Seoul (South Korea) – On behalf of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Mayor Oh Se-hoon signed a memorandum of agreement with the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) during a ceremony earlier today at The Shilla Hotel in Seoul, officially appointing the city as the World Design Capital™ (WDC™) 2010.

Approximately 300 people attended the official signing ceremony to celebrate WDC Seoul 2010. Invited guests included Icsid President Prof. Carlos Hinrichsen accompanied by the Icsid Executive Board and the WDC Founding Chair Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, Diplomatic Corps from 41 countries, City Council Members, District Mayors, figures of the international and domestic design community, as well as other city officials.

The city government announced its intention to showcase Seoul as a city that attracts creative talents because of its creativity and innovation. Leading up to 2010, the Korean capital will truly be seen as a global city of design by implementing related projects and building on its image as a glamorous tourist attraction.

During his celebratory speech following the signing, Mayor Oh expressed his firm commitment and confidence in design by stating “in addition to our amazing economic achievement, winning the WDC title is a great opportunity and excellent challenge for us to make a fresh leap forward through design. The year 2010 will be a platform to present Seoul as a global city of design.”

At a press conference held after the signing ceremony, Icsid President Carlos Hinrichsen extended his support for Seoul’s vision for the project by stating, “Seoul will be an exemplary World Design Capital as it develops a strong programme for 2010.” Former Icsid President and WDC Founding Chair Prof. Dr. Peter Zec provided attendees with the background on the creation of the WDC competition and expressed his delight for Seoul.

The event culminated with a presentation of colour and logo design of WDC 2010. The city government explained the selection of red as the colour that will be used to represent Seoul, design, the world, Korean spirit as well as a unique Asian culture.

Looking towards 2010
Major projects currently in development for WDC Seoul 2010 include the Seoul Design Olympiad, U-Design International Competition, construction of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the city’s participation in the IDA World Design Report, a Youth Design Creative Camp, as well as initiatives to encourage citizen participation in WDC projects.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has set three phases for the implementation of the WDC 2010 Seoul projects. The first phase in 2008 will lay the foundation for the project; 2009 will be assigned as the preparation phase; and 2010 will be the WDC phase.

Immediately following the signing ceremony, Mayor Oh Se-hoon and Icsid Board Members visited the Dongdaemun Plaza & Park construction site (tentatively named Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), the symbol of Seoul’s design vision, as well as the centrepiece of WDC 2010. The DDP will be established at the current location of Dongdaemun stadium and will be designed and constructed by International Design Competition winner Zaha Hadid (Metonymic Landscape) and Samwoo in Korea (President Han Jong-ryul).

Photo: 3D rendering of Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by Zaha Hadid.

In addition to DDP development, the city government will create a park and get the nearby ancient castle restored by 2010, all of which are expected to contribute to the city’s transformation.

The city government will set up WDC Seoul 2010 promotion booths at Hannover Messe in April, New York International Contemporary Furniture Fair, London Contemporary Design Show and other design shows worldwide. In addition, the city government is looking for ways to create synergy effect, linking its promotion efforts with overseas marketing activities with enterprises in Seoul.

WDC Seoul project implementation procedure
To ensure successful implementation of projects, the city government has set up a WDC Seoul Organising Committee consisting of representatives from the municipal government, as well as experts from design, architectural, academic, cultural, economic and media establishments. The city government will also form an International Advisory Board comprising of world-renowned design and promotion/marketing experts later this year. This advisory board will provide creative advice on setting a direction for WDC 2010 programmes, promote related projects around the globe, and support WDC 2010 programmes of international design community.

The Seoul city government has also set up WDC Division within Seoul Design Headquarters, in order to coordinate WDC 2010 programmes with urban development strategies based on design. The office is charged with the planning, implementation and the global promotion of WDC projects, as well act as the liaison with international design organisations.

The Role of WDC Designated City
World Design Capital (WDC) is a biennial global competition open to all cities in the world. The title is conferred on cities that have demonstrated exceptional progress using the varied tools design offers. A city is appointed as WDC every other year to celebrate its achievements and to share them with other cities. Designated cities are different but the same in that design plays an essential role in reinventing the cities to meet evolving needs in the world.

The WDC competition will attract cities, which aim to make progress through design. Moreover, the project will motivate other cities to learn from WDC titleholders and to aspire to a designation of their own.

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About World Design Capital (WDC)
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 City of Torino, Italy has been appointed World Design Capital for 2008. World Design Capital is an initiative of the International Design Alliance (IDA) – a collaboration between the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda). Icsid manages the WDC project on behalf of the IDA.

About the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid)
The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is an international non-governmental organisation for professional industrial design. Founded in 1957, Icsid currently counts over 150 members in more than 50 countries, representing an estimated 150,000 designers worldwide. Icsid members are professional associations, promotional societies, educational institutions, government bodies, corporations and institutions – all of which contribute to the development of the profession of industrial design.

Icsid facilitates co-operation and interaction among these societies and supports a global network through which design institutions worldwide can collaborate. Through shared interests, experiences, and resources, Icsid provides an international platform for its members to be heard as a powerful voice.

Icsid also holds consultative status with UNESCO, UNIDO, ISO and WIPO to support and highlight design in international forums.

About the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda)
The International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) is the world body for professional communication design. It is the representative international non-governmental organisation, unifying the voice of graphic design, visual communication, design management, design promotion and design education. Founded in London in 1963, Icograda holds consultative status with UNESCO, UNIDO, ISO, IFFRO and WIPO.

From its core membership of graphic design associations, Icograda has expanded to include affiliated organisations promoting the value of design, the community of design educational institutions, design media and a worldwide network of individuals and corporations who share a common interest in communication design. Today, Icograda has 194 Members and numerous friends in 57 countries worldwide. The vision, mission and core values of Icograda are embodied in the statement ‘leading creatively’ and manifested through our members’ diverse activities to use design as a medium for progressive change.

About the International Design Alliance (IDA)
In a major step for the global design community, Icsid and Icograda have committed themselves to forming the collective voice of design through the creation of the IDA. The IDA is positioned as the design advocate working with international organisations, governments and industry.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Younghee Song
Seoul Metropolitan Government – WDC Division
t: + 82-2-6361-3567

Ms. Andréa Springer
Icsid Communications Manager – WDC Organising Committee
t: + 1 514 448 4949 ext. 232