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Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in Cape Town, Design | 2 comments

Cape Town is World Design Capital 2014

After months of planning and presentations, and a nail-biting wait for this mornings’ announcement, it is now official: Cape Town has been elected as the World Design Capital 2014!

CT-WDC2014World Design Capital?

What is the World Design Capital you may wonder? In a nutshell the World Design Capital status is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.

For an initial group of 50 cities that showed interest in the 2014 designation, only three were shortlisted by the ICSID bid selection committee: Cape Town, Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland).

Members of the WDC Selection Committee then spent two days in each of the shortlisted cities. The bid cities were then each given a final opportunity to present their proposals at the 2011 IDA Congress in Taipei, Taiwan over the past few days.

The Cape Town WDC Bid Delegation

The team representing Cape Town (and by extension therefore, the rest of South Africa were:


Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille; Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Councillor Grant Pascoe; Western Cape Chief Director of Economic Development and Tourism Jo-Ann Johnston; Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality Alderman Conrad Sidego; Cape Town Partnership CE Andrew Boraine; Cape Town Partnership MD Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana; Cape Town Tourism Communications Manager Skye Grove; Chairperson of the Cape Town Design Network Michael Wolf; and leading architect and World Design Capital bid committee member Luyanda Mpahlwa.

Cape Town’s Bid

The 465-page bid book had as its theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”. The year 2014 marks 20 years of democracy in South Africa and is a significant moment for people to embrace such a theme.

The story at the heart of Cape Town’s bid theme is about the City’s use of design to overturn the negative legacies of its colonial and apartheid past that saw design dividing people, disconnecting the city, and relegating both people of colour and the urban poor to its fringes.

The WDC designation now enables a year-long programme of design-focused events that attract the attention of design communities across the globe.

Past and Future WDC Cities

Previous winners include Torino in Italy in 2008, the South Korean capital Seoul last year, and the 2012 recipient, Helsinki in Finland.

Cape Town has now just over 2 years to prepare itself before the eyes of the world design community turn to it in 2014. We’re certain they won’t disappoint!

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    • Yeah, good on the MamaStad. Only problem is the already overly arty souls down there are now really going to get a little prima donna about the “super stylishness of Cape Town”

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