4 great design initiatives

Citymeetsride.com: Massively Larger Picture

South Africa has a long history of crafty innovations and design. So many South Africans call themselves “craftsmen” (The Brugmans!) for precisely that. And one of the ways they work is by making things from recycled or donated materials (their names themselves are craftsman, and the term is a gift) or using reclaimed wood. As such, Citymeetsride.com (formerly known as PlasticCrossroads.com) is one of the best websites out there when it comes to spotting and buying good (wonderful) recycled or upcycled products. And now the site is adding an element of design: Design Smart Week, during which Citymeetsride.com users who partake in a certain number of crafty activities will be entered to win prizes that can include furniture, electronics and otherwise design-focused items, like this from Haven Art Collective.

“We heard from our users and suppliers that they wanted more than just the opportunity to sell and browse our material abundance,” says Jarni Suda, Citymeetsride.com’s founder. “They wanted to know how they could take ownership of the material, rather than simply be left out of the sale.” Thus was born Design Smart Week.

“We’re building a community of makers,” says Suda. “Every 24 hours from 18:00 to 22:00 local time, there will be a social group for them to meet and share knowledge, and they can sell and browse Citymeetsride.com material from that time onwards.”

People will be able to join the group by registering at Design Smart Week at Citymeetsride.com and their activities will take place at the website’s monthly Creative Time Sessions. “The point of the sessions is to build local communities that can benefit from the web, online sharing and collaboration,” Suda explains.

The site has two “affinity groups” that each host sessions every month, and Suda stresses that the people in the slots will be “content creators, designers, performers, community builders, actors and craft-makers, artisans and yarn-knitters.”

Artists are a key resource on the site and artists will be given practical tips and insights about how to market their art through both online and offline means. “The sessions are informal,” says Suda. “But there is also a lot of moderating, if someone doesn’t see a book he wants to sell or check out a video, and I am free to say so.”

There is no word on prices or how exactly you can access Design Smart Week. “It really will depend on where in the City you live,” she says. “But whatever you do, make a choice.”

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