Media Release, Date Published: Oct 26, 2011 Published By: Cape Town Tourism

Capetonians today celebrated their city being named World Design Capital for the year 2014 at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. News that Cape Town won the sought-after accolade came just after 06h00.

I Support the WDC2014 bid
The Taipei announcement and the acceptance speech by Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille were streamed live over the internet at agathering hosted by the Cape Town Design Network (CTDN) at the Field Office in The Fringe. Members of the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee and Cape Town World Design Capital Bid Committee were present. Many had also attended the CTDN’s pre-announcement party the previous night at The Assembly, one of Cape Town’s leading live music venues.

In Cape Town, acting Executive Mayor Ian Neilson announced the news at a Council meeting. “This is great news for our entire city and especially for our design community whose work earned us the title. We are celebrating design in its broadest sense from construction, engineering and process solutions for human needs to that which is visually and functionally useful and beautiful. In 2014 we will be celebrating 20 years of democracy – and now, through a full year of design-led events, we will be celebrating the role that design has played in taking a divided city and transforming it into a more integrated one. Design holds the key to addressing the issues of growing urbanisation. Design will help us to make a great city event greater.”

As the World Design Capital for 2014, the City of Cape Town will now be required to pay a licensing fee of 160 000 Euros to Icsid (the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design) over two years, for the use of the title. Private sector sponsorship will be sought to promote the title and the city’s year-long programme of events.

Guy Lundy, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town and Bid Committee member said: “To be economically competitive Cape Town must promote its people assets, ideas, skills, and solutions for a more liveablecity, to the world – against a backdrop of great natural beauty. We anticipate strong private sector interest in partnering with the World Design Capital 2014 project in the form of sponsorships. The title offers a full year of exposure in 2014, plus two years of pre-publicity in the run-up to the designated year. This makes it a very attractive opportunity for brands wanting to align themselves with design and creativity.”

What gave Cape Town the edge in the World Design Capital 2014 race? Two members of Cape Town’s World Design Capital Bid Committee share their thoughts:

“Cape Town has many faces. On the one hand, it is among the most beautiful cities in the world. On the other hand, the legacy of the past created many social problems. While nothing is superficial about Cape Town’s beauty, the ugly side is also in-your-face. It is these two extreme conditions that make Cape Town a great incubator for design, motivated by South Africans’ resilience and persistence in the face of challenges. This is evidenced by all the inspiring projects that have been captured in our World Design Capital bid book.”

– Y Tsai, architect and designer, Tsai Design Studio

“What makes Cape Town peculiar has to do with this flux of difference, and our particular urban form, which maps out the geographies of excess andlack of access. Cape Town is an amazing crucible for ideas… that resonate across the continent, and also at a local scale. In many ways, Cape Town could be the New York of Africa – a place where immigrants are welcome; a place where locals are welcome; a place where locals from the rest of Africa are welcome. It’s that type of unstable identity that I’m interested in.”

– Mokena Makeka, architect, Makeka Design Lab

View Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 celebration video, which premiered in Taipei at the IDA Congress:

View the video that helped to convince the World Design Capital 2014 selection committee to choose Cape Town:

Follow Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 success: Facebook page: Cape Town for World Design Capital, Twitter feed: CapeTown2014, and Twitter hash tag: #WDC2014.

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book can be found on


Media enquiries:

Solly Malatsi for the Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town

Tel: 021 400 1382 or Cell: 083 943 1449

Rabbit in a Hat Communications for Cape Town Partnership

Shafeeka Anthony – Tel: 021 448 9705 or Cell: 071 621 4164

Nicole Capper – Cell: O73 148 3561

Chrizanda van Wyk – Cell: O84 831 3142

Rabbit in a Hat Communications for Cape Town Tourism

Tammy White – Tel: 021 448 9705 or Cell: 073 202 5041

Vernon Bowers for StellenboschMunicipality

Tel: 021 808 8172 or Cell: 084 593 6491


The World Design Capital title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design

(ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural development. Founded in 1957 and active in 50 countries, ICSID has awarded the World Design Capital designation three times – to Torino, Italy (2008); Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (designated for 2012). The World Design Capital title is awarded in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year.