It’s that time of the year again when the ‘best design conference in the world’ returns to Cape Town on the 21st of February, until the 24th. Design Indaba is set to thrill and inspire with their stellar lineup of 30 local and international speakers, who represent a wide range of fields such as art, architecture, tech, designers and inventors.

Who forms part of this year’s exciting lineup?

The festival speakers are, as always, industry leaders in their forward-thinking fields and this year’s speakers won’t disappoint. While we don’t recommend missing any talks, here are a couple of key people to look out for.

Thomas Heatherwick, the prolific architect who brought the award-winning Zeitz MOCAA to life, returns to the conference to share his aesthetic and process for the museum. Tom Dixon will speak too, the self-taught London-based product designer is most known for his gorgeous futuristic pieces. Another industry leader returning to the conference is architect Alejandro Aravena who has become well-respected for his wide range of projects from buildings to public space.

As part of the Global Grads lineup, we’re most looking forward to designer Ini Archibong. As a son of Nigerian immigrants to the United States, Singapore and Switzerland, his diverse personal and professional background underlines his design ethic and ethos. Dutch product designer Simon Dogger is also part of the Global Grad show. After losing his sight, he created the Emotion Whisperer’, a subtle tool that can prompt the visually impaired with the body language they’re otherwise missing out on.

As ever, the conference has ensured a diverse and representative range of speakers, featuring a strong African contingent. One such speaker is Egyptian fashion designer, Amna Elshandaweely. Through her striking and fashionable pieces, Elshandaweely’s clothing collections unpack issues of identity, specifically within issues such as Middle Eastern-African identity and colourism.

Representing the elusive field of tech is Zachary Lieberman, self-proclaimed hacker, researcher and artist. He creates performances and installations that take human gesture as input and amplify them in different ways, making human behaviour a visual display.

Es Devlin is another speaker we’re looking out for. She specialises in kinetic sculptures in opera, dance, theatre, fashion, music as well as solo work, and has even created stage sculptures in collaboration with Beyoncé, Kanye West, U2, Jay Z, Adele and The Weeknd.

These talks are just a small part of the Design Indaba conference. Trends expert, the uber-stylish Li Edelkoort, also returns for her annual insightful talk on this year’s trends, and this year’s Design Indaba festival is a myriad of exhibitions, music shows and installations.

For more on the Design Indaba festival, read here.

For the full conference lineup, visit