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Open Design Cape Town - highlight of winter

This year's Open Design Cape Town takes place from 13-23 August 2014, at Cape Town City Hall and various venues across the city, under the theme, 'Design is for Change', marking South Africa's two decades of democratic transformation and reflecting World Design Capital 2014.
Open Design Cape Town co-founder and creative director, Y. Tsai, explains, "Design is not just for designers. The aim of Open Design Cape Town is to open up design to everyone and to show how it touches every part of life. We have deliberately formulated the programme to appeal to everyone, from early learners to seasoned professionals. Through Open Design, we want people to change the way they think about and experience design."


• TALK 100: Interesting and inspirational talks during lunch times and evenings, featuring local and international speakers, such as 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

• A showcase exhibition of selected official World Design Capital projects that demonstrate the rich potential for change through design

• The first public showing of a collection of 50 resistance posters designed at the Community Arts Project in the 70s and 80s. Ordinary people created the posters to voice their protest against the apartheid regime

• Design your Thinking, on 16 August, a daylong programme of short talks from fascinating speakers, looking at the 'why' that triggers an idea. This event will be live-streamed in Langa

• 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 displaying 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 for the average person

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. TRUTH Coffee and Osumo, amongst others, will provide catering.

Opening up opportunities

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 this 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."

SABS in partnership

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, 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.

Host an event

A crowd-sourced programme will also augment the curated events programme. Individuals, groups and companies from all lifestyles 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.

For more information, go to