Torino, Seoul and Helsinki have all earned it in the past, but now congratulations is being sent to the City of Cape Town, which has been named World Design Capital (WDC) 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID). Cape Town beat out other shortlisted cities including the Spanish city of Bilbao and Ireland's capital Dublin.
The honour is awarded to cities based on their commitment to use design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development.
Cape Town’s vision of design is based on socially responsible design, sustainability and innovation. As part of its bid, the theme ‘Live Design. Transform Life’ was introduced in support of Cape Town’s objective to focus on enhancing the city’s infrastructure to make it a more liveable African City. The marriage of need and innovative design has resulted in unique solutions to address the issues of a developing city. Design in Cape Town is also reaching beyond city limits by aspiring to become the design hub for South Africa and for the African continent.
Cape Town’s appointment comes exactly two decades after it reached democracy.
"2014, then, is the moment when the past and the future will come together for Cape Town, in contemplation and in action," said Cape Town’s executive mayor Patricia de Lille.
She said the process involved in winning the title has helped bring together different initiatives together and has made the city “realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.”
“We look forward to learning from other cities that are using design as a tool for transformation, including designated cities Torino, Seoul and Helsinki and our fellow shortlisted cities, Dublin and Bilbao. We are honoured to have been considered with them."
Italy's Torino held the WDC title for 2008, while Seoul held it in 2010. Helsinki has the 2012 title and is currently getting ready to unveil its programme under the theme of Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life.