World Design Capital: Cape Town 2014


Cape Town was the host for World Design Capital 2014. The central theme behind their successful bid was, 'Live Design. Transform Life.' focused on the role that design can play in social transformation. 

This theme, set the tone for the programme of design-inspired events and projects. Under it, 4 other themes were developed. The themes were:

  1. African Innovation. Global Conversation.
  2. Bridging the Divide.
  3. Today for Tomorrow.
  4. Beautiful Space. Beautiful Things.

In February 2014 we had the pleasure of having guest bloggers from Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 write for the PIVOT Dublin blog. We invited them to write about their city and the impact World Design Capital has had on promoting appreciation for the transformative role of design. Heather Parker, Nicky Swartz and Lindsay Bush gave us insightful articles on topics including How the Public Programme was Developed, Cape Town’s Creative Economy and Honouring the Work the City Does.

Design House Exhibition “Transforming Cities”

PIVOT Dublin was invited to participate in the signature WDC 2014 Design House Exhibition “Transforming Cities” which took place at the Cape Town Stadium from 15 – 19 October 2014. This exhibition showcased international examples of transformative design and presented best practices as an indicator of economic and social drivers for cities. Participants included Bavaria, Paris, Taipei, Accra, Qingdao, Seoul and Gwanju who exhibited through installations, films, lectures and conventional exhibits. The exhibition sought to highlight the “Transform Life” element of the over-arching theme of WDC Cape Town 2014: Live Design. Transform Life.

PIVOT Dublin’s exhibition entitled Growing with a Transforming City looked at the work of Dublin City Council’s Housing Department, and the role of design in delivering transformed homes for a dynamically changing population and a continually evolving historic city. The exhibition showcased a series of housing design projects, looking at how they are undertaken to understand the needs of users and their communities through participation, consultation or co-design and also how projects are designed to deliver wider social and economic change in city districts.

The exhibition is a focus for discussion of the issues which arise in the ongoing development of housing: understanding users, working with the urban context and historic typologies, developing wider outcomes, setting standards in sustainability and design quality, and innovation in delivery models. The context of these new schemes is set by photographer Greg Dunn, whose work reflects the character of the city’s people and its traditional buildings and spaces.


When we premiered the MakeShapeChange film back in March 2014 we were delighted to share the launch of the educational animated movie with WDC Cape Town. MakeShapeChange has grown from a movie, to a website, to an educational tool that the people of WDC Cape Town strongly believe can wake South African learners up to what design is.


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