What was Department of Design?


Initiated by the Government of the Netherlands as part of their contribution to World Design Capital Cape Town 2014, Department of Design was a three week-long event that stimulated design-thinking and supported sustainability and collaboration, based on the belief that if we work together, we can make a difference and co-create solutions.

Department of Design was housed in a heritage building in CBD, of which the interior was completely transformed into an inspiring landscape built from recycled materials, designed by Dutch design firm Droog (see gallery).

The programme featured key note speakers, workshops and videos where Dutch and South African key players from the industry could  exchange ideas and explore long-term collaboration around various themes like urban planning, water management, health, electricity. A Trade Mission from the Netherlands took part in Department of Design. This included a delegation of 55 Dutch companies with an interest in developing business relationships in South Africa, complemented by a number of representatives from local and international businesses, academia and government. (see participants)

For visitors, there were many ways to participate in Department of Design too. A parallel programme presented events, product launches, workshops, dinners, performances and presentations organised by local participants. There was a pop-up café, Wi-Fi and a play-space with educational toys designed by our partners (see programme archive).

It was at Department of Design that the #cocreateSA conversation began in the form of a campaign. Participants and visitors were invited to join the conversation by uploading #cocreateSA selfies to social media and telling us how we can make a difference together. All selfies stood a chance to win one of 10 invitations to an exclusive Department of Design networking event, the winners of which were announced here.

Luckily, the conversation did not end when the doors of Department of Design closed. The legacy of the event lives on in the #cocreateSA platform and the #cocreateSA Fund.

Beginning of 2015, a complete report on Department of Design was published.