Taipei (Taiwan, Chinese Taipei), 26 October 2011 – The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced today, that the City of Cape Town (South Africa) has been designated the World Capital Design® (WDC) 2014. The designated city was revealed on the closing day of the International Design Alliance Congress in Taipei. Cape Town is the fourth city to hold this biennial appointment and marks the first for the African continent.

Awarded to cities based on their commitment to use design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development, the WDC has become more than just a project or a programme. Today, it is a global movement and serves to acknowledge that design can, and does, impact the quality of human life. Icsid President and Member of the Selection Committee Dr. Mark Breitenberg stated, “It is encouraging to see how Cape Town plans to use design as a tool to solve urban challenges. I am confident that this new member of the WDC family will demonstrate to the world how design is expanding in application and influence.”

For Cape Town, the WDC appointment comes exactly two decades after reaching democracy. “2014, then, is the moment when the past and the future will come together for Cape Town, in contemplation and in action,” stated Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Ms. Patricia de Lille. “It is a reflection of how the city has socially and physically reinvented itself.” Cape Town’s vision of design is based on socially responsible design, sustainability and innovation. As part of their bid, the theme “Live Design. Transform Life” was introduced in support of Cape Town’s objective to focus on enhancing the city’s infrastructure to make it a more liveable African City.

Shortlisted candidate cities, Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland) also mounted compelling bids. “The decision for the Selection Committee was not easy given the high calibre of the bids that were considered amongst the final candidates,” added Dr. Breitenberg. “The promise of Cape Town’s approach to broaden the scope of the World Design Capital and shape the future of this initiative, were the deciding factors that ultimately led to the city’s appointment for 2014. Cape Town has the strongest claim on a new chapter for Icsid as the World Design Capital. The story of transformation is about sustainability, urban development and embracing a global community in light of its drive to improve its social and economic environment. We expect tangible benefits will be reaped to help reposition Cape Town on an international scale.”

Cape Town is a growing and vibrant city, where design has for decades been a significant factor in its desire to build an open city. The marriage of need and innovative design has resulted in unique solutions to address the issues of a developing city. Design in Cape Town is also reaching beyond city limits by aspiring to become the design hub for South Africa and for the African continent.

Ms. De Lille concluded her acceptance of the WDC designation by saying, “We are grateful for the World Design Capital bid process and title. It has helped to bring different initiatives together and has made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development. We look forward to learning from other cities that are using design as a tool for transformation, including designated cities Torino, Seoul and Helsinki and our fellow shortlisted cities, Dublin and Bilbao. We are honoured to have been considered with them.”

The City of Cape Town will follow the examples past World Design Capitals to develop an engaging programme for 2014.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Dilki de Silva
Icsid Secretary General
t: +1 514 448 4949 ext. 227

Ms. Natalie Dutil
Icsid Communications Officer
t: +1 514 448 4949 ext. 223

Ms. Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana
Managing Director
The Cape Town Partnership
t: +27 (0)21 419 1881

About the World Design Capital® (WDC)

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens. The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies.

Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008 and Seoul (South Korea) in 2010. The City of Helsinki (Finland) is currently preparing to unveil its programme for 2012 under the theme of Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life

About the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid)

The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is a non-profit organisation that protects and promotes the interests of the profession of industrial design. Founded in 1957, Icsid serves as a unified voice of over 50 nations through which members can express their views and be heard on an international platform. Since its inception, Icsid has continued to develop its wide-reaching network of students and professionals devoted to the recognition, success and growth of the industrial design community. Together, professional associations, promotional societies, educational institutions, government bodies and corporations create a comprehensive and diverse system on the forefront of industrial design education and progress.

About the WDC 2014 Selection Committee

The international selection committee for the 2014 designation consists of Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President and Provost at California College of the Arts (USA); Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, Chief, Creative Economy Programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD; Jeremy Myerson, Director and Chair of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art (United Kingdom); Kohei Nishiyama, Founder and CEO, elephant design co. ltd., Founder of (Japan) and Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland).