6 future visions for the Fringe

All images via The Fringe

A few months ago as a part of its Design Can Do workshop, our friends over at The Fringe hosted a forum for 36 designers to work for 36 hours to come up with “ideas to promote social cohesion through non-motorised transport” by transforming the streets and space of Cape Town’s emerging creative district.

“In short, the concept is that 36 people – 6 design catalysers who facilitate the process and 6 groups of 5 design maximisers who help drive the process – brainstorm and develop design solutions to a real-world brief over an intense period of 36 hours. This happens over a weekend to ensure that those with full-time jobs don’t have to sacrifice work hours to participate in the project. The workshops attempt to demonstrate that design can be used as a tool for socio-economic innovation, strengthening cultural roots and building cohesive communities.”

Following the intensive 36 hours of work, the teams presented their projects to a panel of judges which included Jodi Allemeier, Marco Morgan, Marc Ruwiel from IDESO, architect Mokena Makeka and design mind Porky Hefer.

(1) Design Can Flow:


The transformation of Harrington Street into a pedestrianised eco-street that becomes a multi-purpose best-practice model for sustainable energy consumption, transport and food production.

(2) Design Can Grow: A non-motorised transport route creating green public space


A non-motorised transport route along existing movement routes, encompassing five key green spaces that will not only provide much-needed public space for a diverse range of people to connect but also food security to the area.

(3) Design Can Emote:


A modular, mobile urban skate park on Harrington Square, with skateable objects doubling as stalls for informal trade.

(4) Design Can Shift:


A project that sees Canterbury Street gradually curved, not only slowing down traffic but also creating extra pockets of the pavement for public use – facilitating a move towards a more complete use of the street (sketch of proposed idea above).

(5) Design Can Transcend:


The idea of creating a movement-activated sound installation that simultaneously makes for an interesting commuter experience and turns the sidewalk into a stage for entertainment.

(6) Design Can What?!:


The design of a landmark tree-like installation on Harrington Square – as the heart of the area – that services as a multi-purpose placemaker for residents, visitors and passers-by.

Overall, the project was a challenging experience that was equally rewarding according to one of the designers Rory Williams: “Having 36 people working in teams for 36 hours was pretty intense, and it not only produced some interesting project ideas, but also created a level of interaction that couldn’t be achieved under normal circumstances. I would love to see this kind of thing done more often in Cape Town, not only for designers but for anyone interested in how we use public space.”