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GN Number


The primary event for dialogue between designers and non-design stakeholders in a s

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01 June - 31 July (group registrations available)

Keynote Sessions

Flve international experts will offer themed keynote addesses followed by a panel of designers representing the three disciplines of the IDA.

Economic Development


Biotechnology Urbanism


Barry Lam


Vandana Shiva

(Chinese Taipei)

Founder, Research Foundation for Science,Technology and Ecology

Esko Aho

Executive Vice President,Nokia / Former Prime Minister of Finland

Chairman & CEO, Quanta Computer Inc.


Panellists Emily Campbell , Director of Design, RSA (United Kingdom) Nila Leiserowitz , Managing Director, Gensler (United States) Valerle Jacobs, VP&Group Director,LPK Trends (United States) Ruth Soenius, Director Of User Experience,Siemens (Germamy) Bill Soenius, Duke University (United States) Cory Kidd, CEO & Founder,Intuitive Automata (Hong Kong) Susan Szenasy, chief Editor,Metropolis Magazine (United States) For complete programme information, including afternoon parallel sessions:

Peter Bishop United Kingdom

Former Deputy CEO, London Development


International Migration

Bob Elton


Chair of the Board of Directors, Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia

Anthony Dunne, Dunne + Raby (United States) Marco Steinberg,, Design Director, Finnish Innovation Fund (Finland) Michael Murphy, Co-Founder,Mass Design (United States) Fred Gelli,Creative Director & Partner, Tatil (Brasil) Dr. Lee Kumpho, LG Design Center (Korea) Carlo Ratti, MIT SENSEable City Lab (Italy)

summit format.


CONTENTS 14 > T oday we would be kings: Frida Larios’ New Maya Language

26 > Making a move: A traveller’s companion to becoming a freelancer in the UK

38 > Rob Mills’ convergence of art and


50 > The winners of Hiiibrand 2010

62 > H IV Positive: Iconic t-shirts that shape views and awareness on the pandemic

68 > Let's make condoms cool

76 > C reating complex objects of desire layer by layer


84 > 3D what?

90 > Turning talent into success

98 > Supporting ideas into prototypes

104 > South Africa learns from the Swedes

109 > P RECIOSA illuminates another One & Only complex

114 > T he Upper East Side Hotel: Beauty by contrast

124 > R adisson Blu Gautrain Hotel: Symbolism in design

134 > AFGRI Head Office: Architecture that floats


There’s a new place for creative minds. With our database of thousands of professionals and positions from architecture to web design, you’ll discover just the job to inspire you or the ideal bright spark for your company. Upload your CV or search today and find all your creative resources in one place. How’s that for an idea? Visit


144 > Waverley Office Park: Neo-African iconography

152 > 1 5 Alice Lane Towers: Raising the bar in corporate head office design

166 > 1 Protea Place: Reflecting a brand’s identity through architecture

178 > T o Egypt with love: An artist’s response to change

182 > P aul Stopforth: The man who retrieves the soap and sees in it a sliver of history

194 > Gerhard Marx: Cumulus

204 > Working with nature

quest for creative solutions

architecture urban design project management development planning computer aided design


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Karuna Pillay –

T: +27 (0) 12 346 7788 F: +27 (0) 12 346 2559



Bluprint Design

W: Twitter:


EDITOR Jacques Lange –

PRODUCTION Anri Theron –

CONTRIBUTORS Judy Bryant, Shiree Darley, Frida Larios, Judith Mason,


Anton Ressel, Stacey Rowan, Matthew Schönborn,

ISSN 1814-7240

Kirsty Snodgrass, Kenneth van Rensburg, Michaella

Number 19, June 2011

Janse van Vuuren, Reney Warrington, Dalli Weyers, Gavin Younge

DISCLAIMER: No material may be reproduced in part or whole without the express permission of the publisher. No responsibility will be accepted for unsolicited material. The publisher accepts no liability of whatsoever nature arising out of or in connection with the contents of this publication. The publisher does not give any warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of its contents. The views and opinions expressed in DESIGN>MAGAZINE are not necessarily those of the publisher, its endorsers, sponsors or contributors.

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Media partners

The 2011 super jury includes:





Jo noERo visit worldarchitecture for the full list of 2011 judges

Plus 70 international jury members including: James Grose, BVN Architecture, Australia // Isay Weinfeld, Isay Weinfeld, Brazil // Li Xiadong, Li Xiadong Atellier, China // Bjarne Hammer, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Denmark // Gurjit Singh Matharoo, Matharoo Associates, India // Yvonne Farrell, Grafton Architects, Ireland // Akihiko Hamada, Nikkon Sekkei, Japan // Peter Kudryavtsev, Rusresorts, Building, Russia

Architectural Excellence- Live! The world’s largest, live, truly inclusive and interactive global architectural awards programme 1400+ architects - 500+ entries – 236 live shortlist presentations – 70+ international jury members - 65 countries represented – 60+ international jury members - 40 inspirational seminar speakers - 1 Building of the Year – 1 totally unique, unmissable event! All entries and visitor passes are buy one get one free until 30 June 2011

Ent er Ent NOW! clo ries Jun se 30 e 2 011

WAF is a feast of architecture, just don’t get too overwhelmed, otherwise you might lose your head in the heady atmosphere of WAF.

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Enter WAF 2011 to showcase your work to a global audience raise your profile, win acclaim and secure new business T: +44 (0)20 7554 5800 / 0845 056 8339 E: Please quote VIP code BLUPAF when entering online WAF'11 Ad1_ BLUPAF_A4.indd 1

11/03/2011 02:56

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Today we would be kings: Frida Larios’ New Maya Language By Frida Larios | My journey to revive the

world how the Maya are one of the founding

visual language of the ancient Maya started in

six pillars of the civilised world, inventors of

2004 when I was studying towards a masters

the notion of zero and of one of the most

in Communication Design at Central Saint

accurate calendars in history. There is also a

Martins College of Art & Design in London,

lack of recognition of their intelligent and

located only two blocks away from the Brit-

advanced hieroglyphic language’s art form,

ish Museum which holds some of the most

within Mesoamerica (modern Mexico, Guate-

important lintels in the Maya world. I was

mala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador) itself,

the first Salvadoran woman to study at Saint

and beyond its boundaries. Now, as an am-

Martins. How could I not look for my own

bassador for INDIGO (Icograda’s Interna-

roots within an institution, and city, with

tional Indigenous Design Network), it is my

marked avant-garde tendencies? It was my

privilege to promote part of this ancient

opportunity to show my peers and now the

culture through my design work.

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My New Maya Language is a unique system,

whether it is by instigating conceptual

in content and style, which rescues the ‘dead’

thinking through a 0–12 year-old child’s

written language created by the Maya across

game, T-shirts or simply by creating appre-

Mesoamerica as far back as 300 BC. My vision

ciation through my artworks, which to-date

for the New Maya Language is to recreate,

have been acquired by collectors around

re-compose and develop contemporary appli-

the world. Antonio Avia, Indigenous Educa-

cations in different media: art, product and

tion Director for the Organisation of Iberoa-

fashion design, brand identities, information

merican States had this to say about my

design, wayfinding and education systems

artworks: “… your work presents another

for archaeological sites and public spaces,

form of seeing, understanding, recreating,

as well as children’s toys. Through these di-

and above all, employing again in daily life,

verse applications I aspire to promote icon-

millenary means of expression. I am fasci-

ographic meanings, education and play,

nated by this new vision of the glyphs.”

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Before being historians, mathematicians or astronomers, the Mayan scribes were artists. Their writing not only documented the political life and other historical affairs, but were also works of art which manifested through different mediums: stone sculpture, ceramics, murals, calligraphic manuscripts, garments and utilitarian products. This makes me think that there is not much difference between a practicing artist or designer today and the Mayan scribes, right? The answer is: No. The difference is that our profession is not as valued today as in ancient times when, like Mayanist Michael D. Coe says, “artists could be kings.” It was indeed a royal profession. I aim to preserve the ancestral artists’ spirit at the time of creation, highlighting, and not merely reproducing their strokes. Aptly, renowned Harvard Peabody Museum’s epigrapher Alexandre Tokovinine described my work as follows: “Even though there has been a growing body of scholarly works devoted to the subject of Maya calligraphy, few artists systematically sought their inspiration in Maya letters beyond mere reproduction of certain glyphs and glyphic patterns, usually in the context of contemporary indigenous art. Frida’s project stands apart as an attempt to explore and reinvent Maya calligraphy as a symbolic and aesthetic system from an artist’s viewpoint. The New Maya Language creates its own world that blends Maya imagery and symbolism with Frida’s unique vision in a series of works which would make an ancient calligrapher proud.”

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The book I wrote, illustrated and designed the 120-page New Maya Language book so that people could learn about the original language of the Maya in a simple and practical way and to decode my new interpretation to others. The main chapter provides the formula for each of my pictograms, original hieroglyphs on the left page and the new hieroglyphs or result on the right. Finally I showcase various design applications. The foreword to the book is written by Harvard’s post-doctor Alexandre Tokovinine, who states: “Many signs of the New Maya Language retain similarities to their ancient counterparts. Yet the most fascinating part of the book is a series of works that borrow from the grammar of the Maya symbolic language to innovate completely new hieroglyphs corresponding to various objects, actions, and even abstract concepts. Frida’s works demonstrate that Maya glyphs still have the power not only to puzzle and astound, but to encourage new forms of artistic expression, that the Maya art and writing are alive as long as artists look at it as a source of inspiration and creativity.”

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Green Child Puzzle The symbolic pictogram called Green Child (or Mother Earth), consisting of a six-piece sustainable wood block puzzle, was originally designed and inspired by the birth of my son Yax (his name means the resplendency of the colours blue and green in Maya). The corn sprouting from a child’s ear symbolises Mother Earth opening up to the creation of life and preservation of our planet’s seeds. I included translations in Maya, Spanish and English at the back of each block piece.

Art The New Maya Language inspired me to create original artworks which I paint in gouache on high-quality watercolour paper. Many of these have found homes in different parts of the world. Featured at top right is Erupting volcano, London. Centre: Family at home, Leipzig. Bottom LTR: Ixchel goddess, Supernatural portal and Hacienda San Lucas symbol, Toronto.

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Hacienda San Lucas When the time came, after residing in London and living the city life, I decided to raise my now two-and-a-half-year old son at my husband's family eco-lodge, Hacienda San Lucas, in the mountains of CopĂĄn Ruins, Honduras. This offered me the opportunity to study the ancient hieroglyphs in their original habitat and become inspired by one of the most beautiful places on earth, overlooking one of the major Maya archaeological sites. We now live in Berkeley, California where my husband is a fellow at UC Berkeley Journalism Graduate School, but I am back at Hacienda San Lucas for the summer to meet-up with my muse for my next fashion and pictogram collection.

Gaia Gaia is the ceremonial and yoga center at Hacienda San Lucas overlooking the Copån Valley, and one of the major Maya archaeological site’s in Mesoamerica. The space was in need of differentiation from the main centenary-old Hacienda house, since many special events and weddings take place there. I designed a new brand identity inspired by the New Maya Language. A beautifully reclaimed wood-carved sign is currently being manufactured to be placed at the foot of the Gaia Hill, all in preparation for the major Maya Long Count Calendar ending on 21 December 2012.

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One of my other goals with the New Maya Language is for it to remain democratic and accessible, not only to northern hemisphere’s academics who are the ones who command the hieroglyphic writing knowledge, but to common Mesoamerican citizens. Above all I want it to be inclusive of native inhabitants of the region so that they have the opportunity to recreate themselves with it. A lot of these populations are illiterate and the New Maya Language touches their cognitive and emotional fibers. It is a language without words that makes them feel included in a world where the letters of the alphabet are their foremost barriers. I believe that designers in Central America – and in other developing regions – should immerse themselves in their historic roots to reinforce design with an individual identity instead of obsessing themselves with influences from Anglo-Saxon countries. There are indeed parameters at the time of designing or international design cannons, which in fact were born in the Anglo-Saxon world. But anchoring inspiration and identity in indigenous heritage is very different to searching for inspiration based on European or North American influences. Why not look for inspiration in what is ours, which, by the way, is very different to the rest? Ancient indigenous cultures had magnificent artistic development, anchoring themselves in their natural and social environment and respecting it. I firmly believe that if Central American designers had been able to continue to reflect their indigenous culture until our present day – a development defrauded by many conquests during the course of over 500 years – the roles would be reversed and it would be the Western world looking for reference in our culture. Today, we would be kings. <

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UYAL es una línea de

oductos para el cuerpo

e harmoniza el desarrollo

mano con mejoras

ológicas. Todos sus

gredientes son proveidos

ca y localmente. En el mundo maya

UYAL (nube) era un

mbolo de renovación

piritual y fue la

spiración para el diseño de

tipografía y el logo.

UYAL is a range of

dycare products that

rmonises human

velopment and ecological

provements. All its

gredients are locally and

hically sourced. In the Maya world

UYAL (cloud) was a symbol

spiritual renovation–the

spiration for the type and

go design.

WildHeart Vision WildHeart Vision is a media organisation based in Helsinki and Copenhagen that aims to gather the largest collection of indigenous knowledge from around the world. The organisation commissioned me to develop a pictogram, website ( and branded communications. The pictogram used is called tz’ak, a Maya hieroglyph that means ‘total’, ‘whole’ or ‘complete’. The word is represented by the sum of two parts, which in the Maya spiritual and physical world, where perceived to be either complementary or opposing, one could not exist without the other. WildHeart Vision’s logo depicts the stars and the moon corresponding each other in the night to embody the guidance of the ancestral wisdom carriers.

Identities The New Maya Language system has been applied in the development of various identity and visual communication projects.

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Los Sapos archaeological site

New Maya Language accessories

Graphic quality and available production budgets are constant constraints in the development of signage for public locations in most developing countries. The thousand-year-old Los Sapos UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site in Honduras needed a culturally relevant and affordable wayfinding design solution. I designed a single infographic carved in local stone by local artisans that now guides visitors along their way to the historic site.

I worked with local Maya stone-carvers to develop a unique style for my signature accessory line composed of jewellery, belts, bags and shoes based on my Maya symbology and use of ancestral local resources. The designs, apart from the use of leather and suede, utilise different shades of jade encrusted on limestone extracted from the same place where the Maya historically mined for their monuments.

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Harvesting Hands fashion collection San Francisco-based Explode La Mode approached me to complement my accessory line with fashion designs for their 2011 runway show in the heart of the famous Mission district. This was a significant trans-discipline career move for me and I addressed it with the same ethos of previous projects, using my graphic design background and the New Maya Language to treat pattern drawings. The result was a design-oriented, 100% handcrafted fashion line featuring New Maya Language pictographs, allowing clients to wear a story: the metaphoric language and history of the

Maya as interpreted through my eyes. The concept behind the collection is planting and harvesting seeds, building a home with your own hands and nourishing yourself and your family through eating beans on self-made ceramic vessels. I intentionally commissioned Salvadoran women to lovingly hand-sew and patch the garments to give the items unique dimensions and patched texture. This collaboration resulted in a fashion range that is hand-made, earth-toned in colour and modern – marrying Mayan traditions with modern easy-to-wear sophistication. Photos by Tyler Orsburn.

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MAKING A MOVE: A traveller’s companion to becoming a freelancer in the UK By Matthew Schönborn | Daily trips on the

where the toilets flush in the opposite direc-

tube (the spiderweb network of underground

tion. I booked my ticket and said goodbye to

trains, as they are referred to in this city) and

perfect weather and pseudo-Tuscan housing

lunches in the park are some of the things

estates, and hello to one-way traffic, chavvy

that help me keep track of my daily routine.

bus stops and impossibly high rent.

Pounding the pavement and passing by the hipsters, the homeless and the endless sea of black coats and umbrellas, I realise that this is not what I am used to, having grown up in the

The first step is always the hardest to take

vast expanse of Africa, where space is sometimes taken for granted. One of the most ob-

My first job in the UK was actually testing video

vious things I noticed when I first arrived here

games for Electronic Arts. The role was simple:

over four years ago, was that everyone walks

play a game for 8 hours a day and find and list

to where they want to go...and they walk fast.

as many bugs as you could and punch-out at five o’clock. As much as I loved video games,

Back in 2005, I graduated from the University

the job just wasn’t for me as I felt unstimulated

of Pretoria with a degree in Information De-

and unchallenged. Also, earning £7.50 an hour

sign and the World was mine to conquer. After

was not going to help me buy my own Playsta-

spending a year at an advertising agency in

tion either.

Johannesburg, I decided that I needed a change. I had always wanted to travel to Eu-

My first proper design job in London was

rope with its ever increasing cosmopolitan

working for a small digital agency called DJM.

sensibilities and centre-of-the-world loca-

We specialised in pharmaceutical marketing

tion. So I moved to England – as many South

and design and I’ve lost count how many revo-

African expats do – and used it as a base to

lutionary new treatments we had helped re-

see the world from a different perspective

lease. So from a ‘make the World be a better

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3dtracking Being a freelancer means delving in industries not necessarily associated with 'high design'. One of the first freelance jobs Matthew did was creating a marketing campaign for worldwide vehicle management company, 3dtracking.

place’ perspective, it was quite rewarding to know that in some abstract way, I was helping people ‘feel better’ with the medicines I was promoting. The learning curve was incredibly steep as I had learned the value in multi-tasking and new technologies as I had coded many programmes and websites in Adobe Flash (learning by trial and error as well as with the assistance of online tutorials). I learned all about lighting, mise-en-scene, filming, editing, soundtracking and the packaging of self-produced videos. I learned how to prioritise workflows and optimise my weaknesses so that they wouldn’t become a hindrance. It’s not an easy ride in a small, yet successful studio, as you have to be on top of every aspect of the production process and be skilled in many areas in order to drive the business forward.

29 > As a freelancer, Matthew often gets approached by startup companies looking for a corporate identity. One of these is, a video production and social media management company that makes highquality, low-cost videos optimised for the Internet.

30 >

After three years of paying my dues and moving up the ranks, I had seen the company grow three times in size and I had felt like I had learned all I could from that experience and therefore decided to have a go on my own. I wanted to know what it would be like being called a ‘freelancer’ – that mythic word which held strong adventurous connotations for my free-spirited and self-reliant mind.

Sifting through the chaff to find the grain Becoming a freelancer was a frightening decision for me to make. Not having the security of a monthly salary and paid holidays is enough to make many people jump at the thought. However, I also realised that I didn’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. I had reached a point in my career where I felt like I had learned enough to offer people genuinely valuable skills and I didn’t want to be the middle-aged creative who’s wings had been clipped and who’s neck couldn’t arch towards the sky. One of my mainstay client relationships has been with the founders of Internet startup, I found them on a job site in 2007 when I first arrived in London when they were looking for someone to help design their visual identity. “Exciting! Fresh! Innovative!” were some of the words they used to describe their new business which was to create rich video content for online distribution. I was invited for an interview at a bar in London’s Soho district which is an incredibly diverse part of the city and its central nervous system. The founder turned out to be a 21 year old journalism student, Hermione Way, who had an ‘idea’. I was suspicious. What 21 year-old had the audacity to think they could start their own company? I had reservations due to her age, but I opted to give it a go because I had nothing to lose.

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I helped develop an identity back in 2007 and as the years went by, the need to refocus their business plan meant they would also need to re-evaluate their branding. Through close collaboration with the board of directors, I developed an identity for the company and the process was incredibly smooth and rapid, and along with redesigning their website, everything was up and running within a month. A testament to how quickly things can get done with the right people behind the job. It can be quite daunting for a young and inexperienced designer as they are approached by new companies. They tend to promise the world, but more often than not, will pay you very little (if anything) as compensation. I can not tell you how many times I’ve read the words, ‘Deferred payment’ in job specifications. Those words make me cringe as I know there are many young designers who end up doing a lot of work for free, with ultimately very little to show for it. Nowedays I tend to steer clear of those ‘opportunities’ but I often did work for free, expecting a huge paycheck down the line as the company became successful, but never did. It was due to the optimism of my youth clouding my better judgement, but it did help me hone my skills in recognising a good opportunity when it presented itself.

Embracing passions with both arms and open eyes Perhaps my biggest passion outside of graphic design, is film. If I wasn’t a designer I would want to be a motion picture director. Thankfully, the UK has a pretty vast independent film industry and as such, De Zuiden Matthew set up his own design company, De Zuiden, in order to get more lucrative contracts and approach larger clients. Associating himself with like-minded individuals in different areas of design allows him to offer a wide range of services.

I was approached by a director and producer of a film after they stumbled upon my online portfolio. Their film followed a young woman’s struggle to deal with the choices which came as a result of an unplanned pregnancy.

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I designed the film’s logo to be used in both marketing material and the title sequence. It would also help dictate the art direction for the rest of the campaign including the website and DVD cover. The director had a strong idea of the concept and the style that she wanted for the film’s promotional poster. Since the catalyst of the film was a chemical abortion drug (RU-486), she (the director) wanted a pill bottle to be the focal point of the poster and have various scenes collaged in the background. I convinced her that having too many elements would result in the poster being unfocused and confusing and instead we should have the bottle isolated on a stark background. The extra touch was to have a still image from a key scene reflected in the bottle’s glass. It’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’, but it adds weight to the campaign as the messaging says quite a lot, but leaves you wanting more, which is what a film poster should do.

Pastimes and air miles Having a hobby outside of design is, I think, vitally important for maintaining a balanced perspective on the world around you. Living and breathing design 24/7 can make designers over-analytical and slightly obsessive in critiquing our environments. Marina Celeste De Zuiden was responsible for the post-production the latest music video from the artist, Marina Celeste of Nouvelle Vague fame. Utilising raw digital footage of Marina performing in front of a green screen and incorporating animated hand-drawn illustrations as well as Super 8 film footage, Love is the First Born takes the viewer on a nostalgic journey through suggested emotions and dreamlike wheat field imagery. Click here to view the video.

RU-486 Movie poster, DVD cover and website for the independent film, RU-486. A limited colour palette was used and minimal design, which is a feature of Matthew's style. Click here to view the trailer.

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King Willow Interests outside of design such as his band, King Willow, provide Matthew opportunities to develop other parts of his creative spectrum. Click here to visit King Willow's site.

I spend my free time as a guitarist/vocalist for the alternative rock band, King Willow. A brief history says that, after about a year of writing songs and practicing them, the band decided to produce a demo of five songs, recording them ourselves in my bedroom with pillows as makeshift soundproofing. I also designed a logo for the band, which needed to be strong, solid and have an imposing presence, much like it’s namesake. At the same time, from a

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practical level, the King Willow’s identity had to be

I find that doing design outside of paid work and

both bold and legible, so it would look good on a

personal expression helps me drive my passion for-

poster and t-shirt, as well as a festival banner or web-

ward. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just trying to

site. For the band’s demo cover artwork I had im-

find the next job to pay the rent and it can often

agined a dark horse, in the heat of battle as it strides

lead to unrewarding and menial projects for the sake

valiantly through the smoke and chaos of a war zone.

of money. You lose the focus and the passion nec-

It was a striking image in my head as a solitary stallion

essary to becoming a ‘great designer’. Also, having

charges ahead with pride even in the midst of de-

diverse interests such as music, photography and

feat. It was also a reaction to JMW Turner’s, Death

traveling help me keep my toes wet in expressive

on a Pale Horse, an image which had haunted me

design, a skill which is immediately recognisable

since studying Romanticism at university.

when differentiating oneself from the pack.

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It is only the beginning... Whilst I have already been in the UK for over four years and having started my own company as a freelance art director, I am only now starting to truly appreciate the opportunities available to me by living in a complex and cosmopolitan metropolis. I have been able to work for film producers, advertisers, startups, architects, bands, pharmaceutical companies and some of the biggest brands in the world and I can confidently say that I still have a lot to learn and many mistakes to make, but, more often than not the process is as rewarding as the outcome. <

Photography and travel Matthew says that photography helps hone his compositional skills and traveling expands his perspective of existence beyond the daily commute.

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Just Working Things Out in My Head, 2008. Pigment ink print. From experimental animation – drawing and dance with Margarita Naydenova.

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Rob Mills’ convergence of art and technology

By Jacques Lange | After spending two decades

who saw potential and nurtured it. Someone dis-

working as an electronic engineer and broadcast

covered that I was good at English and useful in

industry manager Rob Mills changed tracks to follow

drama, both on and off stage.”

his muse. Today he is one of South Africa’s foremost fine art photographers focussing on contemporary

Mills went on to study Electronic Engineering at

and classical dance as his main subject matter. Mills

the University of Stellenbosch. “People thought this

works with a variety of photographic mediums

was the thing for me. Actually it was really just

ranging from classical fibre-based toned and digital

something I could naturally do. I had a feeling for

pigment prints to animation. He also developed a

design, a rapport with technology and hated things

signature technique comprising rice paper prints

that didn't work.” Mills’ creative interests however

waxed onto glass with beeswax using hot air and

persisted and he could never understand why the

brush. It is a unique process that produces an extraor-

Faculty of Engineering was a dreary grey collec-

dinary texture and translucence unlike any normal

tion of steel, glass and concrete blocks situated on

paper print.

the outskirts of campus while the Art and Music students got beautiful buildings to work in. “I re-

Mills was born 1958. His father was an engineer at the

member hanging around the Faculty of Arts long-

SABC who pioneered the South African FM radio

ing to be in there doing what they were doing.”

and TV network. “My father used to bring old bits of transmitter equipment home for us to take apart.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Mills joined the

Engineering was thus programmed in our brains

SABC after graduating. “Most of my work was in

from an early age.” Says Mills.

the field of audio research; luckily at a time when the SABC still commanded international respect

Mills struggled through school, bored and frustrat-

from the broadcasting community – at least from

ed with the prescriptive ways of Christian National

a technological point of view. My job took me into

Education, and doing the minimum to get by. “As with

music studios where the muse was not completely

most creative people, there were a few teachers

locked up in technology.”

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Angel, 2000. Toned fiber print. One of the first works emerging from my work with Adele Blank's classes with the Free Flight Dance Company. Limited light with film and not so great lenses forced me to evolve a technique of abstraction which reflected an intuitive component. The instant delivery of the digital medium tends to prejudice this kind of ‘blind’ technique.

Nymph, 2001. Toned fibre print. Another example of abstracting in an environment with impossibly cluttered backgrounds based on a collaboration with Free Flight Dance Company and Adele Blank.

Barre, 2003. Toned fibre print. Class with the SA Ballet Theatre. Ballet has something of an excruciating precision about it.

Working Feet, Yolandi Olckers (at age 23), 2007. Pigment ink print. Like initiation scars dancers feet show their journey. It was a privilege for me to do a portrait of a friend's feet, beautiful beyond pretty, full of strength, passion and shaped in service of her art.

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The artificial barriers between science, technology and art have always been a problem for Mills. He believes that the world has reduced technology to utility. “The most profound difference I experienced when I pursued the role of an artist was that I was no longer ‘useful’. People bought the fruits of my efforts because they were moved in some way or found them beautiful. In other times, other ages the divide between utility and aesthetic was less of an issue.” Dance has also been an abiding presence in Mills’ adult life. “I married a dancer. We met through a

The Edge of Maybe 2, 2009. Pigment ink print from an animation collaboration (work in progress) with Kristin Wilson and Dance For All.

ragged band of ‘missionaries’ intent on bringing the arts back into the church.” In 1987 he left the SABC and he and his wife Pam joined a group fulltime, travelling, living in community (on a shoestring) and performing in churches around the country. He also earned a living by consulting as a design engineer. The birth of their first daughter and an offer from MNET lured Mills back into full-time employment where he spend a decade (1991-2000). “This was a intense and amazing time that saw DSTV and cellphones become part of South African life. As MNET grew and unbundled into Multichoice, spawning

Work in Progress, 2010. Pigment ink print. From an animation exploring identity and image. Collaboration with Kristin Wilson.

MTN along the way, the technology group I was part of, Irdeto, a Dutch company, focussing on conditional access technology for pay-TV operations.” Here Mills headed up the team that developed the custom chips and smart card descrambling for satellite receivers. He later moved into a more general management role looking after technology licensing in Africa and Middle East as well as management of the Johannesburgbased Development Office. Mills also reflects on the unexpected testing and grieving time when a board decision was made to move the key skills in Irdeto SA to Holland. “The

Hoverlings (working title), 2010. Pigment ink print. Choreographed work in collaboration with Kristin Wilson.

42 >

close knit family that we had built was suddenly

During this time Mills was also exposed to psycho-

being broken up. All hell broke loose. We had one

metrics and process psychology (al la Arnold Min-

suicide, an attempted suicide and a manic episode.

dell) through his interactions with psychologists

We had done too much of a good job making peo-

Maretha Prinsloo and Myrna Lewis. “In 2000, I set

ple's work the core meaning in their lives. This and

out with the intention of addressing the human

the illusion that a set of relationships could be

condition in the world of work, appalled by the extent

traded by strangers as a transferable commodity

to which so many people spend most of their pro-

made me seriously question whether I wanted to

ductive lives in some diminished state in a job they

be part of big-time corporate life anymore. Some

don't enjoy.� Mills then began freelance consulting,

18 months later I finally lost my temper in the

focusing on facilitation, organisational develop-

boardroom, hurling my PDA across the room and

ment, management coaching and assessment as

storming out. It was time to move on, otherwise I was

well as dabbling in thinking skills training.

going to damage more than a hand-held device,� explains Mills.

LEFT: Hecate's Emissaries from Dance Umbrella 2005. Pigment ink print. This is one of my favorite photographs. One would do well to befriend Hecate and heed her counsel when navigating the underworld.

RIGHT: Edge of Light 3, 2005. Waxed rice paper print with oils and graphite on glass featuring Kristin Wilson in Pieces of a Dream by Natalie Fisher. Working with the print, waxing it and painting on it somehow allowed me to own it more. Sometimes it is not enough to 'run an image through a machine'. One has to get a little more personal.

43 >

44 >

He explains that another part of his new life beyond the bonds of full-time corporate employment was his commitment to rekindle his life-long interest in photography and dance. “I set myself a project to explore movement which lead me to photographing Adele Blank’s Free Flight Dance Company. My wife was doing classes with them at that time and Adele kindly let me be a ‘fly on the wall’ in their studio. I fell in love again – at last I could engage with an aesthetic which moved me to tears and participate in my own Portrait, 2004. From a workshop with Jazzart and Ananda Fuchs.

way.” The work that emerged from this experience was received with enthusiasm and provided Mills with something that he could use to approach other dance companies. These pursuits grew rapidly and he started getting commissions from other dance companies. Encouraged by Fine Art photographer Bob Cnoops, Mills also started to exhibit his work and the rest, as they say, is history. Mills believes that photography gave him an entrance ticket to the world of dance. He explains that other well-known South African dance photographers like Suzy Bernstein and John Hogg are happy to photograph performances with a journalistic slant. “I however wanted CONNECTION. I wanted to get to know these people and show them how beautiful they are (oddly they often can't see it)... To make work together, rather than observe and reflect.” And so Mills pursued collaborations with dancers and choreographers which he describes as “conversations of two mediums, two different head spaces.” Mills speaks of hovering shyly in the background behind his camera. “I would describe myself as a gregarious introvert which confuses people. As I became more confident with my work and role in that environ-

Portrait of Thoriso Magongwa, 2006. Pigment ink print. A brilliant virtuoso performer and one of the few people I know who has developed narcissism to a fine and gracious art.

ment, and got to know people and became a little more known, this changed. If I photograph a performance or work going on in a studio environment, it is very much as an observer. Now, most often, I

45 >

Meditations from the Womb 2, 2008. Wax rice paper print on glass. From the animation About the Floor, a collaboration with Mari-Louise Basson. This body of work reflects the introduction of an industrial aesthetic which continues to emerge in my current work.

Breach of confidence, 2008. Pigment ink print. Part of The man in the Sensible Pants project reflecting on a journey out of corporate life to artist.

46 >

LEFT: Tango Lesson, 2001. Toned fibre print. I was invited to photograph a tango scene in Cape Town. The Argentinean tango is not much to look at, being more of an intimate personal negotiation to be experienced by the dancers.

observe as a friend rather than some outsider.” He prefers to develop a closer ongoing relationship with a few companies and individual dancers. “Photographing a performance where you need to be responsive to every move amounts to a very different

RIGHT: Waiting for Morning, 2007. Yolandi Olckers in Windows by Adele Blank and Martin Schönberg. One of those compositions one might like to take the credit for but it’s a performance that I was merely eavesdropping on.

experience than sitting and watching as a part of the audience. For some dancers it takes a while to let me in and to find their essence.” Mills says that his friend Myrna Lewis used to talk about his work as “seeing the breath of God" in the person – their essence. “It is more than documenting something. Its adding a layer of interpretation onto the work.” He notes that the Edges of light project which he did in 2004 is a good example of this. “I followed the development of the piece from conception to performance but not in a documentary way. I was the observer but the work was the result

47 >

of what the process of engaging in that way did

Mari-Louise Basson. The work grew from a chat

inside me – the personal mythologies it awoke.

during a rehearsal break. "I've got the day off on

Eventually I found myself putting paint and wax onto

Wednesday, let’s make an animation… And so it

some of these works as a way of getting more in-

started to take on a life of its own and something is

volved with them.”

made with whatever time resources and attention can be herded together. I was talking to Mari-Louise

He explains that it is quite different in a collabora-

about something I wrote in my personal journal years

tive setting since it becomes a synthesis where its

before about ‘a being in a box’ and so a work grew

difficult to actually identify what came from whom.

from shared ideas of life experience.”

“I would describe this as the incarnation of a conversation. I like to understand the universe as a huge

In contrast his work with Kristin Wilson originated

communion of subjects in conversation.” Mills says

from ideas around consumerism, fashion, masks and

that his most successful collaborative work tran-

roles. He says of Wilson that she has an extraordi-

spires when the conversation entails an exchange

nary, playful intelligence beyond her amazing ability

of ideas leading to a resolve to create something

to dance which she is very quiet about. “This has

new. He mentions About the Floor, a stop motion

been almost a three-year-long conversation of bits

animation as an example, which he created with

a pieces, coming together, workshopping stuff in the

internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer

studio, making big plans, and plans falling through.

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I'm not sure what will come of all this. We somehow just have not been able to finish anything really or do justice to the bits and pieces. Perhaps its time is not yet right. Perhaps its really just the process that was important. One can't cling to these things, chain them down. Its a confounding tightrope walk with opportunity and happenstance on the one side and dogged intent on the other.” While sharing details of his creative process and Concentration, 2010. Pigment ink print. There is just something about pipes...

techniques, Mills surprisingly confesses that he struggles with the concept of colour in his work: “It’s too normal and it does not make us look carefully enough. I think the current trend in social documentary work in colour loses something.” He says that he hardly ever leaves an art print untouched. “I went through a stage where I would keep one colour and de-saturate everything else. Most of my art photographs now have the colour manipulated in some way. I have no qualms about digital manipulation.” He comments that some people get precious about this, suggesting that this is somehow cheating or taking a

Gate, 2003. Photographic print. Namibrand, Namibia. An example of my discomfort with full colour images.

shortcut and therefore not ‘real art’. He emphatically states: “That's rubbish really. Art is about interpretation and incarnating intent. How you do that is up to you as an artist. Craft is perhaps a realm where one might be more faithful to a particular skill and one might ply a craft exquisitely in the making of art.” Having said that I like the idea of setting conscious boundaries and working within them.” An example of this is Mills’ increasing fascination with sequences of images and his explorations with the medium of stop motion animation. “I deliberately stick to static images and seek to reconstruct time – manually as it were. I have thus far resisted the pull to just grab

Commissioned pipe speaker installation for a fashion deli in Long Street, Cape Town, 2011.

a video camera and get on with it. In this respect I relate a lot to Paul Emanuel who makes photorealistic images by chipping away at exposed emulsion on photographic paper. Something extraordinary emerges.”

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Power housing, 2010. Pigment ink print. Part of commissioned work for Bafokeng administration relating to environmental issues and mining. Abandoned, incomplete RDP houses under high tension lines.

Like most fine art photographers, Mills earns a fair

in to the muse in an alarming way. I'm getting better

share of his regular income from working as a com-

at it. It’s a constant struggle for me to re-frame a

mercial photographer, and he also does ad hoc

life of left brain programming.”

engineering consultancy, both of which he wittily refers to as ‘acts of survival’. He says that commer-

When asked how he perceives the future of fine

cial photography is great in many ways: “A commercial

art photography in South Africa, Mills claims that

commission has a clear beginning and end. You do

photography now holds its head high as a fine art

the work, process and deliver and that’s it.” By con-

medium. “I would say that South Africa now reflects

trast, “engineering consulting can mean good money

a global trend – around 60% of all fine art exhibited

but it normally involves high levels of responsibility,

is photography in some form or another. This was

lots of consequence and time frames of at least

not the case even five years ago. I think the South

months if not years.” According to Mills, most artists,

African art scene loads photography too much politi-

even some famous ones, struggle to make a steady

cally. The social documentary genre is very dominant

and comfortable living. “I like to think that the

because of our history. I sometimes think we are

world is changing and those with the capacity to

stuck in a social documentary rut – as if life has no

interpret, create metaphors and innovate will be

meaning without an enemy.” Mills feels that there

more valued than in the past.”

is still a difference between photography (photographers) and art using the medium of photography

Mills notes that he once asked prominent local artist

(artists). “I call myself an artist as a statement of

Roger Ballen if he ever found the nitty gritty practi-

intent rather than by virtue of some clamorous fol-

calities of being a practicing geologist working in

lowing.” Mills concludes with one of his Facebook

a mining environment interfering with his creative

posts: “Were that famous pen thrust into my hand

work. According to Ballen’s response it seemed not.

and a blank page drawn from your muddled depths

For Mills, however: “I have found that working and

I would write this: That possibility stretches in

a deterministic headspace of logic and reason some-

front like a skin, fragile, taut, threaded with life:

how shuts down a sensitivity and capacity to tune

Asking to be touched, perhaps even broken.” <

50 >

The winners of Hiiibrand 2010 New Graphic, one of the biggest and most influential

of the jury were Wally Olins (Chairman, Saffron

Chinese design publications recently announced

Brand Consultants, UK), Joe Duffy (Principal and

the winners of its Hiiibrand 2010 International

Chairman, Duffy & Partners, USA), Min Wang (Dean

Logo Design Award. Gathering submissions from

of School of Design at CAFA, China), Tommy Li

enterprises, design studios, designers and students,

(Tommy Li Design Workshop, Hong Kong), Bart

Hiiibrand rewards excellent logos and the compa-

Crosby (President, Crosby Associates Inc., USA)

nies that commission them. The award distinguishes

and Cristian Kit Paul (Co-founder and Creative Di-

itself from others as it only considers innovation,

rector of Brandient, Romania).

crafting and effectiveness of a single element, the logo or brand mark, rather than the extended visual

The jury first scored the entries individually before

manifestation of a branding programme.

all marks were added up to identify the top contenders. They then proceeded to deliberate which

This year Hiiibrand received 4 136 submissions

entries qualified for Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit

from over 60 countries. Through a rigorous five-

awards. Each jury member then also selected a

month selection process, seven renowned interna-

personal Juror’s Award winner.

tional jurors made the final selection. The results provide an ideal opportunity to plot broad interna-

In the introduction to the jury’s report, Ljubicic

tional trends in logo design and the jury’s report

states that “Logo design form the basis for creating

offers valuable reflections on the complex world

a successful brand identity. It is the most important

of how brands are visually manifested through a

and often the most complex part of the visual com-

single element of the vast branding landscape.

munication process. A small graphic or typographic mark must contain a strong message and reflect an

Boris Ljubicic from Studio International in Croatia

organisation’s values for quite a bit of time.” He

officiated as the jury chairperson. Other members

says that the lifespan of a logo is sometimes as long

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Gold | Agency: Bulldog

Silver | Designer: Nido (UK)

Silver | Agency: Brandberry

Designer: Ren Spiteri (Ireland)

Client: elephruit (Pakistan)

Designer: Valera Namazov (Russia)

Client: Birdlife Malta

Client: (Russia)

Silver | Designer: Nanbu Toshiyasu

Bronze | Designer: Tan Huang (China)

Bronze | Designer: Andre Weier

(Japan) | Client: Japan Graphic

Client: Gentleman Coffee (China)

(Germany) | Client: NALINDESIGN

Designer Association


Bronze & Bart Crosby Jury Award

Bronze & Tommy Li Jury Award

Bronze | Agency: Hulsbosch

Designer: Chen Huarong (China)

Designer: Lin Shaobin (China)

(Australia) | Client: Qantas

Client: Colour Bookstore (China)

Client: Guilin Gruel (China)


52 >

as 50 years and some cases even a century. “This means that the designer should think in advance of his or her time to ensure that the design solution has longevity.” According to Ljubicic, typographic solutions seem to be the easier route to follow, as it only entails reading of words. He however prefers free graphic signs that mean something through their shape or graphic quality and he states that “These kinds of logos often take more time to be memorised, but they stay in the memory longer.”

Bronze | Designer: Chen Yongxin (China) | Client: liyi Architects & Associate (China)

Commenting on the overall standard and his personal Juror’s Award, Ljubicic says that the professional category of Hiiibrand 2010 did not delver many extraordinary innovations. For him, the only entry that deserve a 10 grade is the logo for Ocean Art Pavilion, designed by Du Xiaoxiao, which won his vote for a Jury Award. “This work aesthetically combines the typography with a graphic composition of rectangular blue lines that depict the motion of the ocean and the white squares inserted in between evoke the pavilion.” He says that the designer man-

Bronze | Designer: Peter Vasvari

aged to create a unique narrative and a beautiful

(Hungary) | Client: Brandstack, LLC.

graphic which he describes as ‘a work of art’.


Joe Duffy selected the logo for Diva parfumerie, designed by Pavel Surovy, as his Jury Award. "I love the simplicity of the logotype combined with the mark. They compliment each other perfectly. The double entendre implied in the mark (perfume and the female form) add depth, meaning and a sense of discovery to the identity," says Duffy. Min Wang's Jury Award went to the logo for 14th Yugoslav Theatre Festival, designed by Nikola Vukasinovic. “The dramatic design agrees with the theme of the activity it reveals. In the form of ori-

Merit | Agency: Babushke (Croatia)

gami, an anthropomorphic expression, the figure

Designer: Tina Bauer, Marija Juza,

14 represents a flash of humor with impressive visual effects,” says Wang.

Gordana Pavlek (Croatia) | Client: Croatian Chamber of Economy (Croatia)

53 >

Bronze | Designer: Zou Yu (China)

Bronze | Designer: Morandini (Brazil)

Bronze | Agency: G Design Studio

Client: Liu Shi Bambooweave

Client: BESC (Brazil)

(Greece) | Client: University of


Patras (Greece)

Joe Duffy Jury Award | Agency:

Merit & Min Wang Jury Award

Boris Ljubicic Jury Award | Designer:

Communication Agency (Slovakia)

Designer: Nikola Vukasinovic (Serbia)

Du Xiaoxiao (China) | Client: Ocean

Designer: Pavel Surovy (Slovakia)

Client: National Theatre Uzice (Serbia)

Art Pavilion (China)

Merit & Bill Darling Jury Award

Merit | Designer: Zhang Gongyu

Merit & Cristian Kit Paul Jury Award

Designer: Maria Adam Fernandes

(China) | Client: ODA (China)

Client: Diva parfumerie (Belgrade, Serbia) Client: Birdlife Malta

(Germany) | Client: Minimal (Austria)

Designer: Zhao Gang (China) Client: Tianwei Textiles (China)

54 >

Merit | Victor Ad Corp (Taiwan)

Merit | Designer: Věra Marešová

Merit | Designer: Liu Jiangping

Designer: Kuo Chugn Yuan (Taiwan)

(Czech Republic) | Client: Polyclinic

(China) | Client: BLACK FISH

Client: greenest (Taiwan)

Vinicni (Czech Republic)


Merit | Designer: Sun Dawang (China)

Merit | Agency: 2M2 Information UN

Merit | Jamfactory (Hong Kong)

Client: Ricetalk Chinese Fast Food

(China) | Designer: Wang Lingyuan

Designer: Andrew Tang (Hong


(China) | Client: N2 Multimedia Art Lab

Kong) | Client: Grin (Hong Kong)


Merit | GD Design Studio

Merit | Designer: John Carlson (USA)

Designer: Alexandra Bubnova (Russia)

Client: Happy Noodle House (USA)

Client: place (Russia)

Merit | Designer: Heino Prunsvelt (Estonia) | Client: The Ministry of Culture (Estonia)

55 >

Bart Crosby's Jury Award went to the Colour Bookstore logo, designed by Chen Huarong. croby says that it is "A simple, distinctive and memorable solution. It's curious and playful – not forced or over done like many of the others." Tommy Li chose the logo for Guilin Gruel designed by Lin Shaobin, as his Jury Award. “It is never an easy task to depict the beauty of Guilin's scenery Merit | Designer: Zhang Ning (China) Client: Pdad music bar (China)

in an icon, emerging not only the specific characteristic, but also elegant prospect,” says Li. Cristian Kit Paul's Jury Award went to a logo designed by Zhao Gang. He says that: "It was difficult to pick one as my 'best of show', but I finally decided for Tianwei Textiles, probably because my own background is based on rebranding of large entities and I know how challenging a high-stake program can be. The TT symbol is a powerful and witty monogram, accompanied by a simple and functional wordmark in a clear yet vibrant composition." Bill Darling's Jury Award went to the logo for Mini-

Merit | Agency: Sebastiany Branding

mal, designed by Maria Adam Fernandes. "It's a very

(Brazil) | Client: Ecolabor (Brazil)

functional solution for what it is: kids clothing. For

Merit | Agency: Bruketa&Zinic OM

Merit | Agency: G8 Design (Brazil)

(Croatia) | Designer: Imelda Ramovic,

Designer: Marcelo Pierro (Brazil)

Mirel Hadzijusufovic (Croatia) | Client:

Client: Grafica Comunicare (Brazil)

SOS Children's Villages Croatia (Croatia)

56 >

example, the 'continuous' line approach of the logo would translate well to stitching/embroidery. 'Minimal' is a powerful word when talking about design and impossible to ignore, especially when it is the name of your company! I like how the solution is expressive and yet true to the word 'minimal' – a hard balance to achieve. The style in which the logo is drawn could easily be extended to illustrations of the garments, secondary typography, animation, etc. Overall, the logo is a nice solution that achieves the right balance of function + emotion."

Merit | Agency: Piaochong Design (China) | Client: Old boat wood furniture (China)

The jury felt that there were few unique differences or innovations between the entries that received grades 8 and 9 and the rest. After reviewing the visual appearance of the top-ranked entries, the jury identified some common themes: – Works based on pure geometrical shapes (circles, squares and triangles) rather than typography and a smaller number based on free drawing or symbols featuring basic ideas in the shape of man, house, nature, game and hospitality and others; – Works based purely on typography; – Combinations of typography and free graphic

Merit | Designer: Stanislav Levin (Russia) | Client: Gaucho Wine Ltd (New-Zealand)

forms; – Works based on numerals. The jury particularly highlighted this as an innovative trend since the entries, particularly those from China, showed innovation and humour; – Nature, man and book remains a constant; – Photography is a lesser-used reference, and – Conceptual logos that reflect a special story. It was the latter approach that convinced all of the jury members to award the Hiiibrand 2010 Gold Award in the professional category for the logo designed for Birdlife Malta, designed by Ren Spiteri

Merit | Designer: Michael Spitz (USA)

from Ireland. The entry eloquently combines text

Client: Buzzdog Group (USA)

and image, resulting in a narrative that merges popular culture with ecological conservation.

57 >

Merit | Designer: Chen Yu,

Merit | Designer: Feng Jianjun (China)

Merit | Agency: Cubo (Spain)

Shen Weiwei (China)

Client: boxuepu workshop (China)

Client: Saragossa Council (Spain)

Client: sock (China)

Merit | Designer: Kirill

Merit | Designer: Shay Isdale (USA)

Merit | Designer: Agnieszka

Demidenko (Russia)

Client: SiteSteet (USA)

Ziemiszewska (Poland)

Client: muze cafĂŠ (Australia)

Client: Cast Away (Poland)

Merit | Designer: Liu Ming (China)

Merit | Agency: day day up design

Merit | Designer: Chris Trivizas

| Client: Aushi Language and

studio (China) | Designer: Hong Wei

(Greece) | Client: Pavlos

Culture School (China)

(China) | Client: greenest (Taiwan)

Papalamprakopoulos (Greece)

58 >

Student Gold | Title: heart medicine

Student Silver | Title: Dolonge

Student Silver | Title: EDS hotel

Designer: Natalie Dinnikova (Russia)

Designer: Zhuang Erqiang (China)

Designer Designer: Wang Zhiqi (China)

Student Bronze | Title: Broken Cocoon

Student Merit | Title: Birdie

Student Merit | Title: uchino

Designer: Huang Sheng (China)

Designer: Greg Cuellar (USA)

Designer: Zhang Jing (China)

Student Bronze | Title: Union

Student Merit | Title: dbc – death by

Student Bronze | Title: PONZU Sushi

Designer: Lang Tian (China))

chocolate | Designer: Denise Franke

House | Designer: Keo Pierron (USA)


Student Bronze | Title: Ideas

Student Merit | Title:

Student Merit | Title: Loop Barcelona

Designer: William Sii (Malaysia)

Designer: Igor Ryabov (Russia)

Designer: Fran Rosa (Spain)

59 >

Commenting on the student category, Ljubicic says that: “I expected more experiments and more freedom in interpretation, which was not the case.” Overall, the report provided by the Hiiibrand 2010 jury does not bode well when we consider the creStudent Bronze | Title: Glass House

ative innovation of designers engaged in the devel-

Designer: Lang Tian (China)

opment of corporate identities and branding. The jury concludes that they would like to see logo designers step up on their game and experiment more when entering the Hiiibrand 2011 International Logo Design Award. Entries for Hiiibrand 2011 will be open in June. More information can be found at <

Student Merit | Title: Rooms Café Designer: Wang Haishan (China)

Student Merit | Title: Klima Bochenska

Student Merit | Title: Out Standing

Gallery | Designer: Filip Tofil (Poland)

Home | Designer: Hou Junwei (China)

Student Merit | Title: Oh Fashion Shop

Student Merit | Title: KEEP

Designer: Su Yue (China)

Designer: Trinity Tuen (China)

60 >

Creativity is unusual stuff: It frightens. It deranges. It’s subversive. It mistrusts what it sees, what it hears. It dares to doubt. It acts even if it errs. It rattles established certitudes. It incessantly invents new ways, new vocabularies. It provokes and changes points of view. It impacts the environment and society.

Fabrica is looking for peop design, illustration, photograp music, interaction and writing At Fabrica people work toge At a maximum of 25 years o come from the four corners

ple — working in visual phy, product design, video, g — who share this vision. ether, not just individually. old, Fabrica’s residents of the earth.

(Art direction: Arianna Di Betta)

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To apply for a Fabrica residency and full study grant you can upload your curriculum vitae, statement of purpose and a concise pdf presentation of your work at:

62 >

63 >

HIV Positive: Iconic t-shirts that shape views and awareness on the pandemic By Dalli Weyers

The design most worthy of applause in post-apartheid

perpetrators sent a message to her boyfriend say-

South Africa can be described as simple, humble,

ing: “You can come fetch your dog. We are finished

under-designed and basic. Yet the same design

with her.”

speaks of courage, of audacity, of daring, of hope and of power. Effective, loved, cherished, feared,

In Fighting for our Lives – The History of the Treatment

ridiculed, challenged, despised, debated, worn,

Action Campaign 1998- 2010, HIV positive Zackie

torn, altered, exported – it’s place in our future

Achmat, co-founder of the TAC, retells how he

design museums and in our national art galleries is

came up with the design: “There is an apocryphal


story about the King of Denmark wearing a yellow star in solidarity with Jews during the Nazi occupa-

The HIV Positive t-shirt issued by the Treatment

tion of his country. The HIV Positive t-shirt serves

Action Campaign (TAC) was by far ‘the most beautiful

a similar purpose. All people, irrespective of their

object’ in South Africa for an entire decade. With

status, can wear it and show solidarity with people

countless colours, shapes and sizes, different cam-

with HIV.”

paign slogans and pictures of deceased comrades printed, an estimate would be that South Africa

And so the t-shirt was born. It’s debut along with

has seen a minimum of 100 000 of these t-shirts.

countless other of its appearances also happened to be televised on Siyayinqoba Beat It!, South Africa’s

The first t-shirt was produced at the beginning of

only HIV magazine television show. Produced by

1999 after the brutal murder of Gugu Dlamini in

the Community Media Trust, the show, now in its

December 1998. Dlamini was murdered because of

eighth season, is watched by one million people

her HIV positive status. From KwaMashu, a township

every week. Providing reliable, scientifically-based

on the outskirts of Durban, she had publicly dis-

information, the show also became a vehicle for

closed her HIV status on World AIDS Day. After her

the t-shirt and all it stood for.

disclosure, Dlamini was accused of shaming her community and was repeatedly assaulted and threat-

On 12 December 2002, the father of the nation

ened. Her calls for police assistance went unheeded.

himself, former President Nelson Mandela was

Three weeks later, she was fatally assaulted. Her

handed a HIV Positive t-shirt by TAC member Mathew

64 >

Damane at a Médecins Sans Frontières anti-retroviral clinic in Khayelitsha. Mandela immediately took off his shirt and donned the HIV Positive t-shirt over his vest. In doing so he not only demonstrated his unequivocal support for and solidarity with those infected and affected by HIV, he also demonstrated that his position was underscored by science and a commitment to the South African Constitution and human rights. The t-shirt had come to represent not only solidarity with people living with HIV, but also evidence-based science (as opposed to pseudoscience and HIV denial), the struggle for life and dignity and the socio-economic rights enshrined in


the Constitution. During the TAC’s Dying for Treatment Civil Disobedience Campaign in 2003 activist Charlene Wilson passed away. She was buried in a public funeral and laid to rest in her HIV Positive t-shirt in accordance with her wishes. Wilson’s feelings about the t-shirt can arguably be found in TAC member Beatrina Mhlongo’s view: “Putting on the t-shirt was my way of joining the struggle – a relief.” In short Mhlongo’s emotional experience from putting on the t-shirt for


the first time succinctly articulates that the personal is political, that joining the struggle for life, freedom and dignity was a homecoming and that the struggle itself imbues one with dignity. The tshirt had come to also symbolise a community, a political home and a common purpose. Forever altering our personal, communal, social and political landscape, there can be no denying that these t-shirts have had an indelible impact on South Africa and have been indispensable in breaking down the stigma and secrecy around HIV. Today they are iconic and continue to represent the struggle for human rights.


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1. Vuyiseka Dubula, TAC’s General Secretary, protesting outside a shebeen in Khayelitsha where, on 13 December 2003, Lorna Mlofana, a mother and a community educator, was sexually assaulted and then murdered when her rapist learnt that she had HIV. The TAC’s work has included protesting violence against women and advocating for a criminal justice system that works for rape survivors. Some versions of the t-shirt have reflected this agenda. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign. 2. The HIV Positive t-shirt, issued in various colours and addressing many issues, has been appropriated in countless ways. Here progressive traditional healers, in agreement that anti-retrovirals are the only treatment for HIV, don the t-shirt under their standard uniforms. The rainbow flag in the distance also succinctly illustrates the diversity of identities and communities included by the TAC in the struggle for life and dignity. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign. 3. The TAC has consistently gone beyond just demanding that governments meet their obligations and the t-shirts have also reflected this. Here the TAC along with partner organisations march to address the 38th Union World Conference on Lung Health that was held in Cape Town in November 2008. The dual epidemic of HIV and TB is one of the biggest challenges faced by the South African health system. Photo courtesy of Gavin Silber.


4. This poster for the TAC’s Stand up for our lives march in February 2003, which saw between 10 000 and 15 000 people march on parliament during Thabo Mbeki’s State of the Nation address, reflects the confluence of the symbolism of Nelson Mandela and the symbolism of the HIV Positive t-shirt. In a meta-textual manner this poster was also printed on the back of the HIV Positive t-shirts issued for the march. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign. 5. Since its inception in December 1998 the Treatment Action Campaign has underscored the centrality of active citizenship in a constitutional democracy. Given the levels of inequality that South Africa faces and the fact that the Constitution enshrines socio-economic rights the need for citizens to speak truth to power, here outside the national legislature, is paramount. Photo courtesy of Dan Kamen.


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Some additional takes/thoughts/musings on the HIV Positive t-shirt: quotes from Fighting for our Lives – The History of the Treatment Action Campaign 1998- 2010


“I am proud to be a walking billboard in TAC’s struggle for human rights.” – George Chauke “Seeing so many beautiful people wearing the t-shirt gave me back some hope and self-esteem. It gave me courage to disclose.” – Ntombozuko Kraai “The t-shirt symbolises the lives that have been lost and the sacrifices that have been made. It marks us as


people with a common purpose.” – Nomfundo Eland “Many activists have said ‘Come to my funeral in your t-shirts, tell people what I went through and what I did in TAC – spread the message!’ That’s what we do.” – Nonkosi Khumalo “The t-shirt promotes openness and breaks stigma. You’ll be challenged ‘ Are you HIV positive?’ Then you can start engaging with people.” – Thembeka Majali “It leads to discussions, whisperings, the internal acceptance that HIV is real, and a culture of coming forward.” – Philip Mokoena “People call me MaAIDS when they see my t-shirt and come with questions.” – Maria Khambule

About the author Dalli Weyers is a social justice activist, politics postgrad graduate and an Industrial Design dropout. He now aims to merge design and politics through soaring and eloquently written exaltations of the virtues of design and the role that it can play in Southern Africa where structural inequalities still relegate the majority of people to socio-economic hardship. He is the author of the blog <


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6. Having taken on an international presence the TAC’s HIV Positive t-shirt has appeared in Parliament in Cape Town and was worn by Grammy Award winning artist Annie Lennox on an episode of American Idol. In London it has been worn by the photographer and Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tilmans and a former British High Commissioner to South Africa, Anne Grant. In New York it has been worn by Nkhensani Mavasa, from rural Limpopo, when she was the first openly HIV Positive person to address the United Nation’s General Assembly. Here it is worn, in rural Limpopo, by Nkhensani’s comrades while they read the latest edition of the TAC’s magazine Equal Treatment. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign. 7. Here former President Nelson Mandela wears the t-shirt. On his right is Zackie Achmat, co-founder of the TAC and the conceiver of the t-shirt. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign. 8. Taking the message to the communities through pamphlets and fliers but also through simply wearing a t-shirt. Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign.

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Let’s make condoms cool

By Anton Ressel

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Second skin – protection for your protection. Cow leather sleeve made for condoms.

A new product from the Cape-based

Protection for your protection

urban africa design studio is hoping to get people talking about condom-use and safe sex, by making it ‘cool’ to be responsible.

A new product on the market is hoping to do its bit to change attitudes to sex and condom-use amongst the youth by making it cool to be responsible. The sleek leather pouch, designed to hold up to three condoms, has been dubbed the Second

If a recent study is to be believed, nearly 50% of

Skin and is marketed with the tagline ‘Protection

teens in SA are sexually active by the time they

for your Protection.’

turn 16, but only 30% of them use a condom every time they have sex. Despite a high level of under-

Designer and urban africa founder Vincent Urbain

standing of HIV/AIDS and awareness of the dangers

believes that the product will help open dialogue

of unprotected sex, a combination of peer pressure,

amongst the youth around responsible sexual

learned sexual behaviour and the stigma around

practice. “The reality is that young people are hav-

condom use all contribute to these shocking sta-

ing sex and this is not something government or

tistics, according to the report.

anybody else can change. What we can change however, is their attitude towards safe and responsible sex. In many communities, condoms are not seen

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as ‘cool’, and this is an area we can target. We are

show off to their friends and even buy as gifts for

striving to make the carrying and use of condoms

people they care about,” says Vincent.

the norm amongst our young people, by packaging them in a sexy, hip and personalised way.” According to Vincent, the Second Skin can be used as a keyring,

A love of leather

a necklace or attached to your belt. The genesis of urban africa is an interesting story. The slimline pouch, smaller than a business card

Born in Belgium, Vincent always had an interest in

holder, is made alongside urban africa’s mainstream

handmade work and especially handcrafted leath-

production of designer belts, bags, laptop sleeves

er items and accessories. The watersport fanatic

and other leather products. The brainchild of Urbain

graduated in Economics and decided to move South,

and design intern Jessika Balzer, the idea behind

landing in Cape Town in 2003 where he wind-surfed

the Second Skin was to create something small

and undertook different jobs. One of these was the

that could have a large impact on how people talk

distribution of rough handcrafted leather sandals

and act sexually. “We wanted to make something

made by Tanzanian crafters on top of the Cape

inexpensive that people feel proud to carry around,

Town train station.

LTR: Carré wallet, Bookie cow leather note/sketch book, Empire belt in veg tan cow leather, Clutch 'n swing cow leather clutch bag lined with goat or sheep napper leather and iPhone sleeves.

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Since his childhood, Vincent Urbain had always been attracted to leather and handmade work. The 2011 urban africa product range consists of 31 pieces. The range is designed by Vincent, Reanne Gray, Jessika Balzer and all pieces are individually handmade by Vincent and his team. No two pieces look the same.

Vincent soon realised that more than distributing,

Sow. All of the pieces are individually handmade

he wanted to explore the intricacies of the world

and according to Vincent “no two pieces look the

of leather first hand and started making his own

same, unless you really want them to! Because we

pair shoes from hide. It took him three days and

all like to have something unique, our clients can

nights of non-stop work, but he was hooked! Com-

choose their own leather, stitching and rivet col-

pletely self-taught and hungry to learn, he then

ours and we will custom-make according to their

moved on to bags and armbands, and changed the

specs. The result is that our clients, whether one-

focus from working with hides to leather. The range

off buyers or large retail outlets, get exactly what

began to take shape, and in 2005 urban africa was

they want. In essence we are offering a tailored


service in leatherwork.”

The business has grown quickly, and today urban

Pieces within the urban africa range include hand-

africa supplies nearly 100 outlets and exports its

bags, laptop sleeves, belts, wallets, books, foot-

high-quality leather creations to several countries

wear, keyrings, Blackberry and cellphone pouches

internationally. Ranges are designed by Vincent,

and now condom holders. Behind each design,

who frequently collaborates with other designers

there is the same core vision and design aesthetic

such as Reanne Gray, Jessika Balzer and Maraime

that underpins all of Vincent’s work – minimalist,

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elegant, funky, timeless, understated but aspiring.

arrangement so that we all benefit. I see design as

“I am attracted to designs that allow for individual

a collaborative process, one that does not and

expression, but not in a loud or brash way. My

should not happen in isolation or a vacuum. After

work is never in-your-face, but I always try and be

all, many heads are better than one, no?” he says

original and a little bit edgy.”

with a smile.

The company is environmentally and socially con-

A recent addition at urban africa has been the de-

scious and Vincent and his team strive to work in

velopment of a series of leather workshops for

ways that are sustainable and forward-thinking. In

interested members of the public. The workshops

2010, the brand dropped the lining for most of its

take place at the urban africa studio in Roeland

pieces, making the bags lighter, softer and more

Street in Cape Town, which also doubles as a show-

flexible, but also to minimise the use of harmful

room and shop. Attendees can choose between a

glues and reduce wastage. In addition, urban africa

range of items to make, and the team at urban af-

partners with an organisation called Afrographic,

rica provides all materials, facilitate and teach the

through which leather animal keyrings are made

basic skills of leathersmithing. Participants can

by township women in Cape Town and marketed

then take home whatever they create.

and distributed by urban africa. The initiative has been a huge success and the keyrings are now sent all over the world, creating sustainable income

The business of business

and a sense of pride to these formerly unemployed ladies.

The success and focus of urban africa led to the company being selected as one of only ten partici-

A philosophy of collaboration and sharing of ideas

pants nationally in the ETU programme, a business development initiative funded by the Embassy of Finland and implemented by enterprise development specialists Fetola. Interventions include

An interesting thing about Vincent and his ap-

workshops, e-learning, market access opportunities

proach is the apparent lack of ego and ‘precious-

and mentoring. Vincent also received a marketing

ness’ around the design process. He is happy to

strategy through the programme that he is cur-

share his own ideas with others and actively en-

rently implementing. “Although it is the creative

courages collaborations. “We welcome designers

process that drives me, I studied Economics and

from all over to come and show us their designs

have an interest in business. I believe that there has

and ideas. If we like it and all are in agreement, we

to be a balance between the creative and business

will develop these ideas together into a final prod-

elements for any business to succeed,” he says.

uct. We will launch it on our site and show it to all our clients, and negotiate a royalty or some other

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African dolls cow leather boxes.

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LEFT: Eggtail blue stone wash bag in cow leather. CENTRE: Quotidien cow leather all around bag. TOP RIGHT: Fishtail cow leather bag. BOTTOM RIGHT: Tulip cow leather bag.

Corporate applications The same philosophy of openness, collaboration and social interest led Vincent to develop the condom pouches, and once again he strikes a balance between the creative and the business aspects. The pouches can be branded or embossed with logos, educational messages and other text or branding, which Vincent believes makes them a suitable product for corporates, NGO’s and other organisations that keen to help spread the safe sex message. “We are hoping that ‘hip’ brands and

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organisations that target the youth will see the

sible sexual behaviour and sexual health in order

value in this product and the message behind it,

to increase the impact of the Second Skin and its

and approach us to do their own branded range of

message. “We need to get people talking about safe

Second Skin pouches. These can be distributed at

sex, to lessen the stigma around this subject. After

colleges, universities, concerts, raves – anywhere

all, sex is cool, fun and exciting – and so everything

young people gather en masse. They are a design-

that goes with it should feel the same way!”

er product with a great social message and impact, and initial feedback suggests they will work well

The Second Skin is being promoted through a number

as a promotional item or corporate gift.”

of channels, including urban africa’s website, via select retailers and outlets as well as corporate

Going forward, Vincent is planning to partner

and promotional gift agencies. Click here to visit

with existing organisations that promote respon-

urban africa's site. <

76 >

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Creating complex objects of desire layer by layer By Michaella Janse van Vuuren | My passion for

realised or 3D printed, layer by layer, by the melting

creating technically complex design and artworks

or depositing of manufacturing materials. This

has its roots in my schooling at Pro Arte High School

manufacturing process, developed in the 1980s,

for the Arts in Pretoria. Here I made marionettes

was initially intended for the manufacturing of cus-

that were highly detailed, using innovative con-

tom engineered parts and prototypes for industrial

struction and manipulation methods. Many years

product development. In recent years the technol-

on, my work has drawn me once again into a direc-

ogy has become accessible not only to engineers,

tion where the technical and artistic meet. Today, I

industrial designers and a select few, but also to a

work as an electrical engineer – my day job – and in

wider range of designers and artists like myself.

my private time I focus on designing 3D printing or

This change has been driven by the reduction in

additive manufacturing. I enjoy designing and I find

cost of the hardware and software needed to cre-

the limitations and difficulties a fascinating chal-

ate the large prototyping files and also decreased

lenge. I love the challenge of creating something

the cost to manufacture objects – mass or one offs.

that is planned and then designed on computer and

Increased Internet bandwidth has also made it pos-

seeing if my idea ‘printed out’ as I envisioned.

sible to send the larger files required for manufacturing and a number of start-up companies have

The intersection of art, design and technology is

emerged who now provide short-run manufactur-

currenttly undergoing a time of exponential growth

ing services for individuals who produce their own

enabled by digital manufacturing. Digital manufac-

objects. The designer/artist can now lie at the cen-

turing methods such as additive manufacturing

tre of this exploration. More than in any other dis-

have changed the way that objects are designed

cipline he or she has the ability to create and ex-

and manufactured. Additive manufacturing refers

plore without the limitations imposed by

to the process where an object that has been cre-

traditional sculpting materials and their inherent

ated in the virtual world of the computer is then


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I create my art by first imagining the object. This is then translated onto paper, and after a series of sketches transformed into a technical drawing. This drawing dictates the measurements and dimensions needed to translate the artwork into the computer. The scale of the sculpture, distances between parts and mechanical functionality have to be meticulously planned out before I move on to the computer. I use software programs to translate the idea into a printable digital design. Different software packages specialise in a specific type of functionality and there is no one program that fulfills all my design needs. I do the 3D sculpting in Zbrush, the creation of the moveable parts in Rhino and the 3D mesh checking in netfabb, to name a few key software packages. I move back and forth between programs to create the artwork. Zbrush is a digital sculpting program that allows you to do organic and or freeform sculptural shapes that are very difficult to create in traditional CAD software. Many of my designs have moveable parts. When I need to cut the parts or add mechanical pieces with precise dimensions I move over to Rhinoceros 3D. Rhinoceros is an entry level CAD program. When designing for 3D printing you have to keep in mind the limitations of the printing process. Unlike designing for computer rendering, a visual representation, modeling for 3D printing requires a lot more issues to consider before it is printable. The object needs to be watertight and manifold with no bad edges to name but a few. Software programs such as netfabb, Meshlab and Magics help to evaluate and repair 3D files, or meshes, so that the file can be printed. It helps to check your file throughout the design process for printing integrity as many hours or days of work can be lost trying to fix a file that has become unprintable. You also need

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The Horse Marionette has fully functional joints and movable wings. Polyamide, 203 x 193 x 166 mm. Part of the Southern Guild Collection 2011. These images show a rendering of the 3D file that is sent to the printers. They illustrate how the individual parts of the marionette are placed in the 3D file so that no assembly is required afterwards. Once the powder is removed the marionette comes to life. Click here to see The Horse Marionette in action.

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Rocking Springbuck. Polyamide, 183 x 156 x 51 mm. The Springbuck was designed with all its’ moveable parts in a single 3D file. Rocking Springbuck has rotating gears and they move as the buck rocks. Click here to see Rocking Springbuck in action.

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to comply with the process limitations. Some additive manufacturing processes allow for moving parts, some require that the object should be designed as a single solid piece. Parts that are designed too small will disintegrate in the build and moveable parts cannot be spaced too close or they will fuse and not be able to move at all. There are different materials available for 3D printing such as, steel, sand, alumide, resin, ceramics, glass and even human tissue. My favorite material and process is selective laser sintering. The polyamide or nylon material is well suited to creating movable parts. It is relatively robust, depending on the thickness of the part, and has the texture and look of coral. The design process is time-consuming and relatively expensive. I therefore have to design my sculptures to be as small as possible and I am always pushing the limitations of what is possible. There is also no room for error; one small mistake in the mechanics could mean that the entire design does not work as I intended. When a design is finished, I email the digital files to a local or international manufacturer. The sculptures are then built up by fusing thin layers of nylon powder. When the print build is finished the powder is removed and the object magically emerges from the heap of deposited powder. A few days later the completed sculptures arrive at my door ready to be unpacked. This is always a very tense moment. Did I think of everything? Will it come out as planned? All the planning and designing focuses on this one moment of pure joy when I hold a design that looks and functions exactly as I envisioned it.

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Some of my most recent work, The Horse Mario-

functional joints and movable wings and when

nette, Rocking Springbuck and Birdman, were all dig-

strung up it comes to life. The Rocking Springbuck

itally designed in this manner. All the parts have

has rotating gears that move as the buck rocks. Au-

been placed in the same file with no assembly re-

tomata and mechanical toys inspired the Birdman

quired afterwards. The Horse Marionette has fully

sculpture. When the rod is pulled the beak closes

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and his arms drop to the sides. When the rod is pushed his beak opens and the arms move outward. The Horse Marionette forms part of the Southern Guild collection that will be launched at the Johannesburg Art Fair in September 2011. <

Birdman. Polyamide, 220 x 60 x 40 mm. Automata and mechanical toys inspired Birdman. When the rod is pulled the beak closes and his arms drop to the sides. When the rod is pushed his beak opens and the arms move outward. Click here to see Birdman in action.

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3D What?

By Kenneth van Rensburg | My first encounter

printing is and why I could be getting so excited

with the 3D printing phenomenon transpired dur-

over the model of a steering wheel? (The second

ing a working holiday some years ago in the UK.

question is perhaps a little harder to answer…)

Being a budding industrial designer and a self-con-

Unlike many subtractive manufacturing processes

fessed car nerd, I jumped at the opportunity to

such as CNC, where material is carved or machined

visit the Jaguar factory in Coventry. Besides visit-

away from a block or billet of virgin material, 3D

ing the assembly plant the tour also included a

printing is an additive manufacturing process

visit to Jaguar’s R&D department, which turned

whereby the parts are built up, layer by layer. As

out to be the highlight of my visit. Waiting in an-

each layer binds to the previous one, the cumula-

ticipation, I hoped to see car designers sketching

tive thin layers are transformed into a three-di-

and model-makers vigorously fettling and working

mensional object. Crudely put, it’s what wasps and

away at clay models. Instead, an army of designers

swallows have been doing for ages – building up

greeted me from behind their computers and a

their nests, one layer at a time. This means that

dozen 3D printers were busy ‘growing’ physical

complex shapes, complete with negatives spaces

models of parts they had just designed. Within a

and tricky undercuts can be ‘grown’ into one single

couple of hours the designers could hold in their

piece in a very short space of time. By 3D printing

hands exact replicas of, say, a steering wheel, to

a model, valuable developmental time and costs

assess the part both visually and ergonomically

are saved, fast-tracking one's design to the market.

before committing to tooling and manufacture. To me this was mind blowing – like a Replicator

So why then is it referred to as ‘printing’, you might

straight out of Star Trek! Needless to say, I never

ask? 3D printing is really an umbrella term for a

expected to be running my own 3D printing com-

number of additive manufacturing processes. Many

pany only a couple years later.

of these processes use inkjet print-head technology to deposit layers of material or binding agents to

Now, if you’re not familiar with the technology,

build a 3D model. Unlike a desktop printer, which

you are likely to be wondering what on earth 3D

prints a 2D image onto a flat surface such as a sheet

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LTR: A layer of the binder for the SC20 boat model being deposited. After removing most of the excess powder, the SC20 emerges from the 3D printer. The finished 1-15 scale model painted and with laser cut detailing. The real SC20 after production in action

of paper, a 3D printer deposits a layer or cross-section

I, then identified a real local need to bridge the gap

onto the machine’s build bed. The bed then drops

between the design process and manufacture, i.e.

less than 0.1mm and a new layer is deposited on

prototyping. We were recently-qualified industrial

top of the preceding one. The process of building

designers when we were presented with the op-

the layers is referred refer to as ‘growing’ a model.

portunity to start a small business and 3D printing was an obvious choice. After meeting with various international agents it wasn’t long before our 3D

3D Printing in South Africa

printer was shipped and our company, Protoform Rapid Prototyping, opened its doors. Unlike in Eu-

Although relatively new to South Africa, the tech-

rope, we very soon realised that it was difficult to

nology itself has been around since the 1980s and

specialise since no single local market was large

the first machine was made commercially available

enough to support the fledgling local prototyping

by 3D Systems in 1986. The first machine only

industry. And so, casting our nets a little wider, we

reached South African shores in 1991 and only a

began marketing to industries outside of our pri-

handful of machines have since been available up

mary targets in design and engineering.

until the early 2000s. A handful of science labs and tertiary education institutions acquired the major-

One such industry was boat-building and some of

ity; with a small number used commercially, but

the first models that we produced were scale

largely in-house.

yacht models for the Dean Catamaran’s sales team. The company’s designer, Rudolf Jonker, im-

It was only in 2008 that I saw the first 3D printer in

mediately recognised that 3D scale models could

South Africa firsthand. My colleague, Jon Smith and

provide a huge advantage over their competition:

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“I think for us, the model really made a difference

models, sculptures and props for the movie industry.

in finalising the last exterior design details. To be

By then, we’ve noticed is that 3D printing was often

able to show a scale-model to prospective buyers

misunderstood as a process strictly for engineering

before the first boat was even built gave our

prototypes, but this couldn’t be further from the

marketing people a big head-start in marketing

truth and since then, Protoform has assertively

the new boat.”

tried to make diverse potential users aware that 3D printing is also a powerful and creative tool. A

It wasn’t long before Protoform were supplying

3D printer can replicate almost anything that you

boat models abroad as well. Scandinavian Cruisers’

can model digitally, be it light fittings, shoes, artis-

founder, Nis Lorentzen, required 1:15 scale-models

tic sculptures – the possibilities are almost limitless

of his SC20 to assist with both development and

and 3D printed models can be used ‘as is’ or paint-

marketing. As Nis explains, "Building boats has a

ed and detailed for presentation. They may even

lot to do with a passion for boating and the sea.

be used to make moulds for casting in plastics and

Being able to transform 3D drawings of a new boat

metals and from a 3D printed master, one can easily

design into a complete painted scale model within

make low volume plastic components with accu-

just a couple of weeks, as opposed to the many

racy that competes with injection moulding. In

months it takes to build the real thing, is very ex-

conjunction with other technologies, such as 3D and

citing. It is like seeing your first baby being born”.

CT scanning, the possible applications are truly infinite.

By the end of 2008 Protoform was also supplying prototype parts to the automotive industry, mod-

One such creative proposal came to Protoform in

els for sand casting, training models, architectural

2008 when the prominent ad agency The Jupiter

TOP LEFT: An engineering model showing the level of detail that is possible with 3D printing. BOTTOM LEFT: 1-10 scale models of slurry valves used in the mining industry. TOP RIGHT: 1 of 5 plastic components for a large automotive client using the 3D print part as the master for the mould. BOTTOM RIGHT: 1-1 scale cylinder head for a passenger vehicle. RIGHT: Two of the 3D printed sculptures used for the 2009 Design Indaba advertising campaign.

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Drawing Room approached us to realise their concept

three years Protoform has been supplying medical

for the 2009 Design Indaba advertising campaign.

models to some of South Africa’s leading maxilla-

They needed to make tangible a concept that

facial surgeons. A large percentage of their work

showcased the ideas and identities of thee innova-

entails reconstructive surgery to correct damage

tors in the form of sculptures. The sculptures

caused by tumors, gunshot wounds and severe

needed to be sufficiently detailed to convey the

damage caused by burns. Typically, the patient

personalities of the subjects as well as incorporat-

would be CT-scanned from which a radiologist

ing each innovator’s idea in the form of an object,

would prepare pre-operative planning models of a

emerging from their heads. In order to meet the

patient’s jaw or skull. We then 3D-print models

brief, the heads of the chosen three innovators

that are then used as templates by surgeons to

were scanned to create digital 3D copies. The

accurately create customised implants – these

models for their inventions were then digitally ma-

models can even be produced in as little as a day

nipulated, together with the scanned head models

in emergencies. According to radiologist, Carol

and made to appear as if emerging from the heads.

Spence, the time afforded by these models can

These were then 3D printed at life-size and assem-

easily save surgeons up to two hours of surgery

bled to produce fascinating, life-like sculptures.

time, and with theatre rates of around R100 per

The sculptures were photographed and used in a

minute, that’s a massive financial saving to both

number of applications and the campaign went on

patients and medical aid schemes. Apart from the

to win several advertising awards.

monetary savings, this dramatically reduce risks to the patients because it reduces time under anesthesia

Another unexpected but exciting application of

and ensures that implants that fit precisely. Previ-

3D printing is the medical industry. Over the past

ously, implants would have to be custom-shaped

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and fitted under surgery. Carol is quick to mention

enthusiast, Jay Leno, has a 3D printer in his garage

that 3D prototyped models mean that surgeons

to produce spare parts for his classic car collection.

can now even fit implants intra-operatively, leaving the patient with minimal scarring.

So, perhaps in the future, if you broke a hose fitting, you could ‘grow’ a replacement overnight or that frustrating missing piece from a favourite toy

The Future

or gadget. Sure, for larger and more specialised modelling you’d still probably make use of a pro-

So, where is 3D printing headed? Well, for a start,

fessional service provider for their expertise and

it won’t be long before we have desktop 3D printers

high-end equipment. New materials for 3D print-

in small businesses and in homes. A basic RepRap

ing are being developed and experimented with

or Makerbot 3D printer already costs less than

almost every day – various metals (including pre-

what a desktop laser printer did in 1985, which to-

cious ones for jewellery design), new polymers,

day we find in almost every office and middle-class

ceramics, clay, sugar, sawdust and even pasta! As

home. For example, television celebrity and car

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FAR LEFT: Various architectural applications of 3D printing. CENTRE TOP: Sectional model of a patient's Maxialla. CENTRE BOTTOM: Pre-operative planning model for surgery. BOTTOM: Little mirrored Fiat 500's emerging from under the powder.

this develops and the technology becomes more

About the author

affordable, new industries will start up. Kenneth van Rensburg is an industrial designer For me, the most exciting development at present

and partner at Cape Town-based Protoform Rapid

is 3D-printed organs. That’s right! Already, scien-

Prototyping. <

tists have developed prototype machines that could do that and I predict that in a couple of years doctors could be 3D-printing you or a loved one’s a new kidney or heart valve using your very own cells as building blocks. Quite frankly, the possibilities of 3d printing are endless. If you can think it, it can happen. All you need is an idea.

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Turning Talent Into Success A Cape Town business development consultancy is making an impact nationally in the field of enterprise development and economic empowerment, with a special focus on the creative industries. Fetola, a Sotho word meaning ‘change’ or ‘changing’, specialises in boosting emerging entrepreneurs, creatives, grassroots projects and community-based organisations towards sustainability. Based in Westlake Business Park in the Cape and with a national footprint, Fetola was founded in 2006 by enterprise development practitioner and entrepreneur Catherine Wijnberg. “What makes us different” says Catherine, a Zambianborn entrepreneur and MBA graduate with experience in five sectors, “is that we teach what we call ‘the Business of Business.’ I believe the success of enterprise development lies in understanding the daily challenges faced by small business owners, and offering simple, practical and replicable solutions that are relevant whether one is selling craft, cars, creativity or cabbages. There are certain business fundamentals that need to be in place in any enterprise for it to be sustainable and successful, and that is what we focus on.” The organisation runs long-term enterprise development programmes as well as working directly with entrepreneurs and SMME’s on a needs-basis. Offerings are diverse and include mentoring, skills development and training, practical e-learning courses, systems development and strategic planning. “What sets us apart is that we have ‘walked the walk’, especially when it comes to the creative industries.

A selection of innovative lighting products designed and produced by Heath Nash, one of the notable participants who are benefitting from the ETU programme.

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Bamboo kitchen by Cabinetworks.

Luxury leather accessories by Majda Rabin of Chimpel.

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I was Programme Manager at the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) before opening Fetola,

The ETU SMME Accelerator Programme

while our senior consultant Anton Ressel was cofounder of Streetwires, one of the largest social

A recent Fetola initiative aimed at more estab-

enterprises in South Africa. All our consultants and

lished businesses is the ETU SMME Accelerator

mentors are business people themselves – how

Programme, funded by the Embassy of Finland.

can you teach entrepreneurial thinking if you have

‘ETU’ is a Finnish word meaning ‘benefit’. This pro-

never been an entrepreneur?” asks Wijnberg, in

gramme works with participants in the creative

reference to the theory-heavy, ‘chalk-and-talk’ of-

sector that are primed for growth, and includes

fering of many skills development organisations

amongst others, internationally renowned lighting

out there.

designer Heath Nash, high-end furniture and interiors business Cabinetworks, luxury leather acces-

The Legends Programme

sories designer Majda Rabin of Chimpel, Vincent Urbain of urban africa and fast-growing ceramics studios Imiso Ceramics and Zizamele.

Fetola’s flagship enterprise development initiative, the Old Mutual-supported Legends Programme,

Beneficiaries of both programmes receive a suite

was a Finalist in the coveted Mail & Guardian In-

of support including practical business skills train-

vesting in the Future Awards in the Best Enter-

ing and ongoing access to a business mentor. Both

prise Development Programme category in 2010.

programmes utilise an innovative peer-to-peer

Legends now supports 67 enterprises in nine prov-

email network resource, enabling beneficiaries to

inces, and has become one of the largest virtual

communicate with each other, share lessons and

incubator programmes in South Africa. Partici-

ask for advice and support simply by sending an email.

pants include craft and design organisations, fur-

This resource is also used by Fetola to distribute

niture manufacturers, skills training organisations,

weekly e-learning training on diverse topics such

NGO’s, community projects and a number of up-

as sales and marketing, finance, strategic plan-

and-coming young entrepreneurs in the film and

ning, administration and costing and pricing. The

design spheres.

overall intention is to help beneficiaries become more businesslike, competitive and sustainable.

If the figures are anything to go by, Legends is indeed having a significant impact in its aims to re-

“What we have found over the years is that many

duce poverty, create jobs and develop skills

creative people find the business side of things far

amongst its beneficiary network. Annual partici-

less interesting than the design and creative proc-

pant sales turnover increased from ZAR690 000 in

ess. My response to this – that is why there are so

2007 to ZAR2.385 million in 2010 – an increase of

many gifted designers in the poorhouse!” says Fe-

290%, while the programme has more than dou-

tola consultant Anton Ressel. “In all seriousness, it

bled in size from supporting 350 beneficiaries in

is rare to find a combination of creative excellence

2008 to over 1000 in 2011.

and business savvy in an entrepreneur or small business, but the reality is that creative talent alone is not enough to sustain a business. There are a number of fundamentals that must be in

94 >

place for any business to thrive, and this is what we try and impart through our work.” Fetola Project Manager Chantal de Kock believes that small business success begins with a solid self-belief and business vision. “Beyond this, the essential business foundations - sound financial and administrative systems, a good understanding of marketing and sales, a product or service with potential and a realistic gap in the market, are where the edge is created,” she adds.

Turning the light on One notable success story is the work Fetola have been doing with Heath Nash. A gifted designer with a growing international profile, Nash joined the ETU programme because he recognised that the business side of his company needed attention. “I have always found the design and creative process so much more stimulating than the financial or administrative side of things – obviously!” says Nash with a smile. “However, I found myself in a situation where I was working harder and harder but not really moving forward in a business sense. Sure, my profile was growing, but this was not translating into financial success and sustainability for the business, because this side of things was always second fiddle to the creative side. That has changed since I joined ETU and started working with Fetola, and the benefits have been almost immediate,” he says. The starting point was to empower Nash with information about his business that he could understand and embrace. This meant regular sales reports, management accounts and a clear picture of what his expenses and income were on a monthly basis. “I started seeing how much money was being wasted on inefficient production processes, unproductive staff and poor management of materials.

95 >

A small selection of the vast product range produced by ETU SMME Accelerator Programme participant, Imiso Ceramics.

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TOP LEFT: Fetola interventions include workshops, mentoring and one-on-one business support. TOP RIGHT: Catherine Wijnberg, Director Fetola & Associates. LEFT: Fetola programme participant, Theresa Wormser of TW Ceramics.

A selection of products by ETU SMME Accelerator Programme participant, Zizamele.

97 >

The knowledge was like switching a light on!” says

Another recent innovation is the Fetola Volunteer

Nash. A thorough recosting of all his products, re-

Mentor programme, a national (and possibly inter-

sulting in a new and more competitive pricing

national) matchmaking programme that pairs ex-

structure and greater professionalism in the busi-

perienced business people and entrepreneurs

ness, followed this. “We are fortunate in that

with emerging entrepreneurs and organisations in

Heath learns very quickly and is determined to

need of business support.

strengthen his business knowledge. In fact, I think he actually finds the business side of his company

“Our Vision is to change lives for the better, for-

far more interesting and exciting than he ever im-

ever. We see the development of the SMME sector

agined he would!” says Ressel.

as absolutely vital to the growth and prosperity of our country, and feel privileged to be able to partner with corporates like Old Mutual and others

Innovation equals success

who share our vision. Our creative talent in South Africa is so huge, if this can be coupled with sound

Given its genesis and close links with the creative

business knowledge and skills, watch out World!”

industries, it is no surprise that Fetola prides itself

concludes Wijnberg.

on innovation. “We are always looking for new ways to increase our impact and do more for less,”

Click here to learn more about Fetola and the pro-

says Wijnberg. One example is the Mentor Hot-

grammes that they run. <

line©, a 24-hour email, sms and telephone hotline that provides fast access to experienced business mentors for beneficiaries.

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Supporting ideas into prototypes By Judy Bryant | Do you have an idea for a product

terial. If someone comes here with an idea, they

or design, and want to explore it further? If so, the

can develop it through to the prototype. Issues are

Product Support Space at the Cape Craft and Design

often not process- or material-specific; it is often

Institute (CCDI) could be your new playground.

a case of helping people through a problem-solving process.”

The CCDI has for some years housed, at its headquarters in Harrington Street, Cape Town’s only

“The goal is to have the appropriate technology

FabLab – an assisted DIY computer-aided design/

for what needs to be done, so equipment ranges

manufacturing environment. Now, this facility has

from basic hand tools and workshop machinery

evolved with more services, full-time staff and

such as a sander and a band saw, to more sophisti-

state-of-the-art equipment in an expanded space

cated, computerised equipment” adds Product

of about 300 m².

Support Facilitator Pieter Cilliers.

Alan Alborough, the CCDI’s Product Support Pro-

Existing FabLab machines, originally funded by the

gramme Manager, says it is a user-friendly environ-

Department of Science and Technology, have been

ment where users can experiment and progress

supplemented by additional machines budgeted

from idea conceptualisation to physical manifesta-

for by the CCDI. These are grouped into dedicated

tion, with the appropriate support, infrastructure,

work stations. Safety is paramount, and the staff

tools and equipment. “People have ideas, but

(trained in first aid) work closely alongside visitors

these can get lost because they are not nurtured

on a one-on-one basis.

and people don’t know how to develop them” says Alan. “We are offering a place where users feel se-

The Product Support Space is split into two main

cure and empowered to do what they want to do.

areas, the Research and Design Area and the Tool

We meet with users on an individual basis to help

Room. The Research and Design Area consists of a

them to solve problems around any process or ma-

central consultation and planning area, and com-

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TOP & CENTRE LEFT: Mike Richards of Personality Pens at work in the Product Support Space. CENTRE RIGHT: The CCDI Product Support Space exposed Alison Prest to a new type of resin that enabled her to develop a suitable finish for her handmade flower vessels. BOTTOM LEFT: Lindy Greyling and Sibulele Tom working with the CCDI's heat press. BOTTOM RIGHT: Laser-engraved fabric and heat-transfer vinyl design by Carynn Underhill.

100 >

puters for research and design. The research com-

products or manufacturing processes include John

puters are for anyone to use free for product-spe-

Bauer, Alison Prest, Michael Richards and Walter

cific Internet research. The design computers are

Zandamela, to name just a few.

allocated for specific uses, so while some are for designing towards fabrication (machines such as

Ceramic artist John Bauer is inspired by salvaged

laser and vinyl cutters), others have programs such

items such as antique doilies, mint leaves and Chi-

as digitising embroidery software. There are also

nese New Year symbols and recreates these pat-

two computers with surface design software, ideal

terns in ceramics. John has been able to enlarge or

for creating patterns and designs for textiles and

diminish his patterns with input from the Product


Support Space, enabling him to push the limits of what he finds technically possible in ceramics.

The Tool Room includes a wide range of conventional hand and power tools, used for fixing, cut-

He has used the Product Support Space as a pro-

ting, marking, scoring, gluing, and working with a

totyping laboratory where he creates work on a

wide range of materials as well as the computer-

laser cutter that is later incorporated into other

ised machines such as the laser and vinyl cutters.

pieces. For example, he has over 1 000 doilies in

The latest purchases include a heat press for trans-

his collection and takes negatives and creates tex-

fers, a line bender for bending Perspex accurately,

tural reproductions that are true and can be en-

a small vacuum former for moulding thin thermo

larged or shrunken. This sets his work apart as a

plastics and a hot wire cutter for cutting foam into

craft producer as he achieves Photoshop-type re-

all kinds of shapes.

sults, while only using a doily once before putting it back into his archive.

Full-time staff available to work alongside visitors include Product Support Facilitator Pieter Cilliers

The Product Support Space staff have also helped

who joined the CCDI as an intern in 2008 after

John to create stamps of his signature, in different

completing his MFA specialising in sculpture; Prod-

sizes, including some in Chinese. These imprint his

uct Support Advisor David van Staden who free-

work. “Your signature is critical, because if some-

lanced as a graphic designer after completing his

one likes your product but can’t find your name,

BA (Fine Art) before joining the CCDI in 2007; and

they can’t order it from you,” he says.

Product Support Advisor Caragh Barwise who joined the CCDI in 2009 after studying industrial

John also specialises in combining Product Support

design, completing a jewellery course, and work-

Space technology with other techniques. For ex-

ing as a craft producer.

ample, his work could include layers of black and white ceramic, which he bruises on the surface and

Some of the craft producers and designers who

then reintegrates into a smooth skin, giving a ghost

have already used the facilities to improve their

image. The Perspex block from the PSS creates

101 >

TOP LEFT: Alison Prest experiments with resin during a mould-making session at the Product Support Space. TOP RIGHT: CCDI Product Support facilitator Pieter Cilliers. CENTRE LEFT: CCDI Product Advisor David van Staden (centre) shows Isaque Mohamed (left) and Dionisia Mambo from Mozambique some different types of heat-transferable vinyl in the CCDI Product Support Space. BOTTOM RIGHT: Ceramic artist John Bauer. LEFT: Ceramic works by John Bauer who has used the Product Support Space to expand technical boundaries in his work.

102 >

another image in this. John has shown how photo-

Craft producers from neighbouring countries have

graphic images from a driver’s licence photo can

also found inspiration at the Product Support

be used to achieve a fine level of reproduction,

Space. The Kellogg Foundation funded a series of

and says this technique could also suit craft pro-

workshops, residencies and an internship pro-

ducers making items such as soaps, biscuits and

gramme which was facilitated by the CCDI and in-

candles to make them appear engraved.

cluded a half-day introduction to the Product Support Space. The 2011 residency graduates included

Alison Prest is a floral designer and authority on

Walter Zandamela, a Mozambican artist and techni-

plants and succulents who opened the Soanesbury

cian working in various materials such as wood and

School of African Flower Design in Cape Town. Last

ceramics. After his session with the PSS, Walter

year Alison developed a range of plant vessels

continued to explore various materials, especially

made from recycled materials such as yoghurt and

wood, making a range of objects that combined Af-

margarine containers, papier-mâché and resin. She

rican and Asian cultures.

attended a mould-making session at the Product Support Space, and when struggling to develop a

Product Support Space access is on an appointment

suitable finish for her pots, the staff introduced her

basis. Click here for more information. <

to a new type of resin. This enabled Alison to develop her own mixture to finish her pots to the standard she desired. Her range has received publicity in respected décor and lifestyle magazines such as Elle Decoration and Visi. Michael Richards of Personality Pens started work as a draftsman in Durban and later took up wood turning. He now produces beautiful hand-turned and fabricated pens that were selected for the 2011 CCDI Handmade Collection, which launched at the iconic Design Indaba Expo. Product Support Space staff have helped Michael to improve his production ability, through making jigs (tools to control the location and motion of another tool) and templates for improved manufacturing.

103 >

TOP: The product support space includes research computers where people can search for internet resources. LEFT: Walter Zandamela from Mozambique experimented with wood products at the PSS.

104 >

South Africa learns from the Swedes By Stacey Rowan

In October last year, Raymond Ellerbeck, Director of C.O. Designs, accompanied by a group of 14 South Africans from within the furniture industry, visited Sweden on a one week study tour of the Swedish furniture industry. With the Swedes sharing a wealth of practical experience and knowledge, the South African furniture industry has learnt many lessons from the Swedish furniture industry. BELOW: C.O. Designs’ Concept Desk is a fully functional workstation which aims to service the needs of designers in various industries. The desk includes a built-in lightbox as well as a utility rail which enables the designer to optimise the work surface. The desk incorporates various ergonomic features including a sit/stand desk frame which allows the user to conveniently and seamlessly alternate between seated and standing positions.

105 >

The South African furniture industry is under threat

giants in order to be competitive in the world mar-

and in decline. This could either mean a permanent

kets. Companies can rather stay optimally sized and

decline or an unfortunate but inevitable pruning of

nimble, able to adapt to change and collectively pool

‘dead wood’ in preparation for a restructured in-

marketing and logistic resources in partnership with

dustry that can sustain itself. Fortunately it is often

regional government. First we establish dominance

small adaptations done proactively that ensures

regionally – internally and then in Africa.

survival of any industry. The Swedish study tour is one such proactive move towards gaining knowl-

The good news is that these very dynamics are cur-

edge and new insights and creating solutions to our

rently active within the Western Cape, for example

declining furniture industry.

the Western Cape Furniture Initiative (WCFI), Design Indaba Expo and government-sponsored indus-

Hosted by the Tibro furniture industry cluster in the

try development initiatives facilitated by the DTI

Tibro district (consisting of about 70 furniture com-

and Productivity SA.

panies which manufacture a variety of furniture products predominantly for the interior contract

3. As the Swedish model proves, a well educated

market), the information gained exposed the South

population could be the silver bullet to ensure

African group to the industry as a whole. It covered

world competitiveness. Education drives innova-

responses to global trends, social and economic

tion and social cooperation and tolerance, a pow-

threats, technology and human capital develop-

erful formula for sustainable success. We have to

ment. The insights gained illustrated how the state

invest in the education of our people, apart from

of any industry is defined by the social and econom-

technical and literate skills which industry needs;

ic environment within which it operates. In this con-

it also brings life skills, creating stable communi-

text the discussion seemed to drift away from furni-

ties and a reliable, productive work ethic. Govern-

ture interests into culture, social commentary,

ment’s mandate is to manage schooling and terti-

economics and even politics, but all these influences

ary institutions, establishing a pipeline for industry.

shape the destiny of an industry and need to be un-

As an industry we must take responsibility for

derstood to ensure the furniture industry’s survival.

adult skills development within our work force, focusing on both hard and soft skills. Larger com-

Several lessons for the South African furniture in-

panies may have the HR resources to manage this


while smaller companies lack the HR management knowhow. Government assistance and subsidies

1. South African small companies can grow into glo-

for SME’s are therefore poorly utilised and oppor-

bally competitive organisations, stay afloat and

tunities go to waste. As business entrepreneurs,

gain market share during an economic low tide. The

HR development should be recognised as a value

recipe is simple – constant improvement and in-

adding opportunity in a similar light as acquiring


new technology and machines. This will allow us to accelerate the development of our industry by al-

2. With industries, like our own furniture industry,

lowing technology and education to leverage each

clustering together and joining forces, individual

other. For example it can ensure that investment

companies do not have to grow into international

in production technology can be fully maximised

106 >

C.O. Designs’ Ruotare Unit is based on a modular concept and its innovative rotating construction allows it to be used as a space divider, as a TV unit or to showcase products. Other configurations range from a compact home office space to a versatile hospitality server in corporate pause areas. The product is a result of successful collaboration between C.O. Designs and Chrome Cherry who conceptualised the product. It is manufactured from Hollowcore, a material that consists of a recycled cardboard honeycomb core that is five times lighter than solid wood material.

107 >

with the necessary expertise, as frequently sophis-

furniture industry in South Africa is a global player

ticated machines are poorly run and maintained

in international markets.

with many inbuilt features being underutilised due to an under skilled operators. Technology invest-

“The learning’s from the tour, whether they be glo-

ment need not sacrifice jobs as an educated work-

bal trends, social or economic are vital to under-

er can find job opportunities in other sectors.

stand when looking at the global furniture industry as a whole. All countries and therefore industries

4. Innovation through design – the modern con-

are part of the global village and therefore directly

sumer wants more than mere product functionality

affected by global economics, as willing or unwill-

– they want style, aesthetics, and fashion to fuel

ing participants,” says Ellerbeck.

their aspirations and define their lifestyle. Our furniture industry, like the Swedish needs to define its

C.O. Designs was established in 1994 with a primary

own brand, drawn from our unique African culture.

focus on servicing the furniture requirements of

The least attractive alternative is to emulate suc-

corporate clients. Their product range includes a

cessful international brands and trends, at the risk

wide spectrum of office furniture, desking, seat-

of relegating ourselves to the role of followers try-

ing, screening and furniture in common areas. The

ing to keep up with the leaders and innovators.

company has grown consistently both in size and

Apart from Sweden, USA, Italy, Germany and Japan

reputation by successfully applying a consistent

all have their distinctive furniture design signatures

customer focused strategy of offering more than

drawn from their environment and culture and

just office furniture. Their service offering includes

even developing countries like Indonesia have a

product design and development, workstation de-

unique particular style they are offering the world.

sign, manufacture and country wide delivery and

Our craft industry gives insight into the rich crea-


tive and cultural diversity we have. As South Africans we need to overcome our identity crisis and

As an established company within the local indus-

find our true selves.

try, they support development as a founder member of the Western Cape Furniture Initiative.

5. Market and brand our products locally and inter-

Through continuous improvement and training in

nationally. We are blessed with some of the world’s

conjunction with Productivity SA, C.O. Designs in-

most creative advertising and marketing agencies.

vest in skills development and help ensure the con-

Expand the ‘Proudly South Africa’ and ‘local is lekker’

tinuation of key industry skills.

themes in order to strengthen our local industry. “At C.O. Designs we feel that we are leaders in the All in all, key learning’s which C.O. Designs have im-

industry because we understand and learn from

plemented are simple: Constant improvement and

countries such as Sweden and we hope to contin-

innovation; cluster together and join forces in order

ue to apply, deliver and adapt to an ever changing

to be competitive on a global scale; education is key

market,” concludes Ellerbeck. <

for a competitive edge; innovation through design and market and brand products both locally and internationally. These are all vital to include in the business strategy and to implement to ensure the

109 >

PRECIOSA illuminates another One & Only complex Dubai now boasts the second One & Only hotel complex, One & Only The Palm, which opened on the artificial island of Palm Jumeira in October of last year. The interior of this stylish gem, which is again lit up by lamps and fixtures from PRECIOSA, is full of energy, emotion and sensuality.

110 >

LEFT: The One & Only The Palm's lobby lounge. RIGHT: Lobby fountain.

This colossal One & Only The Palm project, on which PRECIOSA worked for almost three years, is yet another example of the vast design abilities and production capabilities that this Czech company has in its repertoire. Nine hundred pieces and over 150 different types of luminaires were crafted by the hands of master glassmakers in the renowned Northern Bohemian glass region. PRECIOSA’s versatility illustrates not only the diversity of design styles, but also the myriad of possible

111 >

lighting solutions. The unique designs created for

glass. In contrast with these abstract pieces are the

the One & Only The Palm perfectly harmonise with

curves of timeless classics, adapted to this century

each interior, so much so that they seem to be an in-

through the use of some of the most interesting

delible and integral part of each space. Contempo-

modern decorative components. Lastly, typical orien-

rary, traditional and Arabic design styles permeate

tal chandeliers are also present. Lanterns of various

the various rooms. To capture the spirit of recent

shapes, either alone or in excuisite clusters, are

trends, crystal spirals and globes were made to

further embellished with intricate laser-cut deco-

create the feeling of stepping into a sparkling ice

rative elements. Whether you meander outside or

kingdom. The most popular of trends in lighting today

inside of this large complex, you will encounter a

are also represented, including spectacular hang-

wide range of free-standing fixtures, table lamps,

ing sculptures composed of free-form hand-blown

and sconces which decorate many a wall.

112 >

LEFT: The 101 Marina Restaurant & Bar/Lounge. CENTRE: All day dining at Zest, the resort’s main restaurant. TOP RIGHT: Specialty restaurant. BOTTOM RIGHT: All day dining.

Luxurious decorative chandeliers from PRECIOSA can also be seen throughout the One & Only The Palm. They both create and complement the atmosphere of the reception, restaurant, wellness centre, beach lounge, bathrooms and, of course, the individual hotel guest rooms and villas.

About PRECIOSA PRECIOSA is one of the world’s leading producer of cut crystal, specialising mainly in the production of machine cut chatons, beads, stones and

113 >

Specialty restaurant

other fashion jewellery components of top quality

The Czaricyno Palace in Moscow, the Emirates Palace

and in a broad variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Hotel and the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi, The Address

The company’s headquarters is based in Jablonec

Downtown Burj Dubai, Regency Casino Mont Parnes

nad Nisou in Northern Bohemia, a region with hun-

in Athens, One & Only Cape Town, and the over-

dreds of years of glass making tradition.

haul of historical lighting fixtures in the rooms of Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech President, to

PRECIOSA produces crystal trimming chandeliers as well as contemporary decorative lighting fixtures in the town of Kamenický Šenov. It also produces custom-made lighting fixtures for a wide range of prestigious buildings such as theaters, hotels, luxury palaces and private residences. Examples of prominent lighting projects executed by PRECIOSA in recent years include the Bolshoy Theater and

name just a few. <

114 >

The Upper East Side Hotel: Beauty by Contrast By Stacey Rowan & Shiree Darley

The open spaces of the hotel have numerous layers of unconventional materials, rhythmic patterns, vibrant colours and lighting and are adorned with indulgent accessories.

115 >

Le Corbusier, a Swiss architect and one of the pioneers of Modern architecture or the International style once said: “I have decided to make beauty by contrast. I will find its complement and establish a play between crudity and finesse, between the dull and the intense, between precision and accident. I will make people think and reflect‌â€? This statement aptly describes the overall design concept of the Upper East Side Hotel where key interior architectural elements partition and break up the space, creating a somewhat ambivalent atmosphere, a sense of mystery and surprise when what you think you are seeing may not be what it seems.

116 >

The Upper East Side Hotel, a newly revamped 4-Star

With Architecture designed by Design 360 Archi-

City Hotel completed earlier this year, is set in one

tects for Redefine Properties, the client, the Up-

of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town – Woodstock –

per East Side Hotel features open plan, double

which is located between the docks of Table Bay

volume and combined lower ceiling public hotel

and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, just East of the

areas accommodating the reception lobby, conver-

City Centre. This urban renewal area is served by

sation lounges, a trendy dining area with cocktail

two railway stations, resulting in an industrial set-

Bar, businessmen’s library, cigar bar and outdoor

ting to the area. Woodstock’s dilapidated charm is

dining terrace.

what has made it such an excellent contingent for the inner-city revival that has recently taken the

Darley Interior Architectural Design (DIAD) – the

suburb by storm. The Upper East Side Hotel is only

hotel specialist interior design team – designed and

one aspect of this revival, with various other com-

created the interiors for the public areas of the Up-

ponents including Loft Apartments and a vibey

per East Side Hotel working within the parameters

Shopping Centre forming part of this urban renewal.

of the existing structure. This involved developing the architectural framework by conceptualising and

LEFT: Furnishings are custom designed, fabrics selected and accessories sourced to create conversation and relaxation lounges. RIGHT: Open plan spaces are skillfully zoned using raised platforms, stone boxes, screens and postbox frames to create intimacy, but not total separation.

designing the interior spaces, space-planning, accommodating the client/operators requirements, themeing the dining and bar areas and selecting and detailing all finishes, shop fitting, paneling and lighting – all within a pre-determined budget and very fast track programme. Furnishings where cus-

117 >

tom designed, fabrics selected, artwork commis-

bar and relaxation have been combined and

sioned and chandeliers and accessories sourced.

planned within the main public areas maximising,

These were all than procured and installed by the

where available, the generosity of the volumed

DIAD team including project management of the

spaces which are framed by mezzanine levels, and

shop fitting installation.

then playing on the intimacy of the existing low ceiling areas. Rather than closing off and separat-

DIAD found design inspiration from the up-and-

ing the amenities – the design philosophy was to

coming Woodstock location with its underlying

accommodate all recreation within “one space”.

industrial nuances. With the Upper East Side Hotel

This led to the challenge of distinguishing the dif-

aimed at a more youthful market, both interna-

ferent open plan spaces and creating intimacy but

tional and local, as well as seeking to encourage

not total separation.

resident and corporate based professionals to frequent the dining and bar venues, the interiors

DIAD achieved this by skillfully zoning the areas

needed to be stylish and chic. The architectural ap-

with raised platforms, stone boxes, screens and

proach is slick and minimalist so DIAD decided to

postbox frames. Different colour palettes of play-

create a young vibrant interior filled with unusual

ful light, texture and fabrics where then juxta-

diverse spaces – so that patrons could have inter-

posed. The design concept was kept coherent with

active or individual experiences.

the monochromatic black and white background embellished with a signature language of design

From an interior design perspective, the various

patterns which were repeated in different applica-

visitor activities such as arrival, eating, business,

tions throughout the areas.

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Dining options offered are 2 and 4 seaters, casual bar style seating and comfortable intimate banquette style seating.

The overall concept produced the creation of numer-

Design Concept

ous layers of unconventional materials, rhythmic patterns, vibrant coloured fabrics and lighting,

The interiors where inspired by the black and white

adorned with indulgent accessories, providing the

film era and artwork of the “Roaring Twenties”, a

clientele with visual discoveries and illusions pro-

boisterous period characterised by rapidly changing

gressing from space to space.

lifestyles and the fast pace of technological advancements. The economy in the 1920’s soared after the First World War; much as Woodstock has during this renewal and revamp period, departing from the history of a slightly seedy neighbourhood. Nightclubs and decadent restaurants were chic

119 >

places to meet and be seen and this is what DIAD

recognised as an art form in the 20’s and its black

set out to create for the Upper East Side Hotel.

and white depictions established a strong motivation to create a base theme of a monotone archi-

The 1920’s art, artists and illustrators were an ad-

tectural backdrop.

ditional source of inspiration to the DIAD team whilst establishing the design concept. The two

Hence, the overall background of the interiors is

art movements which had their genesis during the

detailed and fitted out with refined black and

1920’s were Surrealism and Art Deco. Surrealism

white finishes in opulent designs and patterns.

began in post World War I avant-garde literary cir-

These are then layered and splashed with bright

cles and featured elements of surprise with unex-

colours and a variety of contrasting finishes to

pected juxtapositions. Photography also became

bring in the funky vibe. The spaces are adorned

120 >

and layered with clean-lined furniture in iridescent

drop displaying one of the commissioned artwork

fabrics, cascades of crystals and bold patterned


wall coverings. A contemporary take on the excitement of the 1920’s era, this design theme gener-

Surreptitiously tucked behind the custom de-

ates the thrill of the excess and indulgence of a

signed high backed banquet seat is the dining ven-

theatrical pastime.

ue – Liberty’s – featuring a versatile conversation piece – the contemporary styled Butcher’s Block which is transformed into two large tables cen-

Design Walkthrough

tered in the restaurant for the breakfast buffet set-up and then placed in a mirrored niche, ele-

Strolling through the internal shopping plaza from

gantly decorated with ornate black accessories

the Porte Cochere, past the café style terrace

during the lunch and dinner services. Dining op-

seating, one enters a double volume, open spaced

tions offered are 2 and 4 seaters, casual bar style

entrance lobby. The crisp white stone reception

seating for the single businessmen with laptop

desk with a soft glowing blue circle patterned

space and comfortable intimate banquette style

glass insert, contrasts against the black reflective


floor and is set against a paisley wallpapered back

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The white stone walls contrast with against the black reflective floor. The young vibrant interiors are stylist and chic, with a minimalist look.

From the dining area, the guest moves through a

and the wall of clocks all to their own time creat-

screen opening into the private library area with

ing a timeline spin.

oversized acid green reclining chairs for comfortable TV viewing or relaxed reading, with generous

Glam with loads of funk is the only way to describe

selections of complimentary novels which line the

the cocktail bar – Estreet. An enormous mirrored

oversized, glamorously accessorised book shelves.

and glass back bar dwarfs the barman below, exaggerating the double volume surrounds and creating

Featured behind a sandblasted glass door is the

a deceptive myriad of 3D reflected images. With

cigar bar with translucent glass wine displays sur-

the brave use of the strong black and white stripe

rounding the guest with an extensive selection for

wall covering, the mirror sparkles with the reflec-

personalised choice from cognac to champagne.

tion of cascading crystal chandeliers and laser cut

The focal wall is lined with a voluptuous, full

patterned screens, creating a constantly animat-

height plum banquette seat and intimate tur-

ed, lively space which varies according to the light-

quoise tub chairs nestle around funky timber and

ing levels. The vibe here varies with the adjust-

glass tables. A sense of humour has been added to

ment of the lighting which glows from the bar

this space with the polished chrome horse head

panels as well as ceiling recesses, between trendy

sculptures surveying the room from floating niches

cocktail to decadent nightclub.

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Inspired by the 1920s era – with the deliciousness

With photography being a recognised art form in

of excess and indulgences, the monotone black

the 1920s, its black and white depictions estab-

and white background is layered with colour, deca-

lished a strong motivation to use the monotone

dent textures, over scaled patterned wall finishes,

architectural backdrop that DIAD explored, then

crystal chandeliers and ornate accessories, with

bringing in the layers and splashes of vibrant col-

the slickness of the design detailing creating an

our with fabric selections and lighting panels –

undeniable sense of glamour.

these all inspired by the fashion of the day. The inspiration of Surrealism and Art Deco is evident

Reasoning behind the design

in DIAD’s design with the circular patterns creating a consistent theme with the counter fronts, screens

DIAD set out to break some of the rules on contem-

and carpet designs set against a variety of indulgent

porary design, creating an alluring and whimsical

patterns and the blending of man-made materials

interior, but with careful attention to detail, comfort

of backlit art-glass, laser cut screens, polished techni-

and scale, providing an expressive inner–city living

stone and mirrored stainless steel.

destination with vibrant, interactive spaces.

123 >

Opulent designs and patterns, splashed with bright colours and layered with clean-lined furniture bring in a funky vibe.

However DIAD have still put an emphasis on sim-

interactive space that never sleeps. The challenge

plicity, functionality, efficiency and economy.

of establishing distinct paths for functional hotel

Open spaces were retained and similar finishes

operation and food and beverage services, within

used throughout to create a unified interior with

the open plan spaces, without imposing or intrud-

a definite continuity created by the consistent use

ing on the guests, was managed with the skillful

of different material combinations in different

partitioning of the space using key architectural


elements. These included laser-cut screens and postbox frames manufactured from a combination of materials of metal, sandblasted glass and tim-

Key Elements and Design Innovation

ber, giving rise to a play on positive and negative spaces with their patterning and filtering of lighting, creating a design vernacular unique to this in-

One of the key innovative features of this project was DIAD’s creation of a gathering place within the hotel’s public spaces where clientele can do business, dine, relax and socialise, encouraging an

ternational award winning hotel.<

124 >

Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel: Symbolism in design By Stacey Rowan

125 >

Being spoilt for choice, guests can enjoy a cocktail on the outdoor pool terrace.

Given the crucial nature of its locality, The Radisson

or a train station can be viewed. The room numbers

Blu Gautrain Hotel, located in the heart of Sandton

on the door are designed as a digital clock, similar

next to the Gautrain rail station, bears symbolism in

to those in trains, and on the 3rd floor next to the

its design. Based on the theme of a train station,

guest lift a different design, influenced by a sub-

the concept of the hotel design is represented

way, was used. This all keeps in line with the Gau-

through the many train-like design symbols used

train theme and it promotes rapid link,” says Jesper

within the hotel, with every element ‘talking to’,

Henriksen, General Manager, Radisson Blu Gautrain

and giving reference of, the Gautrain that faces op-


posite it. For the architects – Tower Design Studio Architects, “Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel is designed according

led by Werner Alberts – the design had to draw

to a train theme. The floor colours with red levels

people in from the train station, whilst capitalising

and yellow levels symbolise different train routes.

on the idea of the international traveller who is

The lines on the carpet represent a railway and at

used to the idea of public transport.

the end of each corridor a picture of a train, subway

126 >

Not only were the architects responsible for creating this symbolic design, but international interior designer Maria Vafiadis, of MKV Design, also contributed to putting this design concept on the fast

Setting a new architectural standard in the South African hospitality industry

track. According to Maria, the use of a local theme should never be unoriginal. If it is, then the hotel

The five distinct brands under the prestigious inter-

itself risks becoming just an imitation of the Gau-

national Rezidor Hotel group sport a unique style

train, failing to celebrate the theme itself. Cleverly,

and feel – from world-class luxury at Regent; a fash-

MKV Design made their design for the hotel refer-

ionable stay at Hotel Missoni; cosy hospitality at

ence trains, but in the most subtle way. One exam-

Country Inn and dynamic ambiance with Park Inn –

ple of this entailed the parquet flooring, used ex-

and the Radisson is no exception. From the archi-

tensively throughout the public areas using an

tecture with its classic, clean lines right through to

African teak, being laid in the manner of railway

the trendy dĂŠcor, the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel,

tracks and sleepers instead of conventional

managed by Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts, sets a

straight-laid planks.

new architectural standard in the South African hospitality industry.

127 >

Tower Design Studio Architects can take ownership

masculine, bordering on imposing. However, with

of this new achievement. The brief given to the ar-

the architectural design of the hotel being of a sim-

chitects entailed designing a high rise, mixed-use

ple, clean, modern and plain style, it creates for a

development that could accommodate a hotel, a

contemporary feel, decreasing its heavy appear-

retail component as well as office space. In order

ance on its surroundings.

for this to be achieved, the design had to be flexible enough to accommodate all these aspects, together

Another unique architectural feature of the hotel is

with underground parking garages.

its roof space usage. Being both in demand and in short supply in Johannesburg, roof space has be-

A central core (or rigid spine) within the building

come an architectural trend. Cleverly, the Radisson

was created, which is used to support structural col-

Blu Gautrain Hotel quickly followed this trend, with

umns which flow to the perimeters. Due to budget

its creation of ZAR, a funky new bar venue, located

limitations, pre-cast panels for the exterior of the

on the top of the hotel.

new hotel were put in place. With all this structural mass, and the building’s high density bulk, the

It is through these achievements, amongst many

Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel may be described as

others, that the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel has

LEFT: The interior, with its elegant furniture, is sophisticated, modern and avant-garde. CENTRE: The red carpet colour, combined with its straight lines, represent a train route – another feature contributing to the symbolism in design. RIGHT: Artwork pieces, by local artists, are placed throughout the hotel, integrating South African culture and heritance into the hotel.

128 >


HQ Store: 150 West St CNR Maude St, Sandton Shop 16, Sandton Eye, CNR West & Rivonia Rd, Sandton T: +27 11 384 5600

Sumptuous cuisine is provided for at the up-market restaurants within the hotel.

129 >

now set a new architectural standard in the hotel

MKV Designs used a monochromatic colour palette

industry – all this being accomplished within two

together with modern classic furniture, which adds

years, from design to completion.

a distinctive elegance. MKV Designs made sure that the new experience of

Original interior, international brand

this hotel had its own authentic story; that it works

Even though the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel be-

The Radisson Blu Gautrain, although being created

longs to the Rezidor Hotel group (which holds simi-

from an international brand, with a European per-

larities throughout its hotels), it was important for

spective, had to still integrate local South African

MKV Design to achieve interiors that are original

culture and heritance within it. This was achieved

and distinct. Through viewing the inside of the ho-

through placing local artwork pieces within the

tel, with its glazed elements and flow of public

hotel, which were created entirely by local artists.

spaces, it is evident that the flow and movement of

The ‘proudly South African’ artwork, a mix of dif-

the station areas is picked up in the interior design.

ferent media as well as conventional paintings,

According to Maria Vafiadis, the Radisson Blu Gau-

aides in combing the international brand with its

train is sophisticated, modern and avant-garde.

local setting.

as a hotel and that it has its own “soul”.

Guests can also relax in style at the lobby bar.

130 >

Spoilt for choice with World-class amenities

all with breathtaking views over Sandton, are available. “We have a penthouse, standard rooms, business class rooms, a junior suite and a corner suite

With all the world-class amenities that the Radisson

available.” Modern amenities such as free high-

Blu Gautrain Hotel offers – including a fitness cen-

speed wireless Internet are available within the

tre; cocktail lounge; boutique retail emporium; up-

rooms. Not forgetting a breakfast buffet after a

market restaurants; haute couture clothing bou-

good nights rest.

tiques; a relaxing spa; trendy hair salons and ZAR, guests are spoilt for choice. With sumptuous cui-

For those on business time, the Radisson Blu Gau-

sine provided by Central One Bar & Restaurant and

train Hotel offers its business visitors versatile con-

cocktails by the outdoor pool terrace, in addition to

ference spaces, seating up to 235 delegates, and

all of the other offerings, guests needn’t leave the

state-of-the-art meeting facilities which include


free high speed internet and the latest audio-visual equipment. This hotel provides for both business

Visitors are ‘spoilt for choice’ because “…We’re a multipurpose building with a variety of options under one roof,” says Jesper. For those just wanting to relax in their rooms, 216 – Maria Vafiadis designed – contemporary rooms,

and leisure.

The outdoor terrace and pool with a view of surrounding Johannesburg.

131 >

Shop with full wallets

Guests can now shop with full wallets using ATM’s, within the hotel, supplied by ATM SOLUTIONS, the

Not only is the hotel a success in itself, but, equally

proud preferred ATM supplier of choice. More and

important, the retail arcade, within the hotel com-

more South African hotels and hospitality groups

plex, has proven to be a success as a high end brand

are installing ATMS due to the safe, convenient

in its own right.

and instant access to cash they provide for the hotel’s guests. Aside from the convenience of cash,

The shopping arcade, consisting of stores that

their ATMs add value to any location, like the

range from exclusive coffee shops to high end lux-

Radisson, as they are designed and manufactured

ury goods stores, is a crucial aspect of the whole

to be visually appealing. ATM Solutions, leaders in

architectural design. Like the hotel, the arcade

ATM operation and deployment, installs bank

was also designed with the ‘train’ theme in mind.

branded ATMS for eight of Southern Africa’s larg-

The entrance of the shops sits directly opposite

est banks and has been in the industry for over ten

the road from the station, and as such, the high

years deploying over 4000 off-premise ATMs to

end stores had to appeal to international travel-

date, which are supported through a dedicated net-

lers who wanted to shop in a hurry. Fundamental-

work of service centres and technicians through-

ly, the shopping space, in terms of design, had to

out the region.

echo that of the hotel – to create a cohesive whole.

132 >

Easy reach

Blu Gautrain Hotel will take only 15 minutes from the airport to reach the hotel’s doorstep. This is

Apart from these fantastic amenities, the hotel’s

another factor that makes the hotel unique from

prime location, situated on Rivonia Road, allows

any other hotel with the hotel group.

guests to enjoy visiting Sandton City, multinational corporations, Nelson Mandela Square, the Sandton International Convention Centre, Gautrain Station,

“Yes I can!”

various shopping upmarket shopping malls and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, all of which are in

As part of the Rezidor Hotel Group, guests to the

walking distance.

Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel not only enjoy all that the hotel has to offer architecturally, but they are

In addition, departing from the O.R. Tambo Inter-

also assured of impeccable treatment and atten-

national Airport and travelling by Gautrain at

tion based on the Group’s worldwide “Yes, I can!”

speeds of up to 160 km/h, visitors to the Radisson

service excellence philosophy.

133 >

216 Maria Vafiadis designed contemporary rooms, with breathtaking views of Sandton are available.

“Yes I Can!, the service culture that has become a

Responsibility and Teamwork.’ All in all, the hotel

way of life to those that work there, has built serv-

offers excellence, both in the spheres of excellence

ice excellence within the Rezidor Hotel Group and

and in architecture.

has been proven to successfully contribute to a proactive, creative service performance and to

When considering the response from guests who

higher guest satisfaction. This makes Radisson, in

have stayed at the hotel, Jesper concludes: “There

terms of its service, different from any other hotel.

has been a positive response from guests who find

As Jesper mentioned: “Yes I Can!” embodies the vi-

the new age accommodation vibrant; the location

sion and philosophy of Radisson SAS – being the

convenient and the service to be excellent, of which

cornerstone of the hotel’s commitment to building

we pride ourselves for.” <

one-on-one relationships with our guests and a personal unique service approach. The ‘H.E.A.R.T. of Radisson SAS’ underlines the approach that it all comes from positive attitude and from the heart – being the abbreviation for 'Host, Engaged, Always,

134 >

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Architecture that floats By Stacey Rowan

When it comes to the AFGRI Head Office, the architects – Paragon Architects – can be seen as magicians. They have waved their architectural wand and have defied gravity, creating a building that holds the illusion of levitation. With its stark white contrasting colour and large glass curtain walls, the AFGRI head office is an immaculate floating apparition.

136 >

LEFT: The basement levels and four office levels are all supported by columns. RIGHT: As an immaculate floating apparition, the building holds the illusion of levitation.

137 >

When it comes to the AFGRI Head Office, the archi-

The curved louvers seem to flow with the movement

tects – Paragon Architects – can be seen as magicians.

of the traffic, while screening the occupants in the

They have waved their architectural wand and have

building from the noise and any direct sunlight. Pri-

defied gravity, creating a building that holds the

vate seating areas were also created on the South

illusion of levitation. With its stark white contrast-

side of the building, taking full advantage of the

ing colour and large glass curtain walls, the AFGRI

wetland area,” says Estelle Meiring, Project archi-

head office is an immaculate floating apparition.

tect & associate, Paragon Architects.

Located between the John Voster and Botha Avenue

AFRGI Head Office comprises two square-shaped

off-ramps in Centurion, the AFGRI head office, the

basement levels and four office levels, all supported

first building in a future office park complex, is nes-

by columns. The basement is dedicated to parking

tled next to the N1 highway. As the site is visible

and effectively lifts the levels of office space off the

from the highway, this, for the client, gave rise to an

site. Pushing the basement out of the ground meant

opportunity. With the environment being the big-

that the ground level had to be raised higher than

gest influence of design, this was a chance to show-

the usual office floor, which in effect, made it ex-

case an image of a forward-thinking company,

tremely light. The lightness was achieved by weaving

through the visible architecture of the building.

curved glass walls along the slab. The glass itself only has fins, rather than an aluminum structure,

“The brief, from M&T Development, was to design

which would have weighed the façade down.

a building that would take full advantage of the exposure to the highway, while maintaining more pri-

Post-tensioned slabs from the first floor to roof level

vate external seating and landscaped areas. The build-

were used. Concrete slabs were cast as post-ten-

ing we designed turns its louvered North façade

sioned structures in order to speed up the construc-

towards the highway – it is striking and sculptural.

tion process. Conventional slabs were however

138 >

139 >

The building, in its design, is striking and sculptural.

used on the ground level and for the basements.

ceramic tile facing, known as azelejos quebrados, was

The gable walls were then constructed as in situ

made popular again by Santiago Calatrava in recent

concrete structures and the curtain walls installed

years. “The broken tile cladding that was used is, we

on the edges of the slab. The design of the support

believe, a first in South Africa and we are very pleased

work for each completed wall slab was most critical

with the outcome.�

for successful construction of the gables and had to be specifically engineered. The engineers designed

The atrium, at the centre of the kappa-shaped struc-

the support work for 2m-high wet concrete with all

ture, houses the lift and the toilet core. Two pavil-

the weight if the shuttering and rebar. A platform

ions of offices, joined at the hip and set at a rakish

was built from the ground floor to the beginning of

angle, are cocooned in a curvaceous concrete skin.

the wall being cast. Support work is then erected

They sit above the lifestyle zone spread on the ground

from the platform up to the curved shuttering. As

floor. The glass line follows a different tune of its

each new section of the wall is cast, it juts out further

own, shielding compressed and expanding spaces

over the platform. The support work is then shifted

from the sun, weather and noise. Where the glass skin

and realigned to support the next wall slab until it

is too indecently exposed to the sun, a curvaceous

cures. This process is repeated six times per wall. The

second skin of laser-cut shimmering aluminum lou-

gable walls, top and bottom slab edge and soffit,

vers, tailored to suit, covers the denude areas.

were then cladded in white broken tiles. This broken

140 >

LEFT: An external view of the building at night. CENTRE: Where the glass skin is too indecently exposed to the sun, a curvaceous second skin of laser-cut shimmering aluminum louvers, tailored to suit, covers the denude areas. RIGHT: Two pavilions of offices, joined at the hip and set at a rakish angle, are cocooned in a curvaceous concrete skin.

“All the materials that were used are standard and readily available, however, they were used in innovative ways. It took lots of faith from the client, lots of planning from the main building contractor, lots of inspection and feedback time for us on site and, lastly but most importantly, a very skilled and dedicated tiling subcontractor,� adds Estelle. Considering the colour palette used, externally and internally, Estelle explains: “the external colours were kept simple. The curtain walls have a dark grey appearance, due to the performance glass used, and the shells are covered in crisp white tiles. The internal colours

141 >

were also, in general, quite simple, with flashes

Obstacles overcome

of colour to give interest.” After a geographical investigation of the site, the It is through the use of all these materials, the col-

team realized that piling, instead of a conventional

our palette and the implementation of the different

raft foundation, had to be used due to the dolomitic

design elements that makes for an utterly unusual

conditions. “The soil conditions meant that we had

Paragon-designed building, which boasts an overall

to use a special type of pile in certain areas and this

floating effect. Leaning to the more sculptural side

caused quite a large delay to the start of the project,”

of Brazilian Modernism, the building’s distinctive silhouette has already made waves in the architectural industry.

says Estelle. When discussing other challenges, she comments: “The East and West in situ concrete shells were also quite a challenge, both structurally and from a building contractor’s point of view. The construction of the scaffolding alone was quite a process and it ended up looking very much like a skate boarding half pipe.”

142 >

143 >

The atrium, at the centre of the kappa-shaped structure, houses the lift and the toilet core.

The difference between mediocre and great Although the building is owned and developed by M&T Development, the building was also designed according to AFGRI’s requirements. In terms on

link between the different areas.” When designing for any development, the purpose of the building and its future function takes top priority in terms of the list of things to keep in mind. “AFGRI is well suited to its function. We have created a building filled with natural light, that feels spacious and in-

designing for an office, one thing that distinguishes

viting and offers a lot of lifestyle components,

between a mediocre office building and a great one,

while still retaining privacy and quietness where

is “how usable the office plates are; how many people

needed,” says Estelle. Fulfilling its purpose as a work

can be comfortably fitted onto one plate,” says Es-

environment, the building also has a basement park-

telle. She continues: “We achieved a highly efficient

ing, canteen area with internal and external seating,

plate by placing the bathroom core and lifts in the

meeting rooms and training rooms.

atrium space, linked with bridges from the two office plates.” Another factor to consider when designing

When it comes to AFRGI head office, there is no com-

for an office is good communication. As Estelle ex-

parison. What makes AFGRI interesting, according to

plains, “people from different departments need to

Estelle, is that “…it has an aesthetic that cannot be

be able to reach each other without passing through

compared to anything else built in South Africa up to

long corridors. This was achieved by the central

now. We really enjoy the fact that the general public

atrium, with its link bridges, allowing natural light to

seems to be noticing and discussing the building; eve-

filter into the floor plates, while creating a covered

ryone has an opinion about it,” concludes Estelle. <

144 >

Waverley Office Park: Neo-African iconography By Stacey Rowan

145 >

With the expectations of becoming one of the most prominent office park developments in the Southern Sandton area, the Waverley Office Pwark needed an architectural image that was suitable for a development of this nature in a 21st century Gauteng environment. That architectural image would arise from Neo-African iconography.

146 >

The iconography chosen for Waverley Office Park,

Designed by Messaris Wapenaar Partnership Con-

while it takes its inspiration from international de-

sulting Architects, along modern building princi-

velopments of this kind, is to be distinctly neo-

ples, the vision for Waverley Office Park was to

African. It is hoped that the combination of the ele-

create a visually striking building with layers and

ments, colours and materials used and the overall

depth that ensures a positive work environment

design (that reflects an emerging Africanesque ar-

which maximises on, and fuses with, the positive

chitecture) will in some way inspire the way forward

elements of the site and surroundings, blending

in the quest for something truly architecturally

with the outdoor elements.

South African. The landmark office park features a visually specWaverley Office Park is developed by New Order

tacular duo of symmetrical office blocks, linked by

Investments, a joint venture between property de-

an arch, which is also the focal point of the devel-

velopers and investors Vlaming (Pty) Limited, Devcon

opment. The arch, which is tiled with high-grade

Projects (Pty) Limited and Top-Flite Properties

porcelain tiles, serves as a welcoming and direc-

(Pty) Limited.

tional element to visitors, who enter the office

147 >

park through an under-stated gatehouse. To com-

slick and modern feel through the use of these

pliment the tiled arch, the base of the building has

curved layers, which are set off against the crisp

also been tiled with high grade porcelain tiles, cre-

sharpness of the full height glazing of the corners.

ating a heavy base.

A glazed curtain wall on the outside of the building also helps to achieve this slick and modern

Once in the park, the buildings surround a boule-


vard, creating an internalised park-like environment. In this environment the architectural ele-

In addition, the buildings have been designed using

ments, while closely matching those of the external

cavity wall construction and deep set narrow fenes-

ones, are brought down to a more human scale.

tration on the majority of the elevations to address the African climate. This has the effect of

The horse-shoe shaped buildings within the devel-

dramatically reducing the climate control required

opment have a curved outer ‘shell’ in layers paying

in the buildings, and consequently contributing

respect to those developments of architects like

enormously to the environmental considerations

Renzo Piano and the like. The building achieves a

surrounding the development. The West facing

148 >

façades have sun screens, which double up as signage support for the freeway. The materials used for the construction are local, and as environmentally friendly as is possible in the context of a development of this nature. Although the developers and designers deliberately steered away from plastics and any noxious types of material for the project, it was up to the end users to decide how far they were prepared to go to pursue the environmental considerations, which the design has initiated. The developers also recommended the omission of geysers from this project altogether, however, the choice lay with the user, as to whether they are prepared to go with recommendations of this nature, and as to how they ultimately ‘live’ in the buildings in terms of waste management and the like. Technically the project uses traditional concrete frame construction, with brick infill, aluminium windows and sheet metal roofing. The developers usually approach new technologies, used within different projects, with a degree of caution, until they are proven over a period of time. This park was no exception. The building methods and materials are chosen to insure the longevity of the buildings within the park. Apart from the exterior, after consulting with in-

of suburbia took the developers a great deal of

terior designers, it was decided that the interior

time and effort, as did the town planning.

should feature a neutral palette and background with focal areas. High grade finishes were incorporated, and now set the tone for the rest of the

Considering the end user

development When developing Waverley Office Park, the deOverall, the challenge in the planning of this particu-

sign of the final product was constantly chang-

lar office park lay in the fact that the precinct consists

ing, not only to meet the changing extent of

of blocks of suburbia. The consolidation of these blocks

the park, and phasing of the town planning , but

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also the specific needs of the end users of each

Located in a busy node, various elements were in-

building. This was done, whilst retaining the integ-

corporated into the design to absorb and deflect

rity of the original concept for the park.

noise without affecting the tenants. In this way, the building acts as a transition zone between the bus-

When building any development, the end user must

tling highway and leafy residential zone. Curved

always be considered – in this case, the office ten-

walls, layers on the outside of the building and win-

ants, like the personnel of the Gauteng Gambling

dows are strategically placed to help eliminate

Board Head Office. Prime office space is still avail-

noise distraction, creating a peaceful working envi-

able for tenants who require areas ranging from

ronment. The horse-shoe shape design of the build-

250sqm up to 2 400sqm.

ing, which creates an enclave, also helps create

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depth of separation from busy streets and intersections to create a level of privacy for the office tenants. Corner windows allow beautiful scenic views of surrounding parks, as well as the energy point of Corlett Drive, which creates a comfortable work environment. Apart from the measures undertaken to create a harmonious and well designed indoor office space, the developers also concentrated on the outdoors, in order to create a well-rounded office park for all who work at the park. Waverley features green outdoor spaces, with indigenous trees for tenants to enjoy and relax in. Terraces that appear on the ground and lower ground floor help tenants to interact with the outdoor spaces located within the office park. In addition, a coffee shop is also available for personnel. To add to the nature-like atmosphere of the office park, a pond was created within the development as a means of attenuating stormwater. Although the attenuation of stormwater was first seen as a challenge, the pond now offers an opportunity to create an area that will enhance the outdoor space of the office park, benefiting the tenants.

more natural setting,” says Jan Vlaming, Vlaming

Designed to flourish in urban node

(Pty) Ltd. With the site having close proximity to the M1

Perched in prime position on the corner of Corlett

highway, Melrose Arch and with excellent vis-

Drive and the M1 Highway, the park is centrally lo-

ibility accessibility from Corlett Drive, this of-

cated between the highway and surrounding resi-

fers corporate tenants maximum benefits

dential areas, creating “…a space that draws from

from the great highway frontage, maximising

the energetic node whist having the pleasure of a

on its location in a busy node and creating

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branding opportunities. With this in mind, value underpins the Waverley office Park. “Every element of its surroundings and the maximisation of opportunities were taken into account when the office park was designed,” says Vlaming. “Waverley Office Park will offer the perfect environment for a harmonious and productive workplace, whilst still offering a dynamic location close to all amenities.” <

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15 ALICE LANE TOWERS: Raising the bar in corporate head office design By Stacey Rowan | The bar has been raised in corporate head office design in South Africa, with the completion of the 15 Alice Lane Towers, memorable for its iconic building form composed of two curvaceous towers and a glass and aluminium faรงade. Not only have the standards of design been raised, but, as a high-rise building, this development has also redefined and reshaped the skyline of metropolitan Johannesburg.

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Completed in late 2010, 15 Alice Lane Towers now

Set atop a six-storey parking basement structure,

provides ultra-desirable head office space for the

the two towers rise 17 storeys into the Sandton sky.

new occupants, Deneys Reitz Attorneys. Designed by

Located at the western edge of the Sandton Central

Anthony Orelowitz, Raj Patel and Andrew Butcher,

acropolis-like setting, the building’s silhouette,

from Paragon Architects, for co-developers Zenprop

and curved façade, is at its most striking when

Holdings and Tiber Projects, the office tower is an

seen across the lush forests of Johannesburg’s

exceptional high-profile addition to the area of

north-western suburbs.


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The glass-and aluminium-clad towers are linked by

aluminium boxes set around deeply incised glass

a dramatic canyon-like, vertical atrium space that


is only six metres wide at its narrowest point. Each tower has glazed wings which cantilever 2.5 m

Walkways and bridges spiral upwards and are ar-

past their gable ends. North and south facades are

ranged in a fan-like pattern, which create a dramatic

wrapped in a highly patterned skin of seemingly

internal environment. These walkways connect

random panes of clear, dark grey, and white trans-

the two towers below an atrium roof with voluptu-

lucent glass. The resulting effect is one of a scale-

ous funnel-like skylights. Internally, the lobby of-

less building, in which it is almost impossible to

fers high ceilings and generous volumes to create

gauge the number of floors. East and West fa-

a sense of opulence on entry, and extends into the

cades are constructed to exclude direct sun, with

many floors of premier office space. The interior

sculptural hand-formed warm metallic-coloured

fit-out for Deneys Reitz was undertaken by Paragon

Main Contractors (Tel): 011 430 7700 (Fax): 086 502 2404 12 Desmond Street Kramerville Sandton


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Interface, the space planning and interior fit-out

Occupant’s requirements

business in the Paragon Group. Marilize van Dyk, Kirsty Schoombie and Leanie Roestorf made up

With the leading law firm’s existing premises no

the Paragon Interface team.

longer big enough for its expanding business, Deneys Reitz needed to move to a larger building.

Viewed from all angles, the building presents a highly

A number of companies proposed their develop-

patterned and highly abstracted surface of architec-

ments to Deneys Reitz Attorneys and ultimately

tural elements that change constantly with the chang-

Zenprop was selected for their ability to deliver to

ing time and atmosphere of the day. Low-energy glass

the practice’s specific requirements and do so at

and basic rules of orientation and common-sense

an appropriate market rental.

detailing assisted in minimising energy usage, together with control and building management sys-

The requirements sought by Deneys Reitz were

tems that are now becoming industry standards

precise: the efficiency and environmental friendli-

amongst responsible developers and tenants.

ness of the building, quality of space and facilities

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Head Office (Centurion) Tel: +27 (0)12 667 2780 Fax:+27 (0)12 667 4104 96 Koranna Ave Doringkloof, 0157

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for staff and clients, and to be located within the Sandton location. With seven of South Africa’s major law firms all located within a kilometre of each other

Iconic architecture and environmental impact

within the Sandton Central node, the attorneys wanted to stay within this area – which has become

15 Alice Lane is not only iconic in its design, but it

the central financial and legal district of Johannes-

is also pushes the boundaries in the environmental


principles that were used during construction. Careful thought and environmental consideration

The building offers the requisite infrastructure in

was given to every element of the building – from

terms of functional offices complemented by ad-

its position in the heart of Africa’s most vibrant and

equate consulting rooms and an auditorium to

prestigious business hub, to the building’s energy

host seminars.


Alice Lane Office Towers also meets the practice’s

Material selection, the placement of the building

need for future expansion options within the build-

itself and attention to detail were used to achieve

ing. With some 500 staff members the building of-

the best possible energy performance for this

fers the occupants the space they require, with room

high-rise commercial property. Both the eastern

to spare for future expansion.

and western facades are thermally insulated with

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punched windows to reduce glazed areas; and the

glazing comprising Eclipse Advantage Grey with and

northern and southern facades are double-glazed

without a stripe; Armourplate® Eclipse Advantage

to cut energy costs. The design ensures that the end

Grey 6mm Toughened Safety Glass; complement-

wings of the northern and southern façades are

ing Armourplate® single glazing comprising

shaded with blinds to reduce the heat load. The

Eclipse Advantage Grey and 6mm Armourplate®

building’s green nature is highlighted by its loca-

clear; Armourscreen ® Low Iron 6mm Toughened

tion in an extensive green-scape surrounded by

Safety Glass. This was the first major installation

reflective ponds and water elements.

of the GraphixArt™ range of glass in an architectural project. The glass was manufactured at Advance Armour Glass in Isando.

Glass printing technology The project uses glass printing technology new to

Quality clay brick production

South Africa, and innovative facade assembly techniques that minimise scaffolding costs and ensure

15 Alice Lane Towers is one of the latest high-pro-

that more of the building cost ends up in the built

file, high-rise structures where Oconbrick’s leader-

product, and less in the building process itself.

ship in quality clay brick production was harnessed.

Glass South Africa (GSA) supplied the glass from

More than 1 500 000 Oconbrick clay stock bricks

the new GraphixArt™ range. Various glass types were

were rolled onto the Sandton site since construc-

used which included 24mm Insulvue®; double

tion began. The first delivery was on 1 April 2009,

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and the last truckload from the company’s Meyer-

office block in Sandton, also designed by Paragon

ton plant unloaded on 4 November 2010. Through


the 18-month construction period, priority deliveries to building contractor, Tiber Bonvec, were

“These are all high-profile corporate projects

done regularly and met deadlines.

which carry specifications for brickwork of equally high quality,” says Nico Kemp, operations director,

15 Alice Lane Towers was one, amongst many, of


Oconbrick’s production and delivery challenges, at a time when new corporate headquarters, hotels,

Another big order for Oconbrick has been 2.5-million

shopping malls and business complexes were rising

bricks for a mosque, school, clinic and shopping

above the city horizon.

centre in Midrand.

Large clay stock brick orders have included 2-million

Although the current downturn in the building

bricks for ABSA Towers, the bank’s new three-block

construction industry has seen a slowing demand

Africa corporate headquarters in central Johan-

for bricks, Oconbrick is maintaining production

nesburg, and roughly the same quantity was re-

levels that continue to ensure ‘off-the-shelf’ avail-

quired for construction work at The Zone commer-

ability of stock.

cial and shopping centre in Rosebank. Other important projects are the expansion of the Hobart

“We understand that some clay brick suppliers

Road retail centre in Bryanston, and the Station

have been forced to scale back on production,

Place hotel and retail complex and Protea Place

leading to some supply shortages, but Oconbrick

Décor Wallcoverings is engaged in the development, production and distribution of high quality and well thought out wall coverings. We are market leaders in the southern African contract and hospitality market. Thanks to a varied and comprehensive range of colours and designs, our products greatly enhance the appearance of every possible interior in the contract market.

DÉCOR INTERIOR CONTRACTS Décor Interior Contracts is the contractual division of Décor Wallcoverings, and have been involved with the installation of wallcoverings for over 40 years. We have built up a very strong, reliable association with all the major construction, architectural, design and project management companies throughout the country. The following are just some of the major clientele and contracts that we have been responsible for: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Standard Bank Nationwide Absa Nationwide Liberty Life Corporate Anglo American Sheraton Hotel Group Southern Sun Intercontinental Hotel Rosebank Hotel Mount Grace Hotel Radison Hotel Group Momentum Life Rand Merchant Bank Microsoft Sappi Head Quarters Value Logistics

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

New Head Quarters – South African Intelligence The Hilton Hotel – Johannesburg Melrose Arch Hotel Sandton City Refurbishments Ellerines Group (6 brands) Trevenna Business Park (Pretoria) Waverley Office Park Vodacom MTN Cell C Nedcor Lindsay Keller Attorneys Werksman Attorneys Nokia Nashua Mobile

Our expertise in handling all types of wallcoverings is second to none. Head Office – 201-205 President St, Johannesburg • PO Box 1056, Johannesburg, 2000 Tel: +27 (0) 11 402 1960 • Fax: +27 (0) 11 402 7674 • E-mail: Cape Town – Wallpaper Inc., The Palms Centre, 145 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock Tel: +27 (0) 21 465 6547 • Fax: +27 (0) 21 465 1711 • Cell: +27 (0) 82 920 4174 Pretoria – Cell: +27 (0) 82 594 1594 • Cell: +27 (0) 76 812 2164 Durban – Linda-Lee Smith, 45 Claribel Rd, Morningside, Durban, 4001 Tel: +27 (0) 31 564 7775 • Fax: +27 (0) 86 648 3591 • Cell: +27 (0) 82 780 1368 Eastern Cape – Windovert, 130 Paterson Rd, Northend, Port Elizabeth Tel: +27 (0) 41 484 4670 • Fax: +27 (0) 41 484 5981 • Cell: +27 (0) 82 556 8895 • Cell: +27 (0) 82 954 2743 We are also proud of our BEE Status with a recognition rating level 3.

Décor stands for quality both in technology and design. A variety of designs and durable materials form the basis of our exclusive and original collections. With this, we optimally satisfy the aesthetic and functional requirements of offices, hotels, financial institutions, and corporates to name a few. Long lasting success is characterised by our constant strive to present the latest trends. One of today’s major trends is the advent of digitally produced and printed wallpapers, which make it theoretically possible to get anything you want. Avant-garde art, ecological, wild and crazy retro designs are some of the latest choices in ART wallcoverings. At Décor Wallcoverings we offer a huge repertoire of great diversity, either from existing collections or bespoke.

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continues to have a healthy order book,” says

Commissioned and built entirely within the hard-

Kemp. “Even though we are not running at full ca-

est economic recession that the world has seen,

pacity, we are well-equipped to meet all current

this building is a statement of faith in the future of

and future demand for bricks.”

Johannesburg, and a measure of what can be achieved when well-integrated teams meet around singular

In addition to commercial and private develop-

challenges. The best design and management skills

ments projects, Oconbrick’s order books identify

of all involved companies were focused on this

infrastructural projects too – typically schools, uni-

project, and exceptional value and skill is embedded

versity buildings, and other public educational facili-

in a building that would have been difficult to build

ties in the region.

at this cost and with this level of technical ambition in a more pressurised economic environment. <

Investing in Johannesburg The development of 15 Alice Lane is a continuation of Zenprop Holdings and Tiber Projects’ company strategy to be invested in Sandton, South Africa’s premier office node.

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1 PROTEA PLACE Reflecting a brand’s identity through architecture By Stacey Rowan

In architecture, especially when it comes to a company’s identity, first impressions are everything. At first glance, the space or building in which a business occupies tells a lot about the business itself and the people that work within it. Occupied by Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr, 1 Protea Place is an iconic structure that reflects the law firm’s progressive brand identity.

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Photo by Andrwe Bell

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Although 1 Protea Place was designed predominantly for long term value for the developer Zenprop, the needs of Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr were also a major design consideration. As a result, the building now provides the best possible solution to the tenant’s specific requirements. “The intention of the design team was to deliver a contemporary building with crisp, clean lines, for both parties,” says Korina Holley, project architect, Paragon Architects. 1 Protea Place consists of seven parking levels, of which five are underground, and nine office levels which rise above the visible parking podium. “The basic footprint of the building is composed of two towers enclosing a central atrium, set atop the heavier base of the parking levels. The central atrium has east and west facing glass walls. The eastern atrium wall opens up over a water feature, allowing pedestrians to enter the building by crossing the water surface.” Korina continues: “The internal atrium admits generous amounts of natural light into the building and its office plates and provides active awareness of both the interior and exterior environments of the building.” Thus, a very open and airy feel is created within the offices. The atrium wall of the southern tower rakes out towards the centre of the atrium, and adds a dramatic effect to the otherwise rational composition of the two towers. “Strip skylights in the atrium roof provide an ever changing play of light within the atrium volume. The two towers are connected by link bridges spanning across the atrium space. The towers are covered by a large floating roof that soars over the eastern entrance façade,” explains Korina. The west façade of the north tower and the east façade of the south tower form a combination of the light see-through glazed faces and Its prominent shape makes 1 Protea Place one of the most iconic structures in Sandton. Photo by Andrwe Bell.

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the solid M1, and concrete, elements. According to Korina, the solid strips are randomly interspersed with vertical strip windows setting up a dynamic relationship between the elements. “The material choice for the solid strips on the west façade of the north tower and the east façade of the south tower went through a long development process but our choice of material ended up being a panel made up of M1, an organic composite material consisting of a mineral crystal base and a water-based acrylic resin.” The floors and columns are cast concrete and the façade comprises of glass and M1 panels in a curtain wall system. The primary massing of the building is articulated through the use of a limited material palette giving due prominence to the sculptural effects of the architecture. The facades are shaped according to their orientation and function as an integral part of the building. The main form of the building is light and glazed, contradicted by a solid sculptural offshutter concrete tower in the South West. “To enhance the sculptural massing of the building, glazed facades are expressed as one mass with as little differentiation between the vision and spandrel panel as possible. Being exposed, the glass has to comply with strict performance figures. Thus the choice of glazing became a very important decision and the final choice of a blue grey low e glass by Guardian was based on many stringent criteria,” says Korina.

A new way of applying M1 – a first in SA M1 was used as a unitised façade cladding element on the 1 Protea Place development. “This is the first time in South Africa where this material has been used in this application,” says Korina.

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The glass and M1 panels are ever-changing in their appearance, depending on the light angle and every facade has a unique feature making it an interesting structure viewed from all directions.

She continues: “The lightness and versatility offered by the M1 material makes it an ideal façade cladding material. The pre-moulded M1 panels are fixed into the unitised façade cladding system, purely as a decorative element.” M1 has many unique properties contributing to its strength, durability, weight to strength ratio, nontoxicity, ease of manufacture and its ability to comply with the test requirements of the construction industry, specifically those in regard to performance in fire and under impact. Another benefit is its low toxicity both in its component parts and in its manufacturing process, making it a ‘greener’ product than most conventional cladding materials.

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“The actual material has been used quite exten-

Designing for offices

sively around the country in the form of mouldings for casinos as well as for sculptural purposes. We

Designing an office space is different to designing a

are thus assured of its performance and ability to

shopping mall or hotel. One needs to consider the

withstand weathering. Both architects and devel-

function of the space and how the building will be

opers are very excited about the product as any

well suited to its purpose. “As one of the tenant’s

shape or material can be emulated by the M1 –

requirements, the floors for the office building,

which opens up a lot of design opportunities for the

and the shape of the office plates, needed to be

future. Due to its superior quality and more envi-

designed to provide the tenant with flexible, and

ronmentally friendly quality to glass reinforced

efficient, space planning in terms of combining cel-

concrete (GRC), the manufacturers are expecting

lular offices and open plan seating. This is achieved

M1 to replace most GRC applications used exten-

by having large open spans between columns and

sively in tall buildings around the world,” adds

providing flexible glazing modules for cellular of-


fice configurations. Service co-ordination between all the electrical and mechanical requirements in an office building is a major part in the design and often has design implications,” says Korina.

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Not only does the flexible space planning and service co-ordination aide in creating a good working environment for the employees, but other facilities within the building, also contribute to a happy work force. Employees can eat at the canteen which opens up into a common internal atrium space and external deck or they can enjoy a drink after a hard day’s work on the eighth floor bar, which opens up onto an external balcony. Meeting rooms, amongst other facilities provided, are also available.

A splash of natural colour The interior palette has been chosen carefully to add warmth to the environment. “Natural colours and materials in the tiles, timber wall cladding and details are offset against the clean glazed lines of the atrium. The close relationship between the architecture and the interior finishing is carried through to the detailing, furnishing, fittings and artworks, to create a seamless whole with carefully chosen points of drama and interest. The internal palette of materials is corporate yet warm and non-clinical in contrast to the clean modern exterior of the building, reflecting the tenant’s progressive identity,” explains Korina. The exterior palette is grey based with the dark grey M1 panels, the off-shutter wall and the blue grey glass on the remainder of the façades.

Dedication overcomes challenges The process of building a development always comes with its challenges, and resulting solutions. “The site being so tight provided many

The exterior palette is grey based with the dark grey M1 panels, the off-shutter wall and the blue grey glass on the remainder of the façades.

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challenges. The restricted access and movement of materials into and out of the site was a determining limiting factor in the construction sequence of the underground portions of the building. This programming and sequencing decision had an extensive impact on the sequence of architectural and other design work. The very tight programme was another challenge – Murray and Roberts had one and a half years to complete the building. The building was completed on time due to a very dedicated site team and a well organised programme,” says Korina.

Location, Location, Location Occupying a prominent site in Sandton, the required 16 000m2 of accommodation had to fit onto a very tight and restrictive site, which proved to be the most challenging requirement of the client’s brief. “The shape of the site became the main design driver with regards to determining the shape of the building. In order to accommodate the necessary size, the building’s footprint needed to take on the shape of the site to maximise on coverage. The design of the building has successfully utilised the site to its full extent, yet still provides a lot of light and greenery. The resulting building appears to be a self-evident planning solution, without seeming like it has been forced into a tight space,” explains Korina.

Going green With local architectural trends now pointing in the ‘green’ direction, architects on the 1 Protea Place also contributed to the ‘going green’ movement. “The design team in conjunction with the developer, who had an interest in the building being designed

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Occupying a prominent site in Sandton, the required 16 000m2 of accommodation had to fit onto a very tight and restrictive site.

as ‘green’ as possible, have endeavoured to incor-

occupancy sensing; double-glazing to vision panels

porate as many ‘green’ elements into the building as

and roof insulation,” says Korina.

were financially feasible. The main elements included solar hot water (solar panels on the roof will generate the building’s hot water); evaporative cool-

An interesting structure

ing in the atrium to control the air temperature and the glass which was used extensively on the façades

“Its prominent shape and material palette makes

is a low e glass with some of the best performance

1 Protea Place one of the most iconic structures in

figures of any low e glass type. Other ways in which

Sandton. The glass and M1 panels are ever-changing

we went ‘green’ include: the top basement levels

in their appearance, depending on the light angle

being designed to allow for natural ventilation;

and every façade has a unique feature making it an

the office plates being designed to allow as much

interesting structure viewed from all directions,”

light in and views out as possible; using M1 clad-

concludes Korina. <

ding material – which has a low toxicity both in its component parts and in its manufacturing process;


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Rich aroma. Refined taste.

Find your inspiration

An artist’s response to change


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The recent popular uprising and resulting democratic revolution in Egypt inspired many people around the world. Many visual artists who’s work focus on the everyday living conditions in transforming societies have actively participated in the historical evens and through their creative work ensured that it was captured for generations to come. One such artist is Hossam Hassan who took to the streets and documented the trying and tense moments of the revolution. Inspired by his exhaustive documentation of the events, designer and artist, Hassan has subsequently produced a body of work titled Egyptian Revolution Collection, which form part of the To Egypt with love exhibition with fellow emerging photographers Alaa Taher and Bassem Samir. To Egypt with love was first exhibited at the Safar Khan Gallery in Cairo in March and April before travelling to the famous Palais Porcia in Vienna in late May. Hassan, aged 32, was born and raised in Cairo. He says that the busy, multicultural city with its rich heritage inspired him as a youngster to explore the world around him and trained his imagination to aspire to the undefined and to reach to the stars and beyond. After graduating from the Faculty of Applied Arts at Helwan University in 2000, he worked as a graphic designer at a multinational advertising agency before setting up his own design studio in 2005. Since then, Hassan developed a deep interest in calligraphy and its relation to fine art. He assertively honed his knowledge and skills by particiTOP LEFT: We changed Egypt. TOP RIGHT: Our future to be. BOTTOM LEFT: We made history. BOTTOM RIGHT: People's revolution.

pating in numerous graphic, fine art, photography and creativity workshops. These diverse learning experiences enabled him to develop a signature style that now allows him to produce daring

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and innovative graphic and mixed-media artworks on canvas which he exhibits at various private galleries and art showrooms. In recent years, Hassan has developed a loyal following among art collectors and his works now form part of collections in Egypt and the Middle East. Merging his passion for art, his talent as a painter and his innovation in graphic design, Hassan captured his vision and experiences of the radical transformative socio-political events that transpired since early 2011. Through his Egyptian Revolution Collection we witness the beauty, pride and passion of the great land of Egypt and its proud people. “Initially I had started taking pictures while protesting as a personal record. Then I started taking pictures and considering how I was going to translate these images into posters or onto canvas. The experience was extremely spontaneous, just like the revolution.” He says that he was also intrigued by the fluid and inspiring nature of the revolution. Shooting uncontrollably, he found it hard to stop taking pictures while the events were unfolding. Throughout this riveting process, the artist assembled his photographs, like pieces of a puzzle, to create a series of ultimately revealing digital art and mixed media compositions. “The whole country was in a state of flux and I felt that it was impossible to encapsulate the events in single frames.” Hassan explains that his intension was to capture the essence of power and emotion and to portray unique moments from the revolution. Using his signature graphic technique, he combined hundreds of photographs to transform his canvases into large and complex scenes that capture the feelings of every person revolting in

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Tahrir Square in Cairo. He says that the resulting artworks portray the feelings of the huge crowds and each work signals a different message and moment as the revolution unfolded. “The strong impact of people gathered together, all for one aim and all united with the same dreams and hopes are what made this revolution impressive to the rest of the world.” An important feature in Hassan’s Egyptian Revolution Collection is the incorporation of calligraphy. He combined calligraphy and words that people used in Tahrir Square with digitally altered photographs and bold splashes of colour, resulting in visually complex layers that challenge viewers to look closer and engage with the works on various levels. He says that: “My aim is that from the minute you stand in front of my artworks you cannot feel anything other than but being part of the real events. The works convey the power of the crowd. You can hear the noise and you can feel the essence of revolt. I want to make people see things that their eyes usually don't see, engage them and show them images that reflect what they feel.” Hassan concludes that the success of the To Egypt with love exhibitions in Cairo and Vienna is just the beginning of his aim to spread the miraculous revolution in Egypt all over the world and to commemorate it aesthetically. “The world has been watching the Egyptian revolution closely. Therefore I believe that it is my duty as an artist to represent the inspirational glory of the revolution and to honour those glorious days forever TOP LEFT: A story to tell. TOP RIGHT: We died to live. CENTRE LEFT: Days to remember. CENTRE RIGHT: Days of departure. BOTTOM LEFT: Leave! Leave! BOTTOM RIGHT: To freedom.

by showing the world that Egyptian culture is in a continuous state growth and transformation.” <

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PAUL STOPFORTH The man who retrieves the soap and sees in it a sliver of history By Judith Mason

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Some decades ago, a certain man died while being

like the proverbial banana peel. To go down in a hail

interrogated by the South African Police’s security

of bullets or be hanged by the neck until dead is

branch. That he had slipped on some soap in the

something. But to die as a result of a silly accident is

shower was the official explanation, just one of

to be stripped somehow of the last dignity afforded

many risible excuses offered by the police for the

one. In such cases, we quickly bury the dead and they

deaths of people in their custody. Some in detention

are soon lost to our collective memory. Paul Stopforth

‘fell down stairs’ or ‘leapt out of windows’, and ordi-

is one of the guardians of that memory, and he will

nary carbolic soap seemed peculiarly dangerous.

not allow us to forget.

Soap is not the stuff of martyrdom. It is slapstick,

LEFT: Paul Stopforth with one of his mature students, Catherine Krupnick. CENTRE & RIGHT: Installation views of Torture and Deaths in Detention, 1977. Mixed media.

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TOP LEFT: The Interrogators , 1979. Mixed media on paper and wood panel. TOP RIGHT: Freedom Dancer (The South African), 1992. Oil on cut-out birch plywood. Collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg. BOTTOM: End of Empire, 2002. Wall drawing, mixed media. The Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, MA, USA.

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Spurning grand gestures, he is the artist of the quiet icon, the man who retrieves the soap and sees in it a sliver of history. From the first shocking lifecasts in his 1978 exhibition at The Market Theatre Gallery, where the falling, wretched figures performed a ghastly ballet of statesanctioned abuse, to more recent work in which mundane objects testify to the grandeur and sordidness of the struggle, Stopforth has addressed himself to this history, even as it is unfolding. The soap was there in that first exhibition, at the top of the steps. To pick one’s way through those figures was to become complicit, drawn into the moral core of the installation. When, later, Stopforth drew Steve Biko’s bruised corpse, the viewer felt that she was at the autopsy, spinning a web of lies and justifications with the police, yet weeping with Biko’s family beside his naked young body. Even thirty years ago, Stopforth did not edit out the bad stuff. He gave us the facts and expected us to respond with whatever humanity we could muster. Following this early work, Stopforth created, in the 1980s, several quasi-portraits of the factotums of the apartheid system. The people portrayed in The Interrogators were self-caricaturing in the Stroessner/Vorster/Pinochet mold – dark glasses, grimfaced with mustaches like duelling scars. Stopforth used a limited palette and dark backgrounds, and he enlarged the figures to create the impression of so many Big Brothers watching, bloated with power. Looking at these images some decades later, at their insidious forensic clarity, one recalls the interminable menace of those days. By the late 80s, Stopforth was regarded by colleagues and critics alike as one of the most unTriangle, 2007. Gouache on wood panel.

compromising interpreters of our moral quagmire. Then, in 1988, he emigrated to the United States. He taught for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and in 1996 was appointed

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Healer #1, 2003. Mixed media on paper.

to the faculty of the Visual and Environmental

(The South African) (1993), which now hangs in the

Studies Department at Harvard University. His teach-

foyer of the Constitutional Court, anticipated the

ing position left him some time in which to paint.

coming glee of the elections: a miner in gum-boots

For a while his work seemed free of his earlier political

– at once a symbol of servitude and freedom – jumps

concerns and the engagement these demanded.

on the devil in the manner of adherents of one of

His richly painted surfaces and nuggety figurines

southern Africa’s African Independent churches.

characterised by matrices of dots that contradict-

The joy of this work is palpable and its quasi-Pop

ed and enlivened the images seemed to engage

sensibility signals a subtle shift in Stopforth’s work

with an entirely different aesthetic and admirers

of the period. Similarly, the large wall-piece, End of

of the work would have little sense of the difficul-

Empire (2002), celebrates liberation. Like the danc-

ties of translocation with which he struggled. Around

er, it is deceptively simple in execution. Its Pop and

the time of South Africa’s first democratic elections

Postmodern elements combine with allusions to

in 1994, however, Stopforth’s American experience

Tibetan topographical painting to create a synthe-

had begun to blend with his South African past to

sis that is almost cinematic. Although its subject is

inform work that was more reflective and more

the Zulu War, this work conjures the hordes and

complex than ever before. Apartheid was collapsing

heroes of pre-industrialised warfare anywhere,

and Stopforth watched with interest as events un-

from the Gobi Desert to the hills of KwaZulu-Natal.

folded. His large cut-out piece, Freedom Dancer

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Healer #2, 2003. Mixed media on paper.

In 2004, Stopforth was invited to spend some weeks

that is somewhat comic, somewhat frightening,

on Robben Island as an artist-in-residence. The work

wholly platteland. It reminds us of how inquisitive

he produced during and after his visit makes sophis-

cattle are, of how fighter pilots flying over Europe

ticated demands on the viewer and is key to under-

during World War II dreaded landing in fields for

standing his oeuvre. Stopforth’s commitment to

fear of being ringed by curious livestock whose be-

bearing witness here assumes a subtlety that was

haviour would give their positions away.

not possible during his South African years. Then we needed the shock of deeds revealed. But now

On Robben Island, Stopforth found the soap that

the artist asks us to collaborate in a philosophical

had caused such havoc in our history. Now he sees

and aesthetic partnership that requires a different

it as iconic, as synecdochic, the fragment that con-

kind of engagement with the work. Central to his

tains the whole. In Healer #1 (Sunlight) (2004) the

new approach is Triangle (2007). Two oxen – one

soap is a lintel: archaic, African, reflecting light and

facing the other, one looking towards the viewer,

creating a space through which the sky can be seen

both set in a pink colour-field that resembles a

and entered. We smell kelp and carbolic. For a frac-

dried saltpan – are the means by which he defines

tion of a moment we become Nelson Mandela, and

our role as participants: the title suggests that the

this act of identification is profoundly healing. On

viewer is the third beast in an odd trio. Stopforth

the other hand, it is a cake of soap on a dingy sur-

eschews nobler beasts for that bovine scrutiny

face: the smell of respectable but impoverished

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The Island #8: Bethesda, 2004. Mixed media on paper.

childhood rises to the nose. The paint has a beautiful,

rotting flesh that made people outcasts from society

washboard feel to it, and the promise of Sunlight.

and that, even now that it is curable, instills horror in us. Our associations with it are biblical. The vision

In Healer #2 (Lifebuoy) (2004) we see the sustaining

of people ringing bells and declaring themselves

word ‘Lifebuoy’ pressed into soap set in a scum of

‘unclean, unclean’ has the power to haunt us still,

grey paint. It suggests endurance without the

especially as it resonates with our tendency to see

promise of release. Both works convey the resil-

‘the other’ as somehow defiled. It evokes racism,

ience and the hope of island prisoners, the tedium

xenophobia, the contagious diseases of the mind.

of everyday life, the will to maintain cleanliness

But in Bethesda Stopforth also alludes to the simple,

and dignity, and the prospect of soap, cake after

sad story of leprous women bathing in a tidal pool,

cake, washing the user into a captive infinity. These

hoping that the water will heal their sores. He in-

pieces remind us that the happy ending of Robben

vites us to perform an act of identification. In the

Island was not shared by all of her inmates.

absence of human figures, we engage with the landscape as the lepers did. We watch the tide come

Consider, for example, Bethesda (2004). Robben

in beyond the rocks. We step across the grass to-

Island was, at one time, a leper colony and Stopforth

wards the mirage of healing in the brackish water

invokes the long, sad history of the disease – the

and its promise, Bethesda. Over the rocks and the

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TOP: Trinity, 2005. Mixed media on panel. BOTTOM: Monument, 2005. Mixed media on panel.

cement and water falls the colour of sunset or serum,

Polish poet Julia Hartwig writes, ‘The image ... carries

and we are amongst the Island’s sequestered souls.

us in the most extraordinary way into an invisible

The experience of one of Robben Island’s most fa-

sphere ... The experience of reality thus becomes

mous prisoners, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, resem-

a kind of transcendental experience.’1 In this work

bled the treatment of lepers. He was kept in solitary

the artist’s capacity to propel us towards an act of

confinement under the notorious Sobukwe Clause,

identification is very strong. It is reinforced by the

well beyond his three-year term, because the govern-

poignant ‘sampler’ of squares embroidered by town-

ment feared that he would ‘infect’ other prisoners

ship women. Touchstone touches on everything from

with his Pan-Africanism. In Touchstone (2007), Stop-

its subject’s solitude, to his devoted family, to his

forth moves away from the communal pool of Bethes-

untimely death. In contrast, Trinity (2005) reminds

da to the small hand-basin in Sobukwe’s cottage.

us of the companionship that ANC prisoners shared.

The basin is dry and the soap of Healer #1 and #2

Three simple stools, produced, no doubt, by the

is conspicuous by its absence. It is a bereft and humble

prison workshop, acquire dignity from the fractured

image, made sadder still by its juxtaposition with

shadows of the title, which looms behind. The left

the basket of bones. The two interact to create an

and right stools are set at angles, outwards, and their

elegy for a man of great moral stature whose health

invisible occupants take a broad view, as if they are at

was broken by his extended confinement. As the

a kgotla.2 This is not a confrontational triumvirate

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and the scrubbed furniture takes on greater mean-

artist teases us with a shimmering, liquid shape,

ing now that South Africans are tiring of corrupt

evoking the haze and the tides and the coming and

politicians and the studded, ormolu-infested

going of its long history as a dumping ground for

thrones preferred by despots. In Monument (2005),

lepers, lunatics, prisoners and soldiers. The stippled

a blanket pin, surely one of the most beautiful util-

surfaces of the Robben Island works create an almost

itarian shapes ever devised, is seen in salt-corroded

hallucinogenic energy, the sea alive with moisture

silhouette on a rusty background. Our eyes follow

and small craft while the land radiates points of light

its bends and curves and it becomes a piece of land-

as if its layers of history flicker above and around

art, carved into a massive rock-face. Yet we know

the commonplace geography of prison and landing

perfectly well that this monument is small and in-

strip. Together with the Island works, Stopforth

significant. The artist takes us into the barrenness

produced others that are less specific, more enig-

of a cell where we find that a mundane object is a

matic. In Another Country (2007), we see on the left

work of art. Beauty is a grace, he reminds us, and

a glimpse of bushveld rock and, on the right, an

contemplating it may keep us sane.

ominous aspect of the Island prison yard. The car mirror reflects the island as a memory. In Incident

From the vastness of a small pin to the vastness of

(2007) we participate in a dysfunctional triangle.

a small island: the topographically unremarkable

We see figures brawling on a lawn: a rape, a beating,

blob of land off Cape Town’s coast looms large in the

a schoolyard reprisal? An interior black frame sets

world’s consciousness. It is already iconic, so the

each image within unusually sullen bars of colour. On the left, a leg tears the park-like grass back to

TOP LEFT: Touchstone, 2007. Gouache on panel. CENTRE: Another Country, 2007. Gouache on panel. BOTTOM LEFT: Homage, 2008. Gouache on panel. RIGHT: Incident, 2007. Gouache on panel.

reveal the dirt beneath. On the right, a surveillance camera peers outward, but does not seem to connect with the incident. Does it work? Is it observing us? Are we bystanders or voyeurs? In this,

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the most disconcerting of Stopforth’s recent works, our clamour for answers is ignored. Julia Hartwig writes, “If the attitude towards reality is the nerve-centre of every aesthetic, whether in literature or in art, visible reality has always been a constant point of reference for me.”3 In Homage (2008), we see Stopforth creating a small and pretty piece of visible reality, pinning its bright nerve-centre to the canvas and making it an object of meditation. A bougainvillea blossom splits the canvas into two almost identical parts, a mirroring device that can often create an almost intolerable tension between images; but here we find ourselves the third part of a very agreeable triangle. We could, for that matter, be the base of a scale whose contents are in perfect poise, or somebody at a crossroads. In other works containing the triangle motif, the artist makes us look outwards. The game he plays with us here is existential, personal. We read each tenderly painted vein in the fabric of leaves as if we had never really looked before. Our cataracts have been removed. Translucent cerise and scarlet pulsate against fields of broken yellow. We want to measure the space between the colours. Is the yellow a landscape away? An inch away? Or is it like Hildegard of Bingen’s feather on the breath of God, lighter than air? Here, to quote Hartwig again, “the image, accessible to us … carries us in a most extraordinary way, into an invisible sphere.”4 Despite TOP: Singer: Siren Song, 2010. Mixed media on panel. A painting of the siren on the roof of the Robben Island prison. CENTRE: Intake: Breath, 2009. Gouache on panel. The British gun emplacements on the Island had underground bunkers where ammunition and food were stored. BOTTOM: Source, 2010. Gouache on panel. An image of the ubiquitous old brass taps that were attached to barrels on farms that collected precious rainwater.

the important and obvious shifts in Stopforth’s work over the years, his commitment to bearing witness has never changed. He has looked at objects, people, incidents and facts in a clear-eyed and compassionate way, and deduced that a kind of truth resides in an agglomeration of all of these things.

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Tidal pool: Bethesda #1, 2 and 3, 2010. Gouache on panel. Recent works based on the tidal pool called Bethesda.


About the author

1. Cited in Benjamin Paloff, ‘Personal Histories’,

Judith Mason was born in Pretoria, in 1938. She

The Nation (30 Jwune 2008).

studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in

2. ‘Kgotla’ is a Setswana word. It refers to a public

the 1950s, obtaining a BA Degree in Fine Art in

gathering or community council called by a village

1960 and held her first solo show in 1964. Today,

headman to decide important or judicial matters.

with a career that spans almost 50 years, Mason is one

3. Cited in Benjamin Paloff, ‘Personal Histories’,

of South Africa’s most distinguished and prolific

The Nation (30 June 2008). 4. Ibid.

artists. Her work is represented in all major South African art collections and museums and internationally represented in both private and public col-

This essay was first published in Paul Stopforth:

lections in Europe, USA and Australia. Click here

TAXI-015, published by David Krut Publising in

to read more about Mason. <

2010. Photos by Susan Byrne.

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Gerhard Marx: Cumulus Review by Gavin Younge

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Johannesburg-based visual artist, theatre director and filmmaker Gerhard Marx presented his first exhibition with the Goodman Gallery earlier this year where he showed new works based on his signature creative process and interest in the urban locus. Gavin Younge reviewed the exhibition titled Cumulus.

Gerhard Marx presented new works that

Marx is a literate artist, and the notes that

are born out of his own self-designed proc-

accompany the works on exhibition tease

esses, which involve skillful manipulation

out aspects that may not be immediately

of materials collected as part of an engage-

apparent to the viewer. Take the connec-

ment with the artist’s physical urban con-

tion between drawn skeletal remains and

text. As a Cumulus cloud constantly verges

cloud formations. His notes, which are

on collapse, Marx’s subjects border be-

freely available, guide anyone interested

tween form and formlessness, always rich

in what he terms the ‘forensic gaze of the

in associative and connotative density.

viewer’, to a less-narratively based under-

Marx presented several compositions

standing of these works. In other words,

made entirely out of the dried stalks of

Cumulus I, II and III are not only burial

plant material. Each wispy strand has been

sites; they are also sites of more general

carefully sorted through, and those with


the ‘right’ bend, or form have been pasted down onto large sheets of cotton paper.

Marx also presents works relating to the

The overall effect is that of a line drawing

garden and its wall. He notes that the ety-

– one made with the finest-tipped nib.

mology of the word ‘paradise’ points to a walled garden, and that the word is

Although he calls these compositions

closely imbricated in the ‘Garden of Eden’

Cumulus I, II and III, they in fact reference

in both its Christian and Jewish manifes-

the human skeleton. Composite skeletons

tations. Bits of the garden that are super-

as one might find in an archaeologist’s

fluous, or diseased, are discarded. In his

gravesite. Humerus, scapula and rib bone

case, as someone living in Johannesburg,

lie upon one another, disturbed perhaps

these mauvais herbes are bagged and

by the actions of scavengers, or laid down

left on the pavement for the [Johannes-

randomly as in a mass grave. The artist says

burg City] Council to collect, but not be-

of these works on paper that they focus

fore Marx has rummaged through this

on ‘unstable forms’ and ‘indeterminacy’.

detritus and gathered twigs and branches

The cloud formation we call Cumulus, is

that may suit his purpose. In Scion, a

an accretion or accumulation prior to

bronzed set of branches in the shape of

Nimbus, when moisture vapour reaches

a rib cage, he has curated the skeleton of

saturation and it starts to rain.

a new body. This crazy conjunction, the

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TOP LEFT: Skull I, 2011. Plant material, acrylic paint and glue on cotton paper, 75 x 57 cm. CENTRE: Skull II, 2011. Plant material, acrylic paint and glue on cotton paper, 75 x 57 cm. TOP RIGHT: Skull III, 2011. Plant material, acrylic paint and glue on cotton paper, 75 x 57 cm. BOTTOM LEFT: Cumulus I, 2011. Plant material, acrylic paint and glue on cotton paper, 153 x 103 cm BOTTOM RIGHT: Cumulus II, 2011. Plant material, acrylic paint and glue on cotton paper, 153 x 103 cm

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newly-born out of the recently-departed, is a true Marxism. One hundred and fifty years before Carolus Linneaus established his plant-naming system in the 1700s, Luca Ghini produced the first herbarium – or dried garden. Marx celebrates this feat through three works in which the original form of various weeds have been transposed into line and colour. These are digital prints, but they derive from collages he made using road maps. We are all familiar with the red-bounded, yellow lines that designate major routes connecting South Africa’s towns and cities; the thick and thin red lines that designate minor tarred roads; and, if the scale is large enough, the dotted lines of a jeep track. The technique of using ‘found lines’ is Marx’s alone. He has gone to court to protect his IP, and won. [In 2006 Marx won a landmark out of court settlement resulting from infringement of his signature creative process which was appropriated by a major advertising agency in a campaign developed for a major international automotive brand.] So what are these twisted and mangled map forms? Linneaus’s plant-naming system was based on shared similarities between flowering plants. His system has given way to true phylogenetic systems, ones that are predictive, and that are based on DNA sampling. Thus the three genes found in all plants give rise to 565 flowering plant species worldwide. Marx has singled out plants that grow opportunistically on pavements and on the verges of roads. There they benefit from the increased run-off of precipitation, and there they whither, exhausted by exhaust fumes. These weeds are Marx’s ‘dry garden’. Meticulously

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Hortus Siccus (for Luca Ghini) I, 2011. Pigment inks on cotton paper, 92 x 92 cm.

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process-driven, he has ‘mapped’ their form in three dimensions. The arterial roads coalesce or cross over one another, topographical references have been abandoned, and the viewer is left with an indexical as opposed to a symbolical object. In a way these prints, and the large collage entitled Hortus Siccus – Bush, could reference Nepenthes alata – one of the so-called ‘flesh eaters’, or pitcher plants. In this way the intended connection between road maps (which are, after all, codified desire trails), and the gestural index of re-making the plant world as a hybridised structure would become clearer. Marx also presents two large, sculptural accretions of a quotidian object – the school ruler, and a quotidian subject – the weather. Here he is careful to point to the emotional connotations we all attach to this endlessly measured, and palpably unpredictable phenomenon. He likes the fact that the ‘ruler’, as a measure of all things, is based on human proportions; that of the foot, or 12 thumb breadths. Strangely behind the times, the United Kingdom still uses miles, yards, feet and inches on its roadways, despite having changed to metres in 1936 for all geodetic purposes. By law, beer is sold in pints and dairy produce in litres. But Marx is not overly concerned with this confusion; he is interested in incremental calibration and the way in which the ‘calibrated, objectified abstraction’ of the ruler collapses into phenotype. The error of parallax dictates that the ruler must be in close contact with that which it is measuring. But the ‘weather’ is not solely rain fall and wind speed, it brings

Hortus Siccus: Bush, 2011. Cut and reconstructed map fragments, 150 x 150 cm.

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Scion, 2011. Bronze, 70 x 100 x 30 cm.

with it emotional subjectivity. In this way Gerhard

Photos courtesy of Mike Hall and the Goodman

Marx hopes to bring the world (natural phenome-


na) to the body, and the body to the world. Not strictly eye-candy, these works extend the art-

About the author

ist’s signature work with road maps and the ‘found line’, they also give the mindful viewer a glimpse

Gavin Younge is a professor at the Michaelis

of his paradise – the garden behind the walls. His

School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town and

garden is the colour of dry mesquite and as deli-

works internationally as a sculptor, author, film-

cate and ephemeral as place names. Despite the

maker and curator. Click here to read more about

prevalence of black (Scion, and Weather 1 and II),

Young. <

the works have an internal luminance. They are also possessing. One feels and sees their inner logic.

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TOP LEFT & CENTRE: Weather I, 2011. Plastic rulers on black wooden substrate, 83 x 140 x 10 cm. TOP RIGHT: Weather II, 2011. Plastic rulers on black wooden substrate, 56 x 76 x 10 cm.

BOTTOM LEFT: Weather I, 2011. Pigment ink on cotton paper, 62 x 91.5 cm. BOTTOM RIGHT: Weather II, 2011. Pigment ink on cotton paper, 62 x 91.5 cm.

Absa Bank Ltd, Reg No 1986/004794/06. Authorised Financial Services Provider. Registered Credit Provider Reg No NCRCP7.

The Jupiter Drawing Room 44130

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Creativity takes courage. Just ask Guy du Toit. Overcoming one’s fears is easier said than done. That’s why we sponsor the Absa L’Atelier – an art competition that rewards brave, young artists with the opportunity to live and learn at the world-renowned Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. As a look through the list of past winners will testify, when courage and this kind of opportunity come together, greatness is sure to follow suit. Visit for entry details.

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Working with nature View of Andrew van der Merwe's Inside Fibonacci.

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Armed with an assortment of materials ranging from sticks, sand, water and grass, some of the world’s top land artists joined local artists to temporarily transform the picturesque town of Plettenberg Bay and the Bitou municipal area where South Africa’s first international land art event, Site_Specific, took place at the end of May. Site_Specific is a new, non-profit entity established in 2011 by artists, educators and business people who are passionate about the magic of land art. The initiative’s organisers and supporters believe that by viewing the different projects, visitors will gain appreciation for their diverse natural, historical and cultural heritage. In the process, the first Site_Specific event delivered art and environmental education and contributed to skills development, job creation and growth of cultural tourism. By linking art, culture, history and the environment, Site_Specific aims to created a sustainable model for using the power of land art to challenge and change people’s perceptions about their natural environment. “Site_Specific is determined to make land art inclusive and accessible. We are thrilled that top international land artists and some of South Africa’s most innovative conceptual artists have volunteered to mentor and collaborate with artists from the Bitou community and to lead educational

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outreach programmes for local learners,” says Heather Greig, Site_Specific co-founder. More than 30 artists participated in the event, including internationally acclaimed land artists Strijdom van der Merwe (South Africa), Urs Twellmann (Switzerland) and Gabriele Meneguzzi and Vincenzo Sponga (both from Italy). The list also included prominent South African artists such as Gordon Froud, Angus Taylor, Marco Cianfanelli, Andrew van der Merwe, Jan van der Merwe, Simon Max Bannister (MAX), Anni Snyman, Hannelie Coetzee, Marcus Neustetter, Mark Wilby, James Webb and Tyrone Tewson. Local artists living in the Bitou Municipality also joined in the action, either as participating artist or as hosts of exhibitions, studio tours and workshop. They were Charles Levine, Carol NathanLevin, Myfanwy Bekker-Balajadia, Matthew Brouckaert, Ingrid Coerling, Zane Coetzee, Willie Gouws, Angus Greig, Darren Lyon, Amos Lwana, Kate Muller, Klaus Oppenheimer, Dee Pellum Reid, Marty Reddering, Stephen Rosin and Anja Wiehl.

The work of Italian artists, Gabriele Meneguzzi & Vincenzo Sponga, better known to the Site_Specific crew as Italy 1 and Italy 2, is incredibly subtle and uses only natural materials sourced from the site. “Our idea was born by looking at the sea from the top of our work from the rocks, and we thought how beautiful it could be to sew together rocks, sand and sea as if they were different arts. So we created a lane in the sand and a thread using only grass, and on the beach, we found a beautiful dried tree from which we cut the branches to make it look similar to a needle.”

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All of the artists and the Site_Specific team contributed their time for free and paid their own way to Plettenberg Bay while many local businesses and individuals offered accommodation, logistical support, materials, equipment and studio spaces. Land art has always been at the extreme of art making since it operates outside the gallery setting and uses the terrain as its canvas and anything from one’s hands to earth moving equipment as paintbrush or chisel. Land art is often temporary and in many instances the only artworks that remain for purchase are photographs documenting the interventions. "We’re taking art off the pedestal and putting it on the sand and in the land," says Strijdom van der Merwe, Site_Specific co-founder. Site_Specific ran over eight days, starting with a welcome and site orientation on 22 May. Reney Warrington, one of the documenters of the event blogged: “We spent the morning hiking the Milkwood Trail and looking at all the possible sites. Artists had to ‘claim’ their spot, spend the afternoon planning/scheming/dreaming and then start placing orders for sticks, stones, boats, tractors and the odd chainsaw. Some artists arrived with plans made while others made their plans after selecting the sites for their works and assessing what materials were at their disposal.” The following five days were occupied by artists slaving away and creating mostly ephemeral pieces of land art. Concurrently, creative workshops and site visits were conducted with community groups and local

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Charles Levin’s performance piece Homage deals with the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the resulting nuclear accident at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Click here to view the video.

Gordon Froud and Tyrone Tewson employed recycled moulds made for previous sculptural works to create their installation titled About potential. “We brought moulds of Sperm babies [Froud] and Fat men [Tewson] with us. Into these moulds, we pressed slabs of clay from the local Vantell Brickworks to create forms. These forms were heat sealed to strengthen them but were not baked as we intended them to disintegrate and return to the earth, metaphorically implying our journey on this planet. Each form has a twig of willow inserted from which it hangs – this is to provide a natural twine and to leave no artificial footprint on the site. We hope that the weather, time and interaction will result in the breakdown of the forms.”

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Angus Taylor's work titled Los consists of two abstracted human figures constructed from wood which he installed at the mouth of the Piesang River estuary. The work deals with the fluid, liminal spaces and rites of passage of social reality inspired by the writings of philosopher Victor Turner.

schools. These also included visits by school groups who observed and interacted with the Site_Specific artists while they were creating their artworks. On 28 and 29 May, art lovers, members of the local community and tourists participated in the public launch with guides leading them through the unique open-air art displays on a 3km walk from Plettenberg Bay’s Central Beach to the Milkwood Trail in the Piesang River Valley. The organisers describe the inaugural Site_Specific event as a form of communion with the land that changes one’s perceptions of given surroundings.

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It is like being given new eyes. Even after the art


has been reabsorbed into nature, the memory of it persists and informs one’s interaction with the

Information and photographs included in this article

landscape. It doesn’t demand huge amounts of

were provided by the Site_Specific organisers and

visual literacy or education to be moved by the ex-

Reney Warrington. Warrington describes herself

perience of a great land art piece, it is immediate

as a writer, photographer and blogger obsessed

and it enhances one’s own sense of being in the

with film, music, art and espresso. Her first novel


is scheduled for release in the first half of 2012 and her next photographic exhibition will follow a

Land art allows one to integrate the often split

few months later. Click here to view more of War-

concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. Sometimes it is

rington's work.

a celebration of the land that sustains us, often it reminds us of the temporary nature of our shared existence. <

Click here to see more works from Site_Specific.

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Marco Cianfanelli’s instillation titled Drift is made of mild steel and found driftwood of which the largest dimension is approximately 2.4m. “For the Site-Specific project I brought laser-cut steel words with me, with the intention of attaching them to trees. On arriving in Plettenberg Bay, I felt that the beach was the right context and the available driftwood a suitable vehicle to carry the words for my site-specific intervention. I found two large pieces of driftwood. The one had a strong architectural quality, like a Corinthian column, which I combined with words that refer to ‘society’. The other was very organic and gnarled, which I paired with words that refer to the ‘individual’. In the context of the beach and shoreline, these works evoke ideas of arrival, imposition, loss and redundancy but they also evoke a sense of growth and transformation, like barnacles on a foreign object.”

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Urs Twellmann’s artwork titled Stranded Aliens consists of about 70 discs cut from blue gum trees. Each disk is hollowedout with the aid of a chainsaw to allow them to contain water. The artist arranged and rearranged the pieces at different places along the coast and the nearby river to allow the tides and available light to dictate ever-changing configurations, reflections and motions dictated by Nature’s flux.

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Strijdom van der Merwe used the beach as his canvas to create a large artwork. “For Site_Specific I became aware of the amount of driftwood that washed up on the beach and the continuous deposit of materials during high tide. This let met to idea of using a rake and drawing circles on the beach in various sizes as if it had washed up during high tide just to be washed away during the next tide. This work, as in many of my other works, take part in the cycles of nature. It shows the fragility of beauty,

Simon Max Bannister’s Aardmoeders (Earth Mothers) is one of the few permanent artworks created during Site_Specific. The sculpture, situated at Kranshoek, is carved from local boulders and depicts three elephants. The sculpture is the first of many planned to be installed along the Eden to Addo Great Corridor creating South Africa’s first land art route. As a conservation initiative, the Eden to Addo Land Art Route aims to establish a living corridor along old elephant migratory paths linking the Garden Route

while not lamenting its passing.”

National Park to the Addo Elephant National Park 350km to the east. Photos by Elizabeth Olivier Kahlau.

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Andrew van der Merwe created two very different works titled Inside Fibonacci and Beach Calligraphy. Inside Fibonacci is and installation of blackened gum tree poles. The poles are laid out in the pattern formed by the seeds on the head of a sunflower – a pattern of spirals present in most flowers. When one stands at the centre, the poles look randomly placed and there are no radial lines and any three poles that line up would supposedly represent a weakness in the flower head. However, if one moves into it from an angle, the spirals become evident. There are 13 long clockwise spirals and 21 short anti-clockwise spirals leading to the centre of which 13 and 21 are consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. Beach Calligraphy draws on van der Merwe’s passion for calligraphy: “I am a calligrapher by profession and carving fantastical letters all over the beach is a welcome break from working at a desk on small pieces of paper. The tools and techniques are ones I have evolved over the past eight years. Before that, like anyone else, I used sticks and shells and object found on the beach. Much of my work has the appearance of letters carved in stone but it is completely temporal. I call it calligraphy, not carving, because the letters are cut directly and at a speed close to that of writing. The forms are a function of the movement.”

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Hannelie Coetzee’s Family Portrait consists of 13 stacked stone sculptures facing the ocean on Lookout Beach. The sculptures represent family members and form part of the artist’s ongoing exploration of her Afrikaner heritage. The artists says that all of the stones have visible quartz lines that symbolise the ‘marks’ that parents and their belief systems impress on their children. For five days Coetzee’s built and rebuilt Family Portrait after every cycle of tidal destruction.

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Jan van der Merwe’s installation titled Uprooted consists of five separate structures made of the stumps of uprooted trees attached to pieces of second-hand furniture. All the objects have the appearance of having been scorched or blackened by fire. The artists says that work may refer to the displacement of people, but also suggests natural and human production processes. In the background (far right) is Malcolm Solomon’s installation titled Barcoded Africa.

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