Rediscovering the Joy of Play at Nairobi Design Week 2023

Exhibitors provided an interactive and sensory experiences that rekindled and reminded every participant what it means to be a child again.


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As children, play was an integral part of our lives It was a time of joy, imagination and endless possibilities. Here's how visitors felt like kids all over again at Nairobi Design Week 2023

JJ Matatu (Maurice Njoroge) exhibited a variety of toy’s prototypes of matatus and buses made from recycled PET bottles for children and adults to encourage them to be environmentally conscious. The mini Matatu’s came with installed music and screens that replicate the matatu culture in Nairobi.

Kata Kata Nje installation readdressed ideas pertaining to presentation of art. The “do not touch” manifesto in archetypal spaces became hold, stretch, pull, fold, arrange, document, move, feel.

Hisi Studio play installation was a large scale braille board, where participants were taught essentials of the braille and later put it on the board. The team engaged with children and adults about braille and disability they had lots of questions but they are also super keen on learning, figuring out the dots and how they spell out words.

The Art Club Kenya had an interactive art experiences by engaging participants, to create unique masterpieces with activities such as collage-based exercises, printmaking, and cut-out photography. Rock Paper had jenga blocks made entirely from waste paper, collected from sources such as newspapers, magazines, and exercise books.

Visitors immerse themselves in a world of bespoke VR and experienced a new world through Black Rhino VR Extended Virtual Reality experience. Creativity and resourcefulness are two things that are crucial to as an African creative and cosplayer. Her intricate designs and costumes exhibited showcased that we can embrace creativity, explore different identities, and experience a sense of joy and self-expression in a vibrant and immersive way

Kairos Futura had an interactive installation created by Husna Ismail  called Resource Reallocation Renegade Movement, an interactive installation in which economics and environmentalism play a role in a future underground renegade movement in Nairobi in the year 2123. Participants were asked several questions, assigned the kind of 3RM environmental rebel that they align with and then be “booked” in a police station booth for their environmental banditry. Types of rebels included Drone Pirate, Oxygen Dealer and Tree Smuggler.

Ocean Sole's angel wings, elephant and giraffe sculptures made from recycled flipflops captivated visitors as they joyfully capture multiple Instagram photos, immersing themselves in the experience and embracing their inner child. Their work is a testament to the power of innovation, creativity, play and social entrepreneurship in creating positive change for our planet.

Africhibi was created by Nairobi Design to inspire play at any age. During the 2023 Nairobi Design Week, we explore unmatched ethnic inspiration behind Africhibi’s 3D NFTs with artwork, and some notable examples. At last year's festival (2022), visitors were invited to draw on animation frames on paper, which were then scanned back, and edited into an animation of the moving Africhibis. This year Nairobi Design showcased the animations created communally during ndw2022 using Ocean Sole's handmade sculptures made out of recycled flip flops and Africhibi curved out of Kisii soapstone.