Arch For Arch: A coda for Design Indaba Festival Day 3

One last thing, which deserves a piece of its own, the spectacular finale of the 2017 Conference and a tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Part of the Project

In Friday’s spectacular Design Indaba finale, Snøhetta co-founder Craig Dykers and Johannesburg-based Local Studio architect Thomas Chapman announced a commission by Design Indaba as a tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of South Africa’s most beloved sons. The project was made possible by the generousity of Design Indaba sponsor Liberty

‘Arch for Arch’ celebrates the free South Africa that Tutu and his peers fought to build. Read more about the project.

Dykers explained that just as an arch relies on a keystone to avoid collapse, so too does a free South Africa rely on its constitution. Made from 14 arcing strands of wood, each bearing a quote from one of the 14 lines in the constitution’s preamble, it will stand in Cape Town as a permanent sign of Tutu’s “prophetic voice in protest and as a humble priest.”

In his address to the crowd, Tutu recalled the destruction of Apartheid’s ‘vicious system’, saying, “All that we did was articulate your aspirations and remind you that you are not second hand - you are not a feeble copy but a glorious original.” 

How resonant that line must have been with the 1500 creatives assembled in Artscape that afternoon. After all, Design Indaba was born in 1995, in part from the upsurge of confidence in South Africa’s post-1994 future with the belief that the creative shall inherit the earth. 

It was also in that same line that we found the answer to the question we asked before this year’s festival began - Can beauty redeem us?  

When beauty is the union of art and activism, when design invokes empathy, and when the urgency to create something new reflects the hopes and aspirations of many, then it has a decent a pretty good chance.

And thank goodness for that.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” - Desmond Tutu

Read the roundups from day one, two and three or listen to the daily Design Indaba Dispatches podcasts. 

Watch the Talk with Thomas Chapman