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March 12, 2010

Design Indaba

“Documenting Design” L to R: Eames Demetrios, Doug Pray, Michael Bierut, Gary Hustwit

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Africa, partly to attend the fantastic Design Indaba conference in Cape Town. I was on a panel called “Documenting Design” along with my friend Doug Pray (Scratch, Art & Copy) and Eames Demetrios, filmmaker and grandson of Charles and Ray Eames. The conversation, which was moderated by designer and Helvetica show-stealer Michael Bierut, was too short! It was one of those situations where after 30 minutes I thought we were really getting into an interesting discussion about the creatives processes of designers, and our processes as filmmakers. After the panel, Eames, Doug and I sat down for the Design Indaba video crew and continued the discussion for another 45 minutes, so hopefully they’ll post that video on their site soon.

One of the most surreal moments of the conference happened during a dinner train trip the organizers had planned for all the speakers on the Blue Train. Along with dinner and drinks, there were blackjack tables in one car of the train where guests could partake in some play money gaming. Being a man who loves his cards, I joined in, but suddenly found myself sharing a blackjack table with Martha Stewart. She may know paint chips, but she don’t know blackjack. When she hit a 14 against the dealers 6, I was like, “Martha, Martha, Martha…” shaking my head. Somehow she ended up winning though… go figure.

I also presented screenings of Helvetica and Objectified, the first time the films had been shown publicly in South Africa. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, and special thanks to the Design Indaba team for such a great experience.