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: these experiences and a host of other innovations that address everyday challenges and how design and innovation can changes lives will come to life at Open Design Cape Town 2016, which is taking place until August 21 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.
There are 140 mostly free events on the programme, and collaborations with global and local brands.
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 August 10 to 16, and citywide activations from August 17 to 21.
Key features of events in the City Hall hub 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, August 11)
• 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 values and impact of design in everyday life.
• The One Stop Design Shop Tertiary design schools exhibition, which runs for the duration of the festival (August 11 to 19), as well as the Open Day workshops and talks (Saturday, August 13).
• Opportunities to test the latest tech crazes, including augmented reality and gaming, virtual reality and 3D scanner demonstrations and experiences, which alternatively run between Thursday and Tuesday, August 11 to 16. 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 to Tuesday, August 11 to 16).
• 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, August 12) to the African Premier of the first full feature on crowd funding, ‘Capital C presented by Thundafund’ (Thursday, August 11).
Citywide events between August 17 and 21 include:
• Dine with Khayelitsha: Township households host local and international guests over conversational dinners that facilitate interaction on themes ranging from social issues to innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and sustainability (Friday, August 19).
• 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, August 17).
• 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, August 17).
Open Design is open to everyone. While some festival events are ticketed, most events are free to attend.
For more information and a full festival programme,