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[Design Indaba 2016] Bringing sexy back to Design Indaba

Returning to its original 'home', Artscape, Design Indaba 2016 was edgy, street, sexy, intimate, inclusive, fashionable and felt more creative.
[Design Indaba 2016] Bringing sexy back to Design Indaba

Maybe it was because there is a natural space outdoors for everyone to congregate and less of the exclusive and vast divides of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) where Design Indaba was hosted for the last decade.

Maybe it was because it did away with the formalities of the extreme security at CTICC, the guarded rooms and eating spaces. Maybe it was just because Artscape has a piazza where festival goers can naturally overflow into, lured by the delectable food trucks, hot music and people watching.

[Design Indaba 2016] Bringing sexy back to Design Indaba

The oh-so stylish crowd, led by the ubiquitous millennials, was a veritable style fest. This is where fashion editors should be feasting. “It’s definitely more ‘street’,” remarked another editor.

It just felt more creative, less structured, organised chaos. Design Indaba guru and founder, Ravi Naidoo, says Artscape have given permission to take over the space around and outside the theatre and he has big plans for future Indabas.

[Design Indaba 2016] Bringing sexy back to Design Indaba

Up on stage, speakers were also given free reign to showcase their total creative side, with great theatre from London duo Nick Finney and Alan Dye from NB Studio, in which the client/agency relationship was dissected and acted out in a play which was rather good; fashion designer and musician Rich Mnisi, whose models strutted their stuff to his first album; and Swedish agency anarchists, Snask, who brought their own rock band and unique presentation ‘style’ (read: total chaos) to the Design Indaba stage. It was fabulous.

[Design Indaba 2016] Bringing sexy back to Design Indaba

Each lunchtime there was a DJ or live music outside the theatre and each evening a performance. Inside, a couple of odd ‘installations’ came to life, like the ‘Mobile Monster’ covered in the detritus of mobile phones and their waste. I hope to see more pop-up performance art at future Indabas.

The media lounge was buzzing, crowded at all times with local and foreign media, speakers, and a great place for networking and quickie interviews. And there was space for a separate media simulcast room with plentiful power – a dream come true. Although tables for our laptops would have made it perfection #JustSaying.

Serving up the food trucks, bringing street to a festival like Design Indaba which espouses culture and design empathy and urges mechanisms to change the world through creative collaboration, is exactly where Design Indaba needs to be and I hope to see more street performers, more art and more uncomfortable installations to challenge our preconceived ideas of the world and provoke us to making the necessary change.

I am looking forward to Design Indaba 2017!

(PS: A cupcake food truck would be nice - they have them in New York. Anyone?)

About Louise Marsland

Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is Founder/Content Director: SOURCE Content Marketing Agency. Louise is a Writer, Publisher, Editor, Content Strategist, Content/Media Trainer. She has written about consumer trends, brands, branding, media, marketing and the advertising communications industry in SA and across Africa, for over 20 years, notably, as previous Africa Editor:; Editor: Bizcommunity Media/Marketing SA; Editor-in-Chief: AdVantage magazine; Editor: Marketing Mix magazine; Editor: Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor: BusinessBrief magazine; Editor: FMCG Files newsletter. Web:

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