[Image: WDC Cape Town 2014]
WDC Cape Town 2014
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 now can be viewed on  WDC Cape Town 2014 official website.

final signature EVENTs

International Design House Exhibit

15–19 October 2014

Cities around the world have had to respond to rapid urbanisation in the last decade and participating in the Design House Exhibition whose theme is "Transforming Cities" provides a platform to showcase not only products, but also films and lectures that can attest to the positive influence of design on city development and on citizen’s lives.

Icsid World Design Partner Rado stand at the exhibition

On display will be dozens of metropolitan examples of transformation through design. Cities will highlight stories that focus on community building, urban planning and renewal, sustainable housing, energy and agriculture solutions, transportation, infrastructure, multi-sector collaborations and city government innovations.

Design Policy Conference

17–18 October 2014

The "Make a Plan" Design Policy Conference presents a twofold opportunity for South African, African and global policymakers, influencers and stakeholders to discover what design can do and explore the policies needed to realise its full potential.

Over two days, this groundbreaking conference will highlight the importance of having a design policy in place at all levels of government, showcase best practices of how design can trigger economic growth and better support societies.

Above: the presentation of Mugendi K. M'Rithaa 'An African perspective'

Watch all the videos on Icsid Youtube Channel



Design Policy Conference Report
(4.1MB PDF)

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.

For more information, please contact:

International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
Ms. Tara Walker
Project Manager
t: + 1 514 448 4949 ext. 224

News updates

14 October 2014

Cape Town: A Design Destination

24 July 2014

Professor Francis Petersen appointed new Chairperson of Cape Town Design NPC

15 July 2014

Dutch Minister opens Design Department for WDC 2014

27 February 2014

WDC Design Gala to announce World Design Impact Prize 2013-2014 winner

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

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 2012. Cape Town (South Africa) is holding the programme of events in 2014, whilst preparations for Taipei (Taiwan, Chinese Taipei) are underway for 2016.

Video feature

CNN has filmed a video feature about the transformative power of design in Cape Town fuelled by World Design Capital designation.
Watch video >>>

Yellowing the city

Take a look at the photos from WDC Cape Town 2014 activation aimed to increase capetonians' awareness of the designation.


Take a look at the WDC Cape Town 2014 public sector programme
(PDF - 11.4MB)

Official Programme

View the full WDC Cape Town 2014 events calendar


WDC Cape Town 2014 Programme launches with 450 recognised projects


Cape Town's World Design Capital 2014 bid video

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