Design Indaba Expo 2014 – Review

The Design Indaba Expo 2014 was chock-a-block with talent, creativity and practical design solutions. As always, I enjoyed The Emerging Creatives above all, but, on reflection I have noticed that there were three very strong themes that stood out for me – Bones, Bicycles and Branding.


Purveyor of morbid curiosities Sobeit Studios hasn’t changed much over the past few Expo’s, but clearly it was because they were well ahead of their time. Some people caught up and this year, the skeletal system in various forms was all over the show. Skulls, full skeletons and bones were found in jewellery, ceramics, textiles, design and that is just what I saw….

Barbara Hudson Ceramics

 Definitely one of the more original bone themed ranges was from Barbara Hudson, with her range of ceramic fish skeletons and animal fossils.

Barbara Hudson

Studio Number 19 had a fab set of dinner plates portraying a skeleton as well as other ceramic items with this theme among their home ware.

Skeleton plates by Studio 19 Skulls at Design Indaba Expo 2014


Cape Town is in the throws of a bicycle trend that doesn’t show any sign of fading so it was inevitable that they would make an appearance.

Winner of the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best 2012′ – the PowerPac (a bike that stores power to provide recharging services) by design company Ideso, was on show on the Absa Stand, and an electric powered bike was a big attraction over on the Elabs stand.

A highlight was the biycle on the Mohair SA stand that power a knitting machine – very entertaining. Read more about the various bicycles here.

Mohair knitting bike

Mohair Bike   Mohair Knitting


Tin Town was the first stand I saw on arrival and I was delighted with the branding for their new jewellery label – Able Mabel.

Tin Town - Able Mabel

This business is one I am very familiar with (in the early years they were tenants at the V&A) and I love the way they continue to evolve their product range, always staying ahead of the trend.

Graphic design played a big role in this show with a healthy  art contingent, so personal branding featured quite a lot. Clothing designer Gavin Rajah, attempted to express his brand identity with a very strange and unappealing bathroom styled stand that didn’t appeal to me in any way.

Brand activations by the sponsors were also well integrated into the whole Expo, Mini in particular took on the role of dj booth with music and interview booth features, see below with DJ Fresh. Woolworths provided the coffee stand and brands ABSA and MTN were also visible.

For more photo’s and info about the event watch for the next blog post.

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