2022, the great year of Valencian design: outstanding figures and an ambitious legacy under way
21 Dec 2022 /

2022, the great year of Valencian design: outstanding figures and an ambitious legacy under way

The mission that Valencia has carried out these last two years, using design as a cultural and economic catalyst far beyond managing an international event, has generated a positive legacy in the city and society. “Design is already part of our past and our present. But —above all— it will become an indispensable part of our future”.

Thus, we ask ourselves: what has it meant for the city to be World Design Capital in 2022?

Valencia hit the ground running with design during this historic year, with more than 300 activities and 50 large exhibitions.

The programme

  1. Valencia hit the ground running with design during this historic year. More than 300 activities and 50 large exhibitions have had creativity and design as protagonists, in addition to those that under the umbrella of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 have been emerging to offer a unique loudspeaker to all kinds of creators and groups of interest. 
  2. The program has featured nearly 300 activities and projects -some of their own and some satellite- and more than a hundred international and top-level speakers at festivals and events, who paid special tribute to the awarding of the National Design Awards 2020 and 2022.
  3. During 2022, in the Comunitat Valenciana, there have been 214 events organized by the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 – an average of one event every 1.7 days- and some 84 organized by external organizations or institutions. The most popular events have been the major exhibitions at cultural centers and museums. An estimated 350,000 visits were made, of which 55% of them by people from the city of Valencia.
  4. Approximately one-third of the year’s activities have taken place in the capital’s main hub which is open to the public and located in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament: on average, Àgora Valencia has hosted an event every two days since its inauguration last June.
  5. Design is now part of the Valencian public opinion, flooding the city’s cultural offer in fifty spaces. This fact has been vindicated by institutions, through the creation of the first Local Design Council in a national city council. Also, from the country’s perspective, three ministries have declared World Design Capital Valencia 2022 an Event of Exceptional Public Interest.
  6. In 2022, historic records for visits to Valencia’s museums were broken and the airport has also exceeded its own historic record for visitors.
  7. And looking ahead into the future, it has been sown positively: there has been a historic number of enrollments in design degrees by students: the Comunitat Valenciana attracts more students than any other region in Spain.

Valencia is presented to the world as an example of social cohesion from its creative fabric, territorial structuring, and design applied to health, education, heritage, equality, and the economy.

Impact study and results

World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has analyzed its impact thanks to a study commissioned to Econcult by the World Design Organization -Research Area in Economics of Culture and Tourism of the University of Valencia- which responds to both its own and third-party data, to biannual surveys, to professionals involved in design and occasional surveys to participants in the events of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

After the first few months in which the economic and social impact of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 showed that the city had “a better performance in terms of tourism and culture than the average of other Spanish urban destinations”, the second half of the year has maintained an upward trend, thanks in large part to the various events organized around it.

With data that has been updated up until October, the direct impact in terms of tourist spending has followed the upward trend that was predicted in the first four months of 2022. Valencia has received considerably more visitors compared to the standard evolution of the average urban tourism of other cities such as Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Madrid, and Seville. Specifically, a third of the national and international visitors can be attributed to the celebration of World Design Capital Valencia 2022: about 27 thousand national visitors and 30 thousand foreign visitors (out of a total of 178,000), with a conservative approximation -assuming that only a third of the above-average visitors are directly or indirectly caused by the official program of activities or projects proposed by the organization-. This has translated into an annual expenditure of more than 27 million euros, distributed in 6.6 million in accommodation expenses, 7.7 million in bars and restaurants, and 13 million in cultural activities and other expenses at the destination.

The average citizen support for the celebration of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 gets a high mark, standing at 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Women, people with higher education, and the age group between 35 and 44 years have been the socio-demographic groups that have shown greater support and participated in the 100-plus events monitored. As a result of this same analysis, it is estimated that 30% of the participants in the events have traveled to Valencia for this purpose, one in ten of them being foreigners and two-thirds of them having stayed overnight in the city.

This is just the beginning of a new chapter in the book for the city that will be told through design and benefit the entire citizenship.

Participation in events and exhibitions

Overall, and counting the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 scope of the activities included in the program of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, about 350,000 people would have attended the activities that required prior registration or exhibitions, being therefore open, the number of visitors to the city who have enjoyed many other activities that will not yield data until the end of the year. 

Media coverage

Another of the key points of the year has been the appearance of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 in hundreds of media both national and international, reaching an economic return of 38.5 million euros —in print media between September 2019 and mid-December 2022 (specifically 20.5 million euros during 2022)— and reaching a global audience of 25 billion people through just under 10,000 publications and references.

Magazines such as Time or Metropolis, international editions of Condé Nast Traveler or Vogue; newspapers such as El País, Il Corriere della Sera, Metro World News, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, De Standaard and specialized media such as Wallpaper, Interni, ArchDaily, Dezeen or Frame among others have echoed the program of activities and the vivacity of the city around the world, promoting a great branding and reputation campaign which was very favorable for the city.

International presence

From Maison&Objet in Paris with the participation of Xavi Calvo, director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 as Ambassador of Spain, to the participation in the Frankfurt fair with its exhibition or in the Costa Rica Fashion Week in October 2022, the international promotion of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has not slowed down in this second semester, expanding the value of Valencian design in very diverse sectors. World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has also traveled to Romania Design Week and the Design Museum Holon in Israel presenting the ADN Cerámico project, as well as to other events such as Berlin Design Week, Helsinki Design Week (in commemoration of the city’s 10th anniversary as World Design Capital 2012) and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan -together with Interiors from Spain-, where it has had the opportunity to present its program and mission, as well as to contribute the organization’s vision in terms of sustainability. As part of the internationalization strategy of Valencian design, it was also present in Lithuania on the occasion of the commemoration of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 and in Bulgaria, during the MELBA Design Festival in Sofia.

In the words of David Kusuma, president of the World Design Organization®, “it has been an immense honor to witness Valencia’s journey as World Design Capital.The diverse and engaging program has not only showcased the city’s commitment to design for change but also cemented its place on the world stage as the epicenter of design-driven creativity and innovation. This is just the beginning of a new chapter in the book for the city that will be told through design and benefit the entire citizenship.”