Where It’s At is the first ‘LTD Edition’ publication to follow on from Design Indaba magazine, which I recently copy edited over one sleepless weekend. Curated by Richard Hart - Durban designer, artist and co-founder of Disturbance design studio - and commissioned by Design Indaba, it is a snapshot of contemporary South African design, and how it plays out in a global context.

Design Indaba magazine’s ‘Design:Digest’ edition, guest edited by food designer Marije Vogelzang, inspired Design Indaba to bring an end to its long-standing magazine, and pass the creative role of curatorship onto its conference speakers, rather than maintaining the traditional role of an in-house editor. This ushered in a new publication: a bespoke, ‘LTD Edition’, guest edited by a member of Design Indaba’s extended design network. 

Design Indaba 2011 Conference speaker Richard Hart was the first to take the reins of curatorship in this new project. Entitled Where It’s At, Richard’s guest-edited publication was launched at Design Indaba 2012. Only a very limited edition of Where It’s At have been printed, and it’s available online from the Design Indaba website.

Where It’s At is a phenomenal, totally innovative publication. It draws on the fabric of South African design – describing it, engaging with it, illustrating it and interrogating it.

A weighty, veritable manual to South African design, Where It’s At features articles that include:

  • An overview of the South African creative community, including a directory of key players and an overview of prevailing trends
  • A series of profiles of emerging designers as nominated by established industry leaders
  • Conversations between leading South Africa creative who have taken their talents to the world stage
  • Opinions on Africa from international design commentators including Julie Lasky and Lynda Relph-Knight
  • Proposals from leading South African designers on creating a better Africa.

In addition to this compilation of intriguing reading material, Richard Hart has also commissioned 28 South African artists and designers to create posters that are included within the pages of the publication. Each two-colour, gatefold poster adds a tangible, illustrative quality to the ideas and debates under discussion.

The publication’s dust cover is the perfect final touch to this work of art. An intricate full-colour, folded design, it opens up to reveal a full map of Africa.

Where It’s At is an important publication as it serves to take stock of where South African design is at today. Simultaneously, it forces us to ask where we are headed with it into our future. South Africa’s creative resources should be our country’s greatest export, and it is important to get a sense of where we are today in order to achieve this dream.

Following on from this inaugural limited edition, future Design Indaba publications could take on any number of forms: a DVD, a documentary, a coffee-table book, a poster collection, even an audio file. Format neutral, its fundamental goal is to embody innovative ways to bring thought leadership to you. No need to predefine that by prescribing shape or form.

These subsequent versions of Design Indaba’s limited edition are still in the realm of dialogue, but the next one looks like it will be an exciting app, by an internationally renowned designer. Keep an eye open for updates!