DTI supports Design Indaba

Supported by the dti, 19 BEE and women-owned creative companies will show their design products and services at the Design Indaba Expo 2007.

Supported by the dti, 19 BEE and women-owned creative companies will show their design products and services at the Design Indaba Expo 2007.

The dti will, in addition, bring 15 international retail buyers to the Design Indaba Expo, as part of an ongoing programme to boost exports of local designs.

The companies will be allocated over 200m2 of custom-designed floor space at the Design Indaba Expo, which runs from 23 to 25 February 2007 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The exhibitors include two architectural firms, one interior designer, two advertising practitioners, three fashion designers, several product designers and crafters.

The Expo, running for the fourth successive year, showcases the best of South African design and attracts top international and local retail buyers, as well as members of the public.

The dti brought out five international buyers in 2005 and 10 in 2006. There were, however, around 30 international buyers in total in 2006 as many travelled to the Design Indaba Expo independently.

Nadia Sujee, the dti’s director of creative industries, said: “The dti sees the Design Indaba Expo as a means of satisfying its objectives of increasing market access opportunities for, and export of, South African goods and services. The Expo also contributes towards building skills, technology and infrastructure platforms from which enterprises can benefit, and significantly progressing broad-based BEE.  It has also raised the profile of design in South Africa by educating local audiences about the value of homegrown design.”

Design Indaba Expo curator Lauren Shantall added:  “The companies will enjoy the benefits of valuable new contacts that they would otherwise be unable to access. The increasing international interest in South African design has encouraged more people to look at exporting and we believe many of the local designs show great promise as export items.”

In 2005 the dti-supported foreign buyers ordered in excess of R1 million from Design Indaba Expo exhibitors, and in 2006 over R1,5 million. Aside from the trade orders, there are several groundbreaking achievements from the Design Indaba Expo, says Shantall. Examples include:

  • Design Indaba’s relationship with one of its sponsors, Woolworths, led to the Stoned Cherrie fashion label being stocked by the retail giant.
  • The European chain of Conran stores developed the Conran Africa range for South Africa and London.
  • Source, the agent for the Conran stores, uses the Design Indaba Expo as its shopping destination, as does Jennifer Fair of Africa Fair, who sources for Amaridian gallery, which showcases South African designs in New York.
  • Local designer Heath Nash has signed a royalty agreement with Artecnica, a leading international design manufacturer and distributor.
  • Furniture designer Haldane Martin secured a distribution agreement in Spain.

The Design Indaba Expo has grown from 55 exhibitors in 2004 to 163 in 2006, and should total nearly 200 in 2007, says Shantall. Visitor attendance ballooned from 9000 in 2004 to 15 500 in 2006, and should attract more than 20 000 visitors in 2007.

The upcoming Design indaba Expo will include live, day-long fashion performances, South African music videos and short films. There will be talks on design and the announcement of design awards, as well as live demonstrations of DIY designer projects and interactive design and art projects that visitors can take part in.

The Expo runs alongside the Design Indaba Conference 2007 (21 to 23 February) with about 50 speakers of the calibre of music producer Brian Eno, UK product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison and Professor Neil Gershenfeld, the director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. Judged the best conference in the world by EIBTM in Barcelona, the Design Indab Conference attracts some 3 000 delegates from advertising agencies, movie production houses, architectural firms, the fashion and jewellery industries, and furniture and lighting manufacturers.