Afrika Design brought together the industry and public for a day of discussions and discovery around the festival theme Resource & Community. A morning of speaker panels at the Kenya National Theater was followed by workshops in the sunny Kenya Cultural Centre courtyard. The event took place on Friday 23rd March 2018.
Our panels’ discussions forged conversations around waste management, public spaces, urban design and community engagement. Hosted by the charismatic and always informed Dr Njoki Ngumi of HEVA, the community panel included Constant Cap of Kilimani Project Foundation, a visionary leader in planning Nairobi’s urban spaces, Tatu Gatere of Koukney Design Initiative, a community development organization and the Daniel Onyango a.k.a Nyatiti Guy, an artist from Bega Kwa Bega and Hoperaisers community based program in Korogocho.
The resource panel featured Boniface Mbithi of the WEEE Centre, Loise from the Design Students Association, and James Mitchell of Orkidstudio.
The afternoon session featured a wide array of workshops, indoors and out. Our sponsors Aurecon, who were key in supporting the festival, organized interactive VR demos.
The Future of Design exhibit was surrounded by curious visitors, discovering an ecosystem of innovators like Precious Plastic Kisii, who have built open source machines to recycle plastic waste into products, and Digital Blacksmiths, who showcased their innovations in 3D printing with recycled plastic filament, using AB3D, Kenyan built 3D printers made out of recycled electronic waste. They were joined by the WEEE Centre, East Africa’s most established electronic waste processing facility, and the source of AB3D’s printer parts.
The visitors and NDW volunteers took part in setting up a Better Shelter with the help of Märta Terne, their head of communications. The manuals are designed to be taken one page at a time and are purely visual. They represented an awarding challenge for would be designers, who had to put themselves in the shoes of those who’d be living in this flat packed house.
The shelter is spacious enough to hold up to six people and lasts up to three years. It represents a step towards improving living conditions of refugees in camps all over the world, as well as Design’s shift in focus towards displaced people.
The set up served as a backdrop to a unique workshop. Ann McCreath of Kiko Romeo and Ajuma have been mentoring designers in Kakuma refugee camp, and in partnership with UNHCR, managed to invite two designers to Nairobi.
The Congolese designers who were visiting us, Samir Breezy and Esperanza Tabisha, have lived in Kakuma five and eight years respectively. They talked us through the collections they were displaying at Nairobi Design Week, gave insights into their lives, took questions on life in Kakuma refugee camp, their process, inspirations and how they got started with design.
Juan de Lascurain of Dream Big World is an international artist and self made entrepreneur. On his first visit to Africa, Juan spent the week meeting Kenyan creatives and exploring Nairobi, from Korogocho to the National Park. He also ran creative workshops in which he told his story and inspired the audience to do what drives them in life. Juan left inspired and looking forward to his next visit to Kenya.