1823c4b9-e177-4f07-a85d-4c31e6320e18Interested in where innovative design ideas come from? How design can improve lives, from street culture to safe and comfortable housing, or how nature can inspire and impact design?

The second annual Open Design Cape Town Festival takes place on 13-23 August 2014, and the 11-day event 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.

This year’s theme, Design is for Change, marks South Africa’s two decades of democratic transformation and reflects Cape Town’s commitment to design through the World Design Capital 2014 designation: Live Design. Transform Life.

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.

Visitors to the 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.
  • 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. 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. This event will be live-streamed in Langa.
  • 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.

Alayne Reesberg, CEO of Cape Town Design: “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.”

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 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.

Open Design Logo 2014 cmyk