Ideas Aplenty at First 2014 WDC Pitching Session

The first of eight World Design Capital pitching sessions was held yesterday at the German Club.

Howzit Cape Town?
 
I presume all is well since you are living in the greatest city in the world.  As proven by the first pitching session, significant progress is being made in the quest to craft a more sustainable and intelligent city. 
 
Determined to continue riding the WDC momentum, Cape Town Design NPC is encouraging entrepreneurs to pursue projects that further solidify the Mother City’s progressive status. 
 
Over the course of the next six months, eight pitching sessions will be held.  Only the most promising entrepreneurial ventures will be selected to participate.
 
The best pitched project at each session will be awarded R10,000.
 
Last night, 14 different projects were pitched.  While “100 Bycycles” was awarded first place (and deservedly so), here were my favorite projects. 

Best Pitch:  “Brainstorm the City”

“Next we have Ross Balchin for Brainstorm the City,” said MC, Charles Maisel.  
 
Silence.
 
People look around.  Charles starts to repeat the announcement, but is interrupted.  Emerging from the crowd, a woman sings and dances her way onto stage.  She is soon joined by other men and children strategically placed throughout the venue.  
 
Just like the brain, the presentation was creative, layered, and interconnected.  
 
The project as described on the brochure:  “An awareness campaign run throughout the year, showcasing the human brain:  the ultimate design story.  Through a variety of activities, this interactive journey will inform, inspire and educate communities about the wonders and fragility of this miraculous organ.”
 
Contact:  balchinm@telkomsa.net

Most Eco-Friendly:  “Safe Township Lighting”

Vijay Mitha begins the presentation with an anecdote:  Living in a township, a family sits in darkness.  A child needs light to read his book for school, but there is no electricity.  Kerosene lamps are frequently used, but they result in hundreds of fires each year.
 
The story was short, effective, and emotional.  Vijay had the audience’s attention.
 
What followed was a demonstration of bicycle powered LED task-lights.  Vijay hopes to aluminate the townships by donating energy generating bicycles – 20 minutes of peddling is enough to light five bulbs for 30 hours.
 
The project as described on the brochure:  “This project supplies individually charged, modular and multifunctional LED task-lights (NURU lights) and the world’s first commercially available pedal generator, the NURU POWERCycle.  The cycle provides reliable clean, sustainable power that is more efficient than current solar solutions.”
 
Contact:  vijay@shaktienergy.net

Best Project:/Most Ambitious:  “Lentegeur Spring Project”

“Who wants to volunteer to be mentally ill?” asks psychiatrist John Parker.  
 
Several people raise their hands.  Doctors in lab coats invade the audience to “treat” the volunteers.  Some are blindfolded.  Others have their mouths bounded shut.  And, symbolic of a straitjacket, some have their arms restricted.
 
The message was clear – mentally ill patients are often unjustly treated.  
 
The project aims to “heal the wounds of the past” by using eco strategies to design a psychiatric ward that provides patients with proper and humane care.  The endeavor will also include a landscape and food garden.
 
“Together we’ll bring back the spring.”  -- Parker
 
The project as described on the brochure:  “Bridging the divide between a mental health institution and deeply scarred surrounding community by designing a mental health centre of the future.  This project utilizes permaculture design principles that will engender an environmental regeneration.  In essences the concept of spring is brought to life through healing people and the environment.”
 
Contact:  John.parker@westerncape.gov.za
 
For a full list of the presented projects, click here.
 
For WDC Pitching Session 1 pictures, visit my SkyDrive.
 
Keeping you up2date on Cape Town’s latest, I am Douglas Calvin Hinkel giving you one more reason why #ilovecapetown
 
Please continue voting for the We Love Our Cities Campaign by including #welovecapetown in your Tweets and InstaGram posts.  You can also visit the We Love Our Cities website to vote for Cape Town daily.