Win for the Mother City of South Africa


It was announced today that Cape Town is the official World Design Capital for 2014, winning the accolade from competing shortlisted candidates Bilbao, Spain and Dublin, Ireland.

The World Design Capital title is awarded every two years by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to increase global awareness of cities dedicated to using design for social, economic, and cultural development and change. The World Design Capital title is awarded two years in advance to allow the winning city sufficient time to plan, develop, and promote a year-long program of World Design Capital-themed events that throw an international spotlight on the winning city’s creative sector.

The win comes at an optimal time for Cape Town as the destination gears itself for more sustained economic growth and a more significant share of the world’s urban travelers. Cape Town Tourism recently unveiled their new marketing strategy and global marketing campaign underpinned by the brand positioning of INSPIRATION and aligned with a broader economic vision for Cape Town. The strategy and campaign perfectly aligns with the intentions behind Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid. Forming part of a comprehensive marketing strategy for Cape Town aimed at growing the demand for the destination by speaking to a wider audience in new and established international and domestic markets, the strategy and campaign align with sectors beyond tourism and is to be launched globally at the World Travel Market in November.

Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager, Skye Grove, is on the ground in Taipei, and said: “The build-up to the announcement in Taipei was exhilarating. The Cape Town delegation met with the other two short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao, and agreed that the bid process and winner announcement was the start of a journey of collaboration between all three cities. Solid city relationships in design and tourism were formed, and we will be taking these connections into the future. Cape Town also met with the World Design Capital 2012 Helsinki who agreed to share learnings from their journey. Helsinki confirmed the significant influence the World Design Capital title has had on city branding and marketing – the spin offs for their tourism sector have been significant.

“The World Design Capital organizing body (ICSID) confirmed that it was an extremely close race with all three cities submitting high-quality bids. The Cape Town team is extremely excited and is looking forward to returning home to the amazing citizen support received in the build-up and while being here in Taipei.”

Said CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold: “We are obviously very excited about this achievement – by far Cape Town’s biggest accomplishment since successfully hosting the World Cup and a major boost for morale in the design, public, and private sectors. The bid process has been an exciting journey and learning curve for the city. It comes at a crucial time when Cape Town is set to launch an innovative, exciting, and inclusive marketing campaign for the city, positioned to embrace citizens, tourism, creative sector, business, and academia and grow the demand for Cape Town as a place to visit, invest, learn, live, and work.

“Cape Town’s bid for the title of World Design Capital 2014 has showcased the important role design and the creative sector at large play in transforming a city, making it not just a great place to visit, but a greater place to live. The theme ‘Live Design, Transform Life’ provides a solid platform from which we can continue to learn, change, and further develop Cape Town using the concepts of integration, creativity, and innovative design.

The benefits for tourism are obvious and Cape Town Tourism looks forward to use the title of World Design Capital to grow demand for Cape Town.”

About World Design Capital

The bidding process for this prestigious title began in 2010 and was undertaken by the Cape Town Partnership as mandated by the City of Cape Town. On March 31, 2011 the official 465-page bid book was presented to the ICSID in Canada, with the theme, “Live Design. Transform Life.” On June 21, 2011 Cape Town made the shortlist of three cities in the running for the 2014 title and in July, Cape Town hosted two members of the ICSID selection committee showcasing just some of the projects mentioned in the bid book.

The year 2014 will be a milestone in South Africa’s history as it marks twenty years of democracy in the country. With the title of World Design Capital 2014, the city has the opportunity and platform to re-design a historically disconnected city as an inclusive, entrepreneurial, and sustainable African city with one common vision for all sectors of business. Not only does the 465-page bid book set out a clear plan for the city’s layout and development, but winning the World Design Capital title is a win for the Mother City, South Africa, and Africa.