sowing since 2005
the south african contemporary culture magazine
s t n te
off g n i tak s i d see l l a m one s 06 ¦a conversation with beezy bailey 09 ¦mashups – an alternative collaboration 14 ¦sessions eKapa: CAPE is the buzzword 18 ¦anton kannemeyer slaughters sacred south african cows 22 ¦journeys in ice sculpting fantasies in a wonderland of ice 24 ¦george hay – products, passions and pushing boundaries 27 ¦design from A to …xyz 30 ¦interface – technologically advanced gadgets 33 ¦speculative thinking – UCT final year ‘thesis’ investigations 38 ¦dornier wine estate – a statement of distinction 41 ¦montréal – the city of saints 47 ¦hot couture – canada’s avant-garde designer renata morales 50 ¦the space to be – award-winning concept store 54 ¦get your freak on – fashion newcomers jaded androgen 60 ¦one to watch – lindiwe mabuza-shuttle is going places 64 ¦club coca-cola – creating a better world 67 ¦daddy buy me a pony – a design consultancy that is riding high 71 ¦retro revolutionary – matt edwards pop art poster-boy 74 ¦rock develops in stages – taxi violence, blk jks and the dirty skirts 78 ¦making it from scratch 80 ¦magic in a major – an aurally sensuous journey with the dna strings 82 ¦music reviews 84 ¦buddy system – brian little gives new meaning to the word determination 88 ¦palermo hollywood – brian maya’s turbulent autobiographical tale 90 ¦tsotsi – karen visagie toyi-toyis with the cast 92 ¦dvd reviews 94 ¦esperanto – any hope for the language of the hopeful? 99 ¦budding above the ground – one small seed design competition 100 ¦guy tillim – illustrating the reality of joburg 106 ¦loading… creative websites 110 ¦enter – you need to know 112 ¦cultural agenda – make space in your diary
second issue founder and creative director giuseppe russo managing editor retha erichsen copy editor mia russell graphic designer tracey-lee scully advertising executive erinn williams editorial contributors angela boshoff, dylan culhane, eeshaam september, iain louw, jd van zyl, jenna mervis, julien robillard, karen visagie, kobus van der merwe, mia russell, leigh van den bergh, lori mauerberger, lynne harris, martina klopper, nikki benatar, vicki sleet photographers antonie robertson, craig mckane, crispian plunkett, danie nel, guy tillim, hannes van der merwe, julien robillard, liam lynch special thanks margherita felitti, pietro russo, jimmy strats, barbara bassi, julien robillard, françois brossette, antoine brossette, agency zoï, boss models cape town, topco models, lucky thirteen editorial address: 198 buitengracht street, bo-kaap, cape town, 8001 tel: +27 (0) 21 424 1648 ¦ fax: +27 (0) 21 424 1675 email: email@example.com published by designed04 advertising sales and subscription enquiries: +27 (0)21 424 1648, firstname.lastname@example.org
The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent on the quality of the material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. No responsibility will be taken for any decision made by the reader as a result of such opinions. Copyright one small seed South Africa. All rights reserved. Both the name ‘one small seed’ and are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher. one small seed does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication. ISSN 1816-8965.
and then there were two… Following the success of our first issue, where we planted the seed of creativity, nurtured it with hard work and passion and produced a magazine that not only showcased local and international talent, but introduced the reader to the artistic genius that surrounds us in everyday life, we are proud to bring you our second edition of one small seed. As the seed of creativity began to take shape with issue two, so the ideas and inspiration did the same, sparking elements of curiosity about all facets of the imagination. It is this curiosity that drives the want and the need to know more about the ever-changing world of art, architecture, design and fashion. We take an architectural tour through Montréal in Canada; we try our tongue on Esperanto and we explore the artistic inspiration behind the Sessions eKapa. Never forgetting that home is where the heart is, we turn our heads towards hot homegrown talent – we visit Beezy Bailey at his beautifully eccentric home on the slopes of Higgovale, we spend some time with acclaimed photographer Guy Tillim and we take a trip to the winelands to visit the award-winning Dornier Wine Estate. As in life, success cannot not be achieved alone and we would like to thank the readers, artists, creators and designers for giving us the inspiration to produce this second edition. We have planted the seed and look forward to nurturing and reaping the benefits of its fruition together with you and would appreciate your comments and feedback, so please don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com. Creativity is the translation of our unique gifts, talents and vision into an external reality that is innovative and new, and one small seed is the perfect medium through which this can happen.
giuseppe russo founder and creative director
With or without an alter ego, Beezy Bailey is one of South Africa’s most successful living artists. Dylan Culhane talks to him about his latest exhibition, Joyce Ntobe and entertaining himself. It is said that the path of a true artist is a luckless and ill-rewarded one. But for all the romance and mystique surrounding this particular vocation, an artist’s fate is governed largely by the same principle that underlies most professions: those who consistently work the hardest, reap the greatest rewards. After twenty years on the path, Beezy Bailey has worked hard enough to be considered as one of our country’s most successful living artists. Decades of provocative, sometimes sensationalist work have assured him household-name status, and arguably art’s highest accolade. I’m speaking to Beezy in his breathtaking home high up on Cape Town’s Kloof Nek Road. Inside, the house is elegant and carnivalesque, filled with evidence of the artist’s insatiable creative impulse. A crude wooden figure looms headheight at the front door, grand oil paintings in gilded frames cover most of the available wall space and delicately embroidered silk cushions are scattered across an assortment of settees in the living room. I place my tape recorder on top of one of them and we get talking about his latest exhibition. For a man who works on up to 10 paintings at once to slake his thirst for creation, Beezy comes across as surprisingly composed. Mellow, I’d even go so far as to say. It must be the view. His house has a great view. Facets. The title of his latest exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg alludes to the different facets of a diamond; composite slices of the glittering whole. “Of course this begins with the presumption that my work is diamondlike,” Beezy points out. “But I chose the title to represent my latest body of work and the various aspects of my working process.” Those able to attend the exhibition can expect a smørgasbord of artistic styles, primarily landscapes, nudes and ‘cloud-paintings’ – enchanting scenes brought to life through the spontaneous layering of paint into figures and environments. All the work on display flaunts deft painterly skill without betraying the child-like sense of magic and humour that has characterised much of his repertoire.
‘Doris’s mother was a genius’, oil and enamel on canvas, 135 x 100 cm
Beezy Bailey gained widespread media attention in the 1990s after submitting work to the National Gallery under the guise of a fictitious domestic worker named Joyce Ntobe, together with several of his own submissions. The selection of Joyce’s work over Beezy’s exposed questionable standards in the selection process and fanned a brushfire of debate around identity politics in post-Apartheid South Africa. In 1999, Beezy even managed to receive death threats (another distinguished accolade?) after giving Louis Botha’s statue in Company Gardens an abakwethu (Xhosa initiate) makeover, complete with traditional blanket and painted face.
So does his current focus on more classical modes of expression signify a more mature phase in his career? “It’s interesting you should ask that, since it implies that Joyce Ntobe and the abakwethu piece were immature. In light of the massive worldwide reactions they both received, I would consider them very mature. At the same time, I’ve been painting nudes and landscapes since my art school days. I like to seperate the different aspects of my work into boxes, so I can return to them at will.” He pauses for a moment before continuing. “Although this presents an obvious contradiction, since my whole mission is to break out of boxes.” Facets. Boxes. The man’s mind must resemble a container yard. I doubt there’s a medium he hasn’t at least dabbled in. Asphalt on gravy? Hey, why not? “I regard doing the same thing over and over again as a kind of death. Like pinning a butterfly to a board.”
Fans of his work can look out for an upcoming book by renowned critic Hazel Friedman about the life and work of this cultural icon. “There’s just so much material to sift through,” says Beezy, more excited than concerned. Facets. Boxes. Pots. Chapters. Beezy Bailey’s contribution to South African art remains greater than the sum of its parts. “I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I wanted to be a successful artist.” The path of a true artist may be luckless and ill rewarded, but motorboats and splendid views await those with an unwavering passion for that they do.
‘Love City’, charcoal and pastel on cotton paper,180 x 136 cm
From the delicate application of Chinese ink on rice paper to brutal angle-grinder prints, what is the gravity holding these planets together? For Beezy, he sees his materials as simple tools that he uses in his ongoing quest to create beauty. “The marks I make with an angle-grinder may carry the same venom as those I make with a rabbit-fur brush. It’s all inter-related.” Rather than dwell in certain stylistic phases for prolonged periods of time, Beezy cycles between them ‘in the way one would tend to pots on a stove.’ Twenty years on and the stovetop is still a bustle with concoctions. “It’s also important to entertain myself and set myself new challenges. My last exhibition has done very well, but I’m left with a sense of emptiness and restlessness – which is fantastic since it allows me to embark on a brand new body of work. After the festive season of course!” Even artists deserve a holiday, and Beezy plans to break in his new motorboat over the summer.
art 09 Hours of nightly play have resulted in the collaboration between Peter Eastman and Matthew Hindley.
mashups asks the artists behind Mashups about the series of prints in their shared studio space.
Kobus van der Merwe
Why would anyone blend the evidently distinctive sounds of such contrasting musical geniuses as Madonna and the Sex Pistols? The answer is simple: to produce a final result that is even better than the some of its authoritative parts. In a profound series of digital prints, entitled Mashups, local artists Peter Eastman and Matthew Hindley applied this exact same reasoning with the beautifully peculiar outcome being an unflawed synthesis of their distinctly different styles. Borrowing the title of the show from the ‘Bastard pop’ underground music movement – where Destiny’s Child could easily end-up unsettling The Cardigans or Jay-Z could stir up The Beatles – the collaboration similarly fuses Matthew’s characteristically otherworldly figures with Peter’s serene landscapes. Sharing adjacent studio space on the 10th floor of an office building in the Cape Town CBD, they started experimenting with flash animation, working on the same artwork across a computer network. “At first we were actually just screwing around. We never planned to collaborate for an actual exhibition,” Matthew says. “But the end result was so pleasing that we decided to do more.” Because natural light is so important when working with oil colour, both artists continuously work on their individual paintings during the day, getting together at night to do the flash collaborations. Working together on every work entirely from the start, they allow each other complete creative freedom throughout the process. “We look through lots of photographs and images before deciding on the setting and the mood of the work together. Once Peter has created the landscapes, I look at the space, basing my images on what it suggests and keeping with the perspective and scale of the original work,” Matthew says.
It would seem that they have found the perfect partnership, building their working relationship on their friendship since school. No room for artist’s temperament here. “Although it’s usually quite a surprise to see what Matthew has come up with, to me the end-result is always more pleasing than my original artwork,” Peter remarks. Even though computer-generated, and covering a varied range of temperaments – from eerie, cinematic road scenes to seemingly innocent sweeping green landscapes – the works remain very painterly, baring a striking resemblance to both artists’ paintings.
“We use a lot of the same colour that is used in our paintings, but the flash drawings lend themselves to so much more - there are so many options and variations, it’s really free. These images are essentially the result of hours and hours of playing around with flash animation. And the end result is always perfect. On the computer you simply change what you don’t like without any permanent effect,” Matthew comments. “Furthermore, the lambda printed colour is extremely beautiful - it always seems to come out even better than it looks on screen,” Peter adds. Comparable to the work of Japanese neo-Pop artists, Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, Matthew and Peter’s Mashups series is high art that is simultaneously accessible to the masses. “This is work we do because we love doing it. It’s easy and extremely enjoyable,” Matthew says. Like their musical counterparts, the most fundamental aspect of Matthew and Peter’s Mashups is quite simply that the end result is hauntingly beautiful, exciting and cool.
Mashups can be viewed at 34 Long Street, Cape Town until 14 January 2006.
is the buzzword In a bold commitment to locate a space for discussing African art in South Africa, CAPE attempts to bridge the gap between art and audiences. Jenna Mervis explores their latest project, Sessions eKapa. I’m standing in a high-ceilinged corridor surrounded by masks. At my feet, a small square of yellow paper is visibly humming with a slightly narcotic, floral emblem. I have this overwhelming feeling that I must, finally, be close to the honey. It is the last of the carefully placed logos that have led me off the streets of Cape Town, describing a path through musty rooms of the Pan African Market to the venue hand-picked for CAPE’s launch of the inaugural SESSIONS eKAPA. And if CAPE is the bee I’m imagining then South Africa’s art world should, in the next few years, reap some of the sweetest fruits of its labour. As a cultural project deeply rooted in South Africa and fixed on providing a platform to explore art and culture on the African continent, CAPE claims to be no mild honeybee. Its pro-active stance on the needs of African art practice is an assertive response to the lack of African-based dialogue on art. It is actively foraging the rest of the world, reclaiming art and culture. Through sessions held every two years, CAPE plans to raise and talk about issues surrounding African art practice, which will then take the physical form of a large-scale multidisciplinary art event the following year. This two year cycle is, incidentally, every pragmatists dream – a conference where theoreticians’ dreams and doodles are taken that concrete step further and become manifest in an actual exhibition. Which is probably why CAPE refers to this major art event as a Manifestation.
“This is Africa asserting itself. The project is supported by the belief that we in South Africa need to start entering into narratives about our cultural production and product – examining the diversity of what is being produced so that,” according to Chief Executive Officer, Susan Glanville-Zini. “Africa can take control of the way it is being perceived.” SESSIONS eKAPA has been the first part of the 2005/2006 cycle. Entitled Mzantsi: (Re)Locating Contemporary African Art Practice, the main discussions this year have revolved around the location and production of contemporary art in the south of Africa and the relationship between art practice and the social, political, cultural and spatial spheres of its environment. “Mzantsi is about bringing contemporary art back south,” explains co-ordinator Julian Jonker. It is made to sound so easy. But things are never that simple. The termination of the Johannesburg Biennale has proved that art and politics are strapped together in the same barrel, which, in South Africa’s case, is barely keeping afloat. The three days of discussions during eKAPA have proved no different. ‘Back south’ is an environment where words like marginalisation, alienation, inaccessibility, poverty, discrimination and exclusion are still thriving.
Between the 4th and the 6th of December, some of Africa’s and the world’s most esteemed (and controversial) minds and art practitioners converged on Cape Town to talk about these issues that have been kept simmering just below the surface for years. Talk about them, shout about them and argue about them in between tea breaks and lunch breaks. Debates surrounding the treatment of African contemporary art and its curators have been ongoing ones in curatorial circles around the world. In 2000, Olu Oguibe addressed the issue in a letter criticising the decision of Ivo Mesquito, chief curator of the São Paulo Biennial, not to include a curator from Africa to curate the African art contribution. This lack of representation of African curators has naturally had spin-off effects – namely misrepresentation and misinterpretation of African art and artists in exhibitions across the globe, as well as the discouragement of new curating talents emerging in Africa. Five years down the line, the same issues exist. For artist, writer and curator Sylvester Ogbechie, Africa has the right to be represented in the main arena of the global sphere, to determine its own identity in museums and galleries. The right to speak for itself and not to be spoken for. Another problem is that what is being chosen as representative contemporary African art is art, which fits an ‘African’ mould created in the West. The art world seems to be clinging to the vestiges of colonialism – contemporary African art is being examined and explored by non-Africans. The Africans that create and curate this art are either being marginalised or excluded from this exploration. Diversity is at risk, when old art is rehashed in modern context to fill exhibition spaces overseas. Emerging African artists are at risk of falling through the cracks of the contemporary art world. “What is good, what is bad, what is art, what is craft have been defined through the lens of the western world,” says N’goné Fall, curator of the Dakar Biennial since 1992. As the speaker opening the first session of eKAPA, entitled ‘Framing Africa’, Fall set the scene for the conference by summing up the present situation of African art practice as a “state of emergency”. According to Fall, her experiences with the Dakar Biennial have proved that “showing art is not enough”. The challenge lies not exclusively with curators and artists. The audience is also central in CAPE’s goals. In Dakar, the language of art (French) was also the language of domination – and intimidation. The word for ‘art’ did not even exist in Wolof. Through the use of Wolof radio, art theory was relocated in the Wolof language, thus pulling previously marginalised people into
the biennial (two year) experience. Museums in South Africa, says Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan, are still places of alienation due to the irrelevance of exhibitions. Many South Africans do appear to perceive art as something either historical – viewed in the vast halls of museums – or ‘contemporary’ to be viewed at one’s own risk in small galleries across the country. They are standing, noses pressed to the glass-encased art world, terrified of committing to any kind of emotional or physical involvement, or if they are braver, hovering in the doorways of exhibition spaces unable to take the first step inside. CAPE is leading us in with an attempt to bridge the gap between art and audiences. It is making a bold commitment to locating a space for discussing African art in South Africa. Perhaps even more promising is that the feisty CAPE bee intends to ‘colonise’ the unknown territory beyond the traditional spaces of galleries. Although the Manifestation in September 2006 is the main expression of this goal, it has also been touched on in minilaboratories conducted during SESSIONS eKAPA. Described as experiential engagements with the city, the minilaboratories were really an excuse to go very local and explore the spaces in Cape Town where art is taking place – an Internet café in the city, an art and training space in Langa, a street wall canvas for graffiti. These minilaboratories have been criticised for blurring the boundary between art and tourism and converting the experience of viewing art into a kind of cultural voyeurism. Nevertheless, CAPE is challenging the definitions of art, searching for a multidisciplinary approach that is inclusive and makes sense in terms of art practice. SESSIONS eKAPA is, I think, just the starting point. The first step towards redefining and relocating African art practice. We sit on couches and chairs sipping orange juice and beer lapping up the welcoming words of Glanville-Zini and Jonker. It is a warm Cape Town evening. We look around at each other, nod wisely – ‘this is where we are coming from, where we have been. This is where we are going…’ And CAPE aims to show the broader art world exactly where art in Africa can go if provided with the proper platform for discussion and debate. It is an admirable dream. But, in retrospect with the first half of the cycle concluded, is it really a realistic one? The politics of race, inclusion and exclusion and the paucity of art education seem to be working against time, stunting the growth of the arts in South Africa. Borrowing the line which Lesego Rampolokeng wove into his inspired presentation at SESSIONS, ‘we do not have a culture of criticism, just a tradition of bitching’. The key, it seems, is to formulate a language with which to deal with the discrepancies of access in all spheres of art practice in this country – a language that constructs solutions gradually cell by cell, comb by comb, rather than tearing the hive down. This is no easy task, as perhaps CAPE is beginning to realise. But whatever happens between now and September 2006, one thing is for sure – CAPE is going to be the new buzzword on the tips of arty Africa’s lips.
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In a won
It is said when Michaelangelo was asked how he sculpted a horse, he replied that he simply removed all the pieces that weren’t a horse. The sculpture already existed inside the massive granite block, he just released it with his chisel. This statement continuously rummaged through my mind when I stood in front of the massive glassy-clear chunk of ice, a lethally sharp Japanese ice-carving chisel glinting in my palm. There was infinite possibility. With no difficulty I imagined that nymphs, winged horses and endless other creatures were locked inside the ice, desiring nothing other than to be set free. Dressed in Eskimo gear with thermal gloves and steelcapped shoes – just in case one of the washing-machine-sized-chunks-of-ice slipped with my little toe as its aim – I gingerly entered the massive freezer, chilled to -20°C. This is where Thor Ice, the only company in Africa that does ice-sculpting, do most of their work. Inside a fantasy world of ice awaited. Sports cars and ski boats, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and panels that would become an 8.5m long bar made entirely from ice. The pieces of this bar slot into one another like a puzzle in what Thor Ice Business Partner James Cussen labels ‘ice engineering’. Giant Tutankhamen faces look on as he explains the process from water to glinting ice statue. “The biggest difference between the ice we use for sculpting and ordinary ice is its crystal clear quality. It doesn’t have any of the murky, whitish bits that one would normally find in your freezer’s ice, or in ice sculptures that are made in moulds. We actually ‘grow’ the ice in large containers,” he explains as he points to a ‘nursery’ of ice blocks just outside the freezers door. “Jets inject filtered water in the containers and create a miniature current that continuously agitates the water. The process also utilises a cocktail of chemicals to assist in the release of certain proteins and contaminants in the water.” This way all the air and the small amount of silt that slips through the filters are constantly moved to the top of the block as it grows layer by layer. At the end, you have a beautifully clear piece of ice with a thin layer of frozen silt and bubbles of air, which can be easily scraped off. Mostly the finished sculptures are delivered to the event venue, but for the ultimate party trick James can do a live carving that is very impressive indeed. Much of the
equipment is specially crafted for ice-sculpting and is imported from Japan, many ordinary tools are put to a fresh, and frigid, new use. James revs up an industrial chain saw and let’s its teeth sink into a block of ice in the corner of the enormous freezer, little shards of ice and bits of snow are flying everywhere. “We use the chainsaw if we want to get rid of a lot of ice quickly,” he shouts over the gargling of the saw as he clefts the block in half. Clearly. “When we are finished with a sculpture and need a perfectly smooth side, we simply use an ordinary clothes iron,” he explains as he presses the hot iron against the sculpture’s uneven side. Steam bubbles from underneath and the result on the surface is mirror-smooth and gleams like Bohemian crystal. The path from water to the final displayed sculpture is a bumpy one in a country that is not exactly known for its frosty temperatures. “Once the blocks have grown to their full size, we have to handle them with extreme care to prevent them from cracking or breaking because of the massive temperature change from freezer to the outside,” explains James. For that reason Thor Ice also has delivery trucks that are specially cooled to transport the bubble wrapped sculptures to their destination event. It is rather surprising that the sculptures last quite long, even on a really hot day. A highly detailed sculpture will look the way it was intended to for as long as six to eight hours and the block of ice will still be there 24 hours later. To get the maximum lifespan out of a piece, one can have a company logo engraved on the inside, or any conceivable object, from lemons and golf balls to bottles of whiskey, frozen into the block. The objects seem suspended in mid-air, and the melting of the blocks outside has no influence on the overall appearance. “A sculpture’s lifespan ultimately does of course depend on how many people touch, rub or lick it,” James adds with a wry smile. Although most of Thor Ice’s work is done for company launches or corporate events, the scope for creation and the affairs they are suited to are limitless. If you can dream it, they can sculpt it – in fact, your sculpture already exists inside each block of ice. Thor Ice Business - 011 865 5439 ¦ 021 510 0617 www.thoricesculptures.co.za
spaces in between
By Lynne Harris
george hay – product designer
“I was recently in Jacobsbaai, and decided to place some photographs of my work and my contact details in a large bottle and throw the lot out to sea. Now, my portfolio is out there, who knows where it will go, but it seems more of a physical reality. My energy is out there, and it feels more real.” Having sat and chatted to George Hay, I left with the feeling that whoever is lucky enough to happen upon the elusive bottle, will be more than pleasantly surprised, and certainly inspired. Product designer or “functional artist,” as he prefers to see himself, George Hay is making his mark on the South African design circuit. Schooled in Edinburgh, he completed his studies in interior design and moved into the realm of self-taught furniture and product designer, combining his varied collection with sculpture and custommade concrete tiles.
His works embrace the unexpected, and he is consistently challenging himself to work with new materials and combine the ever-faithful glass, concrete and timber in new and innovative ways. “I really enjoy working with resin, but am looking at moving more towards the natural.” An apt decision it would seem, as all of his works, from the free-form coffee table and innovative ‘rocking’ chaise, to his concrete lamp bases and telephone cabinet, epitomise the essence of organic form.
“I am interested purely in shape. What inspires me most about organic form is that there is no reference point. My work is dictated purely by light and form and I want my pieces to be something that your eye can follow slowly and languidly.” So how is it that this young, 28-year-old Durbanite has come to establish himself in what is fast becoming a cut-throat industry in South Africa? Strong collaborations with other local artists and designers have helped, but so has his desire to keep creating the new. “This really is my passion. I don’t know how to do anything else. And it helps that each day is new, with a new beginning.” George does not have a range of products available, nor is he looking to developing one in the future. All of his works are custom-made for the client and they evolve and take form over the process from conception to completion. Unfortunately, neither is he looking to exhibit. He would like to keep his work on a custom-made basis, where he has complete control over the end product. Exhibiting would require a different angle that will take him away from his word-of-mouth approach.
“The only piece I would look to exhibit would be my rocking chaise. It’s a tangible piece that one really needs to experience. The effect of motion lying down, as opposed to the traditional seated rocker, is an idea that can only truly be sold on the experience. There are lots of ideas out there, owned by no one in particular, however it all depends on who has the money to develop an idea, as to who takes ownership of it in the end. The process of playing with ideas is satisfying in itself.” Just looking at his steel staircase, you begin to understand his love of his work. 590kg of steel pieces, welded together to form a wave formation staircase is no small feat and undoubtedly a challenge.
Made from steel plates, this piece of functional art posed a problem for him because of the straight lines and moving away from purely free form pushed him into new territory. “As long as I can continue to break into the market with something new and not follow a trend, I’ll be happy.” In a country whose creative future lies in breaking into new markets, it is artists and designers like George Hay who will be looking to lead the way. Watch this space as he continues to push the boundaries of his skill.
...xyz design from A to
. us t i o ee a , c t i Sl r i c n f e ick Af i V h a s By ut d So ibe in cr n es sig e d de b ry nly ra o po an m c te at on th f c ion s o ss rie pa da a un ave bo h e n th ig g es in d sh xyz Pu â€Ś
28 My first impression on stepping into the …xyz HQ was the conspicuous lack of gum-chewing, iPod wearing, Converse clad X & Y generation design types. I didn’t spot one Apple Mac and there was no evidence of the sleek and sexy über-designs …xyz have become known for in design circles. But then I notice Roelf Mulder quietly copying down notes off a whiteboard – scribbles that look like higher grade maths to me – yet judging by the manner in which he is furiously making short work of it all, it makes perfect sense to him. And that’s when it hits me – Roelf and his partners Richard Perez and Byron Qually are design pragmatists first, glory-seekers second. In a world where product designers are elevated to cult status (well, in Europe and the States anyway), these three are having none (OK, maybe they’d like a little) of it. Anti the ‘performance’ aspect of design, the boys at …xyz are serious when it comes to designing products that fulfil a function, though making them look good makes them happy too. Back in the day when Roelf had just finished his studies in industrial design, there was practically nowhere in South Africa for him to work in the product design field. So he did the next best thing – he started his own company. After landing the contract to design the Freeplay Wind-Up Radio in SA, he set about introducing the world to the company’s own brand of good looking functional design. From its early days as a reinvented ‘toy’ to a sexy see-through must-have, Roelf was right there behind it.
1994 saw him meet up with 32-year-old Byron Qually, now the design director of the company, which they eventually formed in 2000. Work both here and abroad had left Qually with a burning desire to prove that groundbreaking design could be produced at the southern tip of Africa, and he and the third …xyz musketeer 35-year-old Richard Perez brought a formidable sense of energy and expertise to the triumvirate. Between the three of them, they have an alphabet of qualifications and the mutual admiration that they have for each other’s different qualities is readily apparent. So what is it these guys do? In layman’s terms their main premise is to make the everyday object extraordinary in its simplicity and functionality. “We’re not interested in being bigger than our products – we want to create items with staying power,” explains Qually. Ever thought of the people behind the petrol pump stands at your local garage? …xyz are the team behind the Shell forecourt petrol stands which are the result of hours of discussion and to-ing and fro-ing with the teams who fill cars – finding out their exact demands from their work environment. The result is a streamlined exercise in functionality that has made local industry sit up and take notice. Unlike many other similar international concerns that tend to focus on one arena, …xyz describe themselves as ‘general specialists’– nothing is too big or too small for them to tackle – from design-tastic braai tongs with a built in light to state-of-the-art cellphones (that won one of the many SABS Design Institute awards), highly advanced medical equipment and even three-second condom applicators (now part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection). They’ve done it and will do it all.
29 …xyz distinguish themselves by having a rather admirable devotion to nurturing design – each is involved in tertiary institution projects and mentoring, and they are equally impassioned about their Design for Development projects – working to simplify everyday challenges in the South African arena. “South Africa is a nation of good ideas and we are passionate about creating design awareness and helping to grow the designers of the future,” says Roelf. Designing beautiful things that can be used on a daily basis is high on the list of every industrial designer’s wishlist, but seeing it through to fruition is often a little seen reality and where …xyz have succeeded is that they are prolific in so many different spheres. “We look to design products that can make a difference in the South African context,” says Roelf. Whether it’s a foolproof condom applicator, state-of-the-art vehicle tracking devices, devices to simplify infant eye testing or working on rural transport systems, they are constantly pushing their boundaries in a quest to simplify the end users’ existence right here at home. Much has been said about the threat of Asian manufacturing undercutting local industry and fighting this is one of …xyz’s most important challenges. Explaining to clients that a product is only 100% South African if it is also manufactured here is an uphill battle and they are valiant warriors in having their initial designs seen through to manufacture stage on these shores. “International clients comment all the time about the quality of the workmanship of our products – if more designers pushed our local manufacturing industry, they could help grow it,” says Qually. With these kinds of firebrands driving design in SA, it may simply be a matter of time before a new global design revolution may emanate from these shores.
…xyz design - Cape Town - www.dddxyz.com
the little giant
super speakerphone The Bluetooth Supertooth II portable hands-free speakerphone will provide you with exceptional sound quality via totally wireless Bluetooth technology. Mounted on a magnetic clip attached to your car’s sun visor, the Supertooth II is the ideal portable speakerphone solution that requires no installation, and gives you the ability to change vehicles quickly and easily.
The Pentax Optio SV digital camera is packed with features for a range of photographic situations. This extremely compact digital camera, which has a 5x optical zoom with a resolution of five million pixels, is only 28mm thick - thanks to the second generation ‘sliding lens system’. It’s easy to use, with mode dial and has a four-way-controller for simple data transfer and photo-printing via high speed USB 2.0 connection.
The Bluetooth Supertooth II features are as compact as its size, with adjustable volume control, highperformance speakers and are compatible with any Bluetooth handset. With a built-in, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery offering an amazing 20 hours talk time and 800 hours standby time, the Supertooth II allows you to hit the road and communicate on the move. And with a noise-cancelling pivoting microphone arm you can let your roof down in a seamless and technologically advanced manner.
One of the many features of the Pentax Optio SV is that it can create pictures up to A3 size. The Pentax power zoom ranges from 36mm to 180mm (35mm format) and gives a good range for some interesting telephoto shots, especially when coupled with the 4x digital zoom. The normal macro mode allows shots to be taken from a distance of just 12cm, but with the super-macro function, that distance can be reduced to 3cm, creating unique close-ups. More advanced photographers will appreciate the manual focusing facility and the high-contrast 1.8 inch TFT LCD monitor is perfect for checking compositions before and after shooting. Pictures, sound and video clips are recorded onto a SD Memory Card.
Bluetooth Supertooth II retails for R799.
The PENTAX Optio SV retails for R 4 699.
play the game
The innovative Apacer Sharesteno CD311 Portable Backup Device is designed to copy files from a digital camera without the need for a PC. Nominated for the 2005 ‘National Gold Awards of Excellence’, the greatest honour for products made-in-Taiwan, the device is extremely lightweight even when connected to a hard disk and is easy to carry.
The XaviX Port is your gateway to interactive home recreation, and you are in complete control. With XaviX Technology, you can experience your favourite activities indoors, going up against a computer-generated team to hit a homerun; workout and monitor calories burned or challenge a friend to a round of interactive golf. Your TV room will never be the same.
Features include a password and hidden-file protection to ensure data safety. The Sharesteno CD311, weighing just 220g, requires no external power supply, making it ideal for photographers and travellers. A stand-alone unit makes it easy to select, edit and share data anytime and anywhere and the supplied Lithium-ion battery gives at least one hour of continuous use. As a perfect “photomate” it uses a standard 2.5 inch hard drive and allows you to store more than 40 000 photos at a 3-mega-pixel resolution. The HDD also functions as an external hard disk, with maximum capacity support of 80Gb. Apacer Sharesteno CD311 retails for R 1 567.
XaviX Technology unlocks the power of your television by enabling Interactive Television Computing with the XaviX Port. The XaviX multiprocessor chip is the heart of the XaviX System. Unlike most computing systems, the XaviX chip is located within the XaviX System Cartridge, not the XaviX Port, which makes upgrading your XaviX Port obsolete. From interactive video games that respond to your physical movements, to motion-sensitive home security solutions, the applications of XaviX Technology are limitless. The XaviX Port retails for R819 and Xavix Games retail from R546 each.
products supplied by
< Speculative Thinking | Some UCT final year ‘thesis’ investigations >
Where ‘space’ has become synomymous with the legacy of apartheid, Iain Low takes us through some ideas for change. The final year ‘thesis’‚ investigation in the B.Arch. program at the University of Cape Town proposes a space for imaginative speculation. Located at the interface between the profession and academia, it presents the opportunity for free and independent thinking, whilst attending to the exigencies of everyday life that characterise all human settlement. This prospect gains a particular dimension within the context of a post-Apartheid city like Cape Town where the exigencies of the past continue to differentiate it as colonial and discriminatory. Indeed ‘space’, the medium of the architect, is probably the biggest legacy of apartheid, and whereas it is easier to change legislation, space’s physical manifestation, in the built environment requires considerable effort in terms of both resources and imagination to transform.
Dialoguing between an identified issue, its critical siting in the city, and its productive programming, the design studio culture affords students the opportunity of engaging in a rigorous process of spatial argument making that seeks to mediate the subjective with the collective that constitutes society. In this manner, it has been possible for students to construct new architectural identities that have deeper meaning than the superficiality of the usual ‘skin graft’. The result is in a series of projects that have significance and the capacity to contribute relevance in the contestations around our emergent city. The following speculations were identified for their respective innovation and merit in contributing some knowledge to the project of spatial transformation in the City of Cape Town.
< john odendal | urban stock exchange >
< caroline helfenstein | 2 urban interchange at the cape town station >
This project proposes a platform for multiple human interactions. Located on the original Newmarket where Strand Street joins the Eastern Boulevard, the building is an extension of the highway and the local practices of poor urban dwellers who occupy these spaces and merge their living, eating, sleeping, recreating and etc.
Whilst the reclamation of part of Table Bay to create the foreshore, has contributed to preserving the fabric of old Cape Town, the subsequent relocation and expansion of the Cape Town Station served to permanently dislocate the old city from the new foreshore. This problem has been the subject of numerous professional and student speculations. Urban investigations have sought to reconnect the City Hall/Parade with the Civic Centre whereas architectural interventions have attempted to contest the impenetrability of the south face of the station.
Its iconography borrows from the engineering aesthetic of its highway context, yet, in attending to human performativity that brutalism is modified. Programmes have been horizontally deployed to establish a dense topography of difference that is supportive of numerous forms of encounter (waste disposal, recycling, production, education, socialisation, etc). The result is in a formation that oscillates between city and highway, between movement and stasis just like the original shoreline that used to mark this place. Whilst the primary genius of Odendal’s speculation lies in the economic opportunity created from the critical combination of ‘discarded’ people with wasteland and waste products, it is in the resultant building typology that real innovation occurs. Ultimately this hybrid presents a cultural condenser wherein social, economic and political exchange is afforded.
This project, by Caroline Helfenstein, proposes an urban interchange along the Strand Street edge of the station. It takes the form of a threshold that seeks to integrate the multiple and competing agendas of this unique part of the city. By virtue of the taxi ranks location, the station deck is where the townships meet the city. Its presence, and the associated programmes, generates considerable pedestrian and vehicular flows, with their respective peaks and intensities. Social and economic exchanges have therefore become fundamentally associated with transport interchanges. Intermodality is the site of the new public realm. These conditions have provided fruitful ground for an intervention that simultaneously reconnects historically disparate functions of the apartheid city. Helfenstein has proposed an urban condenser that synthesises these extremes into a realm wherein difference may comfortably be negotiated. In bridging the foreshore with the old city, the street level with the deck, and the public with private it addresses the complexities of the so-called ‘informal’. Perhaps a new typology is suggested. As both urban interchange and urban infrastructure, it has latent potential to provide for a unique a cultural institution for socio-economic exchange.
< yewande omotoso | 3 resource block for street children >
< saskia vermeiren | 4 entrepreneurial support centre >
This project presents a radical contestation against the colonial construct of the city. By inverting the public and private realms of the city, it establishes a liberated ground plane within the conventional city block. Having freed the spaces, Yewande ‘programs’ this space by inscribing its surface with markings and props that are both familiar to and supportive of the life of street children in this city.
Situated at a critical juncture in the city, this project is located at the meeting of District Six with the East City, at its intersection with the historic centre, the Parade. Saskia Vermeiren’s project brings the combinations of issue, siting and programming to a unique synthesis. Straddling the academic and business divides; it has identified entrepreneurial support for the frail small and emerging business culture in Cape Town, as a productive programme through which to confront these phenomenons.
A basketball/game court establishes a primary organisational strategy. This is supported by associated ablutions, chilling spaces and evening fire-nodes. The surrounding walls of the neighbouring buildings are left in their ‘found’ state, thereby creating a familiar backdrop for the staging of unique lives of urban posses. The careful covering of the terrain takes shape in a building that steps up and away from the street, creating a canopy for this uniquely inscribed ground plane, whilst delimiting a protected institutional space for ultimate rehabilitation. The project presents a radical new approach to engaging with the so-called problem of street children in our city. In creating a threshold space at ground level it presents a unique opportunity for [re-]integrating this institution within the contemporary and emerging city.
The choice of this prominent site is justified by the imperative of the exigencies of economic transformation that plague this historically divided city and its ‘hidden’ past. Spatially these ideas have been realised in the juxtaposition of vertical and horizontal space in the resolution of a medium rise tower block that both contests City Hall and establishes its own iconography and urbanism. It vertical articulation constructs a deliberately obvious composition whose difference is constructed in relation to the various encounters with the city. Horizontally, at ground level, an urban landscape has been constructed to both mediate public and private, whilst simultaneously affording a level of urban coherence to the historic divide[s].
< michelle shaw | 5 relocating the department of home affairs >
The shopping mall represents, perhaps, the most perverse invention of late western capitalism. It purports a pseudo publicness, and has become a safe social haven for suburbanites. However, it is, in fact, an ultimate private domain. In contesting this growing phenomenon, Michelle Shaw sought to reconfigure the Mallâ€™s bias through the introduction of unfamiliar programmes that might destabilise its crass commercial homogeneity. Whilst programmes incorporating youth culture, recreation and education were initially obvious choices, the investigation of their incorporation proved too direct and easy. Eventually it was through the introduction a more public element, in the form of a government department that this project managed to find the necessary substance with which to confront rampant commerce. In different ways, the Department of Home Affairs affects each of our lives. Their offices predominantly occur in drab and desolate environments, in strange and inaccessible parts of the city. They involve both multiple and frequently uncomplimentary services, that frequently bring strangers into unfamiliar propinquity, without much social consequence. Consequently, refugees, migrants, the electorate, committed couples, and the general citizen all find themselves waiting in these dull spaces. These are the very same people that frequent shopping malls, and Shawâ€™s proposal identifies all these functions as complementary opposites whose strategic cross-programming can afford a mutual coherency in the support of desirable economic and social encounters. The project offers an imaginative and provocative insertion to the mall in Tygerberg that seeks to add value to whilst simultaneously confronting the privatisation of the contemporary city.
fd nt o
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Combining elegant wines and award-winning architecture, Dornier Wine Estate creatively fuses the opposites of change and stasis, seriousness and pleasure, complexity and simplicity. By Mia Russell
Nestled in the heart of the Stellenbosch Valley and surrounded by lush green mountains, lies the elegant Dornier Wine Estate. Claiming both local and fastgrowing international fame for their wines, Dornier is also an architectural gem and in an industry where competition is rife and differences often indistinguishable, the distinct quality and unconventional style of Dornier Wine Estate, sets it apart and places it a cut above the rest. Located on two estates, Keerweder and Stellenrust, both of which are steeped in history and long-standing tradition, Dornier lies on 167ha of prime viticultural land at the foothills of the Stellenbosch Mountain. Owned by Swiss/German artist Christoph Dornier, son of aircraft pioneer Claude Dornier, who worked with Count Zeppelin and designed fighter aircraft, the estate has been remodelled along clean, stark lines, with an undulating silver roof designed by Dornier himself â€˜to enhance the landscapeâ€™.
Described as ‘one of the best wineries in South Africa because of its simplicity,’ Dornier is a masterful fusion of art with architecture, embodying a synthesis of contrasting and complementary elements. The estate houses a slick, industrial-chic winery of facebrick and stainless steel, which is placed in juxtaposition with an elaborate Sir Herbert Baker masterpiece, one of the Cape’s oldest cellars, which serves to highlight the farms heritage. “I didn’t want another Cape Dutch building,” comments Christoph on his vision for Dornier’s winery. “I wanted to create something that would instantly set us apart from the norm.” And it is this artist’s vision and creative foresight that does just that. On meeting Christoph, one is struck with the overwhelming feeling that Dornier Wines is the expression of its owner – a man who achieves success through unconventionality and courage. Inspired by surrealism and using art as a visual language for furthering his expression, traditional materials and an age-old concept with pioneering are used to create a functional, yet stylish and elegant building. Immaculate gardens surround the estate and on approach, one is led along a path between the old Sir Herbert Baker house on the right, sleeping gently in all its Cape Dutch glory, and the new, modern winery on the left, with its sweeping, curved roof, which reflects the profile of the surrounding mountains, and a glassy pond, which mirrors the roofline and serves to cool the maturation cellar beneath. Inside, there is an effortless flow of movement, with an administration area flowing into the cellar, maturation cellar and visitors tasting room. Walls of glass filter light into the deep, cavernous spaces of the maturation cellar, where huge stainless tanks are suspended high above the floor, and which can be seen from the guest plaza to allow for transparency of the winemaking process. Forest views and jarrah wood floors interact with industrial materials such as glass, stainless steel, aluminium and wood to give a minimalist feel, while splashes of colour from surrealist artworks by Christoph adorn treated facebrick walls to soften the scene.
As with any wine farm though, the beating heart of the estate are the vineyards and as one stands and looks out over the vivid green undulating hillsides, with the sweet scent of vine leaves tickling your senses, you can understand why. Dornier currently has 70 hectares of land under vine, with a variety of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chenin Blanc. However, unlike most producers, Dornier Wines decides on the style of wine before harvesting. Grapes are picked exclusively on taste, whilst the secret to the complexity, body and character of the wines lies in the staggered harvesting of each vineyard block. “To stand apart, we needed to create something unique,” enthuses Christoph. “By blending, you can combine the best wines, filling in with one varietal where another is lacking to produce something really exceptional - harmonious and balanced.” This combination of enthusiasm and artistic visionary has reaped award-winning results. Says Christoph, “Dornier is an ongoing creative collaboration with these prime Stellenbosch vineyards and our dedicated team. We are led by the principles of tradition and inspired by perfection, yet realise the power of innovation. Everything that Dornier stands for and embodies – be it the place or the wines – creatively fuse the opposites of change and stasis, seriousness and pleasure, complexity and simplicity. We embrace difference where it leads to improvement, and still recognise the value of what has come before.”
Situated on Blaauwklippen Road, off the R44 opposite the Stellenbosch Golf Course, Dornier Wines is open for tastings Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 16h30 and on Saturdays from 09h00 to 15h00. For further information call Dornier Wines on (021) 880 0557, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dornierwines.co.za.
Canada’s wild northern frontier, which has etched itself into the national psyche and its distinct patchwork of peoples have created a country that is decidedly different from neighbouring United States and Alaska. It is the edginess between Canada’s indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.
Official languages: English and French Currency:
Canadian Dollar $ (CAD)
A single maple leaf in the country’s official colours of red and white, symbolising Canadian identity, with the two red strips symbolising the country being coast to coast. This new flag was inaugurated on February 15, 1965, replacing the Canadian Red Ensign, bearing the Union Jack and the shield of the royal arms of Canada.
The name Canada comes from the Huron-Iroquois (the first aboriginal people to settle in Canada) word kanata, which means ‘village or settlement’.
Wide-open spaces: Occupying the northern portion of North America, Canada is bordered to the south by the United States and to the northwest by Alaska. The country stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west (hence the country’s motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare – ‘From sea to sea’).
This varying range of temperatures has a pronounced effect on the architecture and design of the country. Cultural identity: Fiercely proud of their heritage and history, Canadians tend to define their culture by comparing its differences with the United States. One gets the impression that they like to see themselves as brave warriors who, each winter, have to endure a never-ending struggle against plummeting cold temperatures, epic amounts of snow and ever-present ice.
Rugged coast: Although Canada has a reputation for cold temperatures, with temperatures reaching lows of -50°C in the far north, there are four distinct seasons and temperatures can reach highs of +35°C in the summer.
– the city of saints By Mia Russell
Croissants and cobblestones, jazz and joie de vivre... Montréal is one of Canada’s most unique and lively cities, combining the old and new to create a cosmopolitan society. Located on the Island of Montréal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, the city of Montréal is one of Canada’s most unique and lively cities, combining the old and new to create a cosmopolitan society. Well-known for its diverse population, Montréal is often referred to as a bilingual city, with over 53 per cent of the population being bilingual in French and English, making it the second largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. As one of the largest consular cities in North America, Montréal is distinguished by its institutions and ultramodern infrastructures, its rapid transportation and telecommunication systems, its cultural and intellectual vitality and its European cachet. The architecture of Montréal is characterised by the juxtaposition of the old and the new and as one wanders through the city, the legacy of two successive colonisations by the French, the British and the close presence of the architecture of the United States to the north is ever-present in a wide variety of architectural styles. The heritage of the city is highlighted by its remarkable collection of historical buildings, particularly in Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal), an area of the city dating back to the 1600s. The former location of the fortified city walls marks the modern boundaries of Old Montréal and hold treasures such as the Old Port, Place Jacques and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Buildings and roads in Old Montréal have been maintained or restored to keep the look of the city in its earliest days as a settlement and a city steeped in history can be felt all around. The old town’s riverbank is completely taken up by the Old Port (Vieux-Port), whose maritime facilities are surrounded with a variety of museums and attractions and recent major urban renewal programs have resurrected its commercial and residential life.
Northwest of Old Montréal is downtown Montréal, which lies at the foot of Mount Royal, the city’s major urban park. One of the largest cities in Canada, Montréal remains a vibrant major centre of commerce, industry, culture, finance, and world affairs and this is reflected in the architecture of the city. Containing dozens of notable skyscrapers, which, by law, cannot be higher than Mount Royal, buildings such as the Tour de la Bourse (Montréal’s World Trade Centre) and Place Ville-Marie are significant icons of the downtown infrastructure. Place Ville-Marie is a cruciform office tower, which was built in the International style in 1962. Designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, renowned for his design for the Louvre pyramid in Paris, the focus of the project was a public square looking out over the McGill University campus and Mount Royal. The modern-day cross shape of this 46-storey building, chosen on functional and economic grounds, rapidly became a symbol of Montréal, as well as formed the nexus of Montréal’s underground city. One of the world’s largest, with indoor access to over 1 600 shops, restaurants, offices and businesses, Montréal’s underground pedestrian network, includes 60 residential and commercial complexes, comprising 3.6 square kilometres of floor space. With more than 120 exterior access points to the underground city, some 500,000 people use the underground city per day, especially to escape Montréal’s harsh winter. In addition to being the only cruciform building in the core of the city, Place Ville-Marie stands out even more at night because of a rotating beacon on its roof, with its four spotlights being visible at more than 50 kilometres and forming an essential part of the Montréal identity, not dissimilar to that of the Noonday Gun for local Capetonians.
Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle - Quartier international de Montréal © Tourisme Montréal
Located on the Quai Marc-Drouin across from the historic city centre is Habitat 67, an urban and three-dimensional housing concept designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie to integrate the variety and diversity of scattered private homes with the economics and density of a modern apartment building. Using modular, interlocking concrete forms to define the space, Habitat 67 is an ideal international example of modern functionalist architecture and is an experience that was revealed as being a spectacular achievement, impacting on the collective imaginary and contributing in a significant way to the feeling of pride of Montréalers. Although it failed in its goal of being affordable as the building is today quite elite, it is without a doubt one of the only modern utopias that was materialised by becoming a popular success, as well as a prestigious address.
Montréal skyline viewed from the park Jean-Drapeau © Tourisme Montréal
Swept by a number of waves of change, mainly related to its role as one of a constantly evolving epicenter, the city also has a number of major examples of functional modern architecture, some of them true icons. The city’s international status was cemented by Expo ’67, a World’s Fair (from which South Africa was notably excluded) held in 1967 to coincide with the Canadian Centennial. The show featured 90 pavilions, one the most famous being the US pavilion, the Montréal Biosphère, a geodesic dome designed by Richard Buckminster Fuller. In 1976 a fire destroyed the acrylic outer skin of the dome and with the site falling into disrepair, it began to resemble ruins of a futuristic city. The remaining original exhibits of the site closed for good in 1982 and today, the site houses the Montréal Casino (in the former pavilions of France and Québec), a Formula One racetrack, an amusement park called La Ronde, with a spectacular view of the downtown skyline.
Another icon of permanent modernity is that of the city’s Olympic Stadium (Le Stade Olympique), which was the main venue of the 1976 Olympic Games and now serves as a multipurpose stadium for the city.
Montréal is one of Canada’s most important cultural centres, hosting a multitude of international festivals and events, including the Montréal Jazz Festival and the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. Held annually during the summer season, the Montréal International Jazz Festival is one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world, attracting many international artists. Attended by hundreds of thousands of people who are drawn to the electric atmosphere, shows are held in a wide variety of venues, from relatively small jazz clubs to the large halls of Place des Arts, which is also home to the Montréal Opera and Symphony Orchestra. Nicknamed ‘the city of saints,’ or ‘la ville aux cent clochers’, Montréal is also renowned for its churches. The city has four Roman Catholic basilicas, the largest of which is Saint Joseph’s Oratory, whose dome is the largest dome of its kind in the world after that of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Montréal Tower at the Olympic Park © Régie des installations olympiques
Commonly known as ‘The Big O’, the stadium was designed to feature a retractable roof, which was to be controlled by a huge 170m high tower - the tallest inclined structure in the world - located outside of the stadium. Designed by Parisian architect Roger Taillibert, the park was very expensive and plagued with problems from the time it opened for the Games. Both the tower and the roof were not completed for over a decade, and it was not until 1988 that it was possible to retract the roof, which then proved difficult as it was often torn in heavy winds. With the total cost of the stadium being over C$1-billion, it has been dubbed ‘The Big Owe’ and Montréalers will be paying this debt off until 2006.
Montréal International Jazz Festival © Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Jean-François Leblanc
University Street--© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin
Summer sees Montréalers heading outdoors to take advantage of the warm weather and the city’s, Mont Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal) is the most popular destination. Designed by Frederick Olmstead, best known as the designer of New York’s Central Park, it is Montréal’s main urban park, designed around the base of Mount Royal, a mountain on the Island of Montréal from which the city derived its name. The mountain is crowned by a 31.4 metre-high illuminated cross, installed in 1924 by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and now owned by the city. Every Sunday in the summer, hundreds of people gather at the foot of Mount Royal for several hours of drumming, dancing, and juggling, in an event that has come to be known as the Tam-Tams. Montréal is well known for its vibrant nightlife. During the period of prohibition in the United States, Montréal became famous as one of North America’s ‘Sin Cities’ due to its unparalleled nightlife. Saint Denis Street, in the heart of the Latin Quarter in the Plateau Mont Royal (Le Plateau-Mont-Royal), has a bohemian atmosphere, filled with clubs, bars, and ongoing street festivals and has been dubbed the “coolest neighbourhood in North America” by Wallpaper magazine. Famous for its acceptance of a variety of diverse cultures, Montréal is also known as being a gay-friendly city and is the heart of gay life and culture in Canada, with Club Sandwich being a popular haunt. Its Gay Pride Festival is the largest in North America, drawing in over 1.4 million people in 2002. Montréal’s spectacular architectural amalgamation of the old with the new is unique in its compact nature and the concentration of both urban heritage properties and new-age modernism, as well as the city’s liberal embracement and open-mindedness towards a multicultural and diverse society, is an eloquent illustration of its role as a continental centre.
international style By Mia Russell
47 Renata Morales has been dubbed the hottest new fashion designer in Montréal, and is arguably among the most intrepid. “One of Canada’s most creative, whimsical and artistic designers”, according to the Montréal Gazette, and not afraid to experiment, her designs are a blend of femme fatale, Asian kimono princess and military combat. Morales says her design concepts come from modern paintings and artwork in general, and she uses her models as a painter might use a canvas. Every piece is distinctive, and it’s clear that much thought and effort go into the creation of each outfit. The colours this season are muted yellows, purples and beiges, occasionally contrasted with gold or black, but what she leaves out in colour is unquestionably made up for in fabrics and design. The sharp, vibrant shapes and textures are enticing and leave one pining for more. This vampy, glamorous line has only just begun its journey. Born in Mexico in 1975, Morales studied fine art and took an apprenticeship under Sylvie Ouimet, haute couture designer and current business partner to Morales. Here she developed her skills in specialised painting techniques and textile design, using hand-painted techniques that have become the cornerstone of her designs today. “I returned from Paris where I saw some abstract art using volume and colour that was very inspirational to me, in terms of the textural process and detailing,” she pointed out. When Morales started designing clothes, she knew the one thing she’d be staying away from was basics. “There are so many companies that do basics really well,” Morales explains. “We make our stuff more detailed and elaborate. We do have some basics, but they’ll always have some detail that adds volume. We do a lot of work by hand.”
Although art may inspire her, Morales seems more concerned with wearability than flights of fashion fancy. Since her debut as a fashion designer, her collections have awakened timeless contemporary lines, reflecting a mix of imaginative inspirations, attention to detail, a sense of humour and her innate rebellious nature, now well-recognised within international fashion circles. “The essence of making clothes, at the end of the day, is that somebody’s going to wear them,” she says. Pieces from the Morales collection have been snapped up by big names such as Charlize Theron, Milla Jovovich and Alanis Morisette, to name but a few. For three seasons, Morales has shown at Montréal and Toronto Fashion Week, as well as being presented in Vancouver. After representing Canada in Germany in March of 2004, Morales was selected to represent Canada at Korean Fashion Week in Busan in November 2004 and pieces from her acclaimed Spring 2005 collection was also on display at the Camera della Moda (Milan Fashion Week) in Milan, Italy during September of 2004. Spring 2006 marks the launch of the Morales debut collection for men. An impressive portfolio for a fairly new-kid-on-the-block.
For more information on Renata Morales and her collections, visit www.renatamorales.com Courtesy of Agency Zoï, Montréal, Canada
The Morales Collection is currently available at her new flagship boutique in Montréal’s Mile End, an area renowned for its eclectic mix of ethnicities, rich history, whimsical architecture and internationally-recognised musical explosion – a fitting niche for one of Canada’s most celebrated avantgarde designers.
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After recently switching on the installation of 148 light fittings in the new Cavendish Square store, The Space is celebrating its sixth year and a third store. Neil Roake, lifestyle designer and creative director of Durban-based advertising agency, Modern Museum, who founded the Durban Designer Emporium in 1995, saw a gap in the fashion retail market and realised that there was huge potential in the ready-to-wear category for designed garments as opposed to chain store clothing. The DDE did really well and the response from fashionistas was brilliant. The first store opened its doors to house the collections of two of Durban’s most respected designers, Colleen Eitzen and Amanda Laird Cherry, who are both now partners in The Space. The second store opened in The Zone in Rosebank in Johannesburg in 2002 and housed 38 South African designers from across the country. In that same year, The Space was awarded The Catherine Award for retail excellence and was also the only South African store to be listed in UK Vogue’s global shopping guide, as well as one of two SA stores listed in Wallpaper. All the stores are purposely designed as stand-alones. “Because we are not a chain store that rolls out hundreds of stores,” Neil strongly states, “we would rather like to create uniqueness and celebrating being South Africa.” And proudly South African they are, keeping the look and feel of The Space stores close to home. Greg and Roche Dry, who are also partners in The Space, designed the new store’s interiors at Cavendish Square and enjoy being part of the setup so much that they got family and friends to help. The planters in the new Cavendish Square store were macramé and colour-dyed by Roche’s dad, the murals are by Durban’s Modern Museum Communication and almost every soap label was folded and stuck on by friends. And at some stage of the process, someone in ‘the family’ painted the tables, where beautiful decor and lifestyle objects now find their own space. The Space is definitely the place to shop, not just because of their pure approach to the clothing they make and select for their rails, but because they believe in customer satisfaction. And making a trip to The Space will satisfy without the G-force rush.
The Space, Shop F130, Gateway, Umhlanga, Durban Tel: 031 566 3166 | The Space, Shop GF07, The Zone, Rosebank Tel: 011 327 3640 | The Space, Shop L69, Cavendish Square, Cavendish Tel: 021 674 6643
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ban ale ur f the m turn o the re
n hio fas 53 The famous (unsuited) American rock band ZZ Top said it best: “Women go crazy for a sharply dressed man.” And it seems, after years of dressing down, the ‘sharp’ man is back and the reign of the smart-casual man is over. Even in stuffy banks and brokerages in the City of London, the well-heeled are dressing up, after years of not requiring a suit and tie. The pendulum has swung back to “looking the part” when you deal with millions of dollars every day.
The famed tailors of Saville Row are flourishing again as are their local SA counterparts who are smiling broadly as they pin and pull pricey material around men who want to step out in style. But dressing up again doesn’t simply mean buying a suit off the rack – customisation and made-tomeasure dashy dressers say “how they look speaks volumes about who they are”. Premium whisky brand, Johnnie Walker has launched ‘Tailor Made’, a unique concept that will see Johnnie Walker aficionados measured at upmarket pubs and bars for a bespoke suit. Through lucky draws, 90 patrons will have the privilege of winning a designer suit and they will get the chance to show off their fine threads on March 18 at the Johnnie Walker menswear fashion extravaganza in Johannesburg. Making the suits for them are designers Themba Mngomezulu, who trades under the Darkie label, David Tlale and Fabiani. Darkie’s claim to fame is that he uses discarded materials such as old ties and curtains to create superb fashions, while Tlale – a previous winner of the Sunday Times’ best new designer of the year – is best known for his unusual menswear. Fabiani’s exclusive menswear fashion has been instrumental in setting mainstream fashion trends. SA style guru Dion Chang says that there is a large shift to buying tailor-made suits amongst the younger business crowd and that merchant bankers are leading the charge.
“It’s a growing global trend. Designer suits are great if you can afford them as part of your daily wardrobe. Off the peg, looks, well, off the peg, so the best bet is to go bespoke. Compared to designer labels it’s not that expensive, plus you get what you want and a fit that is ‘made to measure’ for your body type and individual tastes.” Chang, whose many years in the fashion industry have made him a trends analyst, says he sees a growing need for more personalised service and product, which is why bespoke tailoring is making such a strong return. “We live in a mass-produced world - plus the fact that we live at breakneck speed – which means that the human spirit is in search of something with a history and soul. “Bespoke tailoring can offer a handcrafted item, with a personal connection to the customer, rather than a churned-out-of-a-factory item. The suit takes time to craft and is the most valuable style commodity men have today, hence its enduring allure.” But are our local okes getting with the trend and do they even like looking like a mafia don when casual has been our style mantra for decades? “The new generations of men are definitely funky dressers – especially those who just shamelessly go for the bling factor. Bespoke tailoring is perfectly suited for these urban peacocks as it allows them to accessorise with the most important ingredient – individuality. “The look and design of suits today ensure they have a much more varied lifespan and role in men’s wardrobes. They can be dressed down with trainers, split into separates or look ultra formal.”
get your freak on
55 Fashion newcomers, Jaded Androgen celebrate individualism with a unique flair for the avantgarde. Leigh van den Berg finds out what makes them tick.
Sibu Dladla is telling me how ridiculously ugly he was in high school. I must admit, however, that I’m finding it pretty hard to swallow. You see, the one time international model that sits before me is sporting a mop of funky braids, lips á la Jolie and hugely expressive, inky eyes. He’s also extremely tall, panther-like and beautiful. No sirree, I don’t see one little drop of ugly. Even so, his business partner, Emanuel Ferreira, backs him up. ‘No really Leigh! We were outcasts! People used to mock us because they thought we looked like girls!’ Emanuel, who’s just as striking, if not more so when wearing makeup, attended the same high school as Sibu. Later, the two would also study together at the Haute Couture School of Fashion Design. Friends since forever, they’d always dreamed of one day starting their own fashion house and slowly building an empire, but today they’re making it happen.
“Our label, Jaded Androgen, is all about celebrating your inner freak,” says Sibu, drawing on his own doubtful freakish past. “It’s about taking what makes you different and instead of throwing yourself out the window, rather turning it into something special and fabulous.” And the clothes are indeed fabulous. A schizophrenic mishmash of colours, cuts and cloth, their designs draw inspiration from the exotic, as in far-flung African and Asian cultures, as well as the mundane, like the kids in your local mall. Emanuel calls their style ‘a fusion’, an eclectic blend of what one would think might clash, but it somehow works when you see it put together. A perfect illustration is a dusty pink biker jacket with zip down sleeves and an unexpected oriental-style collar. It’s an odd mix, a bit like Mandarin meets motorbike, but what do you know, it looks great! (“We’re not going to get anywhere in fashion if we don’t push the envelope,” says Sibu.) I’m also quite taken with a pretty African print kaftan and an elegant men’s blazer made from white upholstery fabric.
I ask the boys if they could dress absolutely anyone, just who would be their ideal and immediately they shoot back with ‘Gwen Stefani!’ Her brave sense of style and willingness to try new things makes her the perfect ‘poster girl’ for Jaded Androgen, a label that caters to more of a mindset as opposed to a dress size. They admire what Sibu refers to as ‘freethinking creatives who aren’t afraid to express their individualism - people like Li’l Kim, Prince and Erykah Badu.’ He tells me they’re ‘taking individualism to the limit’ in that every one of their garments is a once-off and no two pieces will ever be the same. Following a successful runway show at Cruz, a swanky Cape Town hotspot, the pair is in high spirits. Jaded Androgen’s creations shared the runway with local designer and stylist Ge-maine Christopher’s collection, and were very well received. It was also a great opportunity to get out there and make new and fashionable friends. After all, Jaded Androgen isn’t just only about clothes.
Now, via their networking and socialising within their industry, Sibu and Emanuel’s dream is evolving into something even bigger - a highly flexible events company called Jaded. And this is where their third partner, Giselle Botha, comes in. Giselle is the ‘suit’ of their company, the nononsense, logical creative who handles all their business, and Sibu tells me she has ‘a tongue like lightening.’ When I ask how she came to be part of the team, I’m told that they literally ‘picked her up off the street.’ A chance meeting in a sidewalk café turned into a wild night on the bottle during which the trio realised they shared the same ideals and goals. Thus, Giselle is here to take care of all their marketing, event management and such. Exciting future projects include styling and image consultancy for local businesses as well as musicians likes Godessa and Freshly Ground. However, Emanuel tells me they’re pretty much open to anything. “All these doors keep on opening,” he marvels.
“People just call us up and ask us if we’re able to do something and we’re like, sure, why not? We could do that!” Musing on the future, it’s Giselle’s dream to see Jaded Lifestyles (the collective name for Jaded Events and Jaded Androgen) on a level with other international fashion brands. “Also, as young entrepreneurs, we’ve been very lucky to have other people trust us and give us all these wonderful opportunities,” she says. “It would be really cool if later on we could act as inspiration for others starting out within the industry.” Emanuel and Sibu agree, and considering these three young fashionista’s enthusiasm and drive, I too have no doubt that Jaded Androgen will be going places. And besides, I really dig their clothes. Jaded Androgen is available on 021 552 2726 or contact Sibu on 072 958 8221.
Whether it’s a white gold, onyx and diamond encrusted ring or a necklace made of Taihitian pearls and black diamonds, Linde Collection is the place to shop. These exquisite pieces are just some of the treasures on offer in the store, combining contemporary design with classical elements and impeccable manufacture. And the brains behind the beauty? Philip van der Linde and his wife Annemarie, who run their business, Linde Collection from the quaint jewellery boutique tucked away in Shortmarket Street in Cape Town.
Although their business is fairly new, they have been involved with jewellery together for fifteen years. Annemarie, who apprenticed as a goldsmith, brings the designs to life, using a variety of precious and semi-precious stones and metals, although platinum is her preferred choice. Says Annemarie, “Every piece is carefully designed and created and we pay the utmost attention to detail. When creating a piece, it’s very important that the metals and stones complement each other, as well as the design itself. At the moment we have been working a lot with coloured gems, particularly diamonds, and we’ve created a beautiful range called the Platinum Rose, which is made up of platinum, rose gold, and a variety of coloured diamonds and stones.”
18ct White gold Diamond and black onyx ring ¦ 18ct White gold cufflinks set with black onyx
Philip controls the business and marketing side of Linde Collection, having studied jewellery design and manufacturing. Currently the business has a large international clientele, but they are looking to expand locally.“We are really keen to get more involved with the local market,“ says Philip, “and whether you are a jewellery collector buying an exceptional piece or a producer with something specific in mind for a shoot, you can be guaranteed of great service and quality.” Linde Collection has a piece for every occasion, whether it be an engagement, a wedding or an anniversary present. Although Philip and Annemarie take pride in their ability to design, they encourage people to get involved in the process of design and manufacture from start to finish. “We hope that when people come into our store, they’ll want to be a part of the design process and come up with their own ideas. We hope that when they see our collection, they’ll get inspired and come back!” says Philip. “The industry can be difficult,” Philip says, “but I think that our jewellery is on par with European standards. In a couple of years South African jewellery will be in much greater demand. We are also hoping to expand our business in the next year,” Philip continues to explain, “but not to the extent that Annemarie or myself can not be part of the design process. We believe it’s very important to be involved with our clients. We are very passionate about our pieces and we hope to meet people that are as passionate about them as we are.”
Linde Collection 021 422 0041 ¦ email@example.com
ile of pr 61 Aside from being a going-places girl, Lindiwe Mabuza-Suttle has also got a secret show in the works. Leigh van den Berg tries to wriggle it out of her
The day I meet Lindiwe Mabuza-Suttle, it’s sweltering hot and I’m sweating like a pig in a blanket. “No, no, don’t hug me!” I squeal, but she does anyway, telling me not to be silly. What a brave, friendly girl. She’s also got movie star teeth and is as cool as a cucumber in a floaty dress and mother-of-pearl embellished sandals, something she picked up in Cannes on one of her many travels. An avid shopper, snapping things up around the globe isn’t just a passion, but her job. “I’m a menswear buyer for Truworths and I love it!” she says. Despite studying international business after school and later completing an MBA in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, Lindiwe’s always had a passion for fashion. She started out as a visual marketer for industry giant Liz Claiborne, but was quickly promoted to working in New York after the company bought out labels DKNY and Kenneth Cole. “I adored New York,” she enthuses. “It’s a city that really celebrates individuality. Every day I’d wake up and feel excited about what fresh, new things I could do, not just with my job, but with my life.” Tragically, this exciting time was cut short following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. Lindiwe’s apartment, a mere two blocks from where the towers hit the ground, was completely destroyed. “My whole life literally changed,” she says. Feeling fearful and depressed, Lindiwe returned to Atlanta. However, she wasn’t down for long, having arrived just in time to participate in a film boom happening in the city. Thus, quicker than you can say ‘bootylicious’, Lindiwe found herself working as a personal costumer for Beyoncè Knowles on the film The Fighting Temptations. Since then, Lindiwe’s worked on many other sets and with stars that include Cathy Bates, Cynthia Nixon and Blair Underwood.
Lindiwe, who’s certainly one to watch, feels strongly about making a positive difference in the world. “I don’t want to be seen as just Felicia’s daughter, although I do draw a lot from my mom. She’s always said that no matter where you come from, no matter what you’re background, you can make an impact.” Lindiwe says this with so much sincerity that I can’t help but believe her. And having met this charismatic, motivated young woman, I’m now willing to bet that whatever TV show she’s hiding up her sleeve, it’s bound to be a goodie.
clothing and shoes by Klûk, vintage jewellry Lindiwe’s own, and hair by Silvia Abader
So why, having landed such an exciting occupation, would she give it all up and come to sunny South Africa? “I just got kinda sick of giving so much and working so hard to make other people look beautiful,” she laughs. “I hate to say it, but it’s true. I just thought it was time to start focusing on me, yet continue to give back in another way.” Having fallen in love with South Africa during all the holidays she’d spent here growing up, she decided to make the big move. Now, aside from working for Truworths, Lindiwe’s also collaborating with her friends at The Imaginarium, the local production company responsible for films like Stander and Hotel Rwanda. “Together, we’re working on developing a TV show for the youth,” she says. Inspired by her mother, the infamous Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, Lindiwe says that media is the way to reach people. The show, about which she remains tight-lipped for fear of having someone steal the idea, aims to communicate in a non-condescending way that’s entertaining yet educational. “I don’t want to say too much, but it’s something totally new, something that’s never been seen here before.”
n sig de 64
Club Coca-Cola: creating a better world By Mia Russell
In its latest groundbreaking innovation, and true to form of this global icon, Coca-Cola is launching a limited edition, contour-shaped aluminium CLUB Coca-Cola bottle, printed with designs from five of the world’s leading creative agencies. In addition, each design house has developed a movie animation and ‘video jockey’ set, allowing the CLUB Coca-Cola project to launch its five designs to the global party public consecutively, over a fixed period of time. Two creative teams from South Africa, REX and Tennant McKay were awarded the chance to create and share their vision of optimism. They worked together for the purpose of the project in creating an emotional blend of luminous imagery and motion design artistry to visualise the song All we Are from art/ rock duo Fischerspooner. We caught them on the flipside… Tell us a bit about the project. When a collection of artists, from every continent, were asked by Coca-Cola to develop the concept of ‘better world optimism’ and turn it into something wonderful – without restrictions or prerequisites – it was not difficult to predict that the result was going to be something special. Various artists were commissioned to imagine and visualise a better world, knowing that if they were successful, it would fuel individual imagination and empower other people to make a change in the world around them - micro- or macrocosmically.
How did your collaboration on this design come about? The collaboration has its roots in the friendships that were forged when we started studying together at the University of Pretoria in 1995 and we decided to come together for the purpose of M5 to create an emotional blend of luminous imagery and motion artistry to visualise Fischerspooner‘s “All We Are ”. Coca-Cola is an icon of global culture and you’re at the forefront of this groundbreaking innovation. How do you feel? Coca-Cola is possibly the biggest and maybe the best brand in the world. Its core consumer group is the youth of today and more importantly the next generation, who simply don’t share the same emotional bond with the brand as the ‘baby-boomers’ did.
With the M5 ‘Better World’ project CocaCola wants to re-inspire individual belief that we all want our world to be a better place and make meaningful in-roads into youth culture in ways Coca-Cola has never done before. How did you identify with the theme ‘Optimism and the creation of a better world’? Africa represents the unknown. It includes hundreds of cultures that are thousands of years old. We drew inspiration from the myths, legends, fables, songs and proverbs that define this birthplace of mankind and found that it has striking similarities with so many other cultures that have developed in opposite corners of the world. Revisiting these roots and re-connecting with all the wonderful things this continent and its people has to offer, presented us with an awakening. Can you elaborate on your design for the bottle? Today a universal consciousness is growing which sees the embrace of the things that make us different, whilst understanding that fundamentally we are all one.
Understanding of our ‘oneness’ provides a foundation for the building of a better world. The search for a collective origin has taken many researchers to Africa - which is widely acknowledged as the cradle of mankind. Our product was always destined to speak a universal language and find just the right resonance with the youth. Representing Africa as part of M5, we hope to draw on our distinct frame of reference, as Africans, to bring our story to the world. We chose to team up with Fischerspooner to provide the soundtrack for their video. In their interpretation, of Fischerspooner’s ‘All we are’, a magical Midas-effect is illustrated quite literally - as the world is transformed into something more imaginative, most beautiful & therefore genuinely better. The video features ‘Malaika’, a mythical figure from East Africa, who was created from The Light, and is entirely transparent (literally and figuratively speaking). Malaika loves people and transcends, from heaven, every 400 years to serve people in distress. Its heavenly glory is so dazzling that it defeats any evil that comes into contact with its mystical display. This context made the task obvious to the artists to transform the world into something magical. And so a memorable and concentrated six-week process began. The motivation comes from the inherent yearning which all humans share and the inspiration is complete – it is there for everyone to experience; and the effect is the birth of a virtuous circle through which a better world is created. This is a big step for you – where to from here? Briefs like this are hard to find. When you are commissioned, as an artist, to interpret a theme as positive as ‘better world’ for the biggest brand in the world - carte blanche – the motivation finds you! Through our involvement in M5, we hope to see the project boom as it launches internationally over the next year. If, through our involvement, M5 can deliver the same kind of success to CocaCola, it would serve as a case study to other leading brands on how to invest in creativity and make it work. Needless to say this would further our cause in a big way. We are a young company and exposure at this level is something that we thrive on.
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This Cape Town design collaborative is determined to put Africa on the map and their efforts are making the international design scene sit up and take notice. “We’re so tired of the continent being portrayed as a place of poverty and Aids. There really are so many cool people and things happening in Africa.” So says Heidi Chisholm of Daddy buy me a pony, the Cape Town-based design collaborative she and ex adagency maverick Peet Pienaar formed in 2001.
Their combined passion for uncovering a new language in design and sharing untapped channels of the written word throughout Africa has led to the creation of their second magazine - Afro 2 (Afro 1 was released in 2003). The ‘magazine’ is more artwork than predictable print format and takes the form of a loosely packaged cube of folded posters, each with a colourful and intricate design and an attached booklet of text by young writers spanning the continent from Cape to Cairo. Whether a fictional tongue-in-cheek essay about the life of Charlize Theron, prose about what it means to be a woman living in Egypt, a biography on famed Nigerian singer Fela Kuti or an essay about that country’s ‘Nollywood’ film industry, each is a highly original piece of thought-provoking text, with edgy illustration that drives home the point perfectly – that Africa is a happening place with happening individuals. The interest that the mag has created is phenomenal and certainly does something different than the statistical soup of horror stories that confronts outsiders on a daily basis. To Europeans and Asians where homogeneity in design is often a norm, Africa is an incredibly fascinating place and this is evident in the interest that Daddy buy me a pony has garnered from the global design community. From Comme des Garçons T-shirt commissions in the UK and Japan, to orders for hi-design packaging from a German tea brand, work with Nike clothing in the UK and the design of a new international chain of coffee shops in collaboration with Red Bull and Cape Town’s Grant Rushmere, Daddy buy me a pony is a prime example of two South Africans who refuse to think inside the box. At the recent Afrique Noir convention held in Bern, Switzerland, the two were inundated with interested parties wanting to know more about their projects and views on Africa. Afrique Noir is part of the Swiss government’s cultural programme where the best of the world’s creative players (music, dance, design and the written word, to name but a few) are introduced to their Swiss counterparts in an effort to promote idea exchanges and collaborations. Not only was this an opportunity for the dynamic duo to interact with international like-minded individuals, but it was also a chance to meet other African players and to find out what is happening in their own regions.
Many of these interchanges reiterated what the two already know – that Africa is an intellectual and aesthetic force to be reckoned with. No composite historical design language exists in Africa and the free flow of ever-evolving ideas is positively uplifting for those who tap into it as Pienaar and Chisholm have proved, with their second magazine an even stronger indication than the previous of the power of the Dark Continent. Sponsored by Spier this time around, Chisholm and Pienaar are extremely grateful to the open-mindedness of their backers, who in turn asked for nothing more than a subtle presence on the packaging. Spier spokesman Derek Carelse reiterates Spier’s position as a champion of the arts, saying “we believe that artists express their times best when their voice is unhindered, when their creativity is allowed to flow and their independence of thought is protected and supported.” This attitude is exactly what spurs Pienaar and Chisholm to produce one hundred percent original content. Afro is, however, a sideline project for the pair, though they are the first to state how necessary it is in their lives. “At the end of the day, we produce design for our clients and mostly to their briefs, if it wasn’t for Afro, we wouldn’t be able to reinvent our design style, push our boundaries and recreate our selves,” explains Chisholm. The pair’s highly creative offerings are starting to make many more local companies wanting to change their own marketing methods sit up and take note. Current clients include Die Burger, Die Son, Afro Coffee, The Pro Helvetica Foundation as well as Investec – many are moving away from straight up-and-down campaigns to more off-the-wall, though no less powerful means of communication and the string of international and local design awards certainly seems to indicate Daddy buy me a pony is doing something right.
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Matthew Edwards’ art is like a cocktail of leg-warmers, 60s sunsets, skater punk and New York graffiti. When paging through Matt’s website you’re taken on a journey through the eras; an excavation of colour, an exploration of shape and a tour of retro pop culture. Matt’s work is best served piping hot, wearing a pair of Jackie O shades with a Cuban cigar in one hand and a martini in the other. And please don’t forget the olive. But who best to define his art than the man himself?
“My graphic art is a fusion between the time periods and urban styles that have been instilled in my mind through the emotion that I felt towards them at the time.” Inbedded, defined and then triple distilled to produce Class A works of art, because Matt is no stranger to Class A. Being inspired by, among others, Andy Warhol, Dave Kinsey, the yok (internationally) and Conduit, Steak Naude and ‘the guys at Circus Ninja’ (locally), it’s clear that Matt has a pretty good idea of what’s going down in the world of graphic art. “I’m currently doing a lot more work for video, which is an interesting learning curve, but I can’t see it stealing me away from print,” Matt says. “I am looking to do more exhibitions in the future, as well as custom-made designs, which will go on sale through my Fortune Foundation website which will be launching next year.” Matt is also working on a character-based series that will be launching in the course of 2006 as well. “The series will feature six characters and will deal with and comment on the drug culture of modern day society. Picture Hunter.S.Thompson crossed with English football hooligans crossed with downtown and then mixed up with a little 1979 government-issue olive green linoleum.” Matt does all the designs for the popular band Fokofpolisiekar too, so the next time you’re at one of their hyperactive gigs, check out the work on the walls. “I met Hunter Kennedy, one of the band members, about four years ago. He was in another band at that time and I did a CD cover for them. Later, when Fokofpolisiekar was together I designed a pre-campaign poster and they really liked it. I’ve been working with them ever since.” Matt’s Fokofpolisiekar posters and CD covers cover a wide range of eras, topics, shapes and ideas.
73 From Beatles-style photographs of the band imposed on late sixties, early seventies colours with missiles in the background to a CD cover with a pop art style image of the archetypal hands-outstretched Jesus, with bats flying out from behind him and a background image of a very 70s disco rainbow. “My relationship with Fokofpolisiekar is very symbiotic,” Matt says. “I don’t think I’d be where I am today without them and vice versa.” So, is Matt’s mind just a whirring, churning witches cauldron of amazing ideas? Where do all they all come from? “Well, the Jesus CD cover came to me after I watched the Brazilian film, City of God . A friend of mine also told me a couple of crazy stories about Argentina, which, along with Brazil is very Catholic, so I got this image of Jesus in my mind,” Matt explains. “Fokofpolisiekar, at that stage, was having a lot of trouble with the conservative Afrikaans population, so I didn’t want to make the CD too in-your-face, but also didn’t want it to be too pansy either. “For example, a cross may have been a bit much, but I could downplay the image of Jesus with the bats, giving it a ‘horror’ feel, and lifting it back up with the happy rainbow that’s behind all of them.” So, what’s in the pipeline for the graphic artist who admires Radiohead, Kings of Leon and bangers and mash (as in the food, not the band)?“I think I might be doing some textile stuff next year to promote the launch of my Fortune Foundation website. If I can come up with a concept that I feel is merchandisable without losing exclusivity, I might go into clothing too. There is just so much more I could explore.” So much for riding into a proverbial aspirin-coloured sunset. Matt’s designed and drawn his own sunset and he’s heading straight into it on a beaming white skateboard. Been there, done that, and uh, got the T-shirt.
By Eeshaam September
rock develops in stages
Taxi Violence, Blk Jks and The Dirty Skirts are just three out of hundreds of South African rock bands all clamouring for their own bit of the spotlight. The difference is that these three have done something to warrant us taking a second look.
Photography by Crispian Plunkett
dirty skirts & make-up Anybody who has seen The Dirty Skirts live knows that they don’t have a set per se, its really best classified as a show. They demonstrate a flair for performance which references The Cure, Bauhaus and a little bit of Kiss. “We open the floodgates of creativity and just want to burst through the boundaries between genres,” says Jess. Band members, Jess (Jeremy de Tolly – vocals, guitar and programming), Sumo (David Moffatt – guitar and vocals), Kriss (Ryan Johnson – bass and vocals) and Marky D (Mark de Menezes – drums) deliver a sizzling and eclectic live show with a dose of tonguein-cheek humour, which is hard to ignore and easy to enjoy.
Since their appearance on the Cape Town music scene in November 2004, they have carved a promising niche for themselves, having headlined shows at The Independent Armchair Theatre, Mercury Live and Joburg Bar, as well as being well received for performances at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Oppikoppi Festival in Tshwane and the televised Cell C Sounds of the City at Cape Town International Convention Centre. And, with an impending debut album and a willingness to go to extremes on stage, notably Jess wrapping himself in insulation tape, The Dirty Skirts seem set to go places. Besides, nothing spells ‘classic rock band’ like a group of guys in make-up.
anyone for black jack?
Whenever we find out about something new, we tend to assume that it’s common knowledge and are surprised when people we have conversations with are oblivious to its existence. Therefore when you mention Blk Jks, an up-and-coming rock band from Spruitview on Joburg’s East Rand, realise that most people will only offer a look of puzzlement in return. Made up of Linda Buthelezi (lead guitar and vocals), Mpumelelo Mcata (rhythm guitar), Molefi Makananise (bass) and Tsepang Ramoba (drums), this quartet of twenty-somethings hatched the idea of starting a band in 2001. This came after idle fiddling with a discarded guitar found in Linda’s home, produced sounds which over time metamorphosised from noise to music. Their influences span the broad spectrum of rock music, but a notable inclusion is Led Zeppelin, an influence mentioned by pretty much every young rock band today. Linda defines Blk Jks: “We’re an afro-rock band with a little bit of jazz thrown in.” The one thing which comes across very strongly is the Blk Jks sense of identity. “We’re African first, so any music we make will have a sense of that in it. We’re not trying to be anything other than what we are.” Blk Jks don’t seem to have any sense of notoriety and according to Linda spend most of their time rehearsing and playing one or two gigs a month. “We’re still struggling,” says Linda, “and we don’t know about any buzz around us.” Even though the Blk Jks themselves might be largely unaware of it, there is definitely buzz around them.
“taxi violence rocks western cape” A sign board bearing the headline, “Taxi Violence Rocks Western Cape” resonated with George van der Spuy (vocals), Loedi van Renen (bass and backing vocals), Louis Nel (drums) and Rian Zietsman (guitar), because they wanted to rock the Western Cape. And since their first public appearance at Mercury Live in March 2005 they have attacked that goal with gusto, building a reputation as high-octane crowdpleasers at various venues in Cape Town and surrounding areas. While Taxi Violence itself is a relatively new band, all the members have known each other and paid their dues in no less than five rock bands since high school. It wasn’t until June 2004 that George, Loedi, Louis and Rian broke into a room on a military base to find electricity and plug in their instruments for their first jam session, that the unit that is now Taxi Violence was cemented. Now, after a nine month period of consistent performing at all the major live music venues in the Western Cape, Taxi Violence are planning tours to the rest of the country, as well as possible performances in London. They are also heading into pre-production on an album which hopes to capture the essence of their live performance. Rian says, “Every song on this album mustn’t only kick hard live, it’s got to be as good when you not jumping around in a crowd.” “We’re not about getting caught up in classifications. We’re a rock band, plain and simple,” says Rian. It is this simple concept which seems to be the key to Taxi Violence’s success and they have developed a sound which draws from bands who have shaped the genre, such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. While they might eschew the popular flavours of pop-rock, rap-rock and electrorock and are just a plain old rock band, they are a damn good one.
These three bands are living attention-grabbing advertisements of the quality of South African music, and while they are all relatively new to the game, they are a taste of things to come. One can’t help but be optimistic about the development of South African culture when confronted with such rich talent and the people primed to appreciate that talent.
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When he was young, Kyle Jones was mad about hip-hop music, but because he couldn’t afford to buy a tape player, he started mimicking the sound of the music he loved so much with his voice. Twenty-eight years on, Kyle ‘Scratch’ Jones is one of the most talented and respected beatboxers and vocal-turntablists in hip-hop, and has enjoyed a prolific career, sharing the stage with Common, Lauryn Hill and Outkast and collaborating with hip-hop and pop luminaries such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Christina Aguilera. Late last year, Scratch enjoyed Cape Town’s hospitality and played two sold-out shows at The Independent Armchair Theatre and Studio One, with lively sets that progressed smoothly from old-school hiphop classics to the latest radio candy. But the performances were not the only reason he was in South Africa. “First of all, it was about coming to the Motherland and seeing what I’d only heard about and seen on TV,” says Scratch. “But it was also to work with [the group] Lark. They are very unique and talented - they’ve got something new to show the world and its something the world needs.”
79 This collaboration of avant garde South African electronica duo Lark, who are decidedly unhip-hop, with an artist who has considerable caché in hip-hop circles, gives us a clue as to the experimental nature of Scratch. He has spent his career attempting to take beatboxing from a much-derided party trick, dead since the late 1980s, and elevating it to a level where beatboxing and the small group of die-hard practitioners around the world are once again respected as serious artists within hip-hop culture. Scratch paid his dues in hip-hop with his still-active, first hip-hop crew, Schoolz Of Thought, who performed at small events and parties in the Philadelphia area through the late 1980s. In 1990, while Scratch and his crew were competing in a local talent contest, they faced opposition from a hip-hop band, The Square Roots, which stood out from the rest because, atypically, they used only live instruments and combined jazz-influenced chord progressions, funk grooves and blues riffs to create a sound that was recognisably hip-hop and urban, while at the same time had musical complexity and appeal outside of the genre. Scratch and The Square Roots were mutually impressed by one another’s talents and began an association that eventually saw Scratch join the Roots collective when it had reconstituted itself into The Roots as we know them today. Says Scratch: “I was always working on my skills, you know, developing and keeping my mind fresh, constantly looking to take what I’m doing to a new place. That’s where my first album, Embodiment Of Instrumentation came in – it was about being experimental and showing people what can be done with a voice.” Only those who have experienced Scratch live will agree that this is a mammoth understatement; Scratch is to beatboxing and hip-hop what Led Zeppelin is to rock ‘n roll. Scratch is currently working on his second solo album, Loss For Words, due for international release in 2006. It is the first release by his newly established record label Human Resources Recordings and he is confident of its success: “I’m pretty sure it could be one of the biggest albums of 2006,” he says. It seems South Africans can look forward to seeing more of Scratch in the not-toodistant future. “I feel like I haven’t had enough time. There is still so much I want to see. Cape Town is great, but I just didn’t have enough time to experience it all.” Scratch is set to return to South Africa in early 2006 to launch his new album and perform in the major centres and it’s rumoured he’ll be bringing with him some hiphop heavyweights who collaborated with him on Loss For Words. Though it is hard to believe what this man can do with just a PA system and a microphone, like it says in the album-sleeve credits of The Roots’ 1996 album Illadelph Halflife, “Yes, that’s his voice.”
What is beatboxing and vocalturntablism / instrumentalism? Beatboxing, closely related to the idea of multivocalism, is the art of using one’s voice and breath control to imitate drum and percussion sounds and in so doing, producing rhythmic compositions, which hip-hop emcees (rappers) perform over. In its current carnation, beatboxing has progressed far beyond just being a human beat machine. The top echelon of beatboxers are capable of producing complicated melody lines, mimicking a variety of instruments and including drums, all simultaneously. Scratch has developed his skills even further by almost single-handedly developing the art of vocal-turntablism – vocally imitating the sounds and creativity of modern hip-hop DJs, ‘scratching’ and ‘beat-juggling’ on turntables with vinyl records.
Who is Lark? Singer-songwriter Inge Beckmann and producer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Ressel, both Cape Town natives and well-known entities in the underground electronic-music scene, began collaborating on a project, Lark, to push the boundaries in electronic music. In just over a year, they have toured a number of European festivals, where they opened for Scratch and sowed the seed for this current collabo, and have released a critically acclaimed EP Mouth Of Me.
magic in A major
With a natural sound not dissimilar to an erupting volcano and a rhythm as smooth as an ebbing tide, DNA Strings takes Angela Boshoff on an aurally sensuous journey.
photography by Hanness van der Merwe
As soon as I heard DNA Strings’ music cascading through the dodgy nylon and plastic earphones of a nearby music store, I knew that this was a group not to be brushed aside. In fact, as soon as their subtle, yet poignant sounds reached my ears I forgot I was at a CD shop at all. I was suddenly in the Scottish Highlands; in a bustling market in Morocco; watching a sunset over the Serengeti and then back home, on a dusty township street.
In the space of only five short years DNA Strings has played alongside the likes of Karen Zoid, Prime Circle, Malaika, Jimmy Earl Perry and has also opened for international jazz band Spyro Gyra. They’ve also managed to walk away with numerous awards, including the Tempo Award for Best Contemporary Band; Tempo Award for Best Contemporary Artist; GMT Award for Best Duo/Group and nomination for SAMA Best Instrumental Band - all in 2005!
DNA Strings’ sound is so diverse and unique that one of the many things that drew me to them like a pinhead to a magnet was that they cannot be boxed, labelled or tied down. And perhaps, more importantly, they do not define or confine themselves. DNA Strings is made of five extremely talented musicians; Adriaan de Beer (flamenco guitar); Danie Kotze (violin); Flip du Plessis (percussion), Iwan Kemp (drums and percussion) and Jacques Steyn (bass and acoustic guitar). The quintet play music inspired by the sounds of samba, the countries of Arabia and even the echoes of nature.
“It was great winning the two Tempo awards,” Iwan says. “Even though the nominees were put together by a panel of judges, the winners were 100% decided by public votes. It’s great to know that the buying public appreciate and acknowledge what we do.”
“Our sound,” says Iwan, drummer and percussionist, “is like an erupting volcano. It builds up steam just below the surface and then explodes into a fury of melody and harmony... then, just when you think it’s all over, we bring the rhythm back again, back and forth, like waves smashing down on a beach.” The bands’ music is a fusion of all the members’ talents and creative expression, the culmination of which has led to three brilliant albums; DNA Strings (a relaxed album with a very Celtic feel to it), El Nino (an album rich in the textures of numerous cultures - there are some delicious bass lines on this album) and Nomad (a more African sounding album). Although the band has produced these great CDs, it’s important to know that the music DNA Strings creates is not strictly for entertainment. “We’ve written a couple of songs which are pretty personal to us and that we hope might make a difference to society as a whole as well,” Iwan says. One such song is Avalanche, which was recently re-recorded with lyrics (which the band usually don’t have) and used to create awareness of HIV/AIDS. “All our songs though,” says Iwan, “have some form of meaning to at least one of us, whether it’s personal, sentimental or purely creative.”
The look behind the DNA Strings was masterminded by Adriaan van Wyk from MUSED, who designs the band’s graphics, CD covers, logos, T-shirts, posters and their website. “He’s young and dynamic and always brings the wow factor into whatever he comes up with. He’s fantastic,” says Iwan of Adriaan. So, does all this work leave any time for fun? “Well, we all find time to do the things that we love, but we love our music as well, so even though our work keeps us very busy, we don’t mind the hard work at all,” Iwan laughs. The band’s touring schedule is very tight for the next few months, including visits to the UK, Ireland and Belgium in mid-2006. “We’ve also been invited to Australia, New Zealand and the US to tour too, so we’ll see how it all goes.” Also on the cards next year is a ‘DVD recording and a new music video that’s going to blow people’s minds!” Iwan says excitedly. When it comes to creating music videos the band, along with whoever is involved in the project, brainstorm ideas and they say they’re ‘inspired by the mood of certain songs at certain times.” ‘Bigger, better, faster, more,’ are what the five instrumental musicians are aiming for in the future.“After our Europe tour,” Iwan says, “we will hopefully have enough songs to take into the studio. We’re also planning to make our future live shows even more dynamic, with more percussion, visuals, everything.” Iwan smiles, before saying, “we’re not sure what the future might bring, but as long as there is nature, life and love to inspire us, everything is going to be great!”
www.dnastrings.com for more information and to book the band.
musicreviews by Mia Russell
live at stubb’s Matisyahu
If reggae to some extent represents Rastafarianism, an odd mixture of Christianity and other beliefs, then what does a Hasidic Jew belting out reggae represent? Although this question has been pondered since Matisyahu released his debut album in 2004, theological implications aside, musically you can’t ask for more. His latest offering, Live at Stubb’s captures an electrifying performance, laying down a groove with an organic integrity made up of rhymes, raps, and impassioned vocals. Tapping into the crossover riddim of Hip Hop, there’s scratching and programming too and while the description of a Hasidic Jew doing Reggae may sound like a novelty act, there’s nothing but authentic jamming.
A pink martini conjures up images of a belle époque somewhere tropical and silk gowns worn on nights of sin... this album is all that and more. Cuban beauty, China Forbes and her 14-piece band will satiate you with every deliciously different song, swinging from Afro-Cuban rhythms to the existential sadness of Parisian café tunes, some Caribbean calypso and then a Hollywood golden-era string arrangement, all of it polished to nearperfection with the sassy wit of the 1930s. Delivered in a variety of languages which lends to its exoticism, this is a sophisticated and fun album, and there’s not a genre or pigeonhole anywhere that can diminish its originality and life-loving energy.
hang on little tomato Pink Martini
a change is gonna come
You don’t have a choice but to fall in love with this album. With a dynamic and distinctive blend of breathtaking rhythm & blues, fiery funk and roof-raising gospel, every track seduces you into a groove that is far beyond anything you will hear commercially. Armed with lungs of fire and a noticeable passion, James proves she can hold her own and delivers original music with a vocal prowess that both honours and advances the cause of true soul music - think Aretha, Otis and Donny. James distinguishes herself from the worn-out concepts and predictable punchlines that saturate today’s music and takes the listener on a journey to the past, where you had real songs every time a singer opened their mouths. A must for soul-lovers.
caught in the loop
Although not new to the SA music scene, jazz musos Goldfish are a unique phenomenon. While they are serious, heavy jazz musicians, and undoubtedly a live act, the sounds they produce would more readily be associated with computers and turntables. Mixing elements of Nu-Jazz and traditional African Jazz with bluesy café jazz à la St Germain, this debut album is a well-crafted selection of downtempo instrumentals, mid-tempo breaks and four to the floor house grooves. Gentle jazzy melodies and upbeat smoking house grooves are expertly intermingled with a touch of blues. Add some simply gorgeous vocals and you’ll find yourself caught in the loop! A must-have for cocktails and perfect sunsets.
This latest offering from Elbow is beautiful, passionate, melancholy and deep enough to drown in, all at the same time. Guy Garvey’s vocals are as seductive and as full of feeling as ever, and the lyrics are real life in poetry, telling stories of coming home, broken relationships and disappointment. ‘Station Approach’, ‘My Very Best’ and the title track are multi-layered, passionate songs, which despite their downbeat demeanour, tend to calm and captivate the listener. A masterpiece.
leaders of the free world Elbow
l al w e th on y fl em st sy y dd bu
New-kid-on-the-block Brian Little gives new meaning to the word determination. Throwing caution to the wind in the cut-throat world of production and taking calculated risks, he is beginning to reap the rewards. By Dylan Culhane
In an industry where decades of ruthless and demeaning ladder-climbing is usually the prerequisite for a fold-out chair with your name on the back, calling yourself a ‘young director’ takes some nerve. But with an unprecedented wave of film school graduates currently staking a claim in the industry, a growing number of intrepid kids have adopted the title before their wisdom teeth have sprouted. Bryan Little is one of these brave kids; a young director whose short films, commercials and music videos have already garnered international acclaim. He was recently identified as one of the world’s top 70 young directors by Shots, an online showcase for creative agencies, and several of his television spots have been flighted on MTV’s global network. Together with producers Filipa Domingues and David Leite, Bryan established a production company called fly on the wall. The team’s success can be attributed in part to a sprawling network of film school alumni and buddies from way back that provides them with a highly talented pool of human resources in all aspects of production - from visual effects and web design to marketing and publicity. “Working with our friends definitely makes the journey less daunting,” Bryan tells me. “Plus you can really learn so much from them along the way.” International clients seem inclined to believe that ‘age ain’t nothin’ but a number’ – it’s the product at the end of the day that really matters. When work gets handed out back home though, it seems that good old-fashioned experience takes precedence over credentials and youthful fervor. Nevertheless there are those willing to take a chance on enthusiastic newcomers. Cyclone Films, a local film production company, provides a roof over their heads (from nine to five anyway), retaining fly on the wall as an in-house production team. This reciprocal arrangement has generated a massive amount of work for Bryan over the last two years. A prolific output of world class product doesn’t always equate to earning a living however, which keeps the fly on the wall crew hungry in both senses of the word. Most of the projects Bryan has been involved in are on spec, so a great deal of his team’s efforts goes into scrounging whatever resources they can. Rent gets paid if an ad gets sold.
“We’ve been poor for a long time,” Bryan says matter-of-factly. “Sometimes I think about getting a real job, but then we all get thinking about an idea and start planning it and working it out and before you know it we’re doing it all over again. After film school we just kept on making films for our showreel and begging whoever we could to help us get them done,” adds Filipa, the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Freebies’. I guess she has a smile that’s hard to say no to. Now and again all the hard work pays off. Earlier in the year, fly on the wall shot a series of haunting vignettes on spec for Karrimor backpacks. After viewing the final cut, the team decided the overall feel of the piece was better suited to an MTV audience. So they emailed the clips to the network execs and within hours all four spots were sold. The Vice President of MTV International Creatives was so impressed by the director’s storytelling sensibility that he commissioned Bryan to shoot another series of Public Service Announcements – this time to promote HIV/AIDS awareness in Africa.
Feature films and documentaries are in the cognitive pipeline. For now, this emerging coalition is focused purely on the refinement of their craft; taking baby steps and leaving deep footprints along the way. The quality and sincerity of Bryan’s work belies inexperience and lays bare the soul of a born storyteller. ‘Young’ is by no means a disclaimer for this director, but seems to describe a fresh approach to film-making that we can expect to see much more of in the future.
palermo hollywood At the recent Cape Town World Cinema Festival, motion picture junkies were treated to an assortment of films from virtually every corner of the globe. One of the entrants that caught our attention was Palermo Hollywood, a grimy foray into the back streets of Buenos Aires in an era of post-economic meltdown. The movie centres on the relationship between Mario (Maya) and Pablo (Matias Desiderio), petty criminals who stumble into the clutches of a deranged homosexual drug-lord after an â€˜express kidnappingâ€™ goes horribly awry. The remainder of the film traces the degeneration of their friendship, with little reprieve from the doom-ward spiral down which they slide. Their desperate yet conflicting objectives - Pablo was raised on the streets and is trying to hold his family together, while Mario resorts to crime in an attempt to defy his affluent upbringing - makes for great cinema. Unfortunately, complex character dynamics are steamrolled by an emphasis on pace and chic pseudoverite aesthetics. Palermo Hollywood pulsates with characters and events but, as in all but the deftest screen gems, this density comes at the price of simplification.
We shot the breeze with Brian Maya - lead actor, producer and co-writer - on a balmy summer evening after the film’s African debut. I was interested in finding out where Hollywood ends and Palermo begins in this autobiographical tale of friendship, love, family, betrayal, cocaine and guns. As with many first scripts the story is a personal one. Brian maintains that most of the events are based on his own life, ‘except for the murdering and drugs and whatever’. Ironically this sprinkling of fiction becomes the thrust of the story, dragging potentially insightful situations into the realm of the expected. After seeing the movie, however, I felt like I could have done with more Mario, a feeling which grew stronger as Brian Maya held me captivated with his own tale of a shy kid with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), growing up between Miami and Buenos Aires, who dreamed of being in the pictures and ended up modelling to pay his acting school fees in New York, despite fierce opposition from his family; the kid who eventually left a cushy bachelor lifestyle in Upstate Manhattan to return to his home country and write, produce and star in a feature film that is currently on the international festival circuit with distribution deals all over Europe and the Americas. “Living the dream,” I believe they call it. In Palermo Hollywood Mario (and everybody else for that matter) ends up losing it all. With the critical acclaim his first feature film has had, Brian Maya is unlikely to share the fate of the anti-hero he created. South American cinema is riding a wave of popularity in the aftermath of sensations like City of God, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Motorcycle Diaries, which bodes well for this Argentinean offering. For now Maya’s expectations are more humble than his potential. “I don’t know if this movie is going to change anyone’s life, but it’s hopefully going to give you a slice of mind – a point of view of what it was like to be young in Argentina at that time. If just one person can watch this movie and have an emotional experience, then that’s all you need.”
Brian Maya - lead actor, producer and co-writer
review ¦ tsotsi
After toyi-toyi-ing with the cast of Tstosi on the red carpet at the opening night, Karen Visagie lost her heart… It’s true. South Africa has world-class filmmakers. I had the privilege to be part of the opening night spectacular of the Cape Town World Cinema Festival and South African red carpet premiere of the movie Tsotsi, which took place in early November last year. What a wonderful sentiment to step out of the cinema and feel proud to be South African, knowing that this country has its very own complement of skilled and talented directors that can now share the spotlight with the best in the world. Director Gavin Hood originally trained as a lawyer in this country before heading to UCLA in California to study screenwriting and directing. When Tsotsi took the People’s Choice Award in Toronto 2005, this British-born South African director affirmed his choice to abandon law and pursue a career in theatre and film. After completing his studies at UCLA, he returned to South Africa, where his first job entailed writing and directing educational dramas for the Department of Health. A short film, The Storekeeper (1998), which gave Gavin his initial impetus, took awards at the Chicago, Algarve and Melbourne Film Festivals.
Pictures courtesy of Ster-Kinekor
He made his feature debut with A Reasonable Man in 1999 and again stole the limelight at the All African Film Awards, taking the top position in the main categories for film and screenwriting, as well as his leading performance. At the Sundance Film Festival in 2000, Variety magazine named him as one of their ‘10 Directors to Watch,’ and certainly not one to shy away from. He followed in 2001 with Polish-language film, In Desert and Wilderness, where he was hired to make a cinematic adaptation of An African Adventure Story, which became the highest grossing film in Poland that year. This brings us to his third feature film, Tsotsi, an adaptation of Athol Fugard’s existential thriller novella. Tsotsi is a dynamic, steadfast portrayal of the author’s novel set in a modern, sometimes violent Johannesburg. In a powerful story, he depicts the life of a young man as he fights for survival, living in a country where there are huge class differences, even between black people. He hauntingly portrays the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ living just a couple of miles apart, yet experiencing daily life as if in completely different worlds. Fearing nothing, Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) is a ruthless little gangster, leading a bunch of misfits in a township bordering Johannesburg. He lives for the moment and often commits crimes, having mastered a survival technique of skillfully intimidating the people around him with his hostility and aggression. Tsotsi gives the impression that he has no remorse for his actions and appears to be cold and unaffected by his often cruel deeds. Although he seems to get dedicated support from his partners in crime, one is never sure if they support him because they are loyal or absolutely terrified of the repercussions they will suffer should they cross him. An unplanned car-jacking, followed by the unintentional kidnapping of an infant, forces him to come to terms with his own humanity. Presley Chweneyagae is very convincing as the quiet, intimidating leading character and he skillfully displays the unexpected sensitive, yet very real personality trait of the main character. Even with his slight, almost timid appearance, he commands the full presence of the silver screen. Undeniably an actor to pay heed to as his display of talent will not go unnoticed.
Although Tsotsi takes places in a bleak setting, verging on desperate, the cinemagoer will be entertained with wonderfully unexpected snippets of humour and colloquialisms. The movie has subtitles, but the frequently used English and Afrikaans phrases thrown into the dialogue gave one a sense of inclusion. The cast has familiar faces like Ian Roberts and Zola, who is brilliantly cast as the very smooth gangster, Fela. There’s great cinematography and gripping visuals and as the central character deals with issues of his past without too many back flashes, the viewer is forced to sympathise with this young adult in his journey from random crime to uncertain salvation whilst coming to terms with his own destiny. Gavin Hood has done South Africa proud and I’m convinced that Tsotsi will be very successful in the local, as well as international arena. The movie has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the Best Foreign Language Film and has been submitted as South Africa’s official entry in the Foreign Film Category for the 2006 Academy Awards – and we will most certainly keep our fingers crossed. *Tsotsi will be released at Ster-Kinekor Cinemas nationally on 3 February 2006.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser Directed by: Paul Haggis Category: Drama/Crime Crash focuses on the lives of a rich housewife and her DA husband, a Persian shopkeeper, two police detectives (who are also lovers), an African-American television director and his wife, a Mexican locksmith, two carjackers, a rookie cop and a middle-aged Korean couple whose lives all collide over 36 hours in Los Angeles. The film assertively tackles the prickly subject of race relations, drawing the various narrative threads together in a very focused and compelling way. Yet, after setting up some deliciously complex scenarios and creating a dark, unsettling atmosphere so well, the various resolutions seem a bit clean cut and fortuitous. Nevertheless, Crash is masterfully constructed with superb dialogue and very powerful performances. Mark Isham’s ominous musical score drifts across the story like an oil slick on the sea at night.
A Very Long Engagement
Starring: Audrey Tatou, Gaspard Uliel, Jean-Pierre Becker Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet Category: Drama/War
Certainly among the crème-de-la-crème of chick flicks, this hauntingly beautiful epic tells of Mathilde (Tatou) and Maneche (Uliel), two young lovers torn apart by World War 1. Maneche is reported dead in the trenches of Bingo Crepescule, but Mathilde refuses to accept this and turns detective in a quest to justify her belief that her fiancé is still alive. Gob-smacking cinematography overwhelms this sweet but convoluted storyline, and at times the film seems more like a very expensive TV commercial for imported chocolates. Characterised by Jeunet’s attention to human idiosyncrasies and design detail, A Very Long Engagement represents yet another significant accomplishment for the French maverick. A second disc with nearly two hours of special features offers some fascinating insights into the process involved in creating a work of such breathtaking caliber.
Culhane By Dylan
During the 1980s and 1990s Harvey Pekar penned American Splendour, a series of comic books based on the mundane events of his life as a filing clerk in Cleveland, Ohio. The self-titled biography of this unsung comic book legend is just plain brilliant – a sincere and highly inventive experiment in genre flexibility. Directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman pay tribute to the balding, potbellied everyman in a daring concoction of documentary, animation and feature film. The accuracy of Paul Giamatti’s performance as George Pekar can be gauged against frequent appearances in the film by the man himself. It’s brutally cynical stuff, but you’ll be in hysterics from start to finish and ultimately inspired by the protagonist’s plod to mild success. You owe it to yourself to watch this one.
iews dvd rev
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis Directed by: Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman Category: Drama/Comedy
Talk To Her
Starring: Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores Directed by: Pedro Almódovar Category: Drama
An endearing look at the relationship between two men waging vigil over the women they love and which gradually mutates into a dark meditation on human desire in this undeniable tour de force by Spain’s most renowned film director. Having garnered exuberant praise from virtually every publication, academy and water-cooler critic alive after its 2002 release, it seems futile to wax lyrical about the film nearly four years later. Talk to Her is quite simply as good as cinema gets. It’s a DVD that adds credibility to any collection and should definitely be on your list of movies to buy before you die. Or slip into a coma.
Head in the Clouds
Starring: Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Stuart Townsend Directed by: John Duigan Category: Drama/War/Romance A run-of-the-mill romantic epic set against the backdrop of not one, but two European wars in the first quarter of the 20th century. It’s a wonderful exercise in beautiful costumes, make-up and sets, but the film sprawls awkwardly across an unconvincing historical landscape. At its heart, the film is about a hedonist (Theron), an idealist (Townsend) and a muse with a limp (Cruz) living together in the lavish heyday of pre-war Paris, and wrenched apart by their distinct political convictions. There’s nothing remarkable about Head in the Clouds, but I’m sure lonely teenage girls will love it.
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh Directed by: Alexander Payne Category: Drama/Comedy I never imagined a film about wine could be so hilarious. Miles (Giamatti) and Jack (Haden Church) are grownapart school buddies on a wine-tasting road trip through California’s Central Coast. Miles is a depressed divorcee who finds solace in a fine pinot noir, while Jack is on a mission to get laid before his wedding. Their divergent priorities fuel the relentless comedy and make the film a character-driven masterpiece. Plus, it won a stack of Oscars and Golden Globes, so that means you should probably buy it.
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is th ho ere a ny la pe f n gu or th e a
When this article was first commissioned, my knowledge of Esperanto more or less boiled down to: “Yes, I’ve heard the term. My grandfather sometimes related, and very enthusiastically so, some thoughts on it, but that was years ago! Exactly what is Esperanto again?” Today, I wish he was here still, because in this brief overview I can only relate some of the knowledge I gathered in my research. I would, however, have loved to express some of my grandfather’s fervor - his insight, appreciation and love of the language.
Esperanto is first and foremost a constructed language. Also referred to as artificial or planned languages, constructed languages are developed by individuals or small groups rather than evolving as part of a culture, as in the case with natural ethnic languages. Some constructed languages are derived for the sole purpose of human communication, usually to function as an international auxilliary language. Others can be the result of linguistic experimentation, fictional expression or the necessity for secrecy. Most of us have encountered some or other form of constructed languages - Tolkien’s Elvish from The Lord of the Rings being one of the betterknown. It has also become common for creators of science-fiction works of “other worlds” to make use of constructed languages, and has become a regular ingredient in movies of the genre, including Star Wars, Star Trek and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed language, with an estimated two million speakers worldwide. The term ‘Esperanto’ translates as ‘hope’ or ‘hoping one’ and the name was derived from the pseudonym ‘Doktoro Eperanto’ under which Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof (1859 – 1917), founder of Esperanto, published his first book Unua Libro, in which he described his new language as his ‘hope’. It was his goal to create an easy and flexible universal second language that was unrelated to any ethnic language, free of cultural nuances and aimed to promote peace and international understanding. Esperanto is thus also an ideal; the dream of a man who understood the barriers of language and wished to have them overcome. He shares his dream with many, but unfortunately not with any world peace organisation or government. To date Esperanto is largely spoken by enthusiasts who belong to one or more of the many worldwide organisations whose main purpose is to promote the language.
How does it work? For the purposes of this article, being an amateur enabled me to familiarise myself with a few of the basic concepts of Esperanto and I can state with confidence that I found learning it fairly easy. Esperanto is a phonetic language, written with a modified version of the Latin alphabet, and the mere sixteen exception-free grammatical rules are simple to understand. Nouns end on “o”, adjectives on “a”, adverbs on “e” and verbs related to people on “as”. Here are some examples: friend >amiko ¦ friendly >amika ¦in a friendly manner>amike ¦ we are friends > ni amikas. A set of generic prefixes and suffixes exist which can be used to create families of words with related meanings. The “mal-” prefix for example can be added to words to create its opposite eg. “dika/maldika” which translates into “fat/thin”. The most important aspect of these and the other rules are the fact that they have been designed for easy and universal application. The vocabulary draws heavily on the Germanic (Indo-European languages amongst which are English and German) and Romantic (New Latin Languages including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French) languages, as well as the phonology of the Slavic languages (Indo-European languages, mostly Eastern European). Will Esperanto ever become a widely spoken international language? To me the love for (and sometimes hate of) languages is encapsulated in the desire to express all things we communicate without words, such as a glance or a tear. As communicators, we conceive of wonderful metaphors and idioms to describe and understand our own interaction and as a concept and a language, Esperanto initially lacked these. Recent attempts to enrich the language with idiomatic expressions might make the language more “attractive” to language lovers, but less so for those whom Zamenhof intended it for. The question remains an open one, but one not asked frequently enough. Esperanto alphabet : abcĉdefgĝhĥijĵklmnoprsŝtuŭvz Useful phrases : Here are some useful Esperanto phrases, with IPA transcriptions: (www.wikipedia.com)
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Do you speak Esperanto?: Cu vi parolas Esperanton? I don’t understand you: Mi ne komprenas vin Hello: Saluton What is your name?: Kio estas via nomo? My name is ... : Mia nomo estas… How much?: Kiom? Here you are: Jen Thank you: Dankon You’re welcome: Ne dankinde Please: Bonvolu Here’s to your health: Je via sano Bless you!: Sanon! Okay: Bone It’s a nice day: Estas bela tago I love you: Mi amas vin Goodbye: Gis (la)! Peace!: Pacon
by Angela Boshoff
Liam Lynch has captured everything from ecstasy and despair to wildness on film. Best known for documenting the crazy, behind-the-scene and stage antics of South African rock band Fokofpolisiekar; the dark and often disturbing images of student clashes in an era when racism was rife and even the lives, dives and travels of skaters from the Familia crew, Liam’s been there, shot it and developed the film. Some may call him an artist; I call him a visionary, culture collector and mind mechanic. And his weapon? A camera. Liam Lynch grew up on an air base in Ysterplaat near Brooklyn, in the Cape. “My father was Commanding Officer of the base, which was then a working class government position. I went to school in an upper class area, so I had this contrast of class that I didn’t really realise existed until I started reading literature like Marx. I spent most of my childhood riding around on my bicycle, seeing things that I don’t think many other people were exposed to. These images really impacted on me later in my life, especially when I started studying and taking photographs.” Liam began taking photographs while studying political journalism at Technikon Pretoria in 1996. “I got a camera in my second year and started documenting the student movement at the time. There was a lot of tension between races after the elections and it just made sense to me to capture those moments on film rather than write about them.”
Liam’s work started getting picked up by national newspapers and was distributed on an international level by Associated Press. “I don’t usually subscribe to ‘Bang-Bang’ photography,” says Liam, “but I can understand why the papers saw it necessary to publish my work, especially at that time.” As the years went by, Liam’s approach to his work became quite alternative, which included getting involved with and taking photos of the Familia clan (www.familia.co.za), a group of skaters “whose approach to skating, which is a way of life to them, is mockingly called ‘art fag’ by others,” Liam says. “This derogatory term basically describes taking the piss out of other skaters, especially younger ones who don’t really appreciate the aesthetics of skateboarding – particulary behind the scenes. I’m nearly 30 now and without trying to sound like a snob or old man, I have come to realise that young people don’t really understand the ‘old days’ very much. But then again, being a skateboarder is about being a skateboarder first and a black, white, coloured or blue, second.” Liam, who uses digital in colour, says that he didn’t shoot a lot of colour pictures in the past. “I know it sounds odd,” he laughs, “but I really had a problem with colour film. Blues and greens used to fade into each other and I used to struggle to see them clearly. It was when I started working with photographer Andrew Meintjies, that I began to learn a lot, not only about colour, but also about photography and documenting as a whole.”
Liam, who used to work on a manual camera, now works mostly only on digital and says that he’s really comfortable with it. “I like the immediacy that digital gives you. I like the fact that I can see my work and understand it better. I really think it’s the way to go.” Liam is currently travelling with the hot rock band Fokofpolisiekar and says that when he’s shooting them he takes inspiration from the older, more underground style photography that was used on people like The Rolling Stones, especially the behind-the-scenes stuff. “I take shots of the band while they’re playing and travelling. They’ve used my stuff on CD covers and posters. It’s really hard work but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun as they are all friends!” Liam has also worked with the bands Not My Dog, Brasse vannie Kaap, The Narrow and Prophets of the City and he’s had his work published in The Star, The Argus and The New York Times.
Check out Liam’s work on www.questioneverything.co.za and on his agency’s website www.southphoto.com.
budding above the ground awards
one small seed focuses on promoting design and the budding above the ground awards is a design competition to recognise the industry ’s most creative minds. The overall theme of the award is “one small seed”, reflecting the creative spheres of “one”, “small” and “seed”. The award is open to all interested artists, animators, designers, illustrators and photographers. Deadline for submitting design pieces: 10.03.2006 Application forms and details are available at www.onesmallseed.com or contact 021 424 1648 for more information.
Acclaimed photographer Guy Tillimâ€™s newest body of work is presented in a gritty no-holds-barred book, illustrating the reality of inner city Johannesburg. Vicki Sleet took the walk and talked the talk with him.
Sherwood Heights, Milton Court, Stanhope Mansions… whether you live in Cape Town or Klerksdorp, you would have seen similarly innocuous place names in your daily goings-on and chances are you’ve never given them a moment’s pause. And why would you? That was exactly Guy Tillim’s attitude when he hit the Joburg city streets - a man on a mission to capture a portrait of this continuously evolving absolutely African city. Tillim’s past photographic endeavours have taken him into wartorn territories, brought him into contact with child guerrillas, and taken him to cities pockmarked with bullet wounds and ravaged by years of violent conflict. Joburg was going to be a breeze. Or so he thought. Earlier this year Tillim booked himself a five-month let in the heart of the city, organised himself a minder (a twenty-something female boxer, no less) and set to work wandering the streets and befriending the types that call it home. But he felt stuck. No matter how much he shot, no matter how hard he tried, the pictures weren’t coming. And that was it, he realised he was trying too hard. “I realised I could take the pictures of Ghanaian guys hanging out on street corners, of newspaper salesman and faceless hawkers, but all I was doing was reinforcing preconceptions of the city,” explains Tillim.
After weeks and weeks of capturing somewhat arbitrary images, Tillim had a lightbulb moment. He realised that every single seemingly hopeless day he had been traipsing past exactly where he needed to be. His subjects weren’t necessarily on the street – they were above it – up to fifteen floors above it, in the rundown, unserviced apartment blocks that house the menagerie of immigrants and locals all trying to eke out a living off the steaming city below. This was Joburg, not the ubiquitous group of foreigners sharing a hookah pipe or the Indian tailor whose shop was owned by his father and his father before him. Tillim’s quest became a burning desire to capture the precariousness of what is happening in these enormous places of unadulterated neglect. What Tillim discovered was far more than a gritty portrait of a city in flux. He found a rather terrifying reality, stoically endured by the hundreds of people who call these places home, where broken lift shafts become refuse dumps and water is collected in buckets from broken pipes in the street and carried up fifteen flights of stairs. Many of these apartment blocks have long been abandoned by their original owners and with rates left unpaid and water and electricity services cut, so they descend into a state of decay that is stupefying in its harshness.
Slumlords move in, demanding rentals from residents, many of whom will do anything to stay in the city, close to the not-soglittering streets of Egoli where promises of a better life deceive those who believe. Those hawkers who sell hangers and car sunshields at the traffic lights in Rissik Street… where do you think they live? The woman on the street corner selling cheap Chinese handbags… do you know how many people she shares a space with at night? These are the portraits Tillim paints and the unanswered questions he poses. His style is quietly observant and the viewer is left to make their own decisions and suppositions about these people living in the cracks of the Johannesburg skyline. Colours are desaturated, more realistic than the harsh primaries of snapshots and a predominant wash of grey is palpable throughout the book - one can almost feel the dirt and dust of the city on your fingers when turning the pages. Tillim refers to these apartment blocks as symptomatic of an underlying problem, that poverty excludes people – pushing them into the recesses of already overcrowded cities that cannot support them. Joburg doesn’t try to tell heartstring-tugging stories, it is simply saying that less than a kilometre away from gated communities and manicured lawns is another reality. And people are living there. Joburg (STE Publishers) by Guy Tillim is available at Michael Stevenson Contemporary R320, 021 421 2575.
make sure you stay part of the growth process of one small seed. subscribe now for only R20 an issue and receive a free copy of the latest Pink Martini compilation (offer is valid only for the first 10 subscribers). subscription costs include postage fee for countrywide delivery. visit our website www.onesmallseed.com or contact the one small seed head quarters on +27 (0)21 424 1648, firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
website: registering on www.onesmallseed.com will ensure that you are kept up to date with any new additions to one small seed, as well as any exciting events and competitions that will be taking place. donâ€™t forget to enter the one small seed design competition, budding above the ground awards. full details and entry forms are available on the site.
Unique and easy-to-use navigation, clean, simple lines and a fascinating array of welldisplayed work are just a few of the positive points of this site. Set against a stark white background, which adds to its simplicity, this site starts out with a splash screen of image elements falling into place on the home page and one is guided through the site by way of a black pencil, which draws connecting lines as you move. Each letter of the word â€˜Leo Burnettâ€™ on the homepage acts as a submenu, keeping the amount of navigation to a minimum. Conceptually, the site is well thought through, moving easily from 2-D to 3-D, drawing the user further into the site on deeper investigation. Make sure to check out the displayed works for brilliant conceptual innovation. Great graphics, good continuity and perceptive originality make this website a must-visit.
If you are a lover of eccentric art and illustration, then a visit to this site is a must. The site acts as an open gallery for artists to showcase their work and share their thoughts in various chat forums. A creative layout with attention to detail allows for each of the artistâ€™s works to be clearly displayed in a three-frame, vertical scrolling system and simple HTML navigation allows for the works to be easily found. A second click on the actual display gives a highresolution view with full details about the artist and the piece. The dark background and the quirky subject matter of the works give the site a macabre feeling and one definitely needs to have an open mind for this journey. Interesting nonetheless.
By Mia Russell
In keeping with its image, Diesel has revamped its official website, ditching the old, rather simplistic look for a funky modern design. The new-look site has a youthful fanzine feel to it, opening with images from their latest catwalk collections and then moving into a reflection of their current advertising campaigns by morphing a variety of genres such as the ‘Wild West’ and the ‘Silk Rush’ in a quirky and artistic mix. Vibrant use of colour against neutral backgrounds and imaginative use of nouveaumeets-baroque graphics make for an interesting journey through a fusion of art and fashion. The shots are arty and fun, however, while you can look at the Diesel merchandise as much as you like, you sadly can’t buy online, so click on the store locator for your nearest stockist. Nonetheless, Diesel’s slick new-look website is a great alternative to the usual dull sites you get from fashion company’s showing off their wares.
Colourful paint swatches on a dark background greet the visitor on the homepage, highlighting the simplicity of the site and emphasising its design context. Each swatch fans out into a menu, displaying motion and graphics, awards and recognition and a stunning collection of works in exceptional 3-D rendering. Ambient music collaborates with the displays of 3-D work to create an element of serenity, which flows throughout the presentation. Flash action-scripting and elastic navigation are two of the more innovative concepts of this site, placing it on a slightly higher level than most other websites in terms of conceptualisation and uniqueness. A visual feast.