DESIGN INDABA 2012: Overview Day 1

Design IndabaOne of the great things about living in Cape Town is the Design Indaba. Since 1995, the Design Indaba Conference has been inviting the world’s top creative minds to address professionals from the creative, corporate and educational sectors alike. Each year at Ogilvy we send a selection of our staff to listen to the talks on topics focusing on graphic design, advertising, film, music, fashion design,and more. This is an invaluable chance for us to soak up, and be inspired by some of the best creativity from around the world.

Day 1 kicked of with the founders of local agency FoxP2 doing a talk entitled “Why wookies don’t wear pants; a study in the art of better practice”. The talk focused on how if you want to do great work you have to use better practice, and not best practice. This meant simply that it’s hard to change the world if you conform to existing norms, you have to think outside the box and fight for your original idea to make a difference. Star war was used as an analogy. When George Lucas pitched the Star Wars storyboard, studio bosses were concerned that people would be offended by the nakedness of the character the world has come to know as Wookie!

They shared 7 tips for creating better practice work:

  1. Best practice cannot be applied to truly original work
  2. Have the courage to see your vision through
  3. Chose the right partners
  4. Better practice can yield better results (break the mould, risk failing)
  5. Better practice can set your business free
  6. Better practice can shape popular culture
  7. Don’t put pants on the Wookie

Alex BoguskyThe second talk was by the incredible creative facilitator John Beilenberg who started off with the quote "Don’t think out of the box, think wrong". He talked about our human tendency to think heuristically, and gave an example of how when a shark attack in Australia is reported on the news in the USA people stay out of the water in LA! His talk revolved around his Project M where he teaches students to how to think wrong to do good, read up on it at http://projectmlab.com. He shared three tips for life; 1. Get Out, 2. Fail Harder, 3. Make Stuff. The talk included a live streaming of his business partner,creative genius Alex Bogusky. Alex talked about their work with common pitch & social entrepreneurship.

Millenial ForestThe third talk was from UK Landscape Designer Dan Pearson entitled A Garden For a Thousand Years. Dan talked about how he has been working in Japan to help create the Millennial Forest. The forest is a place for urban people to get close to nature and to help children learn about the wilderness. Learn about and see his work at danpearsonstudio.com.

The fourth talk was from Copenhagen chef Rene Redzepi, the founder of the world best restaurant, Noma. He talked about how his biggest job as a chef is to distil one moment in time, and how he has been transforming the culinary world with incredible ingredients and a passion for design. At Noma he has taken the unique approach of making his chefs serve the food, and keeping the interior simple to keep the attention on the people and the food. Read more about what Rene is up to at http://noma.dk

Stealth PosterThe fifth speaker was the incredible Eddie Opara from Pentagram design. Eddie started by taking his shoes off and then launching into a talk on complexities & contradictions. He said “As a designer you are never meant to finish anything”, he then told us that was his excuse for not cleaning his room when young. Eddie’s work is truly inspiring, from designing 3D stealth posters and wall coverings, to creating interactive touch tables, and applications for a number of esteemed companies. Take a moment to read up on some of the incredible work done over at http://pentagram.com

Menstration machineThe six talk was a Pecha Kucha style presentation from 7 young designers from around the world. Highlights from the talk included Andy Chen talking about his "Love Is" campaign about sex, HIV, and old age. Brynjar Sigurðarson talking about coffee cup tantrums, stuffed cat incidents, and stuffed animal backpacks. Sputniko! From Japan talking about her menstruation machine for men to experience PMS, as well as a robotic talking crow!(see http://www.sputniko.com). Massoud Hassani from Afghanistan talking about land mines and how he has used wind toy design to create a solution (See http://minekafon.blogspot.com)

Cable CarThe seventh talk was by founder of Urban Think Tank, Alfredo Brillembourg from Venezuela. Alfredo was talking about the growth of informal cities and how his company has been helping them in Caracas by creating a cable car system linking the complex hillside settlement. Alfredo said a brilliant quote “If you want to solve housing problems don’t build housing, build services.” Read more about his wonderful work at http://www.u-tt.com.

To finish off the day we were treated to the phenomenal Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk. Aaron leads the Data Arts Team at Google’s Creative Lab and shared some of his incredible projects such as visualising flight paths around the USA (which practically kicked off the infographic trend), getting a collection of 10,000 sheep made by workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and even creating the worlds first crowd sourced $100 bill forgery! Chris Milk is an incredible Director, best know for his music video work. Chris shared some of his early advertising work, as well as some incredible music videos for the likes of U2 and Kaye West. Then for the first time ever together Aaron and Chris talked about their interactive video projects they created for Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, and Rome (see below).

All in all there are few places in the world where its possible to soak up so much inspiration in one day.

One Reply to “DESIGN INDABA 2012: Overview Day 1”

  1. Thanks for the great summary! I was at the Jo’burg simulcast and it’s just too much information to remember it all.

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