The Odde2t Prime

Magazine Cover

The number two is a powerful number in mathematics and spirituality. It is the smallest and only even prime number – therefore often called the oddest prime – and also forms the basis of the binary number system used in computers. In Taoism there is the Ying and the Yang, and Noah’s animals entered the ark two by two. There are two polynucleotide strands in a DNA helix and two is the first digit in the international telephone dialling codes for African countries.

The notion that one thing can exist only in relation to its opposite, or dualism, is possibly one of the most fundamental logical tenets. For good there must be evil, for reason there must be passion, for subject there must be object and for old there must be young.

This edition of Design Indaba magazine is dedicated to the second generation. Besides the new design challenges exposed by the social awareness required in building Web 2.0, this speaks about a Beta generation of designers that are picking up the reins from the older design establishment.

Multiplying the powerful number two by 10, 20Something 20Somethings is a feature on South African designers under the age of 30. The selection portrays a cross-section of designers from students to established designers with underground, independent and upwardly mobile in between.

The pop taste test reveals that these designers are sensitive to end-user’s needs, not only in terms of utility but in terms of fun and identity. Courtesy of the era of globalisation and innovation in which they function, these 20somethings are driven by a need to combine disparate elements into new objects – similar to the unlikely combinations available in today’s grocery stores.

Indeed, looking at young designers never fails to disappoint in terms of radical creativity that questions the status quo – consider Maxim Velcovsky’s ironic takes on the socialism inherent in consumerism.

Just as with the increased awareness of human interaction that is informing the building of Web 2.0, these designers are asking themselves what people are looking for to make a design object special. Through their own dualism of Indian and European design aesthetics, Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien imbue their objects with magical stories. Dutch food designer Marije Vogelzang is also creating new stories and traditions around healthy food by designing dinner experiences.

Any new idea is always at risk, so in this celebration of fresh flavours the magazine also offers a quick guide to design copyright.

Oh yes, and this is my second edition of the magazine. Having recently collected the Design Indaba magazine’s Pica award on behalf of previous editors Judy Bryant and Lauren Shantall, I certainly hope that I can do their legacy justice. - Nadine Botha