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August 12, 2011

Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District in the East City

World Design Capita

The Fringe is an edgy urban hub of small to medium design and communications companies on the outskirts of the central city. Included among these is the Open Innovation Studio - an office and practical space for creatives and innovators to develop design prototypes and improved product.

The Bank is a collective of 3D visualisation specialists for interior, product and architectural designers - you can see some of the work by one of these tenants, Formula D Interactive, in Cape Town Tourism’s Castle Street Visitor Information Centre. Formula D designed The Fringe’s high-technology interactive wall that is a cinema-scape of typical Cape Town scenes, and features icons which, when approached, burst into info-bubbles about the Mother City.

A magnet for culture, design and music, The Fringe is also home to the iconic Charly’s Bakery, The Fugard Theatre, the District Six Museum, The Assembly, the Book Lounge and the Field Office by Pedersen + Lennard – an initiative that showcases art and design by local creatives while offering a space for informal meetings, internet access, artisan coffees and light lunches.

Initially conceptualised in 2007 as Cape Town’s design and informatics hub, the East City Design Initiative was started after a need for a supportive creative environment was identified by local stakeholders.

Four years later the East City Design Initiative has been realised in an area known as The Fringe that lies within the borders of Roeland and Darling streets, and Buitenkant and Canterbury streets. It also includes a strip of land connecting the area to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

The Creative Cape Town wing of Cape Town Partnership, which has been mandated to coordinate the area’s development in order to encourage economic growth, says the vision for The Fringe has been to create “the premier African environment for design, media and ICT innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” The project is greatly supported by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town, and CPUT’s Faculty of Informatics and Design. It is already home to two sector bodies - the Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) and the Cape Fashion Council, which have also jointly opened the Creative Enterprises Training Unit in Harrington Street.

Creative Cape Town’s Design Network and Creative Clusters are networking events held at cafes and other leisure venues in The Fringe. 

The Fringe website will be up and running soon – www.thefringe.org.za – so check in for updates and projects in the area and, until then, keep up to date on Facebook at Creative Cape Town.

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