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The imagined becomes real at Open Design Cape Town

Friday, 29 July 2016   (0 Comments)
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Curious about the Steve Jobs factor? Ever thought of creating a super hero from a roller skate, breaking apart a toaster to see how it was designed or inventing your own computer game? Imagine no further. Tthese experiences and a host of other innovations that address everyday challenges and how design and innovation can change lives will come to life at Open Design Cape Town 2016, which takes place from 10 to 21 August at Cape Town City Hall and across the city.


Now in its fourth year, Open Design 2016 is a 12-day citywide festival of talks, exhibitions, workshops, tours, activations and interactive experiences that explore how design links the building blocks of a sustainable, inclusive society: through innovation, community building and education.


With over 140 mostly free events on the programme, and collaborations with global and local brands, Open Design 2016 brings design and innovation to life.


Its key features are Talk100 discussion sessions, which cover topics such as our readiness for the fourth industrial revolution and inspiring a new generation of change makers to build better communities; an Innovation Summit where a panel of local and international thought leaders will guide a discussion on “Creating a City of Opportunity for All”; educational events, such as the Designing Careers High School Programme; and Dine with Khayelitsha, a platform to bridge the gap between the different cultures living in urban centres and township communities.


Open Design creative director Y. Tsai explains: “Design is no longer the exclusive domain of the privileged elite. It touches every part of 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 approach, called human-centred design, is gaining a global focus for competitive business and socio-economic development.”


The festival takes place in two stages, with events, expos and workshops at Cape Town City Hall from 10-16 August and citywide activations from 17-21 August.


Key features of events in the City Hall hub between 10 and 16 August include:


  • The annual Talk100 sessions which pose key questions such as – What qualities do we need in future business leaders and social entrepreneurs? Are we ready for the fourth industrial revolution? What does it take to build a community? Is health the new wealth for our cities? What are the latest tech experiences and how do they impact us? (Thursday 11 August)

  • The Designing Careers High School Programme featuring presentations by top tertiary design schools on design-related study and career options; meet, greet and learn from an iconic South African designer and other activities to enable learners to appreciate the value and impact of design in everyday life.

  • The One Stop Design Shop exhibition showcasing the top tertiary design schools which runs for the duration of the festival (11 – 19 August), as well as the Open Day workshops and talks. (Saturday 13 August)

  • Opportunities to test the latest tech crazes, including augmented reality and gaming, virtual reality and 3D scanner demonstrations and experiences, which run between Thursday 11 and Tuesday 16 August; and a 24-hour game jam where you can witness game development students hone their craft (Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August).

  • Take a journey with The Better Living Challenge exhibition towards design-led innovation for low-income housing. (Thursday 11 to Tuesday 16 August)

  • Open Design Movie Nights screened at the Labia Theater which will raise thought-provoking issues ranging from the impact of the clothing industry in “The True Cost” (Friday 12 August) to the African Premier of the first full feature on crowd funding,  “Capital C” presented by Thundafund”(Thursday 11)


    Citywide events between 17 and 21 August include:


  • Dine with Khayelitsha in which township households host local and internationalguests over conversational dinners that facilitate interaction on themes ranging from social issues to innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and sustainability. (Friday 19 August)

  • The Architecture Open Studios, in partnership with Cape Institute for Architecture. The general public will have a rare opportunity to view the creative spaces of some of the leading architectural practices in Cape Town. (Wednesday 17 August)

  • Design Garage, a showroom space hosted by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). The new Design Garage showroom and shop supports emerging designers by showcasing and selling their fashion, textiles, graphics, jewellery and other industrial design products. The initiative sources products from students and alumni of the university’s design programmes. (Wednesday 17 August)


    Festival partners include the City of Cape Town, the National Department of Arts and Culture, the Cape Craft and Design Institute, Red Bull Amaphiko, #cocreateSA and Cape Town Tourism, among others.


    “Open Design Cape Town opens up unique opportunities in the design sector for many talented and creative young people,” says Councillor Garreth Bloor, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development. ”Part of the City’s strategy is to ensure that events are inclusive and that we provide opportunities. Open Design also serves to counter seasonality which is experienced during the colder winter months and to entrench Cape Town’s position as a year-round, value-for-money events destination.


    “The City of Cape Town is proud to be a sponsor of this event and we would like to encourage creative minded people to attend the many free events.”


    Open Design is open to everyone, whether they are new to design or already see design and innovation as critical to designing a better future world. While some festival events are ticketed, most events are free to attend. External event hosts can submit their own events on the

    Open Design website and apply to be included in the 2016 online programme.


    For more information and a full festival programme log onto or follow @OpenDesignct on Twitter, Opendesignct on Instagram and Opendesignct  on Facebook.  The official hashtag is #ODCT2016.

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