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Design Indaba

Final Recap from Design Indaba

Today was the final day of Design Indaba 2015. There were some sessions that I loved, and others that I loved less. I’ve given y’all links so you can make up your own mind.


Formafantasma is an Italian design duo, namely Andrea and Simone, who discovered their shared interest in product design when studying at Design Academy Eindhoven. They graduated in 2009 and already have permanent exhibits in some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Find out more about their super-cerebral stuff here. I particularly like the ‘Still’ collection.

Casey Neistat is the guy that made Nike’s Make it Count video. If you haven’t seen it, tut-tut, shame on you. Watch it now.

He’s a filmmaker, a free spirit and the kind of guy that walks around on stage in his socks. Neistat dropped out of school in the 10th grade and attributes his unbelievable success to not having a clue about what he was doing when he first started doing it. In his words, “When you’ve never been taught the right way to do something, you’re forced to forge your own path.” He called this “the virtue of ignorance”.

Check out his crazy videos here.

Kenyan-born Ng’endo Mukii is a documentary animator. In her film Yellow Fever, she looks at how the Western idea of beauty has affected African girls and women.


Sindiso Khumalo is homegrown talent. She originally studied architecture, and then went to work in London. She remembered how, during this time, she’d be more excited about getting dressed for work than she was going to it, so she decided to leave a promising career behind – the thing that she was trained to do – and put her heart into fashion and textile design. This Durban girl thrilled the audience when she premiered her latest collection. Be wowed by her stuff here.

Let me just say that Yoni Bloch was freaking amazing. His dad was a physicist and his mom, an artist. And he couldn’t be a more perfectly balanced mix of the two. Yoni has his own band in Israel. He was also a judge on the Israeli version of American Idol. But that’s not what makes him so super cool. Yoni is also the founder and CEO of Interlude, a technology startup developing interactive video technology that turns passive, linear videos into user-directed, multi-path stories.

There are a ridiculous 256 variations of this one video. It’s insane. And amazing. And beautiful. Because pretty much any time someone watches the video, it becomes a personalised experience. What’s more is that the programme that he created to do this, Treehouse, is open source. Play with it.


Emily Oberman has been designing the title sequence of Saturday Night Live for 20 years. She works at Pentagram, the same design company as Michael Bierut who spoke on Wednesday. Explore their stuff.

Dan Wieden. Are you kidding me? Dan Wieden. I mean, this is the guy that wrote arguable one of the best pay-off lines in history, ‘Just do it’. Dan told the audience a story about when he was younger and working in the corporate world. He lost his job and was just devastated. He had three kids and his wife was pregnant, he didn’t know how he was going to tell her. So he went on home and found her folding the laundry down in the basement. Without looking up she asked how his day had been. He told her he’d lost his job. She stopped, looked at him, shrugged her shoulders and nonchalantly said, “Eh, something’ll come up” then got back to the job at hand. That day she gave him something that he couldn’t give himself: permission to fail. That was the start of Wieden and Kennedy. Have a look at some of their breathtaking work.

William Kentridge was… interesting. He spent most of his time – which was about an hour – giving a lecture on sparrows, mangoes and a Chinese revolution. Then a bunch of musicians and a dancer came on stage and he ‘experimented’ with them on what is to be his latest work for around 15 minutes. In all honesty, I don’t have a clue what the whole thing was about, but the bit when everyone was banging on pots and the Chinese lady was ululating was surprisingly cool. Nuts, but cool.

Irene is a Creative Group Head at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg and has worked on iconic brands including Cadbury, KFC, DStv and Coca Cola.


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