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International Universal Design architects and designers Converge on Mother City

 International Universal Design architects and designers Converge on Mother City

First Universal Design Conference in Africa comes to Cape Town City Hall

Cape Town will host international and local industrial designers and architects renowned for their cutting edge thinking on Universal Design (UD), including Kenyan-born Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa, South African Colette Fransoleand by virtual link, Joseph Kwan of Hong Kong and architecture professor Dr. Edward Steinfeld of the USA, as speakers at the Universal Design Conference taking place at the Cape Town City Hall, from Monday, 18 August to Tuesday, 19 August. The Conference is part of the 11-day Cape Town Open Design Festival experience at Cape Town’s City Hall, from 13 to 23 August.

UD is an exciting field that is changing the face of design. It aims to accommodate all people in the design of environments, systems and products through an understanding of the diverse human needs that exist – from the disabled to the pregnant to the traveller or even the consumer stumped by an instruction manual without images. UD creates an awareness of how to make the world a better place for everyone collectively and it is applicable and appropriate to the architectural field, all design fields (graphics, textile and product), system design, website design and education.

The first Universal Design Conference to be held in Africa aims to encourage local design to create a better place for all. Guest virtual speaker Steinfeld, ArchD, AIA, is a registered architect and gerontologist with special interests in universal design, accessibility, and design for the lifespan. At The State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), he is a Professor of Architecture and Director of the IDeA Center, which he founded in 1984. His current work includes projects on anthropometry of disability, development of universal design standards, design of a new demonstration bus and development of new wayfinding systems for buildings.

Kwan, who isDirector, International Union of Architects (UIA) Region IV, will address the international context of transport relating to UD. Also speaking will beM’Rithaa, who is the President-Elect of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) and Fransole, a South African industrial designerwho developed a mobile application dedicated to increasing the ease with which Universal Access Auditing is performed onsite.

Other architecture events that are part of the Open Design Festival include:

Talk 100 Sessions

14 August, 12:30 – 14:30 – Designing change through formal and informal collaborations. Formal and informal collaborations can present many challenges. But there are also victories, invaluable exchanges and incredible experiences. Speakers Prof Ezio Manzini (Italy), Shannon Royden-Turner, Andy Bolnick, Ian Dommisse (all from South Africa) and Nora Muller (Germany) share their insights.

18 August, 18:30 – 20:00 – Designing a better world. We are all driven to use our skills to design a better world, and to motivate others to do the same. What would this better world look like? Prof. Ezio Manzini (Italy), Prof Mugendi M’Rithaa (Kenya/South Africa), Heinrich Wolff (South Africa) and Cathy O’Clery (100% Design South Africa) share their visions.

19 August, 12:30 – 14:30 – Designing change using nature as our role model. Nature has been designing for 3.8 billion years. How can designers, innovators, engineers and entrepreneurs learn from and use nature in designing sustainable solutions, systems and products? With Claire Janisch (Biomimicry SA), Tony Budden (Hemporium), and Tobin Davenport and Britt Hanson (UCT).

Marlboro South Expo (Exhibition)

During 2012, 50 architecture students worked with community planners to upgrade an informally settled area in Marlboro South, Johannesburg. The exhibition documents their journey, highlighting a complex negotiated relationship, and the challenges and opportunities present throughout a participatory planning approach. Curated by 26’10 South Architects. Sponsored by the Goethe Institute.

Studio Visits: Architectural Open Studios 17:00 – 21:00

Opening the doors of architecture practices which each show how they design for change. This is an ideal way to explore architecture as a career choice. Studio visitors can view architectural projects, models, presentations and design work, interact with practicing architects and see how a studio works.

Open Project Showcase “World Design Capital Collection” (Exhibition)

Showcasing selected official World Design Capital projects, including projects hosted by the City of Cape Town, that demonstrate how design can be and is being used as an agent for social, environmental and economic transformation. Projects include:

EcoBrick Exchange (#WDC614) (live construction and public participation)

EcoBricks are the official Open Design festival currency. EcoBricks donated at the festival will be used to build the Star Lounge outside the City Hall. At the end of the festival the collected bricks will be used to build a double-storey pre-school in Port Elizabeth

The Power of Colour & Texture (WDC#455) (Exhibition)

Using refurbished shipping containers, the Cecile and Boyd Foundation show the physical and psychological power of colour and texture in creating healing, transformative spaces for children in broken communities. The multifunctional spaces can be used in many ways to help calm the mind, bring focus and stimulate creativity.

Live Design Tours (WDC#652 – 2 hour walking tour)

20th August (12:00 – 14:00) and 22nd August (15:00 – 17:00), Bookings at: Africa Travel Group – Thana Nel – 021 – 712 6055

The architecture of the city is largely comprised of heroes and foot soldiers. With an increase in the unique and iconic architectural interventions in the Cape Town City centre, the historic built fabric, urban design code and language of space design has received less attention. This 2-hour walking tour connects iconic structures of today with an understanding of the history of the city’s inhabitants as they sought to construct a robust framework for the extraordinary to happen. The discussion of the ‘urban real’ and the ‘urban imagined’ is explored through the visit of Cape Town’s most recent built environment champions.

V-Ray – The Chaos Group (Showcase/Presentations) at 17:00 – 20:00

A series of events, workshops, presentations and round-table discussion co-ordinated by Touchvision and featuring international guests and artists from Chaos Group, with local high profile 3D designers from architectural and design companies who will show why V-Ray is the rendering and visualization tool of choice for designers worldwide.

Open House 16 Andrews and Niegeman

August 16, 09:00 – 16:00 – WDC#318

A tour of selected buildings by Andrews & Niegeman, a firm of architects who practiced in Cape Town between 1945 -1999. The Rex Trueform, House of Monatic clothing factories in Salt River and the SA Naval College in Muizenberg are amongst their best-known. The clothing industry in Cape Town and the buildings it produced played a significant role in the way that the city of Cape Town developed in terms of race, class, and identity. Through the work of pioneer modernist architects Max Policansky, Doug E Andrews, and Henk Niegeman, we will reflect on how a reading of architectural space can uncover some of these complexities. Ex-factory workers, knowledgeable practitioners and current occupiers will lead the tour with insights that could prompt valuable discussions. Visitors will be exposed to a group of buildings that gives an integral glimpse into the history of garment making and the buildings that supported this industry.

The Open Design Cape Town Festival programme is a mix of ticketed and free events, and the Open Design festival is open to everyone. Open Design Cape Town is a collaboration between the City of Cape Town, the Cape Craft and Design Institute and the Cape Town Design Network.

Find out more about these and other events on the Open Design Cape Town website: – you can also like Open Design Cape Town on facebook and follow @opendesignct on Twitter.

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