The creatives set to collaborate. Here at the Democratic Design Centre in Älmhult, Sweden.
The creatives set to collaborate. Here at the Democratic Design Centre in Älmhult, Sweden.

Explosion of creativity coming to Cape Town

At the upcoming Design Indaba conference, designers and creatives from seven different African countries will meet up with in-house IKEA designers for a design collaboration on urban modern rituals.

“The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world. Working together with these designers and creatives gives us the opportunity to do so,” says Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA.

Design Indaba is a natural partner for IKEA. Both share a commitment to building a better world through creativity, a belief in sharing knowledge, and that design is a way to improve quality of life.

“The scale at IKEA is staggering, yet they are still true to their founding principles, with which we find such symmetry,” says Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba. He finds it affirming that the world’s biggest furniture and homeware store is partnering with Design Indaba to curate their first African collaboration.

The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world.

IKEA is curious, always eager to learn and trying to find new ways to do things better. Meeting different people and being inspired is an important part of understanding the changing needs of people’s lives around the world. The collaboration will be exploring modern rituals.

Through democratic design, IKEA aims to bring great design to as many people as possible. IKEA is enthusiastic about sharing their ways of working with Democratic Design, their insights about life at home and working in close cooperation with suppliers in product development.

“They look towards democratising design, and are happy to be infiltrated by external ideas! And we love their credo: a better everyday life for everyone,” says Ravi Naidoo. “Now, it will also be inspired by urban Africa, and our intrepid pan-continental group of reformers, thinkers, makers and activists.”

For the past twenty-two years, Design Indaba has been a gathering point for the world’s brightest design talent. Today, it is much more than the annual conference – the Design Indaba Festival. They drive an online design publication and the Design Indaba Do Tank, a funding source for projects and initiatives designed for the greater good. All the participating designers are part of the multifaceted platform Design Indaba’s network.

They look towards democratising design, and are happy to be infiltrated by external ideas! And we love their credo: a better everyday life for everyone. Now, it will also be inspired by urban Africa, and our intrepid pan-continental group of reformers, thinkers, makers and activists.

Sustainability is an important perspective in many of the participating designer’s work. Kenyan duo Bethan Rayner and Naeem Bivji’s work moves fluidly between designing and building, with a keen use of resources in an under-resourced part of the world. Fellow architect Christian Benimana, based in Rwanda, is interested in the innovative use of materials and technologies for sustainable designs.

Hend Riad and Miriam Hazem, a duo from Egypt, have the desire to create responsible and thoughtful products, and to completely reform the way designers use and reuse materials.

Designer Hanna Dalrot, who has worked with IKEA since 2014, has a passion for unique mass production, where you can see the handicraft in the finished piece and Kevin Gourioud, new to IKEA last September, is driven by a passion for “making things.” He started his career in 2010 as a welder.

Issa Diabaté from the Ivory Coast is an architect with a firm belief in the power of architecture’s ability to address local economic and social issues. Bibi Seck from Senegal is both product designer and teacher versed in a multitude of disciplines, ranging from automobiles to recycled furniture. Passionate about social-economic impact of design in Africa.

Other designers taking part in the project are Johanna Jelenik and Mikael Axelsson – both in-house designers at IKEA, Paula Nascimento from Angola, Selly Raby Kane from Senegal and also Sinsiso Khumalo from South Africa.

The designers will meet up to work on the collection during the Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town, 1-3 March 2017.