Friday, April 24, 2009
Introducing Wayne Batty a senior Industrial design professional from South Africa. As one of AADA's members he has been instrumental in guiding the direction the association has been taking. Here is his wonderful view on the part Africa can play in automotive design.
"I believe Africa has unique challenges and therefore must answer these with unique solutions.
Africans do not readily adopt Western or European ideas without an injection of African flavour. We as Africans must first add
something African before we take ownership of an idea or a process. People must first identify with it before they can accept it
as their own. We cannot say that we invented the Automobile, but just as every new car is merely an improvement on or a variation
of what has come before, so we too have the ability to design improvements or variations on the automobile. The advantage we have
is a raw desire to improve, to create, being driven by a set of circumstances that others in the world have never had to face.
Challenges of economy, geography, resource, purpose and culture will drive us to design a unique set of vehicles. I believe that the
vehicles Africans design will be purer in concept and purpose than those being produced in Europe and America, primarily because
they will not be designed to feed an increasingly hungry ego. They will adopt the excellent quality and safety iniatitives of the
Europeans, but peel away the flash and gadegtry that weighs down modern design, while still leaving the emotional, desireable
aspect of style following on from the simplicity of functional, purpose-built design.
"… in many cases it is hypocrisy for the designer to talk of 'functional design' when they have become too fat with too many
facilities, too many materials which they use wastefully." - Raymond Loewy - The father of Industrial Design
We have a long way to go, but as along as we realise that all we have to focus on is design. In all likelihood, the Chinese and the
Indians will manufacture for the world for a few decades, then they will become wealthy and lose desire, and then Africa will take
over, if her people are prepared. Within the next century Africa can become a design powerhouse and then also a manufacturing
base for the world's goods. I forsee an Africa where every family has a bread-winner and a home of their own, where education is
the primary focus for young children. Young children who have no trouble seeing the hope and the future that God has for them.
Young children who can not only dream about car design, but where it is a viable career choice. Very idealistic, I know, but I believe in dreaming big."