A better world through creativity: interiors without walls and design, Indaba, South Africa

McKay, Harriet (2020) A better world through creativity: interiors without walls and design, Indaba, South Africa. In: Interior Provocation: History, Theory and Practice of Autonomous Interiors. Taylor and Francis/Routledge, New York. ISBN 9780367418489


This chapter provides an exploration of spaces which, whilst not being contained within traditional walls nevertheless afford a clear, and demonstrable sense of interiority. The study, located in South Africa, discusses the pushing at the boundaries of praxis, both literally and metaphorically, post-apartheid. I argue that South Africa offers paradigms that are also (and importantly for the study of contemporary interior design practice) frequently inspired by the nation’s reimagining of spaces in line with sensitive, socially-inclusive, democratic space-and place-making.

This ethos is demonstrated particularly clearly through the South African online socially inclusive design platform Design Indaba. The importance of this organisation is discussed in relation to its vital position for a nation emerging from a situation in which, during apartheid, art and design practice was subject to censure. The chapter aims to expand ideas around the wall-less ‘interior’ and interiority for practitioners and academics alike. It also provides a starting place for anyone interested in exploring new typologies. It offers to start a conversation, previously only (very limitedly) explored within South Africa itself about the position of art and design under apartheid and as a corollary the importance of these practices in building a new society.

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