The tongue-in-cheek expression of “No Kak” communicates the heart of what the Eco Design Initiative is all about - a call for all South African designers and creatives to stop tolerating the nonsense that the rubble of modern society has built up and start taking action towards design that creates “No waste, No mess, and No harm”.
The Eco Design Initiative is a collaborative non-profit organisation founded in 2009. Three primary sponsors; The South African Department of Arts & Culture, The Swedish Institute and The Swedish Arts Council enables the initiative to develop skills and create opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable design.
The initiative drives the activation amongst global youths and creative industries and encourages a vision of a more sustainable future. The three pillars of Education, Exchange, and Exhibition are used to guide designers and help unlock the potential that the creative industry has to address the social, environmental and economic challenges facing South Africa, in a uniquely sustainable way.
This all sounds very serious and it is – but what has distinguished the Eco Design Initiative is its’ fun and action-orientated approach and that it combines sustainable design with skills development and cultural exchange between young designers from South Africa and Sweden.
This fusion will be showcased through the Fresh Talents Challenge 2012 to be hosted at the Cape Town City Hall and Sakumlandela Primary School in Khayelitsha between 7th -16th March.
The finalists from this year’s competition, “Home is where the heart is”, will team up with Design Ambassadors from Sweden and tackle the challenges that the learners at Sakumlandela Primary School and their community encounter.
The designers will receive tools and waste to recycle and using these and the information they get from the pupils will complete a sustainable design solution in only 10 days.
This approach invites the designers into the lives of the learners and the wider community that their designs will affect ensuring an end result that is truly environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
Further good news is that the Eco Design Initiative is not only limited to the designers and participants of their competitions and workshops. They welcome any support and participation so whether you are an armchair enthusiast, budding creative or conscious corporate citizen there are three specific areas where you can make a significant difference to their work:
1. Value contribution: The social design interventions in under-resourced South African communities require environmentally friendly materials to construct safe places for children to play in. They also require equipment and tools.
2. Sponsorship: Companies are invited to sponsor their activities.
3. Prizes and Incentives: Prizes are required to reward the innovations of the young designers.
Ultimately, there can be no spectators on this journey towards building a more sustainable South Africa. Whether it is through exercising your power by becoming a ‘conscious customer’, or speaking out about social and environmental issues or simply living within a community with the spirit of Ubuntu, the principal cannot be put more simply than in the wise words James (aged 10):
“Designers are people who think with their HEARTS”.
For more information you can visit: www.nokak.com