“Our top priority remains making design accessible to everyone”
Future Cape Town speaks with Christo Maritz, Branding and Marketing Director for Open Design Cape Town 2015, on what to expect of the 2015 Edition.
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.
Future Cape Town: What should we expect to experience at Open Design Fest 2015?
Christo Maritz: 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.
FCT: In what ways do you hope ODF 2015 to be new, or different from the past two events?
CM: As the festival’s organiser, it is important to make sure there is a balance between regular events that people expect and look out for new events to be introduced to a familiar audience. Every year we look at which events have engaged their audiences well and were supported; then we adapt our offering accordingly.
This year also sees Open Design hosting larger events within its programme and we are proud to be collaborating with Maker Faire and Maker Con. As our festival grows, we believe it is important to build our international footprint and have therefore collaborated and partnered with countries and cities around the world. With over 100 events planned for this year’s programme, we have decided that in addition to our website, we will publish a 56-page printed programme and also have a smart phone app to help visitors select and engage with the wide range of events.
FCT: How has the event spread to other part of Cape Town?
CM: We look at new ways to engage with our audience and make sure we provide an exciting new line-up of events. This year we focussed on spreading the festival to more spaces around Cape Town – we have partnered with the V&A Waterfront, which is now also a main sponsor, and will be creating a truly unique experience as the Open Design Cape Town Festival integrates with the Watershed and Studio17 space. We have more activations within the City Centre as well as at Gugu Sethebe and other areas. Open Design is keen to spread the festival even wider and is looking for partners and activations to assist in this regard. In the future we see a truly representative city-wide festival reconnecting the city through design.
Urbanism is at the forefront of this design thinking
FCT: What priorities guide ODF, and have these shifted since 2013?
CM: Our top priority remains making design accessible to everyone by building a platform where the industry can engage with each other and with the public. Design plays an ever increasing role in society and in so many industries, and our focus remains on advocating and demonstrating this relevance.
Now that World Design Capital 2014 has come and gone, it is important that Open Design keeps design in the forefront of everyone’s minds and builds on the spotlight that shone during 2014. The second priority for the festival is to make sure it stays relevant and engages more and more partners for participation and support, as it needs to be sustained by the industry and its stakeholders. Unlike a sports event, Open Design’s sponsorships should be aligned to participation and engagement, and not only brand exposure.
FCT: How has public access and participation guided this festival since 2013?
CM: It keeps us real to our cause and ensures that our content remains accessible and humble.
FCT: Why should urbanists and young people attend Open Design 2015?
CM: Good design ultimately puts the user at the centre of problem solving. It also considers a wide range of challenges and consequences within problem solving and is not afraid to challenge the norms. Urbanism is at the forefront of this design thinking and approaches a better future through consideration to a built environment’s social impact. Our youth is leading the way with a new wave of social consciousness and Open Design should be their platform to engage and act on this.
Open Design 2015 will take place from 12 to 23 August at venues across Cape Town, with event hubs at City Hall and the V&A Waterfront. Visit the official website for more information on the programme.
Christo Maritz is the Branding and Marketing Director for Open Design Cape Town 2015 and also the Owner & Creative Director of Infestation. With his passion for design combined with his passion for people, he has guided Infestation to become one of the leading communication and design agencies in Cape Town.Christo is one of the founding members of the Cape Town Design Network (CTDN), an independent network of local design disciplines that advocates the use of design as a tool in solving social and economic challenges.
Credits: All pictures were sent from the Open Design Cape Town team and are published on their website: www.opendesignct.com