A historic week for Valencia as World Capital of Design
28 Sep 2022 /

A historic week for Valencia as World Capital of Design

Valencia has recently experienced its high point as World Design Capital. The week of 19 to 25 September represented a true milestone for the city, with the simultaneous holding of historic editions of Feria Hábitat Valencia and Valencia Disseny Week, as well as various festivals linked to the world of creativity, routes and celebratory events with which we offered design to the general public, and a moment for inspiration with the visit of leading personalities from the world of design, memorably placing Valencia in the international spotlight.

Here we take a look at an exceptional event, told via 10 headlines:

  • The stars of international design come to Valencia

Top-flight designers such as Phillipe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Mónica Armani, Jaime Hayón, Juan Carlos Baumgartner, Juli Capella, Benedetta Tagliabue, Marco Sammicheli, Giovanna Castiglioni and Nina Masó participated at the great design occasion of the World Design Street Festival. Public and private events where these influential figures from the world of design took the leading role with meetings and presentations.

  • A look at wellbeing, from outside design

Design is good for your health. And this was demonstrated by professionals of the calibre of psychiatrist Luis Rojas Marcos and palaeontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga, in two of the talks hosted by the International Interior Design Forum (FIDI) with the presence of more than 500 professionals from the sector and members of the public. An encounter that included, in turn, two round tables at which personalities such as journalist and art historian Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, architect Juli Capella, neurobiologist Mara Dierssen, the professor of Medicine at the Universidad de València Faculty of Medicine Ana Lluch and architect Benedetta Tagliabue looked in depth at the influence of materials over time on wellbeing and the effects generated by spaces on people’s health. The Forum was inaugurated by the president of the Provincial Council of Valencia, Toni Gaspar.

  • Dozens of talks and high-quality contents at the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 Forum, the nerve centre of Hábitat València

In the setting of Feria Hábitat València, the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 Forum became the meeting point for different figures linked to design culture. It was attended by countless professionals who showed their projects, offering a meeting point and source of inspiration for the sector.

From Marisa Santamaría, who presented the Atlas of Design Culture in Spain; a journey through the history of Vicent Martínez; the presentation of the new book by Andreu World, to an international round table on ceramics led by Ana IlluecaMariví Calvo and Lola Rúa spoke about beauty; Mónica Armani gave a conference on her work and Actiu organised a round table on contract spaces, design and emotions.

In addition, the companies Zumex and Lowpoly presented their joint project and we discovered the latest habitat trends thanks to Pepa Casado. Women in design played a key role, from “Women in Office Design”, moderated by Soledat Berbegal of Actiu, which served as an appetizer before the conference by the renowned architect – based in Chicago – Juan Carlos Baumgartner. These were just some of the meetings held in this space for one and all, proclaiming the relevance of design as a global business strategy.

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  • Vicent Martínez, the star of the show

If there was one thing that attracted attention in this show it was the photo of Vicent Martínez, which greeted visitors to the design pavilions by way of an anteroom to his exhibition. “Vicent Martínez, a present continuous” represented a journey through some of his milestones as a designer, passing through memory, the present and unpublished. Memory, which dates from 1982 to 1997, covered the designs of tables for Punt Mobles, Grupo T bookcases, the Montjüic armchair (Arflex Martínez Medina), and La Literatura, one of the great classics in the history of Spanish design.

In the recent section, the designer showed his latest pieces, those he has developed between 2012 and 2022. The redesign of La Literatura, the armchair of the “Weave” collection for Point, the Isa chair and Libris tables (Capdell) and the Ilius sofa (for Ofifran), as well as his work related to the world of fans.

Unpublished was the last part of the exhibition, where he showed some of the designs, elaborations and projects that have yet to arrive, some of them still prototypes.

  • Routes through the city featuring some of the major projects of World Design Capital Valencia 2022

Each day dozens of people were able to enjoy the routes organized in collaboration with Visit Valencia. On these routes, three of the main projects of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 were given visibility from the streets of Valencia. Design Map, the project that locates those establishments and spaces where design is relevant, was very popular, with visits to its shops, restaurants and establishments. Ana Illueca, the director of DNA Ceramics, not only prepared a visit to some of the pottery studios closest to the city centre, but also presented her project and explained the key role of ceramics in the city. TiposQueImportan took a look at some of the commercial signs that still remain in the centre and showed the places from which they have already disappeared. Open House, with its visits to the most emblematic buildings in the city from an architectural point of view and Miradors de l’horta put the finishing touch on a weekend filled with activities for one and all.

  • First podcast on the history of design 

What does design sound like? This is revealed to us in La Gran D, the first podcast on the history of design narrated by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa. Eight chapters that tell the story of a discipline starting with the most obvious “What the devil is design?” and from there, the voices of Philippe Starck, Paola Antonelli, Patricia Urquiola, Dejan Sudjic and Spanish designers Miguel Milà, Javier Mariscal, Juli Capella, Pepe Gimeno, Nacho Lavernia, Inma Bermúdez, Lola Castelló, Toni Arola, Jesús Llinares and Mario Ruiz come together to talk about brands, identity, women designers, the future and so many other things, all explained for non-designers. The presentation took place in the Àgora and it was a fantastic event at which to reflect on the power of design, even through speech.

  • Events for celebration and presentations of the most important brands in the habitat sector (Actiu, Andreu World, Gandia Blasco, Flos, LZF Lamps, Point, Santa&Cole, Vondom)

The city of Valencia and its surroundings were also the perfect setting in which to present new products, projects or services by some of the most important companies in Spain in the prescription sector. From the presentation of the new collections of Andreu World in its showroom; the meeting with designer Giovanna Castiglioni, daughter of the famous architect Achille Castiglioni of the firm Flos at the CCCC; the presentation of the new dome in the factory of Vondom with its most recent collections; the meeting on sustainability held by Actiu at the CCCC with the designers of Fluit, its chair manufactured from plastic materials left over from the market gardens; the interior design studio Rubio&Ros made us dream at the Palace of the Marques of Malferit with Nuria Masó and an overview of design icons in Santa&Cole; the company Point showed us how it has reached its centenary with a product exhibition of some of its most representative pieces, and the Night in the Museum by LZF Lamps in cooperation with Gandia Blasco, at an event in the Fine Arts Museum. Meetings that filled the streets of Valencia with people wishing to come closer to the realm of design and its professionals, discovering the world’s leading companies in person.

  • The most important retrospective of Jaime Hayon

“Jaime Hayon: InfinitaMente” is the first large-format retrospective held in Spain on the 2021 National Design Award winner, an influential figure at international level. His exhibition, an explosion of colour and shapes, unfolds his whole universe, taking in materials, tools, his creative process, his inspiration and references. A selection of Hayon’s most emblematic works, both in the field of installations and artistic pieces and that of products for companies, including work that has never been presented in Spain as well as large-format pictures and sculptures. The exhibition is open to visitors until 16 April 2023 in the Ferreres and Goerlich halls of the Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània (CCCC).

  • Windows of design in the streets, to attract the attention of passers-by

Surprise upon seeing products in the street has been one of the constant factors in three points of the city: the Plaza de la Virgen, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and the Puente de Serranos. Products that show how a design can take a company to international level. Companies such as Royo, Andreu World, Wandegar, Inalco, Zumex, Rolser, Vicalhome, Tau, Cosentino and the World Design Organization itself told us, via some of their most iconic products, how design has made them leaders.

  • The best fair in terms of data for the last 50 years. More than 60 international journalists and some one hundred buyers from all around the world

Feria València has exceeded its forecasts by receiving more than 48,000 visitors with an increase of over 30% compared to the expected figures for professional visitors. Three years after the last show, the joint staging of Feria Hábitat València, Home Textiles Premium by Textilhogar and Espacio Cocina SICI has been a success for all the participants, from institutions, companies and professionals. Proof of this is the high occupancy levels in hotels in Valencia this week, with 92% of rooms occupied.

  • The best design studios opened their doors to the general public

The Street Festival provided the occasion for many design studios to organize exhibitions, open their doors to visitors or present some of their most iconic projects. From the 15th anniversary of Yonoh; the exhibition of MUT Design and Domaine de Boisbuchet after the experimental rattan workshop in France, and the open days held in the setting of Valencia Disseny Week with studios of such recognized prestige as Ramón Esteve, Pérez Ochando, Arnau Reyna and Jorge Herrera Studio. In short, it was a splendid week in which to celebrate the most successful projects of the city’s creative fabric, enabling the general public to gain first-hand knowledge of their work and putting into context the whole Valencian design ecosystem at an international level, from design to industry, schools and universities.