“Full to brimming” was the impression with which I left the Design Indaba Expo this year. So many people, so many stands, so much product, and so much energy and enthusiam for Design.

An expo is difficult to cover, as those vast exhibition halls are notoriously poorly lit, so things are not shown at their best. I zooted around with my camera, snapping things that caught my eye. Not all my pics turned out well, so this whiparound at the Design Indaba Expo is hardly representative, and just a mixture of things I like and photos that took.


Monkeybiz (above) continues to make their amazing and distinctive beadwork, not messing with their tried and tested formula, while the Streetwires Project (below) keeps on exploring their territory of wire and beads, to beautiful effect.


Indalo Project is an exciting venture I came across (below). What this outfit does is to team up experienced designers, skilled craftspeople, and a seasoned marketing team to drive the innovation and sales of cutting edge handcrafted ranges. Loved the sketchy metalwork Protea lights on their stand.



Already well-known for their extensive range of screenprinted Tshirt designs, I was delighted to see that Mingo Lamberti has ventured into the homewares department, with an adorable range of cushion covers (below), inspired by vintage teacups and crockery.


Ardmore Ceramics have been on the South African arts and crafts scene for years, and their recent expansion into a designer collection, with crockery (below)and textiles included, won them a nomination for the Most Beautiful Object in SA on this year’s Indaba.


Marc Nicolson and Lyall Sprong are the young industrial designers behind ThingKing – “a designing and making experience” – and their stand was a breath of fresh air at the Expo. Given just a few days’ notice that they were to be given a stand, Nicolson and Sprong put something together that had lightness, wit and heart too. Their Halo light (below) is in an edition of 25, and this is because each of the copper ‘halos’ were bent into rings by 25 people they encountered one day. It’s a lovely object, I think, with a light touch that suits the object’s title too.


The other object on the tiny ThingKing stand was the ‘Cheap Light’. This was something conceptualised and executed within a couple of days, with the help of a punching and bending machine. Each of these metal units was available for sale (worth R30, but you could put whatever you liked into the Honesty Box), and with a twist of a nut and bolt and the application of a makeshift shade made of paper, it turns into a reading lamp. Charming.


It was great to see a bit of greenery injected into the rather soulless Expo venue, thanks to Haldane Martin‘s brand new Wallflower Urban Garden unit (below). I think I’ll do a more in-depth post about this project during the week, but you can read more about it here.


O.live Studio, well known for their events work, as well as for the amazing O.live store on Kloof St, Cape Town, put together a striking stand, along with a ceramics artist.


I’m sure I featured them last time, but Raw Studios‘ beautiful modular furniture and storage units (below) really do seem to be something pretty unusual on the Cape Town design scene, and they put together a top-notch Expo stand too. See more of their work at the website, as my pictures just couldn’t do it justice.


Also loved the REcreate stand, which made extremely good use of a tiny space to showcase their ‘Extra Ordinary Repurposed Furniture and Lighting”.


Another old favourite of mine is the Projekt project, where mad dollies, crazy cactuses, and beautiful scarves are all made with painstaking perfection by a team of craftswomen led by Peta Becker.


All in all, a jam-packed Expo, attended with enthusiasm by the public (queuing for miles for tickets!), and exhibited at with gusto. This is just a tiny taste of what was there, and so if you didn’t make it this year, be sure to diarise it for next.