Eco Design Initiative – South African / Swedish Youth Skills & Culture Exchange

  • Posted: Feb 7, 2011

Today’s ultimate design challenge is to create durable products and services that minimise adverse impacts on the environment, while making everyday life simpler and more pleasant. The design of our societies influences our development, and designers are the catalysts that make a sustainable future possible. The Eco Design Initiative is mobilising youth in the design of our sustainable future. Through this leading action initiative, Eco Design Ambassadors from South Africa and Sweden will participate in an interactive skills and culture exchange, namely the Fresh Talent Workshop and the Eco Design Showcase, to be hosted in Cape Town and the City of Malmö during 2011.

This call for positive action campaigns for “No Kak!” … a beautifully South African way of expressing one’s intolerance to nonsense, which implies no waste, no pollution and absolutely no harm. The campaign debuts in Africa’s design capital, Cape Town, during February 2011. The Eco Design Showcase will be a spectacular display of design prototypes, sustainable concepts and design stories, as portrayed by the young Swedish and South African participants. The exhibition launches at the Iziko Slave Lodge (Cape Town) on 27 February 2011 and will be open to the public until the 9th of March 2011.

Built in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company to confine the Company’s slaves, the Slave Lodge is today a museum dedicated to highlighting histories of slavery and human rights. Under the umbrella theme ‘From human wrongs to human rights’, and through permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Museum strives to increase awareness on issues such as human rights, equality, peace and justice. “Such issues are directly affected by climate change and the Iziko Slave Lodge is therefore pleased to host young designers’ perspectives on possibilities for our sustainable future”, says Fiona Clayton, Iziko Slave Lodge curator.

Cape Town’s beautiful setting, pedestrian-friendly city centre and interesting urban landscape is a magnet for creative people. “We are proud to be one of the global cities championing sustainability through various redesigns of the way we live, work and play, and we feel it is enormously appropriate that we host the new and exciting Eco Design Initiative. We truly believe that design can play a major role in future-fitting Cape Town for generations to come and we feel sure that this initiative will bring that message home even more clearly.” says Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO.

The Fresh Talent Workshop will engage 30 eco-inspired designers in an intensive learning, skills and culture share programme. The Eco Design Competition, called for entries from design students and entrepreneurs from across South Africa. Twenty South African participants were selected as finalists. During the past few months, these “Fresh Talent” have been producing their sustainable design prototypes to be the feature of the international Eco Design Showcase. They meet with Eco Design Ambassadors Apokalypse Labotek, Righteous Fashion, Swedish Ninja and Liv Andersson (from Sweden) and the LIV Green Design team (South Africa) to be inspired to innovate with sustainability as the front of mind objective. The Fresh Talent Workshop programme will also include contributions from South African design educators and sustainability champions.

The challenge presented to the participating designers, will be to rework the space of an under-resourced youth centre, using a supply of waste materials. With the participating designers’ creativity and ability to innovate, waste will be up-cycled to create products of greater value to better serve our community. This positive community action inspires respect and pride in diversity, while encouraging the application of good design to improve the lifestyles of all our society’s people.

The Initiative is included as a case study in Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid book. The Eco Design Initiative’s headline activities are staged when the city is “buzzing design and creativity”, coinciding with the launch of Cape Town’s bid activities during Design Indaba 2011. “As much as it is about positioning our city as a place with great design capacity, bidding for this title is an important way for us to hone our ability to use design thinking in addressing many of the social challenges we face as a city.”

The meeting will proceed from Cape Town to the international leg of the Eco Design Showcase at Malmöhus, Scandinavia’s oldest surviving Renaissance Castle. Malmö Museum has cooperated with museums and organisations in South Africa for many years, with particular interest in issues related to the democratisation of cultural heritage, diversity, empowerment and human rights.

The winner of the Eco Design Competition will enjoy a Sustainable Design Tour to Sweden to attend the launch of the exhibition in Malmö on 15 May 2011. The No Kak! Ingen Skit! Eco Design Showcase will be open to Scandinavian audiences until late October 2011.

The City of Malmö is a Climate Friendly City situated in the south of the country, and in 2009, Fast Company voted Malmö as the 13th Most Creative City in the World. Connected to Copenhagen by the Öresunds Bridge, living and working in an environmentally smart fashion is enabled by the region’s practical sustainable design solutions, such as energy from waste, integrated green areas (including indigenous plant rooftops) and energy efficient transport solutions. The City of Malmö aims to be climate neutral by 2020, and by 2030 the whole municipality will run on 100% renewable energy. The destination offers an abundance of inspiration for pure design plus integrated sustainability that will leave a lasting impression on the young South African designer selected as the winner of this prize.

These exciting activities are the first steps in the Eco Design Initiative programme to facilitate more qualified educational exchanges between South Africa and Sweden. Through sharing skills, culture and innovation amongst talented youth, the campaign aims to further global sustainable development objectives.

Text & Photographs © Iziko Museums.
Artworks & Artwork Reproductions © Featured Artists.
No photographs of artworks, images or design components incorporating artworks may be reproduced, sold or transmitted in any form without written permission from Iziko Museums.

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