Styled as SA’s edgiest design and décor show, Design Joburg returned in 2022 after a Covid-enforced hiatus. The four-year old competitor to shows such as Decorex is now co-owned by a local concern and a UK-based events and media business, Media 10.
The expo, ambitiously, seeks to be a showcase for design, interiors, fashion, architecture and sustainable design practices in the country. The focus is on emerging and innovative talents in these fields, and how design and architectural practices in particular can drive social and economic change, particularly in a post-pandemic era. The accompanying talks programme was well-attended and formed a useful focus for the otherwise rather conventional exhibition booth experience at the convention centre.
Talks spanned fashion, current design trends, the relevance of sustainability in the 21st century and understanding design in the Metaverse, a tech focus that was expanded by the slightly underwhelming VR Architecture Gallery. Much was made of the tech focus in pre-show publicity but not much was in evidence on the floor, the VR tours of recent cutting-edge Joburg developments such as The Bank building in Rosebank and The Leonardo in Sandton proving somewhat limited by the headset-and-joystick format. The VR experience was augmented by a physical tour of the buildings, however.