Cape Town gears up for World Design Capital announcement as delegation heads to Taipei

In a few days, Cape Town will know whether it will be awarded the title of World Design Capital 2014. Cape Town is a finalist along with two other world cities, Dublin and Bilbao.

A high-level delegation, led by Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, is heading to Taipei for the official announcement of the winning city, taking place on the final day of the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress on 26 October, 2011.

The delegation includes Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing; Jo-Ann Johnston, Chief Director of Economic Development and Tourism, PGWC; Alderman Conrad Sidego, Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality; Andrew Boraine, CEO of the Cape Town Partnership; Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, MD of the Cape Town Partnership; Skye Grove, Communications Manager of Cape Town Tourism; Michael Wolf, Chairperson of the Cape Town Design Network and Luyanda Mpahlwa, leading architect and World Design Capital Bid Committee Member.

Executive Mayor De Lille said in her most recent weekly newsletter: “I will be travelling to Taipei for the result, proudly representing the first African city to reach this stage of the process. On the face of it, it is a tremendous opportunity for Cape Town to demonstrate how we are using innovation to address the challenges of our past and the inevitable challenges of our future.

But there is something deeper that this process represents. For the first time, those who would celebrate excellence in design and foster it turn to a city from the developing world. This has historic significance, to be sure. But more importantly, it has an unmistakable significance for the future.”

The biennial World Design Capital designation recognises cities that use design for social, economic and cultural transformation. Cape Town’s bid outlines a vision to create an inclusive city for all by embedding design thinking in its urban development plans.  It also showcases design innovation in Stellenbosch, taking the bid beyond the city borders.

The Cape Town Partnership (CTP) has been responsible for managing the World Design Capital Bid on behalf of the City of Cape Town with the theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”.

Says Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, MD of the Cape Town Partnership: “Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid has gained widespread public and private sector support, as can be seen by the makeup of the delegation that is heading to Taipei. This bid is about design as a tool for social and economic development.”

Past World Design Capital winners have also seen increased visitor numbers as a result of the title. Torino, Italy, World Design Capital for 2008, reported higher visitor numbers in their title year – which coincided with the global economic downturn – than in 2006, when they hosted the Winter Olympics.

Says Councillor Grant Pascoe: “Unlike mega events, which can result in marked tourism peaks and troughs, World Design Capital has the potential to deliver sustained visitor numbers throughout the title year, through a series of design-led events over the course of 12 months. The title also does not require any infrastructural investment, but is an opportunity to leverage our World Cup infrastructure.”

The Taipei announcement will also be closely followed here at home. The Cape Town Design Network (CTDN) will be hosting two announcement events in The Fringe innovation district – a pre-announcement party at The Assembly on the evening of Tuesday 25 October, by invitation; and an early-morning live screening of the announcement on Wednesday 26 October at the Field Office.  The results are anticipated to be announced at around 06h00 our time and the Field Office will be open to the public from 5h30.

Says Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold: “The World Design Capital announcement comes at a crucial time. Urban tourism holds great opportunity for Cape Town. Cape Town Tourism has just launched an innovative marketing campaign incorporating more than just beauty and natural assets. It is based on a believable, shared destination identity that frames Cape Town’s creativity and complexity and tells the full story of our inspirational city. We’ll definitely be showing our support for Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid by wearing yellow.”

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book are available on
Other platforms for support include a Facebook page: Cape Town for World Design Capital, a Twitter feed: CapeTown2014 and the Twitter hash tag: #WDC2014.


Media enquiries:

Rabbit in a Hat Communications for Cape Town Partnership
Shafeeka Anthony – Tel: 021 448 9705 or Cell: 071 621 4164

Solly Malatsi for the Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 400 1382 or Cell: 083 943 1449

Rabbit in a Hat Communications for Cape Town Tourism
Tammy White – Tel: 021 448 9705 or Cell: 073 202 5041

Vernon Bowers for Stellenbosch Municipality
Tel: 021 808 8172 or Cell: 084 593 6491


The World Design Capital title is awarded biennially by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural development. Founded in 1957 and active in 50 countries, ICSID has awarded the World Design Capital designation three times – to Torino, Italy (2008); Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (designated for 2012). The World Design Capital title is awarded in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year. World Design Capital for 2014 will be announced on 26 October 2011. The winning city is required to pay a licensing fee of 160 000 Euros to ICSID over two years for the use of the title, and this investment is then leveraged by the winning city to attract significant private sector funding for promotion of the title year.

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