Design Indaba 2012: Day 2

Design Indaba’s day two highlights were served up by Pete Hellicar and Joel Gethin Lewis of Hellicar & Lewis, South African product designer and “creative doer” Porky Hefer, Indian screenwriter Akshat Verma, and United Visual Artists…

Design Indaba’s day two highlights were served up by Pete Hellicar and Joel Gethin Lewis of Hellicar & Lewis, South African product designer and “creative doer” Porky Hefer, Indian screenwriter Akshat Verma, and United Visual Artists.

Hellicar & Lewis explained how they want to make experiences that create memories and prefer to tell the truth about a brand they’re working with through feedback systems rather than through narratives. They also told the audience that they open source everything, allowing people access to code created for their projects in order to encourage further play and development.

They spoke about their work for Coke 24hr Music in which they collaborated with Wieden + Kennedy, Frukt, Lexus PR, Coca Cola and Maroon 5 to put on a live 24-hour music event during which fans could interact with the band via Tweets in real time. The event was broadcast to the world:

They also talked about their ongoing work with Wendy Keay-Bright on Somantics, a suite of applications that “use touch, gesture and camera input to encourage, capture and amplify the interests of young people with autistic spectrum conditions and other related communication difficulties”. Here are some screengrabs from some of the Somantics apps which give a glimpse of the brightly coloured interactive and intuitive fun that can be had with them:

To find out more and to download the Somantics iPad app for free, visit Apple’s App Store.

Here at CR we’re familiar with the unforgettable name, Porky Hefer, because of the work he’s done through his creative consultancy Animal Farm – we featured his Wooden Fire Extinguishers project here on the blog in 2008, and we wrote about his Cratefan project (below) in the magazine.

However, Hefer, it seems is now making a name for himself as a product designer, creating products in response to ideas and his constant sketching of them. He showed his Lite light shades which are made from turned wood, only take energy efficient CFL bulbs and are made using sustainable processes and materials:

He also showed his Nest treehouse project which was inspired by weaver birds’ nests.

And he revealed his latest product, the Grinz ball – created after having the distinct impression that a dog that ran past him on the beach had human teeth. The ball, when held in the mouth of a dog, gives the same impression:

In the afternoon, screenwriter Akshat Verma spoke of the things that inspire him, citing the musical selections of his father, American blues and, bizarrely, donkey porn. He showed clips of his film Delhi Belly (directed by Abhinay Deo and released last summer) to illustrate how these influences find their way into his work.

The point Verma was making was that cross-cultural influences are important to soak up and indeed to combine to create new original works. By being true to yourself and the things that you like and think are brilliant, he suggested, it’s possible to create original and engaging work. He then left the audience with a slice of Bollywood song-and-dance action from Delhi Belly:

From the ridiculous to the sublime – UVA spoke next and wowed the audience with footage of various installations they’ve created (using their own custom software systems) over the last ten years for the likes of Battles, Massive Attack, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jay-Z and various cultural institutions including London’s V&A.

Here’s some of the pieces they showed to the packed out Indaba auditorium:

Origin (above) was installed in New York City last year as part of The Creators Project NY event. A 10 metre tall cube of responsive LED lights, it is the culmination of a series of works derived from Orchestrion, the main stage design created by UVA for Coachella festival 2011.

A collaboration with Massive Attack, UVA’s Volume installation appeared in the courtyard of the V&A in 2006 and has since travelled to Hong Kong, Taiwan, St. Petersburg and Melbourne. Forty-eight luminous, sound-emitting columns respond to movement as visitors wander through the sculpture:

Today’s final day of lectures is due to end with a ‘mystery performance’ according to the Indaba schedule. I wonder if Massive Attack might be providing said entertainment. They are, after all, in town and due to DJ tonight at Cape Town’s Town Hall at the Sonar Festival party. Will UVA’s modular stage show lighting rig also feature? We’ll find out soon!

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