Design News South Africa

World Design Capital 2014 secures top curators

Cape Town's achievement in being named World Design Capital 2014 received a boost with the acceptance from some of the world's best curators to be part of this programme.
World Design Capital 2014 secures top curators

The 38 curators will help identify projects that offer tangible evidence of how design can improve lives and play a significant role in the selection and curatorship of public submissions that will form part of the WDC programme in 2014.

World Design Capital is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development. It gives Cape Town the opportunity to showcase its achievements and aspirations through a one-year programme of design-led events and activities as World Design Capital designees Seoul (2010) and Helsinki (2012) have demonstrated.

Heading up the dynamic group of curators is the experienced Paul Duncan, who is currently head of Design for Homeware at Woolworths. Duncan is a former editorial director at Condé Nast Independent Magazines and the former launch editor of Condé Nast's House & Garden (South Africa). He studied in Cape Town and at the University of Edinburgh, where he exchanged a degree in architecture for an MA (Hons) degree in Fine Art.

What have the ordinary people to say?

Said Duncan: "I'm really excited about Cape Town's new role as World Design Capital 2014 and for the opportunities it will bring for Capetonians to have a say about the future of their city. The city's planners' view is one thing, but what about ordinary people who use the city? What do they want? What ideas do they have? What experience can they bring to the event?

"Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but our record of enhancing it has been anything but earth shattering. Now we have the opportunity to amend that all that. Let's do it with great sense of purpose. I want to hear what people out there propose for it - from the littlest neighbourhood schemes that will enhance communities to visionary projects that encompass the entire city and its surroundings," he said.

To signal the implementation phase of the WDC, Cape Town Design - the company appointed to manage the WDC initiative - last month called for submissions from the public to identify, nurture and promote projects that show how design can improve lives within the South African and African context.

Alayne Reesberg, CEO of Cape Town Design, re-iterated: "The focus will be on projects that bridge historic divides, reconnect our city in structure and in spirit, rebuild social and economic inclusion, and reposition Cape Town for a sustainable future."

She added that submissions were rolling in and there has been strong public interest and support judging from the proposals registered online in the two weeks since the call for action.

Submissions can be made within any of the four themes designated for WDC 2014:

  • African Innovation. Global Conversation
  • Bridging the Divide
  • Today for Tomorrow
  • Beautiful Spaces. Beautiful Things

For more information about the themes and the WDC 2014, visit or follow us on @wdc2014. The closing date for submissions is 5 April 2013.

The curators

The World Design Capital 2014 curator list is as follows:

Paul Duncan
Curator Coordinator

Paul Duncan is a former editorial director at Conde Nast Independent Magazines and former editor of Conde Nast House & Garden (South Africa). Paul was educated in Cape Town and at the University of Edinburgh where he exchanged a degree in architecture for an MA (Hons) in Fine Art. His career has included a stint as speechwriter and researcher to the chairman of the London-based Royal Fine Arts Commission. He is currently head of design for home ware at Woolworths in South Africa. His published books include two collections of South African interiors Down South and Down South Two, and Style Icons. Paul was responsible for the abridgement and picture research for Nelson Mandela's Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom. He lives in Cape Town.

Lourina Botha
Lourina has worked in advertising and design in Africa and London. As co-founder of Let's Talk Shop, she developed a toolkit that provides a framework for designers to set up a design residency on a local high street in order to create more diversity and a stronger local identity. It is an approach that explores how narrative design can support urban regeneration and business development while avoiding the negative consequences of gentrification, in other words, the marginalisation of the existing community. Currently, she is co-director at Studio Shelf, a Cape Town based design Studio.

Guto Bussab
Born in São Paulo, Guto is a multidisciplinary artist, having produced a body of work as a film director, photographer and musician. His work in advertising was awarded several international accolades and his photographs have been published in several books. In 2008, he co-produced Gangster's paradise: Jerusalema. Guto is the founder of MUTI, the parent company of Muti Films, Muti Photography and TheMutiGallery."

Eugene Cloete
Eugene is Vice Rector Research at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2010, while still the dean of the faculty of science, Eugene and his team developed a water filter that fits into a bottle, filtering out chemicals and killing harmful bacteria, making potable water a reality to millions. Eugene, whose passion is to add value to the lives of others, has patented eight inventions and published numerous academic articles.

Velma Corcoran
With a background in advertising, brand strategy and marketing, Velma has worked in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London. Currently she is the head of marketing at Cape Town Tourism

Andrea Couvert (Italian living in CT)
Relocating from Italy nine years ago, Andrea likes to 'make things happen'. He has extensive experience working for social co-operatives and development agencies. He is adept at communicating these ideas in different formats, ranging from documentaries, magazines and multimedia, putting to use his knowledge as project manager, graphic designer and art director. Andrea, who has done voluntary work with refugees, now heads up the communication agency Slowdesign.

Brandon De Kock
Currently group content director at RamsayMedia, Brandon edited Compleat Golfer in the nineties on the back of a career in art, live shows, music and entertainment. He is a storyteller, writer, photographer and creative thought leader with over two decades' experience in all aspects of media.

Joy Ezeka (Nigerian in SA)
Joy worked as an Art Consultant for private collectors as managing director of Genesis1 in Nigeria. Her work also included managing artist, organising and curating exhibitions in the arts and furniture, in Nigeria and Ghana. At the moment, she is working as a Design Strategist using Human Centred Design and Design Thinking in her approach to designing solutions for community challenges.

Rael Futerman
As Industrial Design Program Leader at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and coordinator of the CPUT DESIS Lab, Rael focuses on participatory design, social innovation, industrial design and research. He has worked on various Design for Development projects including rural transport solutions, as well as designing mass-produced commercial products.

David Gibbs & Mark Saint Pôl
David and Mark both graduated from UCT (where they teach part-time) as 'Masters of Landscape Architecture'. David's experience includes urban renewal, heritage intervention, environmental design, transport infrastructure, and mixed-use development. Mark's experience includes work undertaken abroad - in Australia and the United Kingdom. Detail design and construction detailing forms the focus of Mark's teaching agenda. In practice as gibbs saintpôl, David and Mark understand 'Landscape' as encompassing social, environmental and economic dimensions; and playing a primary role in urban place-making."

Ilse Schermers Griesel
A well-known gallery-owner and art-dealer, Ilse is especially knowledgeable in contemporary South African sculpture, fine art and design. She is a respected art curator and has worked on various interior design projects. Ilse believes in the use of community arts projects to address widespread poverty.

Mel Hagen
Mel Hagen has worked for many years promoting design at both provincial and national level. She was a co-founder of the highly acclaimed Cape Craft & Design Institute, initiated the process of developing a design strategy for the Province and participated at national level in the development of a design curriculum for schools. She served for 11 years as Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, is an active member of the Cape Town Design Network and currently works as a researcher and design activist. She holds a master's in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town.

Steven Harris
Steven holds a Masters degree in engineering from the University of Cape Town. He has worked as consultant before starting a 3D design software business. He has worked on projects in the fields of tourism, marketing and urban development locally and internationally dealing with community and design.

Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf is a cultural analyst currently based in the Faculty of Design & Informatics at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He studied in the UK, Canada, the USA and South Africa and has taught in the fields of world literature, post-coloniality, media studies, and visual culture at the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Natal, Rhodes, Malaya (Malaysia), and Eastern Mediterranean (N. Cyprus). He is the author of various books, articles and papers. He was shortlisted for the MNET Prize for his novel about the Cape Town art scene, Love themes for the wilderness. He won the Sanlam Prize for the title story of his collection of short fiction, The Shades. He also published a book-length study, Predicaments of culture in South Africa.

André James
André is an industrial designer who designs the business around makers and their objects, he has taught at CPUT, Stellenbosch University and Friends of Design Academy. He represents and trades in, among others, furniture, eyeware and jewellery etc. He is passionate about the promotion of socially embedded design and harnessing it, by empowering the next generation of 'object culture creators'.

Gregor Jenkin
As a designer, Gregor is interested the process of making an object. He sees design as a by-product of this age-old process. He is acclaimed for his re-interpretative designs of everyday furniture and lighting objects.

Richard Kilpert
Currently lecturing at the Vega School of Brand Leadership, Richard has a degree in printmaking and is currently finalising a Masters in interactive technology. Richard has been director of the Ilitha Arts Education Project in the Eastern Cape and the Imagination Lab in Gauteng. He loves traditional printmaking and kinetic art machines.

Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine
Zodwa specialises in print and online media, and is currently working as the online fashion, beauty and homeware content manager for Woolworths. Her journalistic skills have taken her to magazines like Grazia, Cosmopolitan South Africa, Marie Claire and DRUM. She is an avid blogger with a love for social media and connectivity.

Stephen Lamb
Stephen has fourteen years of design experience working in conservation and community development. Stephen was involved in the establishment of the mountaineering teams for the Working for Water Program in its inception in 1996. He later led the design and development of the suite of "Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trails" and overnight campsites for South African National Parks (for which he won the CEO Kudu Award for Research, Initiative and Innovation, 2007). Stephen co-designed and constructed the award-winning Cape Town COP 17 pavilion in 2011 (winning three awards to date). In 2012, he designed and built the entrance pavilion to the ninth Shanghai Biennale. More recently Stephen co-designed and built the TEL Green Shack prototype at the Design Indaba, with design partner Andrew Lord. Stephen is currently developing low-tech designs to reduce shack fires and flooding in informal settlements and campaigning for the large-scale roll-out of rooftop and urban vegetable gardens in Cape Town.

Ricky Lee Gordon
Ricky Lee Gordon has been painting murals on the street for over 12 years. He has a profound respect for street painting as art, an experience for the everyday man that he feels cannot be replicated by any other art-form. "Freddy Sam", the names of his two grandfathers put together, is his alter ego and the name he has given himself to represent him as an artist. In 2009 Ricky launched /A WORD OF ART (/AWOA) to create an alternative to 'white-wall gallery exhibits'. He refers to it as a new subculture, blending contemporary fine art with 'lowbrow influences such as street art, graffiti, outsider and pop art'. Ricky believes social change, on various levels, can happen by connecting people creatively and he is involved in arts outreach activities in Woodstock, Langa and Khayelitsha.

Wayne Lowe
Building a solid career in communications, Wayne has worked for, amongst others, the BBC, JCI-Anglo American, V&A Waterfront and in film. In 2009, he joined HWB Communications as executive director, bringing with him a strong background in assessing and adjudicating design and development projects with an aesthetic and functional purpose from urban design to planning to architecture.

Mokena Makeka
Mokena Makeka directs Makeka Design Lab, a laboratory practice that designs innovative urban, architectural, cultural and installation solutions. He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1998. He was selected as one of ORDOS 100 architects, sits on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for Design and on the boards of various private and public institutions. He also served on the 2010 FIFA World Cup arts and culture task team. Follow Mokena on Twitter: @MakekaDesignLab

Annemarie Meintjes
Annemarie is a well-known influence in the world of Architecture, interior design and living trends in South Africa. She was on the launch team of television in South Africa, the fashion magazine RED and interior and décor magazine House & Leisure. She has co-written several books with Karen Roos and is a familiar face on television. She is currently VISI's Deputy Editor.

Joel Merris
As the Creative Director and founding member of Liquid Crystal Design Studio, Joel is a corporate branding expert. He has worked on various award-winning brands in the design and advertising fields and is highly experienced in graphic design, industrial design and advertising. He believes that design should have function, purpose and the ability to make a positive contribution.

Roelf Mulder
Roelf is a pioneer in the field of product design in South Africa. His career spans more than 30 years, combining his expertise in design for sustainability, universal design, interaction design, service design, ergonomics, prototyping, product development, value engineering and design management, with a commitment to participatory and co-design practices. Apart from being managing director at ...XYZ Design, he is involved with various design and educational institutions, sharing is knowledge and growing a new generation.

Neo Muyanga
Neo Muyanga was born in Soweto. He studied the Italian madrigal tradition with choral maestro, Piero Poclen, in Trieste, Italy. In the mid 90's he co-founded the acoustic pop duo, BLK Sonshine with Masauko Chipembere, garnering a following throughout Southern Africa and Internationally. Neo writes music plays, chorus songs and has a variety of works for chamber and large ensemble (his operetta, "the Flower of Shembe", premiered to critical acclaim in 2012). He continues to tour widely both as a solo performer and in various band guises. Neo co-founded the Pan African Space Station in 2008 with Chimurenga's publishing editor, Ntone Edjabe, as a continually evolving host of cutting-edge Pan African music and sound art on the internet and across stages in Cape Town and other parts of the globe:

Siphiwe Ngwenya
Siphiwe is probably better known as rapper Ngwenya aka Master Sip, frontman of Natives from the Sun and former member of hip-hop outfit Skwatta Kamp. He has merged the arts and sciences, tested the boundaries of alternative spaces and energy. He built and tested a renewal energy base station in the Antarctic with an array of scientists and engineers to prove that renewals can be used in so-called inhospitable terrain. He acts as a curator of the arts in townships and has produced several township centred art projects. Siphiwe believes that design plays an important part in creating custom solutions for societal problems.

Merle O'Brien
Merle has spent 15 years consulting internationally in strategic management, marketing, public relations and crisis management. She is a qualified futurist and former president of the Institute for Public Relations and Communication Management of southern Africa. She has completed several PR projects for government and was involved in staging the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002. Merle teaches at the Vega School of Brand Leadership, is busy with a PhD and is a qualified Odissi dance instructor.

Marlon Parker
As head of Mxit Reach, Marlon is a social entrepreneur with expertise in ICT for community empowerment. Before helping to launch the cloud-based contact centre platform JamiiX, he taught at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Luke Pedersen
Luke Pedersen is from Cape Town and studied in South Africa and Sweden. Luke is a furniture and homeware designer at Pedersen and Lennard. Through industrial design and product development, he hopes to foster a growing design awareness in the South African market.

Neil Pendock
Neil is one of South Africa's most respected wine writers and has participated as judge in countless tastings. He is the author of many books and articles on wine, culture and lifestyle and writes a regular column for the Sunday Times.

Anet Pienaar-Vosloo
Anet started her career at Sarie magazine but soon found her niche in public relations. She was head of the Knysna Publicity Association and helped to launch the town's now legendary festival. She also worked in corporate communications at Naspers. She serves on several boards and works tirelessly for fundraising and is associated with the Baxter Theatre Complex and the Suidoosterfees.

Brett Pyper
Brett has extensive experience in South Africa's art festival scene. Previously the CEO for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, he is now in charge of the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees. He is also involved with projects targeting audiences across racial-ethnic boundaries and has expertise in curating live performances.

Laura Robinson
Qualified as an architect, Laura is now the CEO of the Cape Town Heritage Trust and past President of the Cape Institute for Architecture. Apart from her knowledge on heritage, she also has experience in assessing urban design and town planning proposals. She was the convener to the panel for the design of the Sarah Baartman Centre of Memory in the Eastern Cape and has worked extensively in international heritage related projects."

Camilla Swart
Camilla Swart heads up the Western Cape branch of Bridge, an NPO that links innovation in the education sector. Bridge is a network of education practitioners that meet in Communities of Practice to problem solve around focus areas of the education crisis. In these forums, they share best practice, research and innovate around policy development. The idea is to reduce duplication and create collective impact in the education sector.

Christopher Swift
Christopher's career spans 22 years in design, advertising, business entrepreneurship, fine art, design education and, recently, solid waste. As artist he is interested in environmental issues, which often bring him to bear on socio-political issues in a developing country and the African continent. He believes that Africa sits on the brink of significant solutions for many of the world's problems and that South Africa is the gateway.

Mark Swilling
Mark is the division head: Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University and academic director of the Sustainability Institute. He is also project leader of SU's Centre for Transdisciplinary Studies of Sustainability and Complexity (known as the TsamaHub,) which coordinates a transdisciplinary doctoral programme in sustainability studies. He was co-founder, former director and professor of the Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM), University of the Witwatersrand, 1993-1997, and prior to that he worked for PLANACT, an urban development NGO he helped establish in 1985. His latest book is Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World published by UCT Press."

Strijdom Van der Merwe
Artist, sculptor and graphic artist, Strijdom is well-known for his forays into landscape art. Before becoming a fulltime artist, Strijdom lectured in computer graphics. He is the recipient of various awards, residencies and accolades and he is widely published on various themes, including arts and sustainability.

Ilze Wolff
Ilze Wolff is an architect, and partner in Wolff Architects, a practice engaged in architectural work concerned with spatially reconnecting South African cities. She is also director of Open House Architecture, a practice pursuing the documentation and critical reflection of African architecture through various media such as publications, films and architectural tours. Ilze is pursuing a Masters in Heritage and Public Culture at UCT, focusing her research on the critique of modernist architectural space in post apartheid South Africa. In 2012, she was the programme director for the national architecture conference: Re-scripting Architecture, held in Cape Town.

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