Valencia, World Design Capital beyond 2022
23 Dec 2022 /

Valencia, World Design Capital beyond 2022

The promotion of design culture has been one of the main focuses of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, already raised from the candidacy and launched through a process of consolidation of institutions and activities that will channel the legacy and inertia of recent years. 

The program of activities proposed in this 2022 in Valencia, beyond being short-lived, has been driven by emphasizing the possibilities offered by design, providing exceptional international attention and a didactic base as well as pedagogical work extended to all levels of society, through exhibitions, publications, and workshops that serve to demonstrate that design improves the daily lives of people seeking their welfare.

This work of institutionalization and didactics tries to help designers, designers, and industry, not only through obvious actions such as the promotion and dissemination of their work in congresses, conferences, or publications of which the program is composed but with work that will see its continuation thanks to the already formed Municipal Design Council and the work carried out by the Fundació del Disseny de la Comunitat Valenciana, the entity responsible for channeling all the legacy and inertia of World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

Creation of the Fundació del Disseny de la Comunitat Valenciana to encourage and promote design.

The Fundació del Disseny is a space of union of the design ecosystem of the Valencian Community, with the main purpose of supporting the culture of knowledge in the creative, economic and social field of design.

With the aim of promoting the legacy of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, the Foundation emphasizes the importance of design as a tool for valuable creation necessary to increase the competitiveness of companies and contribute to a better quality of life, both in cultural and socio-economic aspects.

Constitution of the Consell del Disseny in the City Council of Valencia.

In July 2022 the Consell Municipal del Disseny was set up, a council of professionals external and independent from the municipal Valencian government formed to advise all areas of the local administration. This authority, transversal to all policies of the City Council of Valencia was created with the mission of improving, and aiding decision-making on key issues for the city and its inhabitants, such as urban planning, communication, architecture, or the development of services. 

The Consell Municipal del Disseny de Valencia is made up of expert advisors and independent professionals whose mission is to ensure excellence in design, architecture, and urban planning by promoting the innovative, sustainable, and inclusive design of the city’s public spaces.

Dissemination of design among all generations and outside the endogamous environment of the sector.

With transversality as another of the main objectives of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, during this year different types of events have been held, open to audiences of all ages, thus promoting the culture of design.

Last June, the international festival Experience Valencia featured leading figures of design in three spaces: La Marina de Valencia, at the Veles e Vents, and La Rambleta. A mix of digital and interactive design, graphic design, motion graphics, music, creativity, networking, product design professionals, and artists in an educational and entertaining format, designed to transcend and that was a resounding success. It also included the presentation of one of the most important design awards for students, the well-known iF Design Talent Awards.

The younger crowd also enjoyed Flama Fest in November. A fun-festive day with workshops and talks with the aim of placing design and creativity in the daily life of the young citizens of Valencia and which featured internationally renowned artists linked at the same time with the city of Valencia, with a recognized ability to connect their career with the younger audience. World Design Street Festival, in September, joined by leading figures such as Jaime Hayon, Patricia Urquiola, Philippe Stark, Marco Sammicheli, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Luis Rojas Marcos, Juli Capella, Ana Lluch, Benedetta Tagliabue, Vicent Martínez, Juan Carlos Baumgartner, and many other personalities to involve society, attracting international visitors and teaching design. A celebration in the streets, with the general public at the center of a program that tried to involve the entire Valencian design ecosystem.

While great figures such as Juli Capella and Pepe Gimeno saw their work recognized in the form of surprising and vindictive exhibitions, demonstrating that experience is a degree.

“The answer is in the design” to the question posed by the exhibition hosted by the Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània in the first half of 2022, “Why am I like this?“. Capella compiled in the exhibition 120 objects that speak to us and explain their shape and daily functioning.

Meanwhile, the monographic exhibition on Pepe Gimeno at the Palau Joan de Valeriola was a further recognition of the outstanding career of one of our country’s first and most important ambassadors of design in the world. Premio Nacional de Diseño 2020, his work halfway between art and design received recognition yet again in another exhibition that can be visited until the 19th of February, 2023 at the Bancaja Foundation.

Increased presence of design in the social and public agenda.

World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has allowed design to become a matter of social interest and a topic of public discussion. The new public bodies that have emerged under the umbrella of its official program, including the first Consejo Local del Diseño in a national city council or the Fundació del Disseny, which will be in charge of the legacy of the capital, are the basis on which to continue building and educating society to achieve a deeper understanding of the importance of design and its impact on their daily lives.

Generation of design culture at the business and training levels.

The work of design professionals has been supported in the Valencian Community by a robust textile business background. With more than a century of experience, the companies in the sector that have traditionally been committed to urban, architectural, artistic, product, interior, and graphic design have allowed Valencia to find its place as a city with a global vocation.

This has also contributed to the training network of the Valencian Community, which this year has received a historic number of enrollments by students in design degrees. More than any other region in Spain.

Promoting institutional contracting of design.

The institutional contracting model of the Valencian Community has led to the professionalization of the sector and represents respect for a professional sector and its promotion by the institutions. In the words of Xavi Calvo, director of World Design Capital Valencia: “it is very pedagogical to compare the evolution of Valencia’s municipal posters over the last decade to observe the results after the change in the selection process of designers”. This change in the contracting procedure towards the professionalization of posters or campaigns has come about thanks to the Llamada a Proyecto de la Asociación de Diseñadores de la Comunidad Valenciana. This system has been successfully implemented in the Generalitat Valenciana and the City Council of Valencia, among many other institutions. The Llamada a Proyecto is convened by the Presidència de la Generalitat in a microsite dedicated to this purpose and also disseminated by the collaborating professional associations, which echo these commissions for projects related to design illustration and advertising.

In this sense, World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and the Asociación de Diseñadores de la Comunitat Valenciana (ADCV) have developed the “Guide for the management and contracting of design”, based on an online platform with free access: contratardiseñ This is a pioneering initiative in Spain that is launched with the aim of being a reference tool for all types of organizations, companies, institutions, and public administrations that need support and guidance when it comes to proper management and contracting of design services, as well as becoming a support for professionals and studios in the sector in their relationship with their clients. The contracting guide is one of the strategic and structural projects World Design Capital Valencia 2022, fundamental for Valencian design and all its professionals, both in its present and its future. It has been conceived to be a working tool of reference in the sector.

Dissemination of the historical, cultural, artistic, and artisanal heritage of Valencia through design.

The Comunitat Valenciana has a unique way of doing design. World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has been responsible for strengthening this year’s recognition of the rich heritage of tradition through different focuses of attention.

All linked through the Mapa del Disseny, a tool that allows you to go through each district of the city highlighting “each window of design”. While NollaMap invites you to discover the locations of this icon of Valencian design and heritage that covered spaces halfway around the world.

ADN Cerámico, meanwhile, has claimed the unique way of doing design throughout the Valencian Community, thanks to its link with the ceramic tradition, through the first mapping of ceramists and the approach between the craftsmanship of today and always with a leading industry in the area.

The graphic heritage has also been vindicated through TiposQueImportan. The initiative pays tribute to the Valencian commercial sign. The exhibition that can be visited until the 26th of January at La Mercería Gallery is part of a project created in 2021 with the collaboration of the City Council of Valencia as a participatory online platform for exploration, documentation, and inspiration around the local culture of the commercial sign. It has also materialized in an audiovisual piece directed by Miguel Maestro and Nacho Rambla and launched thanks to the support of World Design Capital Valencia 2022. The documentary premiered last June in the official program of the Cinema Jove Festival, as part of the cycle “València, Capital of Design”.

Exhibitions such as “Diseñar el aire“, “València, porta al disseny” or “Frutas del Diseño” have in turn put the focus on tradition, on the one hand of such an everyday object as the fan, which promotes the alliance between craftsmanship and design; and on the other, illustrations and graphics that often go unnoticed in our daily lives because of their ordinariness, but which have been evolving in terms of printing techniques, colors and typographies.

Finally, the consolidation of the Comunitat Valenciana as “World Capital of Fire Festivals”, attracting international attention to the heritage linked to both tradition and the avant-garde of design was widely recognized through the special “FOC” program. Activities around the design, art, and tradition of the Fallas, an event that makes Valencia recognizable outside its borders and that has received a creative look, through exhibitions, conferences, round tables, parties, and a lot of fallero spirit.

Creation of a global platform for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practices on design policies.

Design-oriented policies, although still in a rather undefined phase, have been incorporated into the political agenda of the city of Valencia, as can be seen in the insertion of the electoral programs of the political options.

As the Econcult impact report presented on the 20th of December has shown, the local government has adopted a fairly sophisticated and complete account of the role of design in urban policy and has declared a certain willingness to lead a European and Mediterranean network of cities that incorporate design into their urban strategies.

Since the announcement of the candidacy, the effects on the transformation of local policy on design have been remarkable, and “at this moment (December 2022) we can conclude that Valencia is, at least, at level 2 according to the levels described by Buchanan, in which design is considered from the communicative perspective and the perspective of urban design” commented Pau Rausell.

One of the Signature Events of World Design Capital Valencia, the World Design Policy Conference held last October, brought together in two days the world’s leading figures in design policy.

The outcome of the conference and its conclusions should serve as a stimulus to encourage design to play a relevant role in public policies, from the perspective of rigor and good judgment in its application. A result that can modify existing policies, facilitating a legacy in political management, benefiting the design community and mainly the citizenship.

Promotion of design as a tool to improve people’s quality of life and health. 

Design plays a key role in health, with the capacity for progress and well-being of people. World Design Capital Valencia 2022 has highlighted this fundamental vision through various activities.

Starting with the Foro Internacional de Diseño Interior, held in September, which featured a panel of experts from different fields who addressed key issues on how to improve people’s lives through design. Dr. Rojas Marcos reflected that “among the factors for health and happiness is the environment, the context”. It is the responsibility of professionals in the sector to ensure that design has a positive impact on our lives.

The exhibition Diseño y Salud, meanwhile, brings together at the MuVIM over 500 examples from practically all disciplines of creativity: industrial, graphic, infographic, digital, advertising, architectural, interior, fashion, and automotive design, selected by Ramón Úbeda to explain, in a friendly, entertaining and pleasant way, that “design is good for your health”.


Highlighting the central role of people in design.

One of the objectives of Valencia as World Design Capital has been to work on social transformation, channeling through design the work to achieve an egalitarian, diverse, inclusive, and respectful society, that is inclusive and respectful of the environment.

To this end, they have promoted projects such as “Lo por venir” or “Trampolín“, a creative platform aimed at the visibility, awareness, and inclusion of people from vulnerable groups, to achieve new models of creative and inclusive collaboration.

Or “Diseñar en femenino“, which focuses on referents in the world of design and the promotion of equality. “If good design is in charge of solving problems, we cannot afford to run the risk of underestimating the value of design professionals”. Referents at all levels, local and international, to achieve a society with models in which everyone can see themselves reflected.

Construction of Àgora, a pavilion open to the public that will remain alive beyond 2022.

Following in the wake of the pavilions that other world design capitals such as Helsinki (2012) or Taipei (2016) built at the heart of their program, where to see and experience design, Valencia has taken the opportunity to bring design and its transversality to citizens, companies and institutions from its own space: Àgora València.

Design has taken the heart of Valencia from a participatory and inclusive space, built from ceramic and vareta (the traditional technique with which the fallas are historically built), which provides thermal comfort to its interior and relates the space with the Valencian industry. Its program, which has been growing month by month, has presented a continuous activity for children with workshops for families on weekends. Also, days of debate on how design improves people’s lives have brought together both specialists and citizens themselves. Meetings to reflect on the transversality of design in areas as diverse as urban planning, ecology, international projection, the image of the city, sustainable growth, and internationalization.

The Marina de València and World Design Capital Valencia 2022 join other entities and organizations to promote Design District Valencia, a maritime district of innovation and creativity with strong social and historical roots and a deeply Mediterranean character marked by its proximity to the sea. Design District Valencia aims to apply creativity and innovation as tools to transform neighborhoods and thus improve people’s lives, to link to urban and maritime spaces and, thanks to the open and Mediterranean character of the area, the project, and its main actors will generate attraction for other Mediterranean cities, becoming a replicable reference. This project is part of the Mediterranean Bauhaus movement, the Valencian vision of the New European Bauhaus.

Consolidation of Valencia as a city of design and international destination for creativity and talent: more than 10 exhibitions to start 2023 with design in the city’s cultural offerings.

The city of Valencia is a land of creativity. A center of attraction as an international destination for design and talent, which can be seen on every corner. And that continues beyond 2022, with some of the most important milestones of the capital extending over time.

From the 50-plus extensive exhibitions with creativity and design as protagonists, in 2023 some of the most multitudinous can be visited, certifying the continuity of Valencia’s project as a center of attraction for culture.

The Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània, the space that has brought together most of the programming of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, hosts until the 16th of April, 2023 the first major retrospective of Jaime Hayon in Spain.

“Jaime Hayon: InfinitaMente” traces the universe of the multifaceted creator through materials, tools, creative process, inspiration, and references. A journey through his personal universe and his creative process in a large exhibition display. Visitors can find a selection of products and furniture produced over the 20 years of Hayon Studio, including unique or limited pieces along with samples of processes and raw materials, which allow them to discover all the details that are not normally visible. 

Until March 19 it will also be possible to visit “Escenarios de un futuro cercano” An exhibition curated by Tachy Mora that addresses issues that directly affect a society that is particularly open to change in the field of the home, like today. The exhibition brings together pieces of furniture and lighting, as well as domestic scenes that zoom in on specific parts of the home, conceived by a series of architecture and design professionals and leading companies.

Another of the places of reference for this special Valencian year has been the MuVIM, Museu Valencià de la Il-lustració i la Modernitat, where until the 16th of April, 2023 you can visit the exhibition “Diseño y Salud” curated by Ramón Úbeda, and that as we have already mentioned addresses the relationship between design and health from a general and cross-cutting perspective.

As we mentioned earlier, the exhibition “TiposQueImportan” will be open until the 26th of January at La Mercería Gallery. In the wake of the online platform and the short documentary, it is a tribute to the graphic heritage of the city and seeks to recover that forgotten visual landscape that in many cases disappeared. Conceived by Miguel Maestro, it highlights the value of the commercial signage of Valencian streets through a work of registration and dissemination.

One of the greats of Valencian design, Pepe Gimeno, will see his work recognized in a retrospective that, as we mentioned before, can be visited until the 19th of February, 2023 at the Bancaja Foundation.

Bombas Gens Centre d’Art hosts until the 6th of August, 2023 “Earth: a retrospective“, a look at the Earth from an indeterminate point in a future space-time made by the creative studio El Último Grito based on the collection Per Amor a l’Art. In the exhibition, design operates as a conceptual and material narrative, engaging in a dialogue that opens a speculative approach to the nature of this collection and its individual works. 

The València-Barcelona axis is present at the Centre Cultural La Nau. The connection of both cities through design makes it possible to bring together until the 12th of February, 2023 “El mejor diseño del año“, an exhibition comprising a selection of 40 projects that give visibility to creative excellence and the values of good design in its different disciplines. The works on display have been selected from among the finalist and winning projects of the FAD Architecture Awards, the ADI Industrial Design Awards, and the ADG Laus Awards for graphic design and visual communication, organized by the FAD associations. The exhibition also incorporates a section made up of the winning works of the Positive Impact Award of the Asociación de Diseñadores de la Comunitat Valenciana (ADCV).

In addition, the Museo de Artes Decorativas de Madrid also joins the great Valencian year, offering a tour of the work of the famous designer and creator Ximo Roca, which can be visited until the 19th of February, 2023.   

And continuing with the big names, in early February two documentaries starring fashion designer Francis Montesinos and artist Javier Mariscal will be released. Audiovisual gems that will narrate the life and career of two unique creators with a Mediterranean flavor.