CAPE TOWN DESIGNERS: MAKE SOME NOISE!

…XYZ Design and Design With Africa (DWA)‘s bicycle and cart has just been chosen for this year’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s DESIGN WITH THE OTHER 90%: CITIES  exhibition. Read the Cape Argus today.

XYZ’s modular bicyle design included in Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum exhibition
Lorelle Bell
Cape Town-based Industrial Design firm …XYZ Design has added another notch to its extensive international design accolade belt.

The company’s design of a modular bicycle and cart has been chosen for inclusion in an exhibition of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York to be held at the United Nations, in partnership with the UN’s Academic Impact global initiative, from 15 October 2011 to 9 January 2012.

The design, a bicycle that is easily and cost-effectively modified for use in remote areas where people have little access to motorised and public transport, will be part of Cooper-Hewitt’s  “Design with the Other 90%: CITIES” exhibition series.
Design with the Other 90% reflects a growing pre-occupation among designers with design’s capacity for solving social problems. Traditionally design served 10 % of the population; hence its hitherto elitist status. But this has changed in the 21st century – in tandem with the huge leap in growth of cities around the globe – as designers increasingly submit design to the service of development and seek to work with underserved communities to find effective, affordable and appropriate solutions to urban challenges.
The Cooper-Hewitt’s “Design with the Other 90%: CITIES” exhibition series aims to show how design “can address the world’s most critical issues.” The 5,000 square foot exhibition space will display projects and products that focus on designs informed by poor communities, and will address issues such as alternative housing, low-cost clean water, accessible education initiatives, sanitation and solid-waste management, transportation solutions, innovative systems and infrastructure, and urban design and planning.
Putting people at the centre of design is imperative in a Design with the Other 90% approach This includes communities in determining the design solutions through participatory or co-design processes.
Industrial designer Roelf Mulder (pictured top), XYZ’s managing director, led the design team who developed the bicycle and cart as part of a workshop on Sustainable Rural Transport – Technology for Developing Countries. The modular bicycle was designed for easy assembly and maintenance without requiring specialist skills or equipment.  The delivery of rural transport infrastructure and services could be a significant catalyst for sustainable economic development and improved social access and poverty alleviation in South Africa’s outlying areas. The national Department of Transport provided funding for the development of prototypes.
XYZ designs have featured in numerous other global design exhibitions including  the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial in 2010, the EXD09 exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal in 2009, the New Africa design exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2007, the Universal Forum of Culture exhibition in Barcelona, Spain and the Romad+design piu exhibition in Rome, Italy in 2006.
Locally XYZ’s 4SECS condom applicator won the Design Indaba’s “most beautiful object” award in 2007, and its designs have been part of the permanent collections of the MOMA  since 2005 and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London since 1998.
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