Tokyo (Japan), 30 October 2023 – World Design Organization (WDO)® has concluded its 33rd World Design Assembly™, which took place from 27-29 October 2023 in Tokyo (Japan). Hosted in collaboration with WDO Promotional Member Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP), the three-day hybrid event welcomed participants in-person, as well as via live telecast from across the globe to exchange insights on the theme of Design Beyond.
A Research and Education Forum attended by 355 participants on the first day examined the theme through a series of paper and poster presentations. Keynote speakers included Ayse Birsel, Co-founder, Birsel + Seck; Jian Liu, Associate Dean at Tsinghua University; and Katja Forbes, Design Leader & DEI Director at the Data Visualisation Society.
More than 600 in-person participants attended the second day to hear inspiring keynotes from Tim Ingold, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aberdeen, Ana Arriola-Kanada, Co-Managing Director of IDEO Tokyo and Marianne Mensah, Founder of the Climate Innovation Education Lab (CIEL). The day also included breakout sessions and panel discussions led by international design leaders that explored future perspectives through the lens of humanity, technology, planet and policy.
A major highlight, included a deeply moving address from 2022 World Design Medal laureate, renowned industrial designer Dr. Patricia Moore. Considered one of the founders of ‘universal design’, Ms. Moore moved the audience to a standing ovation following a detailed account of her professional journey designing with empathy.
The event also welcomed several representatives from Frankfurt RheinMain to officially accept the region’s recent designation as World Design Capital 2026. Mr. Jens Deutschendorf, State of Hesse and Ms. Stephanie Wuest, City of Frankfurt later highlighted their aspirations under the theme of Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a Better Life during the acceptance speech.
On the third and final day of programming, WDO Members gathered for the organization’s General Assembly where they voted for 2023-2025 Board of Directors. The announcement is as follows:
- Thomas Garvey, Associate Professor, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University (Canada)
- Pradyumna Vyas, Senior Advisor of Design, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) (India)
Board members (in alphabetical order)
- Anna Barbara, POLI.design Scrl (Italy)
- Laura Figueroa, Colegio de Profesionistas en Diseño de México, A.C. (COLDI.MX) (Mexico)
- Oliver Lin, Taiwan Design Research Institute, (Taiwan (Chinese Taipei))
- Sonia Manchanda, Spread Design (India)
- Ken Nah, Korea Institute of Design Promotion (South Korea)
- Meghan Preiss, Aether Global Learning (USA)
- Eisuke Tachikawa, Japan Industrial Design Association (Japan)
- Benjamin Wilson, Braun GmbH (Germany)
The Board election resulted in an unprecedented tie for the ninth and final position. A tie-breaking vote by WDO Members will determine the outcome for the final spot.
As noted by the incoming WDO President Thomas Garvey during his address, “the theme for this year’s meeting, Design Beyond, has been extremely insightful and we’ve all been so fortunate to have been exposed to many amazing and thoughtful presentations and discussions. I’m excited to think of all we can accomplish together as we continue to shape the future of design, not just for our organization but for the entire world.” As a continuation of the organization’s current strategic plan, he outlined several key areas that he would focus on throughout his presidency, including: collaboration and inclusivity, innovation and sustainability, education and empowerment, advocacy for design and global outreach.
In addition to the election, highlights of the General Assembly also included several programming announcements that will shape the organization’s next term.
World Design Congress 2025
Following the announcement that the World Design Assembly would be renamed to the World Design Congress, the UK-based Design Council was announced as the host of the 34th World Design Congress, which will take place in London (United Kingdom) in September 2025 under the timely theme of Design for Planet. Last hosted in London in 1969, the return of the congress highlights the city as a key player in the global design community.
2023-2025 Young Designers Circle
Marking its third programme cycle, 35 young designers from 21 countries were announced as part of the 2023-2025 Young Designers Circle cohort. Over the next two years, these young leaders will contribute to WDO’s mission to design a better world.
WDO President’s Award
In recognition of their demonstrated commitment to WDO’s mission and its diverse initiatives over the course of the last term, the 2023 WDO President’s Award was awarded to Promotional Member Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI).
For more information, please contact:
Natalie Dutil, WDO Communications Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
World Design Organization (WDO)® is a globally recognized non-governmental organization with UN consultative status that aims to promote and advance the discipline of industrial design and its power to enhance economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life. Founded in 1957, WDO services over 200 member organizations around the world, engaging thousands of individual designers through their innovative programming and initiatives that champion ‘design for a better world’.