Get your teeth into design

Celebrating multi-taskers, this edition looks at the different faces of South African design and the upcoming Design Indaba events.
Magazine Cover

À la the poet John Keats' praise of a Grecian urn, this is an ode to another kind of design masterpiece: the creative activity otherwise known as multi-tasking. All hail to those who can be and do many things simultaneously, and with aplomb.

In South Africa, this skill is often the one most necessary for survival. Nascent designers, like the ones we profile in this issue, are often their own business managers, PR agencies and manufacturers to boot. Likewise, a sustainable piece of rural transport can never be just a bicycle - it must also have the load-bearing capability to carry water and an additional passenger if it is to be of any real use.

This magazine, too, needs to perform a juggling act. In our previous issue we featured a rousing essay by Prof James Woudhuysen arguing that Africa should aspire to First World ascendancy and critiquing design projects that focus solely on alleviating Third World poverty and which lack a global ambition. In this issue we turn the tables and champion just such a project. Why?

Because in South Africa, design - just like the ancient Hellenic pottery Keats was so enamoured with - has many forms. And many contexts. All of which need to be considered if we are to gain a complex, textured picture of the built environment that surrounds us. We, as commentators and observers of this environment, must be able to shift fluidly from one paradigm to the next.

Which leads me to my last multi-taskers, the imminent Design Indaba Conference and Expo. Multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral, they bring the whole of the design world to you.

See you there. - Lauren Shantall