Sir Clive Sinclair remains a key figure in British electronic tech design. His 1985 C5 electric vehicle may have been ahead of its time in design and concept, but was a commercial flop. It just received the dubious distinction of worst innovation of all time by technology buffs, according to The Telegraph. The manufacturing process for this tiny vehicle was the same as that for making car bumpers, joining two pieces of polypropylene together in 70 seconds.
Sir Clive Sinclair remains a key figure in British electronic tech design. His 1985 C5 electric vehicle may have been ahead of its time in design and concept, but was a commercial flop. It just received the dubious distinction of worst innovation of all time by technology buffs, according to The Telegraph. The manufacturing process for this tiny vehicle was the same as that for making car bumpers, joining two pieces of polypropylene together in 70 seconds.
Visitors accept the invitation to design a typeface with pencil and paper, and to vote for their favorite chair via a democratic Tiddlywinks system. Photo by: Max Colson
Visitors accept the invitation to design a typeface with pencil and paper, and to vote for their favorite chair via a democratic Tiddlywinks system. Photo by: Max Colson
Stacking chair by Anna Castelli-Ferrieri for Kartell.
Stacking chair by Anna Castelli-Ferrieri for Kartell.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the exhibit, especially for a foreigner who readily experiences English money or mailboxes as curiosities rather than everyday items, is Identity & Design.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the exhibit, especially for a foreigner who readily experiences English money or mailboxes as curiosities rather than everyday items, is Identity & Design.
How does civic design become a part of national identity? In the case of the public phone booth, the answer is rapidly. The UK installed more than 20,000 K6 telephone kiosks, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, by the 1930s.
How does civic design become a part of national identity? In the case of the public phone booth, the answer is rapidly. The UK installed more than 20,000 K6 telephone kiosks, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, by the 1930s.
The UK has had some sort of currency in circulation for more than a thousand years. Matthew Dent designed the most recent iteration in 2005—the first update since 1971. To appreciate the full design, one must lay out coins of different denominations to see how they add up to a single heraldic shield.
The UK has had some sort of currency in circulation for more than a thousand years. Matthew Dent designed the most recent iteration in 2005—the first update since 1971. To appreciate the full design, one must lay out coins of different denominations to see how they add up to a single heraldic shield.
British-born Jonathan Ive, recipient of the museum's Designer of the Year 2003, studied art and design at Newcastle Polytechnic before designing Apple's iMac G3. First released in Bondi Blue (seen here in Strawberry) in 1998, it was the first desktop to exclusively offer USB ports as standard.
British-born Jonathan Ive, recipient of the museum's Designer of the Year 2003, studied art and design at Newcastle Polytechnic before designing Apple's iMac G3. First released in Bondi Blue (seen here in Strawberry) in 1998, it was the first desktop to exclusively offer USB ports as standard.
In 1964, the Transport typeface by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert had its debut at the Preston By-Pass, after testing fonts for readability in difficult conditions. When laying out traffic signs, the width of the capital letters used directed the size and positioning of all other components. Transport is in use today all over the UK, as well as on roads in a number of other countries.
In 1964, the Transport typeface by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert had its debut at the Preston By-Pass, after testing fonts for readability in difficult conditions. When laying out traffic signs, the width of the capital letters used directed the size and positioning of all other components. Transport is in use today all over the UK, as well as on roads in a number of other countries.
The Typewriter Valentine by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti was dubbed the Biro of typewriters.
The Typewriter Valentine by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti was dubbed the Biro of typewriters.
Early in Jasper Morrison's career, he built a table of beech wood, glass, and two bicycle racing bar handles to give the piece a "mass-produced quality" without benefit of a manufacturer. In 1983, the materials for one table cost about £20.00, and he sold them for five times that. "The somewhat eclectic shape of the table itself was fitting to the mood of the time and my own frame of mind, a kind of poetic, anti-establishment, business-like attitude," Morrison is reported as saying years later.
Early in Jasper Morrison's career, he built a table of beech wood, glass, and two bicycle racing bar handles to give the piece a "mass-produced quality" without benefit of a manufacturer. In 1983, the materials for one table cost about £20.00, and he sold them for five times that. "The somewhat eclectic shape of the table itself was fitting to the mood of the time and my own frame of mind, a kind of poetic, anti-establishment, business-like attitude," Morrison is reported as saying years later.
By selecting high-density chipboard casing instead of then-ubiquitous black plastic in 1994, Phillippe Starck's Jim Nature Portable Television was at the forefront of questioning the unabated use of plastics.
By selecting high-density chipboard casing instead of then-ubiquitous black plastic in 1994, Phillippe Starck's Jim Nature Portable Television was at the forefront of questioning the unabated use of plastics.
"When you buy something from us, I want you to keep it forever, because that's how long it's going to last."
"When you buy something from us, I want you to keep it forever, because that's how long it's going to last."
Morgado says that sourcing sustainable materials was a challenge. Like most bamboo products designed in South Africa, theirs comes from China. She speculates that with foreign interest, it would make more sense to email spec sheets to manufacture the Cloud (seen here) where it would be purchased rather than shipping it from South Africa.
Morgado says that sourcing sustainable materials was a challenge. Like most bamboo products designed in South Africa, theirs comes from China. She speculates that with foreign interest, it would make more sense to email spec sheets to manufacture the Cloud (seen here) where it would be purchased rather than shipping it from South Africa.
Smile and Cloud lamps by Makers of Stuff-Makers of Stuff (MOS) is a new design consultancy in Johannesburg run by three women who proclaim that they're not designers. Inspired by the shapes of clouds and the Cheshire Cat's smile, Antonia Morgado seems enthralled with the process. "You get so involved, you stop seeing what you've created," she says. "It takes a long time to look back." Seen here, the Smile.
Smile and Cloud lamps by Makers of Stuff-Makers of Stuff (MOS) is a new design consultancy in Johannesburg run by three women who proclaim that they're not designers. Inspired by the shapes of clouds and the Cheshire Cat's smile, Antonia Morgado seems enthralled with the process. "You get so involved, you stop seeing what you've created," she says. "It takes a long time to look back." Seen here, the Smile.
Shweshwe tablet cover by Libi for Cape Craft and Design Institute-Libi wasn't the only one showing technology bags made from local textiles at the Expo, but theirs both looked and felt the best. The handmade tablet covers feature high-end versions of traditional shweshwe fabric from South Africa's Eastern Cape, as well as ones in nubbly soft raw silk or mohair. Photo by: Eric Miller
Shweshwe tablet cover by Libi for Cape Craft and Design Institute-Libi wasn't the only one showing technology bags made from local textiles at the Expo, but theirs both looked and felt the best. The handmade tablet covers feature high-end versions of traditional shweshwe fabric from South Africa's Eastern Cape, as well as ones in nubbly soft raw silk or mohair. Photo by: Eric Miller
To push the public's idea of what letterpress printing can look like, this year they displayed large fantasy animal prints by local artist Donna Solovei on archival-quality bamboo paper. They were a big hit with teenagers on Friday, when students visit the Design Indaba Expo en masse. 

Adults continue to prefer more realistic designs, such as the new Sugarbird cards.  The Letterpress Company's bestseller for the past few years is a set of six cards of indigenous trees of South Africa (seen here).
To push the public's idea of what letterpress printing can look like, this year they displayed large fantasy animal prints by local artist Donna Solovei on archival-quality bamboo paper. They were a big hit with teenagers on Friday, when students visit the Design Indaba Expo en masse. Adults continue to prefer more realistic designs, such as the new Sugarbird cards. The Letterpress Company's bestseller for the past few years is a set of six cards of indigenous trees of South Africa (seen here).
Sugarbird note card by The Letterpress Company-Letterpress stationary hasn't quite had the revival in South Africa as in the US, but the Letterpress Company's creative director Gitanjali Maharaj says that the demand for note cards continues unabated.

"We only use imagery of flora and fauna that's endemic to the area. It's all about reflecting where we're based. We don't want the imagery to be clichéd," says Maharaj.
Sugarbird note card by The Letterpress Company-Letterpress stationary hasn't quite had the revival in South Africa as in the US, but the Letterpress Company's creative director Gitanjali Maharaj says that the demand for note cards continues unabated. "We only use imagery of flora and fauna that's endemic to the area. It's all about reflecting where we're based. We don't want the imagery to be clichéd," says Maharaj.
Slice cutting board by Jonathan Fundudis and David Holgreaves for Snapp Design-The Johannesburg-based team at Snapp Design set out to make a cutting board that both functioned better in the kitchen and that looked good enough for a coveted countertop resting place. 

Their solution rests on wedges on both the top and underside of the board. It elevates the look of an ordinary bamboo board while also making it easy to scoop cut foods. 

Fundudis acknowledges the strong movement of design in craft in South Africa. "We look at the industrial processes in a very specific aesthetic which is not African by nature. Which is challenging locally, but does set us apart from our competitors," says Jonathan Fundudis. "In our case, beauty is in simplicity."

Slice was a finalist for Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013 and was nominated for the German Design Award 2013.
Slice cutting board by Jonathan Fundudis and David Holgreaves for Snapp Design-The Johannesburg-based team at Snapp Design set out to make a cutting board that both functioned better in the kitchen and that looked good enough for a coveted countertop resting place. Their solution rests on wedges on both the top and underside of the board. It elevates the look of an ordinary bamboo board while also making it easy to scoop cut foods. Fundudis acknowledges the strong movement of design in craft in South Africa. "We look at the industrial processes in a very specific aesthetic which is not African by nature. Which is challenging locally, but does set us apart from our competitors," says Jonathan Fundudis. "In our case, beauty is in simplicity." Slice was a finalist for Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013 and was nominated for the German Design Award 2013.
Stratflex Skin  (single and double seater) by Wintec Innovation-The East London company's founder, Al Stratford, began working as a builder straight out of high school. Decades later, his practical experience earned him the right to take the qualifying exams (which he passed) to become a licensed architect. He's applied his know-how to develop these chairs out of plywood and local salinga wood. Skin ships flat--but all in one piece, with unique bendy bits that provide texture and color as well as stability once assembled.
Stratflex Skin (single and double seater) by Wintec Innovation-The East London company's founder, Al Stratford, began working as a builder straight out of high school. Decades later, his practical experience earned him the right to take the qualifying exams (which he passed) to become a licensed architect. He's applied his know-how to develop these chairs out of plywood and local salinga wood. Skin ships flat--but all in one piece, with unique bendy bits that provide texture and color as well as stability once assembled.
Nkwana range by Homewood-What with all the DIY upcycled shipping palettes fitted with wheels to become tables, the downcycling versions are inevitable. Homewood's version is part of its new Nkwana line, which also includes a palette-inspired couch and a system of 16 modules for watching Wii, plasma, and other skinny screens. 

Woods used include Zimbabwean teak, kiaat from Zambia and Mozambique (the different climates yield contrasting colors), and African mahogany.
Nkwana range by Homewood-What with all the DIY upcycled shipping palettes fitted with wheels to become tables, the downcycling versions are inevitable. Homewood's version is part of its new Nkwana line, which also includes a palette-inspired couch and a system of 16 modules for watching Wii, plasma, and other skinny screens. Woods used include Zimbabwean teak, kiaat from Zambia and Mozambique (the different climates yield contrasting colors), and African mahogany.
Wintec Innovations won the 2013 Design Indaba Expo Innovation Award.
Wintec Innovations won the 2013 Design Indaba Expo Innovation Award.
The Zebra textile tile by Jordaan.
The Zebra textile tile by Jordaan.
A bright yellow and gray textile tile by Jordaan.
A bright yellow and gray textile tile by Jordaan.
Textile tiles by Ronel Jordaan-Cape Town winters are no joke. The temperature doesn't actually drop to the freezing point, but houses typically have poor insulation, and central heating is rare. Ronel Jordaan's new wool and cement tiles will be a remarkably cozy solution to radiant heat, although she says that they're working out a few details before installing them as flooring quite yet. For now, she's installing a wall of the tiles in a client's new house to give them the warm fuzzies.
Textile tiles by Ronel Jordaan-Cape Town winters are no joke. The temperature doesn't actually drop to the freezing point, but houses typically have poor insulation, and central heating is rare. Ronel Jordaan's new wool and cement tiles will be a remarkably cozy solution to radiant heat, although she says that they're working out a few details before installing them as flooring quite yet. For now, she's installing a wall of the tiles in a client's new house to give them the warm fuzzies.
Africa Reinvented by Keri Muller for Simple Intrigue and Cape Craft and Design Institute-Considering the high cost of books in South Africa, it's surprising how many are dumped into recycling bins. "There's no resale value for a Geoffrey Archer book from the 1980s," says Keri Muller, adding that she goes weekly to a used bookshop to fish out paperbacks that would otherwise be pulped. She looks for books from the 70s and 80s—classics as well as pulp fiction—that have yellowed into a similar palette. 

Muller tried folding the pages into various shapes, but says that the iconic continent is the one that resonates. 

"With Europe, you don't know where it starts and ends," says Muller. "Africa has a definite shape." Photo by: Eric Miller
Africa Reinvented by Keri Muller for Simple Intrigue and Cape Craft and Design Institute-Considering the high cost of books in South Africa, it's surprising how many are dumped into recycling bins. "There's no resale value for a Geoffrey Archer book from the 1980s," says Keri Muller, adding that she goes weekly to a used bookshop to fish out paperbacks that would otherwise be pulped. She looks for books from the 70s and 80s—classics as well as pulp fiction—that have yellowed into a similar palette. Muller tried folding the pages into various shapes, but says that the iconic continent is the one that resonates. "With Europe, you don't know where it starts and ends," says Muller. "Africa has a definite shape." Photo by: Eric Miller
Wood and Carbon Bike by David Stubbs-Last year, Dave Stubbs caught onto the idea of making a bike for his three-year-old. Inspired by wooden bicycles he saw online, he's since built three bikes by hand (and is now working on a fourth, a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels). 

Bicycles need to be both flexible and rugged. "People forget how strong wood is," says Stubbs, who works with carbon fiber and wood at his surfboard company. "Straight wood would be quite heavy." 

Instead, he used carbon fiber, bamboo, ash, and purple heart wood after consulting with an engineer to determine where the main stresses would be.

Stubbs' bike was a finalist in Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013. He says he gets a lot of attention riding the wooden bike to work. He's sure to turn a lot more heads riding it at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, a 67-mile bike race with more than 30,000 entrants, this weekend.
Wood and Carbon Bike by David Stubbs-Last year, Dave Stubbs caught onto the idea of making a bike for his three-year-old. Inspired by wooden bicycles he saw online, he's since built three bikes by hand (and is now working on a fourth, a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels). Bicycles need to be both flexible and rugged. "People forget how strong wood is," says Stubbs, who works with carbon fiber and wood at his surfboard company. "Straight wood would be quite heavy." Instead, he used carbon fiber, bamboo, ash, and purple heart wood after consulting with an engineer to determine where the main stresses would be. Stubbs' bike was a finalist in Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013. He says he gets a lot of attention riding the wooden bike to work. He's sure to turn a lot more heads riding it at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, a 67-mile bike race with more than 30,000 entrants, this weekend.
Bird Range

Designed by: 

Imiso Ceramics and Ngwenya Glass

Sculptor Andile Dyalvane traveled to Swaziland last year to study with master glass worker Sibusiso Mhlanga. A series of collaborations has ensued--some complementary, such as bird-nest lamps in either clay or glass, and some integrated, such as a glass chandelier with ceramic thorns and pots with a glass base and ceramic top.

More info: 

imisoceramics.co.za and ngwenyaglass.co.sz
Bird Range Designed by: Imiso Ceramics and Ngwenya Glass Sculptor Andile Dyalvane traveled to Swaziland last year to study with master glass worker Sibusiso Mhlanga. A series of collaborations has ensued--some complementary, such as bird-nest lamps in either clay or glass, and some integrated, such as a glass chandelier with ceramic thorns and pots with a glass base and ceramic top. More info: imisoceramics.co.za and ngwenyaglass.co.sz
Bucket Stool 

Designed by: 

Pedersen + Lennard

In South Africa, objects tend to be overly designy without enough craft, or too crafty without enough design, says Luke Pedersen. His team has developed several pieces that strive for a balance between industrial and handmade components. In their version of the iconic South African bucket, the metal is powder-coated and fitted with digitally cut plywood legs. The seat works culturally in a similar way that 

District 9 did: it's immediately accessible to an international audience, but with a special wink-wink-nudge-nudge for South Africans with nostalgia for bucolic days. A favorite with Expo visitors, this piece won the Western Cape Furniture Initiative's award for Emerging Designers.

More info: 

pedersenlennard.co.za
Bucket Stool Designed by: Pedersen + Lennard In South Africa, objects tend to be overly designy without enough craft, or too crafty without enough design, says Luke Pedersen. His team has developed several pieces that strive for a balance between industrial and handmade components. In their version of the iconic South African bucket, the metal is powder-coated and fitted with digitally cut plywood legs. The seat works culturally in a similar way that District 9 did: it's immediately accessible to an international audience, but with a special wink-wink-nudge-nudge for South Africans with nostalgia for bucolic days. A favorite with Expo visitors, this piece won the Western Cape Furniture Initiative's award for Emerging Designers. More info: pedersenlennard.co.za
Community Bench

Designed by: 

Lello Design

Initially inspired by a competition for seating with a "shack chic flavour," Aram Lello conceived of a bench system that would work in urban communities as well as in a suburban garden or a gallery. "I give a guide, and then you decide how to use it and how to change it," he says.

More info: 

aramlello.com
Community Bench Designed by: Lello Design Initially inspired by a competition for seating with a "shack chic flavour," Aram Lello conceived of a bench system that would work in urban communities as well as in a suburban garden or a gallery. "I give a guide, and then you decide how to use it and how to change it," he says. More info: aramlello.com
Kudu head

Designed by: Joanna Orr

What do you get for the trophy hunter who already has an elephant foot coffee table, trophy heads aplenty, and skins everywhere? Joanna Orr, a vegetarian, decided to make her friend a kudu head constructed with interlocking pieces of 

Xanita, a recycled corrugated cardboard. Several species are now available, though some of them are in leather, leaving you to decide which material is most ironic.

More info: 

headondesign.co.za
Kudu head Designed by: Joanna Orr What do you get for the trophy hunter who already has an elephant foot coffee table, trophy heads aplenty, and skins everywhere? Joanna Orr, a vegetarian, decided to make her friend a kudu head constructed with interlocking pieces of Xanita, a recycled corrugated cardboard. Several species are now available, though some of them are in leather, leaving you to decide which material is most ironic. More info: headondesign.co.za
Ukhamba Pot

Designed by: Mrs. Shongwe

Sticking with the customary practices in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Mrs. Shongwe collects her own river clay and uses a pit fire. The traditional shape is rendered contemporary with small knobs for texture.

More info: 

khumbulani.co.za
Ukhamba Pot Designed by: Mrs. Shongwe Sticking with the customary practices in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Mrs. Shongwe collects her own river clay and uses a pit fire. The traditional shape is rendered contemporary with small knobs for texture. More info: khumbulani.co.za
Image converted using ifftoany
Image converted using ifftoany
Protea Pendant Lamp

Designed by: Nikki Drzewicki

Nikki Drzewicki trained as an architect back in the day when one sketched by hand rather than computer--she says she still works on paper first--and these wire lamps look much like her drawings.

More info: 

indaloproject.co.za

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
Protea Pendant Lamp Designed by: Nikki Drzewicki Nikki Drzewicki trained as an architect back in the day when one sketched by hand rather than computer--she says she still works on paper first--and these wire lamps look much like her drawings. More info: indaloproject.co.za Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
Steam 1886 directed by Adrian Lazarus and Nicky Felbert, produced by Mercury ProductionsThis short fashion film won the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa competition, which the public votes for via text messaging. Shot on location at Cape Town’s Truth Coffee café, its steampunk aesthetic was designed by Haldane Martin. It’s the first year that a film has been nominated (feature-length Four Corners was also in the running), which seems fitting, given that this was also the inaugural year of the Design Indaba Film Festival. The dozen nominees for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa spanned a wide number of genres, including media and tech, as well as the more expected furniture, dresses, and jewelry.
Steam 1886 directed by Adrian Lazarus and Nicky Felbert, produced by Mercury ProductionsThis short fashion film won the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa competition, which the public votes for via text messaging. Shot on location at Cape Town’s Truth Coffee café, its steampunk aesthetic was designed by Haldane Martin. It’s the first year that a film has been nominated (feature-length Four Corners was also in the running), which seems fitting, given that this was also the inaugural year of the Design Indaba Film Festival. The dozen nominees for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa spanned a wide number of genres, including media and tech, as well as the more expected furniture, dresses, and jewelry.
BRCK by UshahidiThink information is beautiful? A reliable internet connection is still hard to come by in much of Africa, especially in areas that have shaky infrastructure and regular power outages. BRCK, the much-anticipated modem from non-profit Ushahidi, is rugged enough for sandstorms, all-day blackouts, and up to 20 people (though probably about seven at full speed), should be ready to ship by April. “If it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere,” Ushahidi’s Juliana Rotich says.
BRCK by UshahidiThink information is beautiful? A reliable internet connection is still hard to come by in much of Africa, especially in areas that have shaky infrastructure and regular power outages. BRCK, the much-anticipated modem from non-profit Ushahidi, is rugged enough for sandstorms, all-day blackouts, and up to 20 people (though probably about seven at full speed), should be ready to ship by April. “If it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere,” Ushahidi’s Juliana Rotich says.
Lighting Range by MinimaMinima’s new range of light coverings throw shadows rather than provide shade. Made from Austrian birch plywood, they snap together quickly. “Light bulbs used to give such an ugly light,” says Minima’s Jacques Cronje, who is also an architect at Timber Design  in Cape Town. “This becomes a bit more sculptural.”
Lighting Range by MinimaMinima’s new range of light coverings throw shadows rather than provide shade. Made from Austrian birch plywood, they snap together quickly. “Light bulbs used to give such an ugly light,” says Minima’s Jacques Cronje, who is also an architect at Timber Design in Cape Town. “This becomes a bit more sculptural.”

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