Inaugural conference by Paola Antonelli
10 Dec 2021 /

Inaugural conference by Paola Antonelli

The Senior Curator of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) of New York, Paola Antonelli, opened the programme of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 at the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía, in the setting of the prizegiving event for the 20th Andreu World International Design Contest. Her presentation was entitled “Design Rules: Activism, idealism, cynicism, and pragmatism in contemporary design”. 

Commemorating the World Design Capital serves to enable all citizens to celebrate its importance,” concluded Paola Antonelli in her speech at the Palau de les Arts, a presentation during which she affirmed that “design is the most elevated form of artistic expression, even more than art itself, since design must also be safe, innovative, responsible and sensitive with the environment. Designing something accessible and for everybody’s enjoyment – even if it is something simple and ordinary – is, for me, to create a masterpiece.”

Her words focused on the evolution of the concept of design, its idealization, and its importance for the future: “Design can enable us to leave a fitting legacy for future generations. We should be aware of the relevance of design as a political weapon.” Antonelli also reminded those present that “emergency design will always be necessary. There is always a need to be covered in the world of design. Remember this throughout the design capital year: design is a force that moves the world.”

Philippe Starck, for his part, posed some questions to the 300 plus people present in the auditorium: “Why are we here? Do we need new chairs?” For the French creator, the response lies in promoting sustainable and ‘smart’ objects: “Perhaps we do not need to design more chairs, but we do need creators who are able to design durable objects, both with regard to their quality and their forward-looking vision.

At the event, the awards were presented for the 20th Andreu World International Design Contest, which recognized the best sustainable design projects in an edition held with the collaboration of the World Design Organization (WDO). The ceremony was attended by the jury, chaired by the designer Philippe Starck and formed by the journalist Chantal Hamaide; the architect Rafael de La-Hoz; the CEO of Good Design Awards Australia, Brandon Gien; and Paola Antonelli.

The Andreu World International Design Contest celebrates 20 years with its most special edition, focused on projects that incorporate greater environmental sensitivity, both in the use of materials, and in their actual life cycle, as well as a greater involvement in fare, local and social trade.


Andreu World and the World Design Organization (WDO) have joined forces to promote this edition of the Andreu World International Design Contest, based on the sustainable design of a chair and/or a table and intended for both young students and professionals of the sector, with no age limit.

The first prize of the Andreu World International Design Contest, with a reward of €6,000, was granted to David Guilmain and Rafa Peris, of Valencia, for MT Chair. Second place, rewarded with €2,500, went to Georg Siegele, of Landeck (Austria) and his chair, Pet, and the three special mentions of €1,000 each were for Berliner Pascal Hien for his design Tobio, American Geoffrey Adams for Cholla Rocker, and Carmen Barragán of Madrid for Hiya.

“It has been a source of pride for Andreu World to promote together with the WDO one of the first events of the design capital year. This important occurrence, which is a tremendous challenge, must be the starting point of a new era for the design, culture and economy of the whole Valencian region,” affirmed Jesús Llinares, CEO of Andreu World. “We hope it will serve as a dynamizing factor for professionals, companies, schools, students and society in general. World Design Capital Valencia 2022 is a joint project that goes beyond Valencia and the year 2022.”