[Image: WDC Cape Town 2014]
New Year's Eve Celebration in Cape Town (Image credit: Bruce Sutherland)
1 January - 31 December 2014

World Design Capital Cape Town 2014

On 26 October 2011, the final day of the inaugural 2011 IDA Congress in Taipei, it was announced that the city of Cape Town would be World Design Capital® 2014. This is the first time an African city has earned the designation.

The City of Cape Town lies at the southwestern tip of Africa, uniquely nestled between Robben Island and the majestic Table Mountain range, two national heritage sites. Since the end of apartheid, this city, now three times the size of New York and home to around 3,6 million people, has undertaken the process of redesigning itself. As South Africa’s oldest city and having recently hosted the first World Cup on African soil, Cape Town now has first class infrastructure and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. With the highest standard of living of all South African cities, this gateway to the African continent is rich in heritage, innovation, diversity and creative talent.

On 29 June 2012, Cape Town officially became World Design Capital 2014 with the signing of the Host City Agreement by Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille, and International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) President Soon-in Lee.

The Signing Ceremony was timed to coincide with World Industrial Design Day, an Icsid initiative, and Icsid’s 55th anniversary.

the WDC 2014 programme

The open calls for public submissions yielded a total of 1249 projects, from not only Cape Town but dozens of other countries from around the world. In order to showcase some of the projects that may take place during the WDC 2014 year, a 10-day exhibition of the 30 shortlisted projects selected from the public calls for submissions were on display from 21 - 31 August 2013 as part of the Open Design Festival at Cape Town’s City Hall. On 23 August, investors, decision makers and talent scouts were invited to be part of an exciting evening of 'Partnering With Possibility' where an additional 40 promising projects shortlisted for the WDC 2014 programme pitched their innovative ideas for collaboration on funding, support and mentorship.

The final programme was announced in October 2013 and is now available to download

Second WDC Signature Event

In September 2013, Cape Town became the first city to host the inaugural WDC International Design Week Forum amidst the 2013 London Design Festival. The forum will act as a platform for the leaders/directors of the almost 100 design weeks that are organised around the globe to examine the impact of these events, and provide an opportunity for best practises to be shared and information to be exchanged. The forum will also present an opportunity for cities interested in organising their own event to capitalise on this experience to gain valuable insight towards developing an implementation plan to put their own city on the map of design effective cities.

Pop-Up office space

Cape Town Design NPC settled into the office space at Harrington House in the Fringe District of the city. The concept and design of the space was tasked to Etienne Hanekom, an award-winning interior designer.

From concept to completion, the space was put together in just under four weeks by DURObuild using the latest industrial design and new technology as the fundamental blueprint.

Using Cape Town’s trademark yellow (pantone 109-C) as the accent colour, the office is a mix of sleek design and functionality, punctuated with vibrant yellow in the open concept space. Cape Town Design NPC documented the month long process and prepared a slideshow to show off their new headquarters.

News updates

2 January 2014

WDC Cape Town 2014 gains momentum for a year of exciting design events

31 October 2013

World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 programme launches with 450 recognised project

4 October 2013

IAC members in Cape Town for final evaluation of World Design Capital 2014 programme and projects

22 March 2013

World Design Capital 2014 secures top curators

28 February 2013

Four inspiring themes to put the global spotlight on local creativity in 2014

30 January 2013

City of Cape Town announces appointment of WDC Chief Executive Officer

29 November 2012

Icsid hands over the World Design Capital title from Helsinki to Cape Town and opens the call for 2016

9 November 2012

Cape Town announces board for the WDC 2014 Implementation Agency

29 June 2012

City of Cape Town Hosts Official World Design Capital 2014 Signing Ceremony


For more information, please contact:

International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
Mr. Eduardo Caldera Petit
Project Manager
t: + 1 514 448 4949 ext. 224

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, Helsinki (Finland) in 2012 and preparations for Cape Town (South Africa) are underway for 2014.