This year’s Design Indaba Festival programme boasts an impressive lineup of talks, performances, exhibitions and film screenings.

We got there bright and early on Day 1, coffee in hand, in great anticipation the day’s talks and were not disappointed.  Joburg based multidisciplinary design company Dokter and Misses kicked things off with a retrospective presentation of their work, giving the audience a lot to think about concerning past and present. Throughout the day speakers gave attendees a great deal of food for thought and their daily dose of inspiration… plus some! If you weren’t there on the first day, these are some of the pearls of wisdom  you missed…

Culturally, what do shapes mean and how do you get away from that so you create a new language?

– Multidisciplinary design company, Dokter & Misses


‘What have we lost between the ancient scent rituals and the pop star/celebrity perfumes we see today?’
– Product and furniture designer, Kaja Solgaard

‘Systems can’t feel compassion, only humans can’
– Design, activist and advocate for dialogue, Arjun Harrison-Mann

How can you systemise and obsession with an idea and turn it into a recipe for making?

– Architecture, art and design studio, Great Things To People


‘The power of collaboration is that between the two parties, we each learn something’
– Ceramist and Design Indaba Emerging Creative alumnus, Andile Dyalvane

‘Can I apply my design process to my life and design the life I love’
– Co-founder and creative diretor of  Birsel + Seck, Ayse Birsel

‘What if objects responded to gestures?’
– Interaction designer and artist, Pauline Saglio

‘Technology can give garments the potential to be beneficial to the wearer’
– member of Daijiro Mizuno research laboratory at Keio University in Japan, Shoko Tamura

We all self-medicate with music. We use it to get pumped up, to get in the zone, to concentrate and to prime ourselves

– CEO and co-founder of The Sync Project, Marko Ahtisaari


‘Nigerians are really flamboyant, it was all about being seen, been heard. That was how they defined richness’
– London based Nigerian furniture designer, Yinka Ilori

‘Latitude and longitude strings are good for machines, but don’t work for people. How can you make addresses easy and usable’
– Founder of what3words, Chris Sheldrick

‘I have never understood an attachment to one culture, one niche. Our journeys are so mixed – our origins so many’
– Pentagram partner and creative director, Marina Willer

‘For us to make something thats beautiful but costly, is a failure’
– Ikea’s head of design and CEO of range and supply, Marcus Engman & Jesper Brodin

Maybe what people actually want is more important than what we’re telling them they should want

– artist, Olafur Eliasson


The 2017 Field Report is not about fleeting trends – its about quality and perfection, about bringing back traditional skills and craftsmanship. We speak to the visionaries, icons and experts who shape their unique, lasting and life-enhancing concepts for us to embrace through their designs, recipes, buildings and explorations. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #2017FieldReport.