A maritime district full of innovation and creativity, with strong social and historical roots and a profoundly Mediterranean nature, defined by its proximity to the sea. This is Design District Valencia, a joint project by Valencia Marina and World Design Capital Valencia 2022 which, together with other bodies and organisations, forms part of the Mediterranean Bauhaus movement, the Valencian vision of the New European Bauhaus, supported by the cooperation of the Valencian Government.
The strong presence of innovation and design and the unique coexistence of private companies and institutions, education and industry at Valencia Marina with an epicentre that will be defined by Valencia as World Design Capital in 2022 are the main ingredients of this project that will integrate training, territory, assistance, development and promotion. All of this in a maritime district that is undergoing a full transformation process from both a planning and social point of view, where the sea and water management constitute another agent in the character and development of the area.
Design District Valencia aims to apply creativity and innovation as tools to transform neighbourhoods and thus improve the lives of residents, to link urban and maritime spaces and to generate attraction for other Mediterranean cities, becoming a replicable reference, thanks to the open and Mediterranean character of the area, the project itself and its main participants.
The project, still in its preparation stage, will be implemented and presented to the European Commission as part of the #NewEuropeanBauhaus movement. An initiative that also benefits from the cooperation of Las Naves, which is already a pilot project in the Missions programme, which Valencia Marina and World Design Capital Valencia 2022 have already joined with the aim of providing spaces and services.
The deputy director general of Valencia Marina, Evarist Caselles and the director of World Design Capital 2022, Xavi Calvo, presented the Design District Valencia initiative this morning at the event for presentation of the Mediterranean Bauhaus movement, the Mediterranean version of the New European Bauhaus project supported by the Valencian Government, which aims to implement new criteria for the renovation of Europe, based on three main principles: sustainability, beauty and social cooperation.
“The New European Bauhaus is leadership, it is the international declaration that Europe seeks to be the world leader in circular economy and sustainability. In Valencia we have found a space in which to improve and enrich this central European concept with our Mediterranean vision,” assured Vicent Llorens, director general of Valencia Marina.
“Our aim is for good design to make people’s lives better,” reiterated Xavi Calvo, emphasising the conception of design as a way to change things. “We want to present what will be our project together with Valencia Marina and a group of organisations in the New European Bauhaus, to create inclusive and sustainable spaces via design, strengthening and creating a cluster of creative sectors in the Valencian Community: a district that will become a replicable physical space of the city in which to group creativity, design and innovation, following the model of other international cities, but giving it a Mediterranean character,” assured Calvo.
The deputy director general of Valencia Marina, Evarist Caselles, also stressed the transversal nature of the initiative, thanks, precisely, to its Mediterranean character.
“Our proposal arose before the proclamation launched by Von der Leyen, and this is probably why Spain is one of the principal countries developing the movement. We want to be identified with those spaces that are similar to us in the Mediterranean. We are conversing with Marseilles, Naples and Oran, because they have the same lifestyle and the same concerns as us,” said Caselles.
The second floor of the Veles e Vents building played host on this occasion to representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Spanish Government and the Valencian Government, as well as the partners of the movement, for the public presentation of the initiative to generate a space for cocreation where architects, artists, engineers, sociologists, designers, town planners and residents can work together to achieve their common aim.
The event was opened by the second vice-president of the Cabinet and Regional Minister for Housing and Bioclimatic Architecture, Héctor Illueca. After his speech, the spirit of the New European Bauhaus was presented during the first round table, which was attended by Laura Rahola, representative of the European Commission in Spain, Joan Calabuig, regional secretary for Relations with the European Union, and Vicent Llorens, director general of Valencia Marina, who spoke of the capacities generated by design for innovation. Llorens highlighted in his presentation the happy coincidence between the wish expressed by Ursula Von der Leyen and the strategy being developed by Valencia Marina and the city.
Subsequently, the MEP and president of the New European Bauhaus Friendship Group in the European Parliament, Marcos Ros, together with the MEP and member of the NEB in the European Parliament, Inma Rodriguez-Piñero and the regional secretary for Bioclimatic Architecture and Energy Sustainability, Laura Soto Francés, discussed the present and future opportunities represented by the New European Bauhaus.
During the third part of the meeting, the Valencian partners of the NEB presented the different proposals included in the Mediterranean Bauhaus, projects that will form part of the initiative. The participants of this round table were Evarist Caselles, deputy director general of Valencia Marina, Xavi Calvo, director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, Nuria Matarredona, director general for Ecological Innovation in Construction, Miguel Tito of La Pinada Lab and Yolanda Herraiz and Ramón Arnau of the Association of Designers of the Valencian Community, experts in design applied to the circular economy.
The event was closed by David Lucas, general secretary of Urban Agenda who attended by internet.
The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is an initiative launched from the European Commission by its president, Ursula von der Leyen, which aims, through design, to place the emphasis on people, their wellbeing and quality of life, acting as a tool for cohesion in the light of the social and environmental challenges faced by humanity. An instrument to advance towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Agenda 2030 and to generate activity, employment and other positive economic yields. Under the name of “Mediterranean Bauhaus”, Valencia proposes to lead a project with the defining feature of Mediterranean-ness, a quality that brings together and connects values such as identity, a model for a sustainable living, cocreation, cooperation between cultures, creativity, the opportunity for change and an entrepreneurial spirit.