The V&A Waterfront's new 100 Beautiful Things initiative celebrates the creativity of the makers behind some of South Africa's most inspiring projects, products, ideas and experiences. All of the ideas showcased have been created with either compassion, sustainability, future-thinking or local essence at their core, with some being recognised for just simply being beautiful.
Hlabisa Bench by Thabisa Mjo and Houtlander
The initiative was launched two weeks ago in partnership with Platform Creative Agency, at a time when many local small creative enterprises and projects are suffering from the wide-reaching negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
From fashion and food to tech and social projects
Over 100 days, the 100 Beautiful Things are be showcased, one a day, on the V&A Waterfront digital platforms, as well as on a dedicated website
. Along with featuring the product or idea, the stories of the people behind them and their creativity will also be presented.
Spread across five themes – Designing with Compassion, Sustainable Design, Future Thinking, South African Essence and Simply Beautiful – the 100 Beautiful Things range from fashion and furniture pieces to social and environmental projects, food initiatives, medical and technological innovation, virtual platforms and travel or entertainment experiences.
Virus Sculpture by Haldane Martin
“We launched this good-news initiative to inspire positivity, as well as to support and elevate some of the incredible enterprises and creative projects in our country, all of whom strengthen South African society and leave a better world for all,” explained David Green, CEO at the V&A Waterfront.
“At tough times like these we believe that now, more than ever, there is a real need to support local businesses and enterprises, and the people behind them, as much as we can. Creative, retail and lifestyle businesses have been particularly hard hit, but with help and support they are exactly the companies that will have the ability to help rebuild our society.
"We hope that by showcasing these enterprises and the creative abilities of the people behind them, we can in some way lift people’s spirits and contribute to helping the people behind the designs and ideas sustain themselves through the difficult times arising from the global pandemic,” Green continued.
Lulasclan by Bonolo Chepape
Nominate your favourites
Members of the public are invited to submit their favourite projects, products, ideas or experiences from South Africa that they feel deserve to be celebrated, via the website. These submissions should have a creative element and fit into one of the five themes. It can be something new, adapted to aid in the current global situation, or something that’s been around a little longer, and must have been running or been put into production in the last three years.
The initiative currently lives online, but over the course of five months, 100 Beautiful Things will evolve from a presentation of online stories into a large-scale physical exhibition to be held at the V&A Waterfront later in the year.
“South African creativity is boundless and comes in many forms. It finds its way into everything from functional or decorative products to social change, sustainable impact and visual communication.
"Our people’s creative thinking solves healthcare problems with adaptive design, supports impoverished communities to reinvigorate cultural skills, transforms industries by using innovative technology and looks to the future with ground-breaking virtual reality,” said Cathy O’Clery, Creative Director at Platform Creative Agency, and curator of the 100 Beautiful Things.
Eight beautiful things
The first eight of the 100 Beautiful Things showcased are:
1. Pelebox: a digital dispensing system for chronic medication that allows patients to access their medication in less than a minute, using simple technology.
2. Colour Extravaganza Chandeliers by Our Workshop: pretty and delightful chandeliers with an underlying social message about the use of plastic and the waste in our society, made from bottles gathered from waste sites from all over Cape Town.
3. Futurepart: an interdisciplinary thinktank for rigorous research and experimental design, exploring the interaction between thinking and doing.
4. The Hlabisa Bench by Thabisa Mjo: a sublime blend of cross-cultural storytelling, traditional skills and technology, this bench invites people (in times of non-social distancing) to sit intimately for a chat.
5. Botanical Sculptures by Nic Bladen: a sensitive celebration of South Africa’s indigenous Protea family, using extraordinary metal-working skills.
6. Botha’s Halte Primary School: a groundbreaking new government school that not only provides a secure, uplifting and aesthetically appealing facility to educate the children of the rural community, but is changing the way they are being taught.
7. Produce Displays at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market: displays of harvested produce from over 35 ethical and organic farmers that tell the tale of the bountiful nature of the Western Cape and the hard work and passion of small-scale, artisanal farmers.
8. Sealand: old billboards, tents and advertising banners, which are upcycled into one-of-a-kind hand-crafted bags designed to last a lifetime.