The world is in disarray. A looming economic disaster seems imminent, the climate is playing up and the political situation is turning into a nail biter. While the world has its eyes glued on the McCain-Obama showdown, on the local front South Africans are watching the ANC shenanigans with hopeful paralysis.
Resorting to all we know – creativity, debate and passion – Design Indaba, however, remains optimistic. In this edition, we get political with Luba Lukova and Garth Walker’s indicting graphic creations. We get environmental with the 5.5designers, London Design Festival and the KZNSA Gallery. We get nostalgic with jeweller Kelly McCallum, milliner Albertus Quartus Swanepoel and set designer Angela Nemov. And we get futuristic with thrill engineer Brendan Walker, public art agency Animal Farm, social media guru Philipp Schmidt and the experimental duo of Commonwealth.
Funnily, while we embarked on this edition of the magazine wanting to look at biology and living systems, we found that going beneath what can be seen with the naked eye (as in our macro photography feature), all we found were questions. “What is the role of the designer in this discordant world?” asks 5.5. “Where will Africa be in 2036?” asks Garth Walker. “How should one think about the potential for technology in production?” asks Commonwealth. “What does the sharing economy mean for society?” asks Schmidt. “What is the future of advertising in the sharing economy?” asks Animal Farm. “Is there one answer to sustainability?” asks the Suss’t exhibition. And, “How can we reconcile sustainability and pop culture?” I ask in my review of the London Design Festival.
It is encouraging that contemporary design is in such a state of self and world evaluation. These questions are the nutrients in refreshing the world from bottom up. – Nadine Botha