Metropolis: Eyes on Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium Bruce Sutherland (c)

The July/August edition of Metroplolis Magazine focuses on World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.

This year’s World Design Capital—the first in Africa— is bursting with energy, creativity, and reinvention, writes Paul Makovsky in Metropolis Magazine.

Alayne Reesberg’s challenge for Cape Town is to show how design works in the service of citizens.

“When you hear the word ‘design,’ you often think about expensive things or haute couture,” says the CEO of Cape Town’s year as World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014). “It turns out that it’s not so much about the pretty things and more about the gritty things: hard waste, sewage, infrastructure, how people get to work. It’s a different way of telling the Cape Town design story.”

The aim of this World Design Capital program—the theme is “Live Design. Transform Life”— isn’t as much about attracting tourists as it is about having a new vision for sustainable African cities.

WDC2014 has been spotlighting more than 460 initiatives (from a new museum by Thomas Heatherwick to Bicycle Cape Town, a community platform for urban cycling) with many new collaborations that will go beyond 2014.

“We have four themes about beautiful things such as urban spaces, architecture, food and wine, and the natural beauty of Cape Town,” says Reesberg. “The others are around technology and innovations in the medical and software field. And we’re putting reconciliation very firmly back on the agenda. It’s not just the sociopolitical and deeply personal reconciliation, but also looking at how Cape Town was planned. which often had the consequence of keeping neighborhoods apart.”

We’ve highlighted a number of the design initiatives and places to visit, and selected some talented designers whom we think show promise.

As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy this year, its burgeoning design community—and Cape Town itself—is ready to take its turn in the global spotlight.

Full story: see Metropolis

Cape Town Green Map will feature some of the projects that Paul Makovsky features in his article.