On 25 and 26 July, Supernews followed international World Design Capital (WDC) judges, Martin Darbyshire (UK) and Dilki de Silva (Canada) from the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) around on their official visit to South Africa.
To show off Cape Town’s recent improvements to the public transport system, the My Citi Bus Airport Shuttle service, which forms part of the urban improvement plan, transported the judges to the CTICC where they were welcomed by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille and Andrew Boraine (CEO Cape Town Partnership). Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, head of Cape Town Tourism emphasized Cape Town’s success in hosting ‘the world’ in 2010, assuring the ICSID judges that the city is more than capable of accommodating guests for WDC2014.
The judges were officially transported in Green Cab – a carbon neutral taxi fleet running on Bio-fuel. (They also took a spin in the Joule, SA’s first home-grown electric car that’s receiving international attention). Here are some of the highlights showcasing Cape Town’s plans to be at the forefront of transformative design.
Representing creativity and design, Montebello Design Centre in Newlands produces and sells textile, jewellery and décor designs from remote villages including designs by well-known local brand, Mielie. “Royalties are paid for the intellectual property to the original designer without luring people away from their communities”, explains director, Tessa Graaff, “so mothers can work and still look after their children.”
The Sustainability Institute and Lynedoch Ecovillage near Stellenbosch is a case study for how a sustainable village works. According to Academic Director, Mark Swilling, Lynedoch was the first in SA to establish that, “the average household toilet is responsible for 40% of total water consumption.” As a result villagers take responsibility for a lot of their own waste. The local school has a vegetable and fruit garden, and instead of using air-conditioning, classrooms use a stone temperature storing method, which can alter the temperature by three degrees.
The nearby Spier wine estate has focused on the Arts and Art development in the form of the Spier Contemporary and Creative Block projects. Andrew Milne, CEO of Spier explains that they give artists the opportunity to earn a steady income from their work which Spier sells to art collectors.
Exploring Cape Town’s townships, the judges were taken to Khayelitsha, Harare Precinct 3 and Harare Square, where the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading group (VPUU) are improving public spaces to combat crime. Here a previous ‘body dumping ground’ was turned into a playground and social space. An eco-conscious new library was also built nearby where the film, Shack Theater which successfully addresses the subject of Xenophobia, was produced. The absence of high fences surrounding the library symbolizes the trust developed within the community to create a friendly space. It seems to be paying off.
Neighbouring Mitchell’s Plain showcased the Design Indaba’s 10×10 low cost housing project for which local architect, Luyanda Mphalwa (Design Space Africa) won an international award. His design uses sandbag construction instead of bricks, which regulates temperatures, reduces damp and enables easy additions to the house. The urban improvements to the once dreaded Freedom Park has resulted in reduced crime and given people hope.
Moving to the east city, the Fringe, Cape Town’s new Central Design District aims to centralise design in the city. ‘The Bank’, for example, is home to Furnspace-3D, Aidan Bennetts Design, Francois van Eeden Interiors and Loerie Award winner Formula-D.
Within the Fringe, sits Harrington Street with its Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI), a non profit company that supports craft producers in the product-to-market process, as well as helps solve manufacturing problems. CCDI is not a factory, but rather a space that gives artisans a chance to create a sustainable business while doing what they love.
Bringing the judging process to a close, a gala event was held at the Gold restaurant with local hero, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu leaving a final good impression. With the evident support of the City and the Cape Town Partnership who managed the Bid on behalf of the City, let’s hope come October, Cape Town will be celebrating.
1) Harare Park, Khayelitsha
2) Harare Library, Khayelitsha
3) Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana of CTP (Image:Bruce Suterland)
4) Branding on Green Cab
5) Gala Dinner at the Gold- Image: Bruce Sutherland
6) Dilki de Silva and Desmond Tutu (Image:Bruce Suterland)
7) Judges with coins from Montabello (Image:Bruce Suterland)
Montebello Design Center: http://www.montebello.co.za/
The Bank: http://www.creativecapetown.net/the-bank-profit-is-shared/
The Fringe: http://www.creativecapetown.net/the-fringe-cape-town%E2%80%99s-innovation-district/
Design Indaba: http://www.designindaba.com/
My Citi: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/MyCiti/Pages/default.aspx
Green Cab: http://thegreencab.co.za/
Tourism Cape Town: http://www.tourismcapetown.co.za/ctru/content/en/za/home
Joule Car: http://www.optimalenergy.com/
Lynedoch Ecovillage: http://www.sustainabilityinstitute.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=20