Events Programme for World Design Capital From Last Year

A look at the activities and events on the Cape Town design agenda during 2014

The programme for Cape Town’s reign as World Design Capital 2014 (WDC 2014), a prestigious designation that puts the Mother City in the global spotlight for a whole year, was made public in early November 2013. Comprising over 450 events focused on highlighting how design can be used to transform lives and better cities, the line-up features everything from a showcase of the creative work that’s gone into developing the MyCiTi bus transit systemto interactive community workshops and food festivals.

But with so much on the go, it’s still difficult to know exactly how ordinary residents and visitors can really get involved and make the most of Cape Town’s time on the international design stage.

So, in order to ensure that you have a clearer idea of what you can look forward to, we sat down with Nicky Swartz, programme director for Cape Town Design, the body responsible for overseeing the whole WDC process, to pick out some of the key highlights on the schedule that are open to the public.

What follows below is an outline of some of these activities, with emphasis on those that you can attend and actively participate in (note, this is just a small selection; there are many more). Under this, we’ve also included a little look at a few projects that don’t invite participation, but that nonetheless will go some way to changing the face of our pretty metropolis in 2014, and therefore are still worth watching out for. Finally, be sure to take note of those existing annual events that have been running for years but that will be reinterpreted in 2014 and incorporated into the jam-packed WDC programme.


New Year’s Eve of Design
(31 December 2013; Grand Parade)

Set to be the largest NYE party Cape Town has seen yet, this free soiree on the Grand Parade will kick off the WDC programme in style with live music, DJs and much more.

Sustainability Expo
(January/February/March; Silo Precinct at the V&A Waterfront)

In the earlier months of the year, visitors to the V&A Waterfront can catch an interesting exhibition that showcases a series of projects that focus on sustainability in one way or another. One such venture is Too Good to Waste, which will display a range of upcycled products to draw attention to the potential benefits of this trend.

GUILD International Design Fair
(27 February – 9 March 2014; The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront)

Africa’s first international design fair, this innovative expo, which will be curated to the nth degree, will feature extraordinary, groundbreaking design objects from renowned creatives around the world.

Langa Tag Township Arts Gallery Tour
(February 2014/January 2015; Langa)

Already underway in Cape Town, this exciting project transforms township homes into art galleries where members of the public can view works crafted by local artists.

100% Design South Africa
(25 – 28 April 2014; venue TBC)

Touching down in South Africa for the first time in 2014, this prominent international trade event – it’s the largest in the UK – will see established designers showcase contemporary, commercially oriented creations in the fields of interior, hospitality, office and product design.

Beautiful Things: From Tradition to Modernity
(mid-May to mid-October 2014; venue TBC)

With a focus on aesthetically pleasing, African-themed design objects, this fair features everything from ancient artefacts to uber contemporary products.

Cape Town Street Food Festival
(date TBC; venues TBC)

 This vibrant outdoor fair will expose the decidedly African culture of streetfood and the people behind this sceneto a broader audience. Expect lots of tasty on-the-go eats.

Muizenberg Festival
(October 2014; Muizenberg)

Expect everything from live entertainment and craft stalls to performance art at this vibrant fair, which aims to draw attention to the strong creative community that colours the seaside suburb of Muizenberg.

Temple of Dance
(October 2014; theatre TBC)

Put on in collaboration with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, this cross-media dance opera uses film, music and performance to illustrate how movement is intrinsicto the African way.

Red Bull Doodle Art Competition
(October 2014; Grand Parade)

The finals for this global doodling contest, which sees young artists from over 50 markets create scribbles and sketches to compete for the winning title, will be held in Cape Town in 2014, most likely in a temporary exhibition space built on the Grand Parade. Plus, rumour has it that a certain exciting piece of technology that’s never been seen before on African soil will be showcased at this expo.

Cities Exhibition
(21 – 29 November 2014; venue TBC)

In this exciting international exhibition, approximately 20 cities from Africa, Asia and Latin America, predominantly, will showcase how they have used design to transform aspects of their citizens’ lives.

Art Walk 
(November/December 2014; around Cape Town)

This short-term open-studio event invites members of the public to visit the work spaces of some of the most well-known artists in the city. A similar highlight is the Meet the Makers event, which focuses on the creative processes of architects, dancers, chefs and more.

Community Co-design Workshops 
(all year; throughout Cape Town)

During the WDC 2014 year, the City of Cape Town is calling on all 111 wards in our metropolis to develop a specific problem statement unique to their area that can be solved using design-led thinking at community workshops. All members of the public are invited to take part in the process to bring about change in their respective ward.

Urban Points of Interest Tours
(all year; various sites in Cape Town)

Throughout the year, locals and foreigners will be able to take guided walking tours that introduce them to various often-overlooked, design-related aspects of the city. For instance, one such expedition will focus on Cape Town’s textile heritage and the impact it has had on the city socially and architecturally.

Self-guided Urban Garden Tour
(all year; city centre and townships)

In honour of WDC 2014, an interactive online map will be launched that locals and tourists alike can follow to tour all the urban gardens and veggie patches in Cape Town and surrounds.


Postage Stamp Project:

To mark the occasion, the South African Post Office has launched a series of special postage stamps that feature designs produced by several gifted artists. These stamps will be in circulation all year, so locals are encouraged to look out for them.

Project X 2014 (PharoX): 

Award-winning artist Christopher Swift, in collaboration with famed architect Mokena Makeka, will set up a large-scale art installation on Signal Hill that takes the shape of a star tetrahedron. The lightweight piece will be made up of recycled fencing from Robben Island and will be lit up at night by thousands of energy-efficient light bulbs; it will stand as a shining tribute to WDC and as a symbol of 20 years of democracy in SA (Note: whether this project materialises is subject to funding).

City of Rainbows Public Art Project: 

Cape Town visitors and residents can expect to see hundreds of bright rainbows displayed in public areas throughout the year. This project is sure to add colour to the everyday lives of Mother City dwellers.


To find out what else is on the cards for Cape Town in 2014, check out the official World Design Capital programme calendar.


Eager to learn more about the innovative Mother City locals at the forefront of the creative movement here? Have a look at our overview of designers and design shops in Cape Town.


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