Valencia, the epicenter of Mediterranean design, is preparing to experience the new year as World Design Capital 2022 with a rich schedule of events: more than 100 exhibitions, meetings and inaugurations which will see 150 international guests involved and will be supported by 65 educational projects.
About Valencia World Design Capital 2022 as a project we spoke with Xavi Calvo, director of the event who, together with the director general Bertrand Derome, to the program director Corinna Heilmann, and to Silvia Flórez, director of the Design Community, the official program of Valencia World Design Capital 2022 presented to the press.
“The appointment to World Design Capital 2022 is not a goal, nor an event to be limited to next year,” said Calvo. “Our intention is to activate a virtuous process starting from the history of this city, which has always been a land of creativity and design culture. Valencia has been one of the capitals of silk production since 1500 and an exporter of citrus fruits: activities that have led to the growth of generations of graphic designers and printers for the creation of labels and posters.
It is also home to traditional ceramics, the toy and graphic industry: it is therefore no coincidence that many designers have trained in its territory. The title of World Design Capital, therefore, represents a double opportunity for Valencia: to attract international attention to everything that is created and produced in our region and to bequeath an eco-sustainable system rooted in the territory in which design becomes a fundamental tool for improving social well-being and economic development".
To achieve this goal, in 2021 we worked to build an ecosystem of alliances between companies, educational initiatives for schools and international partnerships, such as joining the New European Bauhaus the European program that combines art, culture, design, architecture, social inclusion, science and technology to design future ways of living.
"The impulse of Valencia World Design Capital 2022 is to catalyze the forces already active in culture and design" continues the director Xavi Calvo. “In our community, where many foreign artists and designers have their studios, there are many artisan and industrial companies that successfully experiment with new techniques and enter new markets thanks to design. The challenge today is to reach out to those who still consider design as something frivolous.
For this reason, the choice of topics that will be dealt with in 2022 are particularly strategic: from health to well-being, from local crafts to economic innovation, from heritage and identity to education, from inclusion to sustainability. Design works for a better world, starting with health - as the pandemic emergency reminded us - and sociality. It is not enough to transform a parking lot into a square. It is necessary to offer people services and opportunities, in dialogue with other disciplines, from architecture to urban planning".
Health, innovation, inclusion and sustainability, in short, are the new keywords for those who design.
“Not from today, however, and Valencia is a model in this. Just think of the choice of transforming the former bed of the Turìa river (diverted for safety reasons) into a park that crosses the city for 7 kilometers, going beyond the concept of center or periphery. Or the creation of pedestrian areas and sustainable mobility paths, as well as the reuse of buildings created for the America's Cup for the university" explains Luisa Bocchietto, architect, designer and member of WDO, World Design Organization of which she was president from 2017 to 2019, one of the main supporters of the appointment of Valencia who, two years ago, the challenge was played with Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka.
"After Lille, in 2020, it was natural for me to support another European city," continues Bocchietto. “It is not a form of closure, on the contrary: for us Valencia is a gate to the Hispanic world and South America. I am so convinced of the fundamental role of cities as a laboratory of ideas and an opportunity for the application of good design that, at the end of my mandate, in 2019, during the plenary assembly in India, in Hyderabad, I proposed to include in the world organization of it also design cities: not as mere partners, but as active members.
The proposal was successful because the From the spoon to the city slogan by Nathan Roger was a real thing yesterday but today it is materializing. For 100 years, since 1920, we have been working on the form-function combination of Adolf Loos. Now, however, good design is sustainable from the design phase to the end of a product's life".
Many appointments starting from January, two key moments: in June, for the Design Festival, and in November, when architects and designers from all over the world will be at Valencia to discuss design policies.