News Ticker

Design Your Tomorrow at Open Design 2015

Imagine a future where a printer can print a pancake, children can design their own buildings, intelligent clothing adapts to your environment and fast food restaurants support local crafters. Imagine no further: some of these existing innovations along with a host of other designs that address everyday challenges will be showcased at Open Design Cape Town 2015. Themed Design is for Tomorrow, the third annual Open Design Cape Town Festival is a 12-day citywide event of talks, workshops, tours and interactive experiences that explore how design and innovation can be used to add great value to our daily lives and create a more sustainable future. It will take place from 12 to 23 August at venues across Cape Town, with event hubs at City Hall and the V&A Waterfront.

With over 100 events on the programme, most with free access to the public, two main event hubs and collaborations with global and local brands, Open Design 2015 brings design and innovation to life. Its key features are the first Cape Town Maker Faire and Maker Conference, which will bring leaders in the maker movement as well as large organisations including Microsoft and DigitalGlobe together for discussions; Open Design Design for Tomorrow showcase and exhibition in collaboration with INDEX: Design to Improve Life®; Designing Careers programme, which explores the values and impact of design and as a viable career option for high school learners; TEDx Cape Town; Pecha Kucha and the popular Talk100 series, with international and local experts on design and innovation in health, technology, ‘urban hacktivism’, social development, education and other vital challenges that impact our future.

Through Open Design, the genius of innovative social design, service design, universal design and sustainable design has gained a firm place on the calendar of international design weeks. Event highlights 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 international 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 and participatory audience.

– A designathon 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, facilitated by Danish architect Julie Dufour and Vikki du Preez.

– A series of workshops and talks focusing on the design and production of e-textiles delivered by Danish designer Jo-Anne Kowalski.

Open Design creative director Y. Tsai explains the rationale behind the futuristic theme: “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,” he says.

“Under this year’s theme, the Open Design Cape Town Festival 2015 will explore the many ways we can use design and innovation today to secure a better future for tomorrow’s generation. This year’s programme 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 celebrates the values and impact of these as key drivers of economic, environmental and social development. It is the leading showcase of how human-centred design can improve living conditions, build human capital and drive job creation.

Open Design is open to everyone, whether they are new to design or already see design as critical to designing our future world. While some events are ticketed, most events are free to attend. It is advisable 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 Open Design 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.