Valencia passes the World Design Organization examination with flying colours
31 Jul 2019 /

Valencia passes the World Design Organization examination with flying colours

The Technical Committee of the World Design Organization (WDO) received a very good impression of Valencia. This has been transmitted by its members, after two intensive days spent in the city, two days during which they attended working meetings with the promotors of the bid, institutional meetings at the highest level and visits to discover the design, business and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The three members of the WDO committee, its secretary general Bertrand Derome; the Programme and Communications director, Andréa Springer and Dr Brandon Gien, on behalf of the committee responsible for the World Design Capital (WDC) programme, as well as being the founder of Good Design Australia and president of the annual Australian Good Design Awards, have transmitted to the organisers of the bid that all the information collected has exceeded their expectations.

 

This visit has not only exceeded my expectations, it has exceeded theirs. They have informed us that it is one of the best bids they have received in the twelve years since the introduction of this initiative by the WDO.

Equally positive was the balance made by those mainly responsible for the bid, on behalf of the Associació València Capital del Disseny, who expressed their thanks for the absolute cooperation they have received both from the design sector and from the political representatives, the business world, universities, industry, teaching, public institutions, as well as all the private organisations related to the design sector ecosystem.

For Xavi Calvo, strategic co-director of the Valencia World Design Capital 2022 bid: “This visit has not only exceeded my expectations, it has exceeded theirs. They have informed us that it is one of the best bids they have received in the twelve years since the introduction of this initiative by the WDO. They have seen how complete it is, its values and attributes to be the winner. And, furthermore, the WDO technical committee was pleasantly surprised by the community around Valencian design, around the people and from many fields, architecture, industry, sustainability, business. They have seen people because this is a project of people intended to improve the lives of people.”

Pau Rausell who, together with Xavi Calvo is also strategic co-director of the bid, summed up: “In spite of the date, when assessing the bid the technical committee found a mobilised city, aligned with the aim of focusing, in the urban context, on design in the social, economic, cultural and environmental sphere. What most surprised them was the level of maturity, complexity and sophistication of the design ecosystem, and the degree of professionalism in the drafting and preparation of the proposal. Also, the fact that the bid has been articulated in a bottom-up process and that it has managed to superimpose the world of design, business, the administrations and academia. During two days they have had an almost 360º view of the contents shown in the report.”

Rausell explained that the response of the agents involved had been a high level of commitment and with total availability, which enabled the jury to perceive it directly. The excellent production of the visit, during which the professional rigor of the office of Turismo Valencia was crucial, also contributed to the perception of excellence.

The president of the Associació València Capital del Disseny, Marisa Gallén emphasised that the group of professionals and companies behind this project “are doing it on the basis of the conviction that design is an extremely powerful tool to imagine innovative solutions to the great urban challenges. These two days have enabled us to continue sharing the bid project with society and such a contagious atmosphere of optimism has been generated that it has fascinated the evaluators.”

Gallén added that the WDO was able to ascertain that “the design ecosystem is mature and that this bid has the capacity to add motivations, from the world of business and work to political and academic institutions, though professional designers and architects. We all share the same enthusiasm.”

We are doing it on the basis of the conviction that design is an extremely powerful tool to imagine innovative solutions to the great urban challenges.

Details of the working sessions

During these two days two working sessions have been held by the representatives of the WDO and the bid team in Valencia. Among the minor objections posed by the WDO in the beginning, explained Pau Rausell, one of these referred to the difficulty in finding a main challenge to be faced by the city as design capital, but with the arguments put forward, this was overcome.

“There is no doubt that being named world design capital is a good pretext to visualise that design is, mainly, a tool to solve problems and European cities face great problems in the twenty-first century, such as environmental sustainability, population aging, inclusion and inequality, the management of multiculturality, the generation and management of public space, among others. Valencia, as an average European city, faces many of these problems, but we cannot diagnose any one of them specifically as the cause of the ‘urban disease’,” explains Pau Rausell.

“From this perspective, the cultural capital status of Valencia is not proposed as an invasive and targeted chemotherapy to deal with a single urban cancer but rather, from a Mediterranean and tempered perspective, as a cross-disciplinary daily treatment to tackle urban dissatisfaction and improve the quality of life of normal people.

Naturally, design must contribute to finding ingenious, disruptive, beautiful and efficient solutions to tackle the energy transition, sustainable mobility, efficient transport, the route towards a circular economy, and naturally there are experiences that require and use design for urban regeneration as is the case of Cabañal, or the activation of public space, such as the Valencia Marina or the use of the concepts of sustainable development. But what we set out to do as capital is to show that design is not only an extraordinary reaction to global challenges, but that design can also be a shared device for daily application that solves a multitude of problems and improves the wellbeing of residents,” explained Pau Rausell.

Two intensive days for which the organisers had prepared a very detailed schedule, full of meetings, visits and encounters, during which the committee was able to verify in situ all the contents of the bid explained in a 500-page report, which was presented to the organization last March.

“These two days have enabled them to know the real link between the city and design, history and architecture, with sustainability, business and industry. And they have also been able to meet in person those who make up the design ecosystem, the world of business, innovation and entrepreneurship. In short, they have met the people who make this bid possible because this is a project of people,” concluded Xavi Calvo.

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