, startling views and offers a fresh take on architecture – and on his other great love, photography – that keeps you thinking, mulling, digesting and disseminating for days afterwards. READ MORE HERE >
The deep image by Richard Stone
3-D is here. Better believe it. And if you’re a designer, now would be a really good time to start developing an understanding of the new opportunities made possible by recent developments in visual media. Of the senses we possess, sight accounts for the bulk of the stimulus we absorb from the threedimensional world. READ MORE HERE >
Brian Steinhobel: Smart industrial design by Stacey Rowan
Brian Steinhobel is one of Africa’s most preeminent industrial designers of our time. The element of smart design is crucial to what Steinhobel delivers as it improves both functional and aesthetic appeal of products. READ MORE HERE >
DESIGN>MAGAZINE No. 17
Harry Pearce's schizophrenic road by Zelda Harrison
Harry Pearce is a man that prompts, pokes and provokes. His work touches many disciplines, from spatial design and identity to print and packaging. He has designed for a broad range of clients and to each he brought his own brand of intelligence, elegance and wit. READ MORE HERE >
Design, a viable tool for social innovation? An interview with William Drenttel by Zelda Harrison
William Drenttel is a communication designer, publisher and industry leader who works from the picturesque mountains to the north of New York City, USA. As a co-founder of Winterhouse, a niche design studio that focuses on social innovation, online publishing and educational and cultural institutions. READ MORE HERE >
Anton Sassenberg: "The original design guerrilla” by Suné Stassen
Anton Sassenberg is often referred to as being the most influential and groundbreaking South African magazine designer of the past two decades. Looking at his life’s work that represents an impressive and colourful diversity of publications, we can’t help but to note his seminal contributions to the brand repositioning and design. READ MORE HERE >
What is a Brand worth? by Sasha Strauss
“As an educator, I am often asked why branding matters. As a strategic brand development professional, whose job it is to look clinically at brands, I often have to determine how and why brands move us to purchase products that are non-essential or not even well designed.” Innovation Protocol’s Sasha Strauss discusses seven of the many critical aspects that he considers when reviewing the role of branding in the marketplace. READ MORE HERE >
Making sense of strategy and policy by Jennie Fourie
Most designers from disciplines across the board have little or no interest in design promotion strategies and policies. Truth be told, they most probably don’t spend a minute thinking about these issues while there are deadlines to meet, plans to be made and projects to present. It is clear that designers should start paying attention to regional, national and international design promotion activities if they would like to elevate the status of their profession on the global platform. READ MORE HERE >
Rebranding: A few legal considerations by Reggie Dlamini
At some point during the life cycle of most organisations, there will come a time when it is considered appropriate to change the corporate identity or its flagship brands. There are a few basic intellectual property considerations which businesses would do well to keep in mind in the rebranding process. Perhaps a good starting point is the recognition that trade marks or brands are a valuable form of intellectual property. READ MORE HERE >
DESIGN>ART No. 2
Diane Victor by Gordon Froud
Diane Victor is best known for her large-scale charcoal drawings and etchings depicting mythical subjects and her social commentary rooted in the South African situation but made universal through her skilful technical abilities. Beyond this, she is also a pioneer of alternative drawing techniques, constantly reinventing her media to the amazement of her appreciative audiences. READ MORE HERE >
Deborah Bell: Notions of the self by Jacques Lange
In the TAXI Art Book series, Deborah Bell’s work is aptly described “as fundamentally informed by a personal search for the ‘Self’ and she often draws on spiritual imagery from a wide range of sources.” In an interview with DESIGN>ART, Bell shared some insights into her career as well as her current creative work. READ MORE HERE >
Two hats, one head by Usha Seejarim
"The phenomenon of dual identity is explored in my latest body of work titled Mine over Matter. It involves a deeply personal investigation of the self and the relationship of the self to its environment; an understanding of oneself beyond the burden of labels that we carry. It is an analysis of identity further than culture, nationality, gender and heritage." READ MORE HERE >
Re-constructing my journey by Bongi Bengu
"I have been dealing with the theme of emancipation and freedom since the beginning of my career as an artist. Not only do I talk about the freedom to be an artist and to be able to express one freely, but I also talk about the freedom to use different materials in my work. Over the years my artwork has evolved in texture and depth." READ MORE HERE >
Human gestures make us human by Judith Mason
"Life has been, for me, a mass of contradictory and often threatening stimuli, flashing past at random. My attempts to catch, pin down and identify some of these are what my work is about. In the nature of things I don't explore those which satisfy and delight, although in my old age I am tempted to recall beloved people, gods and mountains in paint to remind myself what a pleasure my sliver of life has been." READ MORE HERE >
How we parcel, package & shelve by Reshada Crouse
"So called 'creative' people often get tetchy about being defined, boxed. Why not? I wish to examine the use of the word 'portrait' when referring to painting and paintings. Just for fun." READ MORE HERE >
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