Cape Town’s creative community on board for World Design Capital selection visit

world design capital 10X10 housing project

Green Cab, the official transport for the World Design Capital organising committee, parked outside the 10x10 Low-Cost Housing project in Freedom Park, Mitchells Plain. All photos by Bruce Sutherland/City of Cape Town

Cape Town has said farewell to the World Design Capital’s selection committee, represented by Dilki de Silva (Canada) and Martin Darbyshire (United Kingdom). The two were in the city from Sunday, July 24 till Wednesday, July 27, for a whirlwind tour of what makes Cape Town a true contender for the role of World Design Capital 2014. Cape Town was the last stop on their itinerary of short-listed cities, after Bilbao (Spain) and then Dublin (Ireland).

Yellow fever swept the local creative community (yellow is the colour of Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid) as more and more stakeholders saw that winning the title would bring a shot of creative energy and global design-focused attention onto the destination.

His Grace Desmond Tutu made a special appearance at a gala dinner held in honour of the World Design Capital selection committee’s visit on Tuesday night. He led a blessing for the assembled guests, which included Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille.

At a capacity Cape Town Design Network event (attended by De Silva and Darbyshire), which was held at the Fringe in Cape Town’s East City on Monday, July 25, Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo announced a challenge to the Cape Town creative community in the form of a competition: Your Street. The initiative invites creative proposals for how an aspect of Cape Town street life can be enhanced through the power of design thinking. The best idea will receive R50 000 in cash. If the person who brings in the idea also has the business plan and commitment to funding to achieve it, they will receive R150 000.

Impromptu pledges then came in from the audience as architect (and previous Design Indaba 10x10 Housing Project competition winner), Luyanda Mphahlwa, promised a further R50 000 for the most innovative idea, and design leaders, world design capital

Our guests of honour take a moment for the camera at Tuesday night’s World Design Capital 2014 gala dinner. From left: Christopher Till, Mugendi M’Rithaa, Premier Helen Zille, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, ICSID Secretary General Dilki de Silva, Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Andrew Boraine and Adrienne Viljoen

Says Makalima-Ngewana; “We are exhausted but so happy and so very proud of everyone for presenting Cape Town as an inspiring contender for World Design Capital 2014. We are all holding thumbs for October when the winning city will be announced.”


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The World Design Capital title is awarded bi-annually 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 in October 2011.

world design capital

World Design Capital organising committee members Dilki de Silva and Martin Darbyshire being shown around the 10x10 Low-Cost Housing project in Freedom Park, Mitchells Plain, by architect Luyanda Mpahlwa. Also in this image, from left, is Cape Town Partnership MD Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, Alderman Felicity Purchase and Mike Purdham from Design Indaba