Using design to shape the future of the world

An exciting new open call issued by Decorex Africa is inviting South African designers to become part of the solution in a world overwhelmed by the need for sustainable designs. Falling under this year’s theme of Designing For Impact, the Decorex Africa team is urging local talents to come up with a recycling bin that is not only functional, but also a visually appealing piece of art that homeowners are proud to display. The most inspiring responses will be exhibited at this year’s shows in Cape Town and Joburg.

The invitation from Decorex Africa to design, or commission the design of, such a recycling bin is an opportunity to create something that transcends mere utility into a product that changes behaviour, and makes recycling an effortless and integrated part of daily life.

‘As we stand at a crossroads where creative talents can significantly impact the future of the planet, it’s time to channel ingenuity beyond the realms of conventional home furnishings – beyond another chair, couch, or sideboard – towards a cause that can alter the course of environmental conservation in South Africa: asimplerecycling bin,’ says Decorex Africa’s Executive Creative Director Bielle Bellingham. 

‘This isn’t just about creating another household item; it’s about using design as a powerful tool to shape environments, and influence societal habits in the interest of a sustainable future. Designers have a profound responsibility to consider the entire system within which their creations exist, reflecting both social and moral considerations in their work.’

Decorex Africa believes good design can empower communities, drive climate action, and cultivate a more hopeful tomorrow. It’s about stewarding conditions that allow future generations to thrive, where good design is an active part of the solution.

This call to action is not just about designing a recycling bin; it’s a challenge to rethink how design talents foster a culture of sustainability and responsibility. These skills can be leveraged to make a tangible difference, creating a legacy that marries aesthetics with environmental stewardship. Design submissions should embody sustainability, not just in their function but in every aspect of their cycle, from production to end-of-use. 

‘It’s a crucial challenge that won’t necessarily be easy, but together, Decorex Africa believes a future can be designed in which sustainability is not just an option but a cherished standard,’ says Bellingham.

A committee of five leading designers will review the submissions. The top five designs will be showcased at Decorex Cape Town and Joburg. The responsibility of producing a prototype, and logistics to and from the exhibition falls to the designer. If the designer is unable to produce a prototype, Decorex Africa will showcase their drawings and concept to the public. Thereafter, designers will have the opportunity to take orders for their bins directly from the exhibition. The deadline for proposals is 1 April 2024, and submissions must be sent to [email protected]. For more information about the open call, click here.

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