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As the events surrounding the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 (CT WDC 2014) ramp up, Elana Castle chats to Trevyn McGowan, co-founder of South African design collectives, Source and Southern Guild and a member of the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 International Advisory Council (IAC).

“Cape Town has come into its own as more than just a scenic destination,” explains Trevyn McGowan, one of the five ambassadors on the International Advisory Council for WDC2014 and a fierce supporter and proponent of South African design, locally and in the global marketplace.

Oranjezicht City Farm


“Visitors are now recognising the creative talent that abides in the city and residents are more attuned to their own creative potential.  There’s a spirit of collaboration and connectivity that has emerged in the city’s design community that has resulted in a super spirit of creating, experimenting and performing.”

New Year’s Eve Projections

With a strong focus on the exposure and export of Southern African design to the global marketplace, McGowan is certainly one of the foremost authorities in the field.  “South African design is definitely having its moment,” she adds.


“With Southern Guild, we exhibit at various international design fairs and the response is always one of extreme excitement. Local designers stand up to their international counterparts and it goes a step further because people are fascinated by us as a young democracy and a young entrant to the world of contemporary design.  I think that all of the members of the IAC felt that our primary function was to challenge, provoke, stimulate and encourage those who were tasked with the enormous responsibility of shaping CT WDC 2014 from our own unique perspectives.”

Greenpoint Urban Park Climate Festival

Given their exceptional commitment to South African design, it comes as no surprise that McGowan and her partner Julian McGowan, leveraged the WDC platform to launch GUILD, an international design fair – the first of its kind in South Africa – to coincide with the year’s events,  “I’m very proud to have introduced to this city during this momentous year of design.  We were able to bring collectable design from around the world to this city.  Never before had the city’s residents and visitors been exposed to such a high level of design in their own back yard,” McGowan explains.  The McGowan event kicked off the WDC year alongside the Cape Town Art Fair and the Design Indaba.

Design Indaba 

Drawing on the role that design can play in shaping the future of Cape Town, the WDC 2104 programme offers over 450 events throughout the year including 100% Design SA, CIties Exhibition, The Density Project (workshopping solutions to urban sprawl), Re-Blocking of Mtshini Wam (a community-led township upgrade), Design Policy Conference and Too Good to Waste (an exhibition of upcycled products).


World Design Capital Cape Town

Southern Guild

Guild Design Fair