I’m trying not to jump the gun — I’ve only been here a few days — but I think Cape Town might be one of my favorite cities. It’s lush and offers a striking view of the ocean on one side and rocky mountains on the other; it’s made up of beautiful buildings and hip dwellers; and there seems to be cool shops and unusual restaurants around every corner. Although its scattered hourly rain showers are wreaking havoc on my curly hair, I am too to engrossed in Cape Town culture to care.
But I had already known Cape Town had the potential to win my heart. For my birthday in March, my friend (who is also a fellow traveler on this trip) got me a Cape Town guide book that stated in a few short sentences in one of its chapters that this city had been named the 2014 World Design Capital. Reading this, my eyes got wide with excitement. And with that, Cape Town had bonus points from me before I even stepped foot on the city’s soil.
Every two years, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design names a World Design Capital, recognizing cities that have “used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life.” Helsinki, Seoul and Torino were previous recipients of the honor. This title allows a city to to show off its accomplishments and host a number of World Design events and exhibits.
Obviously it isn’t 2014 yet, and these events likely won’t be held in Cape Town during my stay. But Cape Town was chosen to be the next World Design Capital for a reason — citizens of this city appreciate the perfect storm of aesthetics and functionality — so I can’t wait to see what industrial design and graphic design and architectural design and fashion design and more can already be found throughout the city. Time to start planning my own Cape Town design expedition!