some green designs @ design indaba expo

Submitted by sproutnewb on Wed, 2011-03-09 14:02

While the Design Indaba Conference had some unforgettably inspiring talks the expo did not fall short either. Here are some of the cool initiatives that caught my eye at this year's Design Indaba Expo:

Umcebo: Beaded lightUmcebo: Beaded light

Umcebo is a non-profit organisation that strives to empower marginalised community members through the field of South African art, craft and design. Umcebo currently has over 35 non-permanent crafters from areas surrounding Durban. The crafters are encouraged to use and develop their artistic talents as a means of personal and creative development as well as a way to generate some income. The crafters work on a commission basis so our support is greatly appreciated. As Umcebo says "We believe that helping people develop, create and earn money inevitably benefits us all by building a society based on mutual respect and positive activity, and not poverty and despair."

C.O. designsC.O. designs

C.O. Designs offers more than office furniture: they make sure that the wood used has been FSC certified meaning that it is traceable and grown in a sustainably harvested system (for every piece of wood they buy a tree is planted to replace what has been taken). On display was a Work Desk / Rotating Book shelf unit which is manufactured from Hollowcore making it lightweight and 100% recyclable. What makes hollowcore so cost effective and environmentally friendly is the
fact that it is made from scrap woods and artificial wood finishes that would otherwise be wasted.


Wozela had a stand at the expo which displayed some useful and creative ways to reuse those vuvuzela’s you bought for last year. Although the competition is over you can still submit your ideas to Wozela and they will be uploaded onto the site. These are some of their creative earrings made from discarded vuvuzela’s that were on display.

ikhaya: jacaranda peopleikhaya: jacaranda people

Ikhaya is a company based in Durban which sells eco-aware products, furniture and interiors. Most of the stock is handmade using recycled items. On display at the expo were the Jacaranda people which are made from Durban’s Jacaranda trees that have fallen over.

Forget me Knot: Plastic puppetsForget me Knot: Plastic puppets

Tanielle Bell had an urge from a young age to do her part to save the environment and now she does it through her art. Tanielle has made it her mission, through Forgetmeknot, to "take objects that have been discarded, thought of as unusable trash, and turn them into beautiful creations of art that people want and love again." Her "creations from cast-offs" range included finger puppets were crocheted from plastic.

The Hope FactoryThe Hope Factory

The Hope Factory's mission is for every South African to be empowered to be financially sustainable. They are helping to ensure this through creating opportunities for people from previously disadvantaged communities to be trained in business, technical and life skills. Some of their artists displayed their work at the expo.

The Letterpress CompanyThe Letterpress Company

The Letterpress Company produces stationary with an elegant and timeless flair. Using an actual antique, hand-operated letterpress (with its roots in 13th century Asia and 15th Century Europe) this company not only adds a luxurious remnant of antiquity to its products but it also prints on earth-friendly, tree-free papers! The Letterpress Company "invites connoisseurs of all things beautiful to celebrate luxury in good conscience."

John BauerJohn Bauer

John Bauer ceramic artist
John Bauer is an interesting character who has a soft spot for abandoned chemicals. This is why he has started his own Chemical Orphanage for all the chemicals abandoned by the ceramic industry to find refuge. John then takes these poisonous resources and incorporates them into his own art in such a way that they are no longer harmful to the environment. His work is therefore different from most ceramic potters in that he not only creates beautiful and functional products, he also saves the environment in the process of doing so.


Recreate is an interior design range that uses pieces of discarded junk to recreate unique and interesting furniture, lighting and interior accessories. Katie Thompson, who started Recreate in 2009, strives to be unconventional and creative in every project and this bathtub/comfy chair is proof of that.

Streetwires: Photorealistic bead lionStreetwires: Photorealistic bead lion

Streetwires is a well known company that creates and markets some of the best African wire and bead craft art in South Africa. With over 120 artists with diverse talents their work spans from corporate and custom gifts to décor ranges for the home and office. They also export their products to over 15 countries world wide!

Metropolis: tree of lifeMetropolis: tree of life

Metropolis Tree of life
This unique and environmentally-friendly tree is the result of a collaboration between Metropolis and Earthchild where all proceeds benefit the Earthchild project. It is made from high quality recycled cardboard and can be used as anything from an alternative Christmas tree to a note holder.

Phumani PaperPhumani Paper

Phumani Paper markets and sells a wide variety of locally made paper and products which are sourced from 15 hand papermaking producers in 7 provinces. Each paper producer produces different types of paper made from agricultural plants that are specific to their relative surroundings. This is a paper bowl that they had on display at the expo.

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