World Design Spotlight, a review of 47 benchmark design projects in Valencia
02 Feb 2022 /

World Design Spotlight, a review of 47 benchmark design projects in Valencia

World Design Spotlight is a weekly celebration and recognition of Valencian design and its professionals. As an expression of Valencia’s designation as World Design Capital 2022, the initiative showcases the role designers can play in the past, present and future of the region and pays tribute to the design community that enhances the city, its community and its values, both locally and around the world.

In collaboration with World Design Organization  every week, a light will be shone on one of 47 design projects, each of which recognizes the creativity and ingenuity of design professionals making a positive impact in different areas (industrial, graphic, urban and interior design). As a window into the world of good design in Valencia, this initiative will provide a lasting overview of Valencian design history, as well as a space to discover the creative capacity and strength of design to promote social well-being and design-led innovation.

1. The river of Valencia. How architecture and design gave the city a green lung

World Design Spotlight begins its journey with the project to transform the old Turia River bed into the current Turia Gardens.

Design and architecture were key in the restructuring of this green lung of the city of Valencia, one of its hallmarks, a source of pride for its citizens and admiration for visitors. Learn more about the relation between design, architecture and history of this project with which we are going to tell you how design is key.

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2. The design of Cobi, by Javier Mariscal

Javier Mariscal became world-famous for his image of ‘Cobi’, the dog made famous as the Barcelona ’92 Olympic Games mascot. The specific silhouette and lines instantly became the calling card of the Valencian author and of the City of Barcelona.

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3. La literatura, by Vicent Martínez

La Literatura’ bookcase, created in 1985 by Vicent Martínez for Punt Mobles, with its double-deep structure and its characteristic wheels, is a benchmark in the application of inventiveness and design to home furnishings. It was the first milestone in a path that culminated with the receipt of the National Design Award in 1997.

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4. Bombas Gens

An abandoned factory turned into a landmark of industrial heritage for artistic and sociocultural use in the heart of Valencia. Fundació Per Amor a l’Art transformed impressive 1930s warehouses that were closed for decades into Bombas Gens Center d’Art.

This is the fourth chapter of World Design Spotlight, a journey through design over 52 projects.

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5. Nozomi

Nozomi is an interior design project by the Masquespacio studio, specialized in translating ideas, images and concepts. Check out this restaurant in Valencia’s Ruzafa neighborhood that recreates a small Japanese universe within it6s 233 square meters.

Nozomi means “dream fulfilled” or “wish” in Japanese, it is also the name given to the pioneering high-speed bullet train.

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6. Valencian orange industry

Is there a better way to metabolize the Mediterranean than eating it? The next installment of World Design Spotlight focuses on the design in the Valencian orange industry, an iconic product that has crossed borders thanks to all its marketing work.

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7. 2016 Fallas posters by Iban Ramon

2016 was a crucial year for the Fallas tradition, as its importance was recognized as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. To illustrate such a celebrated occasion, the designer Iban Ramon created a series of images that offered an organic texture and conveyed the essence of the tradition while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic.

This project is the seventh instalment within World Design Spotlight, organized by the World Design Organization and World Design Capital Valencia 2022, with the collaboration of the Diputació de València.

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8. Espai Verd

The Espai Verd is the next instalment of World Design Spotlight. Located in Benimaclet, this building designed by Antonio Cortés was groundbreaking in the city of Valencia by merging apartments with common areas and filling them with lush vegetation. A space that coexists and contributes to the biodiversity of the area, becoming part of the landscape.

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9. Colorín Lamp

Colorín Colorado is a table lamp created by Eduardo Albors in 1979 and produced by the Valencian lighting firm Lamsar. It was a revolutionary design, conceived 50 years ago that today is undoubtedly modern and attractive.
This lamp is one of the design projects included in World Design Spotlight, organized by the World Design Organization and World Design Capital Valencia 2022, with the collaboration of the Diputació de València.

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10. Vallier Palace

The Vallier palace, located in the Plaza de Manises in Ciutat Vella, was erected in 1890 by Salvador Monmeneu and over the years has had various uses. Since the end of 2019 it has been a luxury hotel refurbished by Luengo Arquitectos and Janfri & Ranchal Studio in collaboration with Lladró.

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11. Eco chair by Carlos Tiscar

Designed by Carlos Tiscar for Capdell, ECO is a simple, wooden chair, that brought innovation to the endless development of seating solutions that began at the end of the Second World War, with one important improvement: its stackability. This feature made the ECO chair an icon and hallmark of good design.

World Design Spotlight is an initiative of the World Design Organization with World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and with the collaboration of the Diputació de València that selects 52 groundbreaking and influential design proposals throughout the year.

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12. Generalitat Valenciana graphic identity

In the early days of the Spanish Autonomous Communities, the challenge to convey to the public the value of new democratic institutions, was addressed by giving them a shape, a colour and a presence. Three designers, Dani Nebot, Paco Bascuñán and Nacho Lavernia were behind the modernization of the image of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Their 1984 creation, and its subsequent re-design in 2018, are the next instalment of World Design Spotlight, an initiative of the World Design Organization and World Design Capital Valencia 2022 to highlight 52 design projects throughout the year, with the collaboration of the Diputació de València.

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13. Valencian Modern Art Institute (IVAM)

The Valencian Modern Art Institute (IVAM) was the first project in the creation of a modern and contemporary museum developed in Spain, propelled by the desire to recognize and promote the latests forms of art while supporting the local autonomous communities. Designed by the Valencian architects Emilio Giménez and Carlos Salvadores and inaugurated in 1989, the building was extended in the year 2000 with a new wing by the architects Emilio Giménez and Julián Esteban Chapapría.

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14. La Nave

The following instalment of World Design Spotlight is La Nave, the group of design professionals that energized and modernized the creative scene in the city of Valencia during the 1980s. Eleven names that remain relevant today: Eduardo Albors, Juan José Belda, Luis and Nacho Lavernia, Luis González, Sandra Figuerola, Carlos Bento, Dani Nebot, Marisa Gallén or Paco Bascuñán and Quique Company.

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15. Pepe Gimeno’s palm tree

In 1988, Pepe Gimeno designed the palm tree icon that became the symbol of the Department of Tourism of the Generalitat Valenciana and the image of the Valencian Community abroad. In 1998 it was restyled by Gimeno himself, updating the shape, texture and colours.

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16. The Granada armchair

In 1963, architect Javier Carvajal won first prize in the competition to build the Spanish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, which earned him the Rockefeller Foundation Award and subsequent international recognition. Carvajal thought of a piece of furniture to include in that building: the Granada armchair.

The iconic piece is today a timeless work, which could see the light thanks to the union with the Valencian company Martínez Medina, which had the necessary technology to materialize this difficult product that has come down to our days as the most representative Spanish design.

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17. MuVIM

With this new installment of World Design Spotlight we bring you closer to the Museum of Enlightenment and Modernity – MuVIM. A place full of history built by the renowned architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra that is recognized as one of the most striking architectures of Valencia.

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18. Suma + Sigue

This new installment of World Design Spotlight looks back at the 2009 exhibition “Suma + Sigue del Disseny a la Comunitat Valenciana” at the MuVIM. This brought together 250 pieces created by 130 Valencian companies and designers, which received nearly 15,000 visitors in two months, an unprecedented success for an exhibition of this nature.

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19. The signaling of the A-7

With the information on each territory, Lavernia traced the towns, Nebot scribbled in broad strokes something of each place and Bascuñán finished off those sketches. In one night of work at La Nave, all the signage of the A7 was born.

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20. Botijo “La siesta”

La Siesta is a terracotta bottle, created by Alberto Martínez, Racky Martínez and Héctor Serrano, which combines the look of a liter and a half mineral water bottle with the advantages of the traditional botijo. It is a humorous revision of a culturally iconic element, which is still valid 22 years after its creation.

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21. Teatre El musical

The constructive peculiarity of the “poblats marítims”, with a mixture of architectural styles and a touch of modernism and eclecticism, is the one that has been maintained until today. There it lies the Teatro El Musical (TEM), an original building by the architect Victor Gosálvez that in 2004 was reformulated by the architect Eduardo de Miguel, keeping only the main facade and placing it on the cultural map of the city.

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22. Zara Packaging

Designers Nacho Lavernia (National Design Award 2012) and Alberto Cienfuegos, who were teacher and student, joined their talents in their studio Lavernia&Cienfuegos, in a 1905 villa surrounded by a garden and located in the center of the city. A calm, luminous and stimulating work environment for this studio where they believe that, in addition to functionality and beauty, design has to have something else. A philosophy that attracted such a powerful and omnipresent company as ZARA, part of the Inditex group.

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23. Great Fair

The posters of fairs and festivals have been, throughout their history and since their birth in the late nineteenth century, very valuable documents that allow us to learn what society was like at the time. The posters of the July Fair sought to exalt the Valencian culture through elements such as the battle of flowers, the fireworks, the fireworks castles, the band competitions, the dances and the festivals. At the beginning, it were only typographic, but became more complex as printing techniques advanced.

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24. Parasol “Ensombra”

“Ensombra”, designed by Odosdesign and part of the Gandía Blasco catalog, is a designer parasol made with a galvanized steel base and thermo-lacquered stainless steel pole in a wide range of colors. The slats are strips of phenolic board that unfold according to the amount of light and shade required.

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25. CaixaForum

The Cloud 9 studio, headed by architect Enric Ruiz-Geli, is in charge of the construction of the new cultural center of the La Caixa Foundation in Valencia, located in the Agora of the City of Arts and Sciences. Nearly 10,000 m2 dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge.

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With DIABLA , the Valencian family group Gandía Blasco, a benchmark in the design and creators of furniture and outdoor spaces, as well as leaders in the production of handcrafted designer rugs, entered a new business venture.

DIABLA develops its collections with the support of the resources and knowledge accumulated by Gandia Blasco Group in terms of design culture, production and business development, and with the help of some of the most talented designers on the current scene.

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27. La Petxina

Valencia is preparing its first “superblock” in the heart of La Petxina neighborhood. The project seeks to recover public space for citizens, with a pedestrian area of at least four blocks and with squares and parks inside.

Leku Estudio has developed, commissioned by the Valencia City Council, the superblock project, including a design guide for the sustainable transformation of public space in Valencia.

The use of a new graphic tile that will define this first superblock designed by Ibán Ramón and that will be used as a reference for all tactical urbanism interventions to be executed in the city has also been foreseen.

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28. Closca helmet

With a minimalist design and a very neat aesthetic, the Closca Fuga helmet folds easily in less than a second, occupying less than half of its volume, which has earned it, among others, the Delta de Oro award for industrial design.

Released in 2016, this product designed in collaboration with CuldeSac has become one of the flagships of Closca, a company that was born with the ambitious goal to inspire change in sustainable mobility, while remaining acessible.

29. The Valencia Marina

The Valencia Marina is an exemplary seafront on an international level, owing to the way it has been recovered for the community. The old port is now a public space covering a million square metres open to innovation, gastronomy and nautical pursuits. On the horizon of Valencia, yesterday, today and tomorrow live side by side, through buildings that bear witness to different eras and uses.

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30. TNK chair

The project for the concept, design and development of the TNK chair dates from the beginning of 2004 and it was a challenge taken on by Alegre Design, a studio specialized in industrial design and product development, in close collaboration with Actiu, a company specialized in office furniture.

The collaboration between both companies led to the commission for an office chair with high standards of quality, with regard to materials and functionalities.

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31. Follow Me lamp

Portable and rechargeable, FollowMe is the table lamp designed by Inma Bermúdez, just as portable as the camping gas stoves of the last century but with technology and design dating from 2014, which can be used both in and out of doors. 

With an oak handle to hold it by, this small and compact lamp has a tilting shade made from white polycarbonate and it incorporates LED technology with a dimmer to regulate the intensity of the light. 

With FollowMethis designer broke moulds and made the difficult seem easy, setting out along a route full of designs that have been imitated extensively. 

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32. The Valencia History Museum

he building that houses the Valencia History Museum was originally the city’s first reservoir. Built by Ildefons Cerdà and Leodegario Marchessaux, based on an original design by Calixto Santa Cruz, it formed part of the general project to supply water to the city. Cerdà has earned a place in history as one of the founders of contemporary town planning in Spain. His principal and most famous contribution was the Ensanche of Barcelona, one of the largest residential neighbourhoods in Europe. 

The current museum building was initially designed for the catchment of water from the river Turia in the neighbouring town of Manises. The water was decanted and piped to a cistern, from where it was finally distributed throughout the city via eight public fountains, the first of which was situated in the Plaza del Negrito. The service was inaugurated in 1850 and was one of the first in Europe.

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33. The Koi carp

After a track record of 25 years and more than 35 national and international awards, in 2020 the National Design Award fell to the lighting firm LZF, recognizing a track record that has been distinguished by its strong commitment to design culture, its creative spirit, its technological innovation and its carefully handcrafted processes.

Founded by Mariví Calvo and Sandro Tothill, LZF has used wood veneer, its most characteristic raw material, from the outset as the tool to express its values. With it, the firm shows its commitment to ecology, sustainability and innovation. 

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34. Fernando Moreno Barberá

If there is an architect linked to the university image of the city of Valencia, it is Fernando Moreno Barberá. His were: the Faculty of Law (1956-1959), the School of Agricultural Engineers, which he built together with Cayetano Borso (1958-1967), the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (1960-1970) and the Sports Campus (1961). He was also in charge of the works of the Universidad Laboral de Cheste, between 1965-1970. All the Valencian works of Moreno Barberá, who had a clearly cosmopolitan attitude, show a way of understanding the modern based on articulation, on the knowledge of Corbuserian ideas and on a complex and personal approach to the project.

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35. The «Mosca» chair

La Nave is now a true legend in the history of Valencian design. The group of creators who formed La Nave included several National Design Award winners (Nebot, Gallén, Lavernia, Bascuñán …) and generated numerous brave design projects, such as the image of the Valencian Government or the signs for the A7 highway, which showed great courage and very few constraints. Among those avant-garde designers who lent aesthetic shape to a more modern Valencia in the eighties and nineties was José Juan Belda (Bétera, 1947-2021). With an intensive professional life, Belda was one of the most outstanding figures of Spanish design and he also played a key role in the development and evolution of contemporary Valencian design.

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36. Rialto Buliding

The Rialto Building was commissioned in 1935 by the Serrano Llácer family to the Valencian architect Cayetano Borso di Carminati González and has become since then an iconic building in the center of Valencia. This former cinematograph presented interior spaces that reinterpreted art-dèco in a contemporary way and were originally designed by interior designer Francisco Ferrer with an unquestionable intention of modernity.

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 37. Falla Corona Mossén Sorell

The Fallas, like almost all major festivals in cities and towns, are a traditional celebration. But some Fallas commissions have innovated, such as the Falla Corona, which has emerged as the most avant-garde. This title is renewed every year, because every year it reinvents itself with a creativity that could not be understood without its link with design in all its meanings (fashion design, product design, graphic design…).

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39. Josep Renau

The most well-known Spanish poster artist of all times was the Valencian Josep Renau (1907-1982). Although during the Franco era everything connected to his figure remained buried for decades, as interest in his work began to awaken towards the end of his life it could be seen that the dimension of his talent was immense.

Being a highly politicised icon of republican poster production, having held a senior position in the Ministry of Culture, being behind the decision to remove the collections from the Prado Museum to protect them from the bombing raids on Madrid by Franco’s forces and the commissioning of Picasso to paint Guernica, were just some of the achievements in his hectic biography.

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40. Frames chair

The fruitful collaboration between Jaime Hayon and Expormim produced the Frames collection, presented at the 2014 Milan International Furniture Fair. Composed of a series of designs that reclaim rattan, it is on its way to become a modern classic thanks to a thoughtful mix of rustic yet distinct, with a simple, elegant aesthetic.

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41. The red building

The red building is one of the projects where Enrique Viedma Vidal has left his mark as a municipal architect in the city of Valencia: a building for the working class constructed between 1929 and 1930 that brings together 378 dwellings along a whole block.

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42. Adela Rex chair

The first collaboration between the Valencian firm Andreu World and French designer Philippe Starck (Paris, 73) is “Adela Rex, presented during Milan Design Week 2021. 

This is the name of the firm’s greenest collection, made, as is the norm in this company, with wood from the brand’s own replanted forests. The chairs are composed of elegant pieces without screws, the different parts of which are easy to assemble and, furthermore, can be easily dismantled for recycling when necessary. The design of Adela Rex is precise, comprising pieces that fit together like a jig-saw puzzle and do not require tools or additional elements. 

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43. Nolla Ceramics

Nolla ceramic tiles are characterized by compositions of small, coloured pieces that form incredible designs, present on floors, façades and even furniture.  They are produced from a high-performance material inspired by English products and technologies of the second half of the nineteenth century and are characterized by monochromatic tesserae that are laid in infinite geometric and figurative combinations. The clay was through-body dyed and its manufacturing process made the ceramic highly resistant to breakage and wear.

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44. Valencia’s pedestrian squares

Valencia rolled out the “City of Squares” project in 2015, with the aim of transforming urban public space to gain and recover places for residents.

This strategy of the City Council includes actions to create new meeting places in the neighbourhoods and enhance the cityscape, improving community life, environmental quality and the inhabitability of public space.

The aim is to ensure that all the neighbourhoods in the city have these representative public spaces, either through the creation of new squares in unused empty spaces, or via the renovation and improvement of those that already exist.

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45. Citrus Spray, by Papila Studio (with the collaboration of joanrojeski)

Citrus Spray, marketed by kitchenware company Lékué, is a squeezer that enables the juice to be sprayed directly from the fruit, which is thus its own natural packaging.

The concept is an original idea which arose from a project by Papilaa design studio specialized in the world of food and drink, that focused on how to obtain the most natural flavours by intervening as little as possible in the product. Citrus Spray arose from the fusion between that design, the straw with a spray, and the idea of being able to drink directly from the fruit.

After presenting it and ascertaining the interest generated in a client, Alberto Arza invited the designer Jordi Olucha, of Joanrojeski Estudi, so that they could develop it together.

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46.Ferrer building

The Valencian project, built during 1908, was the work of the architect Vicente Ferrer Pérez and it was a commission by his father for the family residence, owing to which one of the apartments would be for the architect himself. This striking building, designed in an innovative language, almost unique in Spain, is the most complete example of secessionist architecture in Valencia.

The International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts of Turin in 1902 was responsible for spreading, on a European scale, the contributions of the Austrian and Scottish schools, including that of Vienna and the Glasgow school. The influence of Mackintosh can also be appreciated in Ferrer’s work.

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47. Parcs Naturals brand by Antonio Solaz

The graphic designer Antonio Solaz was in charge of creating the logo of the Natural Parks for the Conselleria de Medi Ambient of the Generalitat Valenciana in 2001. The result is an image that has become iconic and that we can see scattered throughout the territory of the Valencian Community on posters and signs. By unifying criteria, the value of the natural parks was enhanced and they were given public meaning, and providing signage enabled people to reach them.

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