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Design Thinking – Meet the minds behind 100% Design South Africa 2015

 Design Thinking – Meet the minds behind 100% Design South Africa 2015

Two of South Africa’s most influential taste shapers are behind the country’s only international design exhibition, 100% Design South Africa.

100% Design South Africa launched last year, alongside Decorex Joburg, South Africa., and the exhibition’s second edition takes place from 6th to 10th August this year at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng.

Organised and Owned by Thebe Reed Exhibitions, 100% Design South Africa is a curated collection of the top local and international design available in South Africa. This unmatched showcase is put together by Laurence Brick, retail pioneer, entrepreneur, and industry analyst, Cathy O’Clery, ex-editor, creative director and international design specialist and Thebe Reed Exhibitions. Both Cathy and Laurence are seasoned and respected opinion leaders in the design community and together run the creative agency, Platform Creative

On the eve of Decorex Cape Town, where Cathy will be curating an installation titled 100% Black, we asked her and Laurence for their insights into the design world in 2015:
What are you looking forward to, in terms of design, this year?
We are thrilled that design is now being taken more seriously as a crucial part of any business. Good design should be entrenched in everything people do – it is not just about product making. How systems are designed, how machines work, how successful a business is – all of this comes down to good design. “Design Thinking” is the term for 2015 and we look forward to people learning about that, embracing it and using it.

What were the highlights of last year?
100% Design South Africa showed the country that a great collection of carefully chosen design can inspire both consumers and trade visitors alike. It was truly inspiring to witness the combination of cutting edge and up-and-coming designers sitting alongside established industry heavy weights. It gave 100% Design South Africa a unique edge and created an atmosphere of design happening in the industry.

We were also so grateful for the effort our exhibitors put into their stands. There were leading companies such as Tonic who showed how stunning, well-executed design does not require bells and whistles – just quiet respect. And then there were the newcomers like Neil G who considered every element of what he could show with the budget he had. A real eye-opener was the interactive aspect of the 100% Design South Africa. There were several areas where visitors could see how things were made – the combination of craftsmanship and technology was brilliant.

What does the South African design industry need to take it to the next level?
More education and more help for small businesses to grow. We have a long way to go to get young people into design; we need to reintroduce the concept of apprentices and on the job training. At 100% Design South Africa, we feel strongly about pushing the next generation which is why we introduced 100% Talent to help emerging creatives. As curators, we also sponsor a young feature designer to help propel that individual’s career to the next level. Last year it was Atang Tshikare; this year the focus will be on the seriously talented Renée Rossouw.

What are you most excited about, at 100% Design South Africa in 2015?
There are some amazing features to look out for, exploring colour, light and talent. 100% Colour will look at the impact of colour on design, The Light Tank is an immersive exploration of lighting design and we are focusing on our local talent with a student design competition to create seating for the Bos Café.

We are also bringing 100 Beautiful Things to Joburg. We launched this last year in Cape Town for World Design Capital at Decorex Cape Town and this year we’ve put together an entirely new selection of 100 products all made in South Africa in 2015.

What roles do design exhibitions play in the industry?

Design exhibitions are crucial in pushing the industry forward. 100% Design South Africa allows people to see selected and curated design in a vibrant and connected atmosphere where good business is being practiced. As well as being visually stimulated, seeing new design, the great talent we have, the best of local and international design in this country, it is important for the industry to network and meet new clients. Because we are a curated show and have chosen the best quality exhibitors, the bar is automatically raised by putting leading designers alongside one another. Everyone makes an effort to be the best and everyone stands to gain by the process. When the trade visitors come in to buy, they know that what they are about to see, is the best possible design in South Africa.

Where will you be going to find inspiration this year?
Into Africa to find new talent and then to Europe – we are loving what is happening in Denmark in contemporary design. The Danes understand clean modern lines but also appreciate texture and that combination is so suitable for the South African market. Cathy will be continuing her work with Design Network Africa to help the member designers to develop new designs in furniture, basket making and textile design around the continent and Laurence is always on the look out for South Africa’s best talent through his association with the Southern Guild Foundation.

100% Design South Africa details:

Dates: 6 – 10 August 2015
7 – 10 August: 10am-6pm
Trade-only preview morning: 6 August 10am-1pm
Trade focused days: 6 – 7 August

Ticket prices: R100 for adults; R85 for pensioners and scholars; R15 for kids under 12; R75 for trade and exhibitors (tickets are not available yet).

Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre,
For more information e-mail:

Visit:  Facebook: 100% Design South Africa
Twitter: @100designsa

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