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Open Design Cape Town Festival 2015 | Design For Tomorrow

Open Design Festival


Can you imagine a future where printers print pancakes, children design buildings, intelligent clothing adapts to your environment and fast food restaurants support local crafters? What about a world based on human-centred design, geared to improve living conditions, build human capital and drive job creation?


Themed Design for Tomorrow, this year’s Open Design Cape Town Festival taking place from 12 to 23 August is showcasing these existing innovations where design aims to address everyday challenges. The third annual twelve day festival of talks, workshops, tours and interactive experiences explores how design influences our lives and can be used to create a better future. A highlight of the city’s winter season, the festival has over 100 events, most of which are free, taking place at Cape Town City Hall, the V&A Waterfront and various smaller venues. Open Design showcases both local and international collaborations and despite only running for three years, has gained a firm place on the calendar of international design weeks. The festival is open for everyone, whether they are new to design or already view it as critical to shaping our future world. Key events include:


  • The first ever Cape Town Maker Faire and Maker Conference, presented in collaboration with Trimble, bringing the global maker movement to the Mother City.
  • The Design for Tomorrow Open Design Exhibition, showcasing selected products and projects that show how design can add value as an agent for social, environmental and economic transformation in education, mobility, healthcare, systems, communication and more.
  • The Designing Careers programme guides and informs high school learners about the value and impact of design as well as a study and career choice.
  • The Talk100 series of public lunchtime talks featuring local and industry professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs who share their insights and experiences of designing solutions for health, entrepreneurship, social development, education and technology with an active participatory audience.
  • A designation for teenagers and young adults in which participants conceive, prototype and present ideas for the development of public spaces; and a workshop for 8-12 year olds to design a public pavilion by Danish architect Julie Dufour and Vikki du Preez.
  • A series of workshops and talks focussing on the design and production of e-textiles delivered by Danish designer Jo-Anne Kowalski.


Open Design



Y Tsai, Open Design’s creative director, explains that, “Design is no longer the exclusive domain of the privileged elite. It touches part of everyday life, addressing basic human needs in multiple applications across every sector that make up our social fabric. It has been used to transform healthcare, business, transport, urban development, agriculture, education, housing, technology, music, public spaces, communication and technology ‒ among others”. This year’s theme, “explores the many ways we can use design and innovation today to secure a better future for tomorrow’s generation and gives us a chance to reflect on what we want our future world to look like. We’re giving our visitors and collaborators a moment to come together to co-create that vision.”


Open Design Festival



Due to increasing popularity, it is encouraged to register for each event on the website or on Quicket to book seats as numbers are limited. External event hosts can submit their own events on the website and apply to be included in the 2015 programme. Official festival partners include the City of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront.


Other Open Design partners include the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Danish Agency of Culture and the Cape Craft and Design Institute. For more information and a full festival programme log onto or follow @opendesignct on Twitter, @opendesignct on Instagram and Opendesignct on Facebook – hashtags are #Design4Tomorrow or #OpenDesignCT.


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