Design and culture in Cape Town, South Africa

November 7, 2012

Cape Town has always been Africa’s unofficial design capital and is marked by the ingenuity and entrepreneurial nature of its citizens – who make clever use of recycled materials and produce cost-effective products and provide employment.

Cape Town’s design culture is illustrated by the number of tertiary education institutions offering degrees and short courses in design-related fields. It is also home to the internationally lauded Design Indaba Expo, Loerie Awards, Fashion Week and Creative Week Cape Town; and the Cape Town Design Route is a trail around the greater Cape Town metropole highlighting vetted designers and community projects worth seeing.

In November 2011, Cape Town was awarded the official World Design Capital designation for 2014, rising above competing shortlisted candidates Bilbao, Spain, and Dublin, Ireland, to take the title on the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy.

Cape Town’s bid to be World Design Capital 2014 formed part of a broader vision to position the city as a leading global city – a hub of creativity, knowledge, innovation and excellence – and to build on its World Cup success. Cape Town is far more than just a city of great natural beauty, attracting only leisure tourism. It is an inspired place of business, scientific and academic innovation, and a world-class centre of design.

World Design Capital is a title that recognises cities that are using design for social, cultural and economic development and enables a year-long programme of design-focused events that attract the attention of design communities from across the globe.

Cape Town’s year-long World Design Capital programme will include a good balance of events aimed at attracting international audiences and attention, as well as locally-focused events aimed at promoting design thinking and an understanding of design as a problem-solving tool among locals.

The content of the World Design Capital 2014 programme of events will be informed by projects of the past, present and future. These events will include a mix of exhibitions, conferences, festivals, workshops, networking opportunities and celebrations. The international programme will also include a number of World Design Capital 2014 Signature Events, in partnership with ICSID.

Excitement is mounting in Cape Town as all energy is focused on how design is shaping the future and changing lives – and Cape Town promises to be an inspiring visit for creatives, innovators and urban explorers in the years to come.
What does Cape Town have to offer the world in terms of design?

  • The Fringe – Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District in the East City:

For further information about Cape Town as World Design Capital 2014, visit

For further information, please contact Skye Grove, Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager, +27 21 487 6800, email or visit

Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 21 448 9705, +27 73 202 5041,

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