A lightweight electric minicab, a stroller designed to improve the lives of disabled South Africans and a mobile app that provides up-to-date public transport information are just three of the 33 exciting official World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town 2014 projects to be showcased at the second annual Open Design Cape Town Festival. The 11-day event, taking place on 13-23 August 2014, is set to blow the lid off the notion that design is an elitist pursuit, through a dynamic programme of free and ticketed design-related exhibitions, talks and educational experiences at the Cape Town City Hall.
The World Design Capital projects are closely linked to the theme of this year’s festival, which is Design is for Change. “There are 460 WDC Capital projects, all of which use design to transform, and we were overwhelmed by the sensitivity, imagination, practicality and often simplicity, behind all them,” said Open Design Cape Town co-founder and creative director, Y. Tsai. “That said, for the Open Design Festival, we wanted to highlight the 33 projects that we felt had an immediate impact in 2014, in order to communicate to festival visitors that design is more than an idea; it is capable of creating much-needed change in the short-term,” said Tsai.
The showcase also includes projects developed by the City of Cape Town, which demonstrate how design can be and is being used as an agent for social, environmental and economic transformation.
Some of the WDC projects include:
· #WDC233 and #WDC201 – V&A Silo Projects and Watershed – The Silo projects are contemporary buildings which are revitalising a Waterfront precinct that was in disrepair. They are also amongst the few buildings in South Africa that have a 6-star green rating. The Watershed is the conversion of an old warehouse into a three-story innovation hub.
· #WDC329 – Shonaquip Stroller – Shonaquip’s Madiba2Go is a customizable off-road posture support mobility device. In an under-resourced country like South Africa there is a need for a reasonably priced, posture support and mobility device for moderately to severely disabled individuals that is specifically suited for the local terrain, and that is also comfortable for the user.
· #WDC426 – Mellowcabs – Attractive electric minicabs that provide an on-demand, flexible and affordable taxi transport service in cities. Made from recycled materials and 100% carbon-emission free, this unique design not only solves congestion problems within city limits but also offers an affordable, environmentally friendly urban micro-transport solution.
· #WDC409 – Go Metro – A mobile application that draws on community participation to provide up-to-date transport information for Metrorail and other public transport services in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa.
For WDC Cape Town 2014, the City of Cape Town also challenged itself to use design thinking to come up with solutions to current problems. Some of the results of #WDC102 which are on display at Open Design Cape Town are:
- Moving revenue contact centres and motor vehicle registration offices into shopping malls enhances the accessibility of these services. Consequently, both the City’s cash flow and efficiency improve, as service can be provided to more residents over extended hours.
- Smart Parks is a pilot programme designed to transform hostile and barren areas into open recreational spaces with functional, robust facilities that can withstand the effects of intensive use by children year round. The layout and facilities are decided through active community engagement. Construction of the first three Smart Parks is currently underway in Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Blikkiesdorp.
- Online and printed map to promote ‘green’ lifestyle choices – The Cape Town Green Map (CTGM) provides a comprehensive visual online and printed guide to ‘sustainable’ everything, from leisure activities to recycling services.
Visitors to the Open Design festival will find a range of events taking place within the creative hub that will occupy historic City Hall for 11 days. Highlights include:
- TALK 100: Interesting and inspirational talks during lunch times and evenings, featuring local and international speakers, like: Italy’s Prof Ezio Manzini one of the most important thinkers in sustainable design today; David Trubridge, New Zealand’s best-known furniture and lighting designer and South Africa’s 16-year old web and iStyla app developer Jacques Blom.
- The World Robot Olympiad, where teams of learners will compete, building robots that solve a set challenge.
- The first public showing of a collection of 50 resistance posters designed at the Community Arts Project in the 70s and 80s. The posters were created by ordinary people to voice their protest against the apartheid regime.
- Design your Thinking, on 16 August, a day-long programme of short talks from fascinating speakers, looking at the ‘why’ that triggers an idea.
- An interactive Playroom, where learners can learn about and experience design, both as a career and also part of everyday life, as well as many other events that showcase design and architectural education and careers such as 3D printing and digital gaming.
- Pop-up shops showcasing products made by young design entrepreneurs.
- Open Design Movies: a curated mix of inspirational sounds and visuals, short movies and clips that celebrate the value of design and the integration of design thinking, to the man on the street.
- The festival also provides a casual atmosphere where networks can be expanded as well as ideas exchanged, and there will be many forums for interaction, including the Open Design Cafe, a space where festival visitors can gather for meaningful conversations, to meet and greet and to use as an alternative workspace. Catering will be provided by TRUTH Coffee and Osumo, amongst others.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor says: “Open Design Cape Town has been an instrument for change locally, opening up opportunities in the design sector for many talented and creative young people across the city. Part of the City’s strategy is to ensure that events are inclusive and provide adequate and abundant opportunities for citizens. Supporting events such as Open Design Cape Town does just this; encouraging participation, creating opportunities and strengthening social cohesion.”
Alayne Reesberg, CEO of Cape Town Design, continues: “The World Design Capital designation is an opportunity for designers, design thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators to use their imagination, talent and skills to reshape our city, finding solutions to the problems created by a history of segregation and exclusion. Open Design provides a platform to help the people of our city forge a new path into a safer, healthier, more sustainable and inclusive future.”
The educational wing at the City Hall event is presented this year in partnership with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Design Institute. As a partner of the 2014 event, the Design Institute expresses its belief that the youth of the country should draw on the power of design to unlock economic value. Gavin Mageni, Group Manager, SABS Design Institute explains:
“Opening the minds of young people through innovative design education can lead to development and economic growth. Without advancing it we might find ourselves confined to the barracks of mediocrity and poverty.”
There are also a number of additional events with a specific focus, such as the Universal Design Conference, held in Africa for the first time; and judging of submissions for the Loeries Creative Future Scholarship, which enables a learner from a disadvantaged background to study brand communication at a tertiary institution.
The curated events programme will also be augmented by a crowd-sourced programme. Individuals, groups and companies from all walks of life across Cape Town are invited to apply to host an Open Design-related event during the week. These events should all be designed to represent the main theme, Design is for Change. Applications can be made through the Open Design Cape Town website. The application deadline is 25 July 2014.
The 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: www.opendesignct.com – you can also like Open Design Cape Town on facebook www.facebook.com/Opendesignct and follow @opendesignct on Twitter.