Anabella’s Design Indaba adventure

Anabella Gonçalves was the runner-up in the 2019 PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative and her prize was to attend Design Indaba 2020. We caught up with her to find out about her competition entry that won her this opportunity, as well as some of her highlights from the Design Indaba experience. 


What was the hardest part of the competition brief for you? 

Incorporating all the elements of the brief into an exciting retail experience and functional residential spaces was the most difficult aspect. 

What are you most proud of in your submission? 

I’m proud that my project graphically translated my concept and resolution well. I also really enjoyed solving the complex junction of the various components of my design.

How did you feel about being awarded second place? 

I feel extremely honoured and fortunate. The entire experience has been nothing short of a big confidence boost and has taught me that anything is possible when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. I look forward to lots more. 

Who / what inspires your work? 

I personally like Frank Lloyd Wright, but I also have a deep appreciation of Louis Khan and his work which highlights simplicity and light manipulation. 

These two iconic designers both have an appreciation for natural light and how it plays on the surfaces and materials to enrich the spaces. They also have integrity regarding their choice of materials and their function. 

How would you describe your design style? 

I think I lean towards an international contemporary style with an edgy twist incorporating colour, bold pattern and bespoke vintage feature items. 

If you were a cartoon character, who would you be and why? 

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes! Why? Because he has an incredible imagination, and he has a super loyal tiger as a best friend! 

Outside of studying, what do you do for fun? 

Surfing and dancing… Cape Town is perfect for that! 

What stood out to you from Design Indaba? 

It was really interesting to see what different people in different creative fields are doing. It gives you a different perspective and gives you new ways of approaching projects. The three speaker sessions that really blew my mind were Lonneke Gordjin and Ralph Nauta from Studio Drift in Amsterdam, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu (from Neri&Hu in Shanghai)and Satyajit Das (founder of the award-winning design collective Architecture Social Club). 

I really enjoyed the session with Sho Madjozi, who also performed some of her music, and the session with Hanif Kara, who is a maverick structural engineer who has been involved with projects like the Henderson Waves footbridge in Singapore. He’s a legend, and the buildings that he’s done are legendary, so it was just very cool to hear from somebody like him, about how he approached these projects. He also goes into detail about the difficulties that he had, and how they use technology to overcome challenges. It was very inspiring. 

I also got to meet Dutch fashion designer, Bas Timmer, who invented the Sheltersuit. It’s a clothing piece that’s made from recycled materials and is waterproof and windproof, and it can help protect homeless people from extreme cold. 

I think one of the things that has stuck with me is just hearing how people saw the potential to create something from nothing. 

So you found the event worthwhile? 

Yes, definitely. I want to say thank you to the PG Bison team for the amazing experience. It was an inspiration to hear all the talks and see what creatives from around the world and Africa are doing. 

Everyone said Design Indaba this year was a huge improvement from the previous years, and I came away from this experience learning how to approach projects from a different point of view.