While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, money talks at the 2011 Design Indaba Expo from 25 to 27 February at the CTICC.
An external economic assessment conducted by Barry Standish of the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business calculated that the 2010 Design Indaba's GDP impact was R232-million. The overall calculation comprises accommodation, travel, meals, souvenirs and consumer durables, however the bulk comes from business orders at the Design Indaba Expo to the value of R123-million. Design Indaba also has a significant impact on business-to-business and SMME development, which both directly and indirectly impact on household incomes and job creation. Some 500 direct and 450 indirect jobs were created around the Design Indaba event.
These R123-million worth of orders from 2010 Design Indaba Expo exhibitors are thanks to the 427 registered buyers of which 113 were international, confirming Design Indaba as the premier design destination in Africa. "I thoroughly enjoyed the Design Indaba with its great vibe and interesting people and products," commented Yebostyles from Germany. Safari Fusion from Australia said: "Overall the calibre of the suppliers and exhibitors was excellent, and it has presented many new and exciting opportunities to grow my business."
Aside from the tangible impact on exports that exhibitor sales speak of, the incredible media impact of the Design Indaba attests to a much bigger message being shared around the world. Over R10-million worth of advertising and R17-million worth of PR for the Design Indaba Conference and Expo has turned South African design into a R27-million message. Local media such as Mail&Guardian, Advantage, Mahala, House and Leisure, VISI, Elle Decoration, One Small Seed, Art South Africa and The Property Magazine all support Design Indaba. Meanwhile international publications such as Axis, IdN, +81, DAMn, Icon, Novum, ARTRAVEL and Creative Review take the message global.
This can be seen in how many designers' brands have benefited from exposure at Design Indaba Expo. Think Heath Nash, Haldane Martin, Stiaan Louw, Andile Dyalvane and Stoned Cherrie. New exhibitors last year were welcomed with the same enthusiastic response: Tyred Furniture's sustainable furniture pieces were bought by Li Edelkoort. Letterpress Company and Skinny Laminx were praised on Martha Stewart's blog. Not to mention User Design successfully launching their contemporary furniture range and first-time exhibitors Springleap.com selling hundreds of their custom-designed T-shirts. Nor Cupcake Country and Bousquet Creations being sold out on the first day.
A record-breaking 285 exhibitors have signed up to date. More than 50 new exhibitors include Silver Spoon and Good Clothing in fashion, Woodenstate and Flying Dutchman in furniture, Sootcookie and Tamarillo in ceramics, and Kooky in accessories. Not to mention the super funky USB characters of graphic designer Alex Seaton for his new Minky label.
2010 was a big year for South Africa, in particular, for design. This year, as we enter a new decade, Design Indaba will continue to lead the way for high-quality, original South African creative produce.