World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and iF Design announce partnership
29 Jan 2021 /

World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and iF Design announce partnership

With the aim of activating the international network, and spreading the word with every project taken to term from the organization, World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has signed a new agreement with the renown institution IF Design. A step forward to the promotion of Spanish creativity all over the world, and to the collaboration with stablished organizations in the design sector.

As a celebration of this new agreement, we share a brief interview with Ralph Wiegmann -CEO at iF International Forum Design-.

As we can rely on our big international network, we can as well try to connect Valencia with partners and other supporters.

From your point of view, what is the most exciting side of the new agreement between IF Design & WDC Valencia 2022?

First of all it must be an amazing and exciting challenge for the organizing team. As we see great potential for design and architecture in cities, we really hope to be able to support the team and the city to create a sustainable and example-giving program to inspire other city governments to follow. As we can rely on our big international network, we can as well try to connect Valencia with partners and other supporters. Education, sustainability, urban planning, service design, there are so many challenging topics to proof how strongly design can create an impact on societies and our daily living.

Education, sustainability, urban planning, service design, there are so many challenging topics to proof how strongly design can create an impact on societies and our daily living.

Which is the greatest challenge you could find on being World Design Capital? And particularly thinking of Valencia?

To me the greatest challenge starts in 2023. The year 2022 and the title WDC will create a certain awareness in the public and in media. And of course the government will provide a certain budget for the program. But the real challenge will start once the official year is over. Will the programs go on? Will the citizens have understood the value of design for them? Will new ideas be created? Will there still be a certain budget for design and architecture solutions in the interest of the citizens and so on and so forth. This will not be easy as examples of former WDC´s show as well. Creating a 3 to 5 years plan would most probably be a good idea to make sure all involved parties understand it´s a longer path to follow.

IF Design is currently working on the White Book of design education. How do you see the future of this field? Where do we find the strengths and weaknesses of today’s education?

Yes, our iF Design Foundation has initiated a project named “The Future of Design Education „as we think this is one of the key challenges for the future of the design industry. Do we educate future designers that will be really needed by the industry? Do we teach the skills the industry is expecting? Do young designers need different skills in Asia, in Latin America, Africa or Europe? Will the design profession become more relevant and important than in the past? Do designers have to be half creative, half engineer? Do we have the best professors to educate future designers? Are the systems (at least in Europe) too theoretical and not state of the Art regarding Technology?

At the beginning of the project the iF Foundation has defined 70 questions and those questions were the fundament for discussions on different continents with all involved parties. The whitebook will define the status quo and explain potential directions but Education is a government responsibility. And I myself am not super optimistic that we can really change an education policy of a country. But no matter if yes or no, we will go on dealing with this issue as it is crucial for designers, companies and governments.

How do you perceive the current relationship between German design and Spanish design? Do you think we have both influenced each other’s way of creating over the last years?

As we know we Germans stand for Technology, for engineering, for solidity etc. Long lasting quality but not very inspiring, some people say. Spanish Design and Architecture seems to have some more inspiration integrated. And if we take the young generations, Spain has to offer a lot! What surprises me is that Spanish Design and Architecture and especially the creatives are not so well promoted internationally! Other countries and governments promote their creative industries definitely better and I can only motivate the government or recommend to make use of this emotional reasons to discover Spain from the creative side.

Do we teach the skills the industry is expecting? Do young designers need different skills in Asia, in Latin America, Africa or Europe? Will the design profession become more relevant and important than in the past?

Which are the features of Valencian design you appreciate the most?

There is a “Habitat fair” for Newcomers and that seems to be an interesting way to introduce the talents of the region but as well from all over Spain. Unfortunately I have not visited it so far. Valencia has so many wonderful breaks in historical and contemporary architecture, it has winding streets, spacious squares, of course the harbor and Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences. Valencia is known for its atmospheric lighting effects. Of course furniture design plays a certain role. Unfortunately I am not very familiar with the city and Design from Valencia – something I have put in my plans for the near future.

From your perspective, how important is it to cooperate and establish links between design associations and organizations from different countries?

From my personal point of view and being responsible for iF I would say there is no alternative. It is not enough any more to be an expert for a specific city or even a region or country. Design is relevant in so many different ways and with so many different cultural influences that we need to exchange. We can always learn from each other and the design community is packed with amazing people, willing to share and able to inspire. Almost no other discipline can offer such a variety of options and possibilities.

The design community is packed with amazing people, willing to share and able to inspire. Almost no other discipline can offer such a variety of options and possibilities.

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