What does Cape Town’s designation as World Design Capital 2014 mean?








A week has passed since the official signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Cape Town and the International Council of Societies of Industrial Designers (ICSID). This binding agreement, while less stringent than the Host City Agreement signed between the City of Cape Town and FIFA back in 2006, sets out the terms and conditions governing Cape Town’s designation as World Design Capital 2014.

What you might have already noticed on flagpoles in the Cape Town CBD, is that the City may now officially use the World Design Capital (WDC) logo. It also lays out the functions and duties of each party, as well as that of the WDC Implementation Company (to be confirmed), so that 2014 is a successfully organised year long event.

This brings us to the question: what happens now? Another question you may have on your mind is: what will you, as a citizen of Cape Town, get to see and experience during 2014?

Currently, a company is being set up that will manage, develop and implement the World Design Capital programme in 2014. As done by previous World Design Capitals and the current World Design Capital, Helsinki, this company will be a not-for-profit and independent organisation from the city municipality. It will report to a independent board consisting of voluntary members. This function needs to be established before the fun and planning for 2014 can start.

So what will you be able to experience in 2014?

To get an idea of 2014 World Design Capital events, one can look at what previous World Design Capitals planned and executed. Bear in mind that much freedom is given to each city to create, interpret and mould a program that uniquely expresses them and enables them to showcase their design solutions and aspirations to the world. Check out next week as we’ll explore the broader range of events during 2014. For now we’ll have a look at the standard set of events that according to the Memorandum of Agreement must happen during 2014. Obviously us South Africans will definitely have hundreds of more events than these standard ones – we love to celebrate and hopefully the World Design Capital 2014 year will help Capetonians and the rest of South Africa experience the united spirited we had during the Fifa World Cup 2010.

World Design Capital Signature Events

The six ‘World Design Capital Signature Events’ will be organised in collaboration with the World Design Capital Organising Committee (from ICSID) and the WDC 2014 Implementation Company, currently being set up.

WDC New Year’s Eve celebrations in Seoul. Image Icsid

One of these Signature events has already happened a week ago, the WDC Signing Ceremony. Following this event, is the first official event within the WDC Calendar Year, the WDC New Year’s Eve of Design. This event sets the stage for the WDC year and will consists of a number of celebratory events and festivities around the city. It will probably be the largest of all the events open to everyone. (Speculation, but I’m certain Table Mountain will be yellow that night, possibly showing the WDC logo and 2014.)

Helsinki’s WDC New Year’s Eve of Design event.

The WDC Torino 2008 International Design Policy Conference in Torino. Image Icsid

Following this is the WDC Design Gala, a ‘red-carpet’ event where designers, the design community and projects in the city will be showcased and recognized for their contributions to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life in Cape Town.

The next Signature event is the WDC International Design Conference. A global conference where ideas, insights and best practices from different countries will be exchanged. It will consist of two-day conference open to anyone, with a number of speeches and roundtable discussions taking place, aiming to address issues with design solutions.

Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul City turned over the status of WDC to Helsinki, and handed over the WDC Plaque to Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki.

A year sounds so long, but everything will come and go so quickly. If you have an ideas that will celebrate design achievements in Cape Town, and can help improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life in Cape Town and the World, then submit it here.
Your idea or event may end up inspiring the next set of designers and non-designers, to live design and transform lives.

About Rouen Smit

Future actuary working at a company based in Cape Town. Love open water swimming. Love taking public transport and feeling the city. The Future’s Bright