ibali is a public furniture design concept designed by Johan du Toit and Michael Wolf from Formula D interactive in their spare time. ibali offers an extra service to city dwellers: It inspires.
A recent city branding initiative gave Cape Town the title: City of Inspiration. Cape Town and its citizens are rich with inspirational people and stories that are linked to specific places and streets in Cape Town. ibali – space of inspiration aims at creating islands of inspiration in the city allowing citizens to step out of the stream of everyday life to get a dose of hope and inspiration.
How does it work?
The ibali public furniture modules are equipped with audio technology and sensors, which activate when people sit on them. The messages that are played have been preselected for the specific space. A battery pack and photovoltaic panel power
an MP3 player, which in turn outputs sound tracks to a novel speaker system that can transform any surface into a loudspeaker.
The ibali furniture consist of 3 main components:
The talking frame
The centerpiece of ibali is the “talking frame”, a speech bubble shaped, bright yellow steel frame, which serves different purposes. It symbolizes the audio port through it’s antenna and speech bubble like appearance. It also is a unique brand element that can be seen from far. The colour yellow has been selected in support of Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 branding. Last but not least the large surface of the frame is converted into one big speaker.
The photovoltaic tree
A photovoltaic panel creates enough electricity to make ibali self sufficient.
The cast concrete seating cube
Messages for Inspiration
At the heart of ibali – space of inspiration is the idea to inspire the citizens of Cape Town through powerful messages that are routed in the city’s history. ibali – space of inspiration aims at creating a sense of identity for Cape Tonians through stories and history we all share. On this page you can select your favourite inspirational message from a library. Here are a few examples:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Long ago, when animals were still new on earth, the weather was very hot, and what little water there was remained in pools and pans. One of these was guarded by a boisterous baboon, who claimed that he was the ‘lord of the water’ and forbade anyone from drinking at his pool. When a zebra and his son came down to have a drink, the baboon, who was sitting by his fire, jumped up. ‘Go away, intruders,’ he barked. ‘This is my pool and I am the lord of the water.’ The water is for everyone, not just for you, monkey-face,’ shouted back the zebra’s son. ‘If you want it, you must fight for it,’ returned the baboon in a fine fury, and in a moment the two were locked in combat. Back and forth they went, until with a mighty kick, the zebra sent the baboon flying high up among the rocks of the cliff behind them. The baboon landed with a smack on his seat, and to this day he carries the bare patch where he landed. The zebra staggered back through the baboon’s fire, which
scorched him, leaving stripes across his white fur. The shock sent the zebra galloping away to the plains, where he has stayed ever since. The baboon and his family, however, remain high up among the rocks where they bark defiance at all strangers, and hold up their tails to ease the smarting of their bald patches.
“Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.”
“We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”
From the Preamble to the Constitution of South Africa
“The Constitution of South Africa
speaks of both the past and the future. On the one hand, it is a solemn pact in which we, as South Africans, declare to one another that we shall never permit a repetition of our racist, brutal and repressive past. But it is more than that. It is also a charter for the transformation of our country into one which is truly shared by all its people – a country which in the fullest sense belongs to all of us, black and white, women and men.”
Former President Nelson Mandela. From the foreword to The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives on South Africa’s Basic Law
“Historical enemies succeeded in
negotiating a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy exactly because we were prepared to accept the inherent capacity for goodness in the other. My wish is that South Africans never give up on the belief in goodness, that they cherish that faith in human beings as a cornerstone of our democracy.”
Former President Nelson Mandela
“Together, we decided that in the
search for a solution to our problems, nobody should be demonised or excluded. We agreed that everybody should become part of the solution, whatever they might have done or represented in the past. This related both to negotiating the future of our country and working to build the new South Africa we all had negotiated.”
President Thabo Mbeki
“We have confronted and
successfully dealt with some of the toughest, most intractable challenges of our time – challenges that have left other societies in ashes. We are problem solvers. We are pragmatists. We work by consensus. And we prefer long-term solutions to quick, expedient fixes. But we are still revolutionaries: we want to hand succeeding generations a truly better world.”
Barbara Masekela, South African ambassador to the United States
“South Africa is a country in which
one can expect the unexpected. An inspiration for all. What made it possible was the determination of the people of South Africa to work together … to transform bitter experiences into the binding glue of a rainbow nation.”
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Ibali – speaking public furniture design to inspire citizens
Product design in Cape Town: an interview with Johan du Toit