Call for entries: Exhibition on African design

Design Indaba invites designers and innovators from across Africa to participate in a major exhibition at Design Indaba Expo 2014.

Part of the Project

From the Series

Design Indaba is planning a ground-breaking exhibition of African design and innovation to be held at Design Indaba Expo 2014 in Cape Town, from Friday 28 February to 2 March (Buyers Day Thursday 27 February). Design Indaba Expo is the largest exhibition of design on the African continent. This is the first year that the Expo will look beyond South Africa’s borders to showcase work from other countries on the continent.

This is an opportunity to be part of a major exhibition that will form the focus of Design Indaba Expo. The project will showcase African ingenuity in finding solutions to its own problems, using local materials wherever possible. It will be an up-to-the-minute survey of emerging, established and unexpected talent from across the continent. 

We have tapped into our network of international design leaders to act as advisors. Our panel consists of practising designers, retailers and journalists at the cutting edge of the design world, including designers Tom Dixon, Bibi Seck and Ayse Birsel; fashion designer Ozwald Boateng; architects David Adjaye and Kunle Adeyemi; Financial Times writer Lucia van der Post and others. They will be calling on their respective networks to help identify the top emerging talent coming out of Africa.

The exhibition will address questions such as: What are some of the characteristics that make African cities unique, and how should we be designing for them? How is traditional craft finding a more contemporary voice? Why have African Fashion Weeks mushroomed up around the world? How is mobile technology meeting the needs of everyday Africans?

We want to hear about developments in any field of design that is making strides in Africa and affecting the way people live. We’re particularly interested in solutions tailor-made to conditions in Africa in any industry where design has played a role. 

Relevant sectors

  • Architecture
  • Urban planning
  • Fashion
  • Textile design
  • Furniture and décor
  • Handmade crafts
  • Visual arts and photography
  • Graphic design
  • Video, film and animation
  • Sustainable design (high- and low-tech)
  • Industrial design and innovation in any industry – e.g. automotive, engineering, pharmaceutical, agriculture, telecommunications, information technology
  • Technological innovations of any kind
  • Informal inventions/street solutions

(We regret this exhibition does not include music, dance or the performing arts)

Selection criteria 

  1. In all the above fields, we will be looking for designs, products, objects, inventions and ideas that break with tradition and represent a fresh direction and new mode of expression.
  2. We are predominantly interested in design by Africans for Africans and about developments taking place in Africa. So we will give preference to work by African-born or residing designers (any country in Africa). However, if your work focuses on delivering solutions to African environments, we are interested in seeing it regardless of who you are or where you live.
  3. This exhibition is open to established and emerging designers. You may not even consider yourself a “designer” – we are less concerned about labels, and more interested in creative solutions the world hasn’t seen before.
  4. The work does not have to be finished – e.g. a building can still be in progress. As long as you have detailed sketches or solid research you can show us.
  5. Actual examples of your work must be available for display at Design Indaba Expo 2014 (Friday 28 February – Sunday 2 March 2014). In the case of architecture, urban planning and some industrial developments, photographs and scale models will suffice.

How to enter

  1. Fill out the online application form here.
  2. Make sure you upload low-res images of the work you are proposing for the exhibition.

If you don’t have Internet access, you can post your submissions to:

Kelly Berman
Interactive Africa
PO Box 7735
Cape Town
South Africa

Queries to or +27 21 465 9966

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Friday 29 November 2013

You will be notified in January 2014 whether your work has been accepted.

Watch the Talk with David Adjaye