Cape Town (South Africa) – Cape Town Design NPC, together with Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia de Lille announced on 31 October 2013 the much-anticipated programme for World Design Capital® Cape Town 2014 (WDC 2014) at a joint press conference, celebrating and lauding local design thinking.

In what has been a 10-month long period of two calls for public submissions and the rigorous curating of 1253 projects spanning the City, province and beyond, WDC 2014 will provide an opportunity to showcase the approximately 450 projects that have been officially recognised and which will form part of the programme next year.

Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia de Lille said the diversity of the final projects reflects the general determination of all Capetonians to position Cape Town as the design and creative hub of the continent.

“In addition to the 450 projects, the overall programme for the World Design Capital 2014 will also include a design project initiated by the community in each of the City’s 111 wards. We will also leverage existing signature events to breathe life into the programme,” the Mayor said.

“The central thesis of the City of Cape Town’s approach to the World Design Capital 2014 is to use excellence in design, to design the change we want to see in our city, using the very building blocks of which our city is comprised. All of these projects are united by their use of design and design-led thinking to help us drive the social and economic change we want and need,” said de Lille.

Cape Town Design CEO Alayne Reesberg commended the WDC 2014 programme team and curators for their commitment, diligence and foresight during the past few months. She said while it has at times been challenging, driving awareness and educating people about the “gritty and the pretty” has been at the forefront of creating a platform of success for WDC 2014.

“I am confident that the projects we have recognized for the official Programme next year are true to the overall theme of ‘Live Design. Transform Life’ and through design and design thinking, improve lives for people who are challenged everyday in their communities,” said Reesberg.

The first call for submissions elicited 572 responses with 230 shortlisted projects. The second call received 681 submissions and which saw 380 projects emerge from in-depth evaluation. Projects were submitted across the four WDC 2014 themes:

  • African Innovation. Global Conversation
  • Bridging the Divide
  • Today for Tomorrow
  • Beautiful Spaces. Beautiful Things

The final recognised projects were then re-organised into six clusters to act as navigational beacons for various audiences. The clusters are:

  • LIFESTYLE ENHANCERS: Design that gives meaning through fashion, arts, culture, sports and recreation.
  • BUSINESS THAT BUILDS: Design that adds value to the economy through innovation, finance, systems and social entrepreneurship.
  • SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS: Design that focuses on efficiency and resilience related to food, energy, water and the natural environment.
  • CONNECTIONS THAT UNITE: Design that elevates communication, transportation and social cohesion.
  • EDUCATION THAT ELEVATES: Design that shares knowledge through schools, exhibitions and skills development.
  • COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT: Design that improves health, wellness, housing and urban development.

In addition to the 450 public submission projects, the overall calendar and programme features the remaining five WDC Signature Events, City of Cape Town Ward projects and existing events in Cape Town that will be leveraged for WDC 2014.

The launch of WDC 2014 takes place on 31 December with the New Year’s Eve of Design signature event, which will see Cape Town placed “on top of the world” for one night only. The countdown to 2014 heralds the biggest NYE party the City has hosted.

“The projects in the Programme capture the indomitable South African spirit that sees something made from nothing, covering initiatives that are concepts and ideas to newly hatched projects, to mature businesses. All of which address a particular issue or need and seek to find solutions through design, driving collaborations across disciplines, while improving lives socially and economically,” added Reesberg.

Dilki de Silva, Secretary General of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) stated: “From an international perspective, the content proposed by the WDC 2014 Programme will be of interest to all parts of the world. As global communities look to design to address social, cultural and economic issues, Cape Town is poised to showcase a significant innovation-driven growth model through this Programme of events,” she added.

The recognized projects will be available to view online at from 1 November 2013.

For more information, please contact:

Priscilla Urquhart
PR and Media Manager
Cape Town Design NPC
t: +2782 852 2428

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

About 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. The World Design Capital is an initiative established and managed by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008, Seoul (South Korea) in 2010 and Helsinki (Finland) in 2102 whilst preparations for Cape Town (South Africa) are underway for 2014. The cities shortlisted for WDC 2016 will be announced in August 2013.