World Design Capital Finland - This UFO-styled home was designed by a Finnish architect and then manufactured in South Africa. It gained worldwide interest in the 1960’s, but was deemed too expensive for the mass market. The plastic house is still found in some parts of the world and is being exhibited in Espoo, Finland.

Almost 50 years ago a space-age plastic house was built in South Africa according to a Finnish design, but was deemed too expensive for the mass market.

In the 1960s the UFO-styled unit caught on to some extent in other countries, and it is being exhibited during the run of Finnish city Helsinki as World Design Capital 2012.

This Finland-SA link is of relevance again since Cape Town has been designated World Design Capital for 2014.

The award is made to cities recognised for their use of design as a catalyst for city development.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said earlier this year that “the desired legacy of World Design Capital 2014 is for design to become more of a factor in informing decisions made in the city as a way of creating a more safe, caring and well-run city which creates opportunities for its citizens”.

It is the first city in the developing world to be awarded World Design Capital status, and its priorities will likely be different from those in a city like Helsinki.

In the Finnish capital, close to 4 000 residents heeded a call to shape the future of their city.

Helsinki is host along with four other neighbouring cities: Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti.

Laura Aalto, the marketing and communications director of the World Design Capital, said Finland had always been a “design-driven society”.

“The city is committed to using design as a tool,” said Aalto.

During two “idea days”, 2 500 suggestions were put forward.