Reskinning for beginners

Today’s designers are augmenting traditional forms by giving them an entire second skin.

We’re no longer in the stage where remedial design interventions were metaphorically referred to as “acupuncture”. Today’s designers are augmenting traditional forms by giving them an entire second skin.


Gimme some skin

Testing human skincare products on animals has been rendered redundant by DeNova Sciences. The Singaporean start-up can print a membrane a minute and the in-vitro skin has the same chemical and biological properties as the human one. High five to that!

DeNova in-vitro skin is made up of skin cells from donors and collagen. Image supplied.

Seeing is not believing

The Bloom device breaks down what you see via a series of mirrors, offering a fresh look at the world – and more particularly, how we perceive other people. Because too many of us experience prejudice and harassment based on how we look, this bias-unbundling gizmo gives us a shot at human harmony.

Relooking prejudice is the domain of the Bloom viewing device. Image supplied.

Reimagining sports

Reshaping the future of dance is possible with practitioners like Marisa Hamamoto taking people through the steps. She founded her Los Angeles-based dance company Infinite Flow Dance to integrate diversity so fully that it becomes yet another new normal.

The Infinite Flow Dance company includes dancers with and without disabilities. Image supplied.

Hamamoto puts us in mind of the Design Indaba Do Tank project we did with NM Type and deaf South African performance artist, Andile Vellem. The fluid Movement typeface that resulted from this collaboration is yours to download free – find it in our Virtual Goodie Bag! And the work of Ella Westlund, which addresses the lack of well-designed products for the disabled, also comes into focus.


Mussel Muscle

Imagine imbibing liquids out of an invasive species. You might soon be sipping out of a drinking vessel made from pretty cerulean-coloured glass derived from mussels. Zebra and Quagga Mussels, which are invasive to the USA’s great lakes ecosystem, just happen to provide the calcium carbonate and colourant used in soda lime glass, providing a renewable source of material whilst nullifying their ecological threat.

Muscling in on invasive species is possible – by turning them into glass. Image supplied.


You can now say “Chin Chin!” with a clearer conscience (but not necessarily a clearer head) courtesy of a new gin made from none other than the humble garden pea. Named Nadar, meaning “nature” in Gaelic, the gin is testing climate positive, thanks to a lighter carbon footprint than conventional gins distilled from wheat.

Vegetable-based Nadar Gin still comes with a healthy kick! Image by Arbikie.

Here at Design Indaba, we’re no stranger to beautifully innovative brews – antenna Speaker Bjorn Steiner has perfected vodka derived from food waste…
Seat of power

It’s clearly possible to train nature to 3D print chairs if the furniture being harvested by Full Grown is anything to go by. Why build it afterwards from timber, if you can just grow it ready-made?

Reduce deforestation and wood waste with a naturally grown chair. Image left, Full Grown chairs. Image right, Gavin Munro's furniture farm. Images supplied.


International Underwater Station

A pressurized underwater equivalent of the ISS has been unveiled by Design Indaba Alumnus Yves Béhar. The futuristic research hub, dubbed Proteus, was commissioned by ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau (yes, the grandson of famed aquatic adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau).

This submerged habitat comes complete with a greenhouse. Image supplied.


Instead of buying just one car, you get 10 different vehicles if you invest in the eBussy. The reconfigurable, modular light vehicle innovatively adapts to your needs, as often as you like. But you need a driver’s license for this LEGO set…



If the thought of heading to a public library makes you reach for your Kindle, then the New York Public Library’s Insta Novels were “written” for you. Launched in 2018 on the library's Instagram account (@nypl), Insta Novels publishes newly digitized versions of literary classics. It’s stories, for Stories!