The founder of South Africa’s Design Indaba conference, Ravi Naidoo, has named London as the location for a new design summit, which could take place as early as the end of next year.
‘London is the crossroads of the global media and it demands a conference with a different vision to any other,’ says Naidoo (pictured).
Design Indaba recently rejected London in favour of Amsterdam for its latest venture, The Creative Company Conference. The two-day seminar next month will celebrate innovative CEOs who place creativity at the centre of their commercial strategies’.
Naidoo was in talks with 100% Design to host the conference in London, but dropped the plan after discussing options with Indaba’s partners. ‘London holds about 255 events during the London Design Festival, so it isn’t looking for another one,’ says Naidoo.
He attributes his decision to the engagement of Amsterdam city council and local businesses. Indaba has created a company with local publishing group Bis to run the seminar there. ‘It is vital to weigh up the quality of support you are getting, and in Amsterdam we had great support,’ he says.
‘The city is really flexing its muscles as a design destination at the moment.’ Naidoo also suggests that a Dutch audience could be easier to please. ‘Coming to a design epicentre would have needed longer planning. Amsterdam was more of a “plug and play” situation, where we could get in there fast and organise the conference,’ he adds.
Design Indaba is currently examining the ‘gaps and opportunities’ for a summit in London, he continues. ‘We have the germ of an idea, addressing the social and economic impacts of design, but the gestation period for this conference is going to be similar to that of an elephant.’
DESIGN CONFERENCE DATA
• Design Indaba held its first conference in South Africa in 1995
• Design Indaba 11 took place in February 2007. It attracted 2664 delegates, and speakers included Wally Olins and Simon Waterfall
• Design Indaba anticipates 750 visitors to the inaugural Creative Company Conference in Amsterdam next March
• London does not host an international design conference. The last held here was the World Creative Forum, which ran for three consecutive years during the London Design Festival, before ceasing in 2005