Montreal (Canada) – The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is proud to announce a landmark for the World Design Capital® (WDC) initiative as a record 56 cities in 24 countries have expressed an interest in the 2014 designation as applications closed on 31 March 2011.

WDC 2014 will be the fourth designation since the establishment of the project in 2004. Icsid bestowed the inaugural WDC designation to Torino (Italy) in 2008, which was followed by Seoul (South Korea) in 2010 and most recently Helsinki (Finland), who are off to an ambitious start for their year of events in 2012. By virtue of the success and promise of these cities, the WDC initiative has participated in stimulating an international recognition of design as an essential and sustainable component for the improvement of living conditions in urban areas, evident in the growing interest and demand among cities worldwide for the WDC designation.

“Throughout the first two World Design Capital designations in Torino and Seoul, we have been privileged to witness countless innovative and inspiring ways in which design can be used to advance the social, economic and cultural quality of life for citizens within urban areas,” stated Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President and 2014 WDC selection committee member. “As these accomplishments continue to develop in WDC designated cities, we are presented with a vivid picture of design’s ability to stimulate positive change on a large scale. This has resulted in a constant increase in awareness and appreciation for the WDC initiative throughout the years, which I believe has strongly influenced the international movement towards the use of design-driven approaches to address important issues in all facets of urban development.”

Following the close of applications for the 2014 designation, an international selection committee will begin the detailed process of analysing and evaluating all of the entries, with the announcement of the 2014 WDC city being made at the 2011 IDA Congress in Taipei, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) on 24-26 October. The selection committee consists of Dr. Mark Breitenberg, Icsid President (USA); Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, Chief, Creative Industries Programme of UNCTAD (Switzerland); Jeremy Myerson, Director and Chair of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art (UK); Kohei Nishiyama Founder and CEO of elephant design co., ltd. and Founder of (Japan) and Jussi Pajunen Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland).

“Having been closely involved in the bidding process for Helsinki to become nominated as the 2012 World Design Capital, I feel truly excited about my membership in the selection committee for WDC 2014,” claimed Mayor Jussi Pajunen. “The designation is indeed a remarkable and unique opportunity for a city to act as a global trendsetter in terms of improving welfare services and the urban environment through the use of design. Furthermore, its serves as a powerful statement of recognition for an entire design community.”

A biennial designation that is presented to a city for the period of one year, WDC was created by Icsid to showcase cities that are emphasising design as a driving force for their economic, social and cultural development. The designation has been a channel for cities to substantially rejuvenate their urban areas and improve quality of life for their citizens by providing them with the support and international platform to integrate multidisciplinary design within the very fabric of their municipalities.

“As most urban cities have embarked on the post-industrial era, design in all its expressions has been playing an increasing role in reinventing the urban foundation of many cities around the world,” expressed Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg. “The design choices that cities make will have far-reaching consequences for the quality of lives of its citizens and the environment in the years to come. The winning city of the 2014 World Design Capital designation will be able to capitalise on this recognition to put in place long-term strategies to ensure better liveable cities for its citizens, not only now but also for future generations.”

For more information, please visit, or contact:

Rafael Mayor-Mora
Icsid Communications Manager
t: +1 514 448 4949 ext. 223
f: +1 514 448 4948

About the World Design Capital

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital (WDC) designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens.

The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies.

The World Design Capital is an initiative of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), who manages the daily operation of the project in a major step for the global design community..