Helsinki (Finland) – The main international organisations behind the World Design Capital project met in Helsinki for the first time on Friday, September 24, 2010, marking Helsinki’s status as the next World Design Capital and the anticipation of Helsinki’s Design Year 2012. The organisations met to review their expectations for the World Design Capital project.

Pointing out that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, Icsid President Mark Breitenberg said that the 21st century is defined by the challenges of cities, addressing an audience at Helsinki City Hall after the first session of the Friday meeting. “World Design Capital is an opportunity to address the problems, and creativity and economic development are the key drivers of the new century. Design is a tool for cities to reinvent themselves,” Dr. Breitenberg envisioned.

Icsid, International Council of the Societies of Industrial Design, is the organisation that confers the World Design Capital designation to one city at a time for merits in using design as a tool for economic development, as well as social and cultural improvement.

Dr. Breitenberg said that Icsid was impressed with Helsinki’s bid for the 2012 title and particularly with Helsinki’s concept of “embedding design in life.” “Helsinki can show the rest of the world how design can permeate society,” he declared.

Finnish government backs up WDC Helsinki 2012

Finland’s Minister of Employment and Economy Mauri Pekkarinen declared in the same connection that the Finnish government had made the decision to finance the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 project (WDC Helsinki 2012) with five million euros, providing that the participating cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti together provide six million euros for the project according to their earlier commitment.

According to Pekkarinen, the Finnish Government sees the WDC Helsinki 2012 project as an important opportunity both to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and to improve public services through user-driven innovation policy. “Design is an instrument to reach both objectives,” Pekkarinen pointed out.


World Design Capital Helsinki 2012

World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 is a joint project by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti. World Design Capital is a biennial designation conferred to one city at a time. The designation recognizes cities that make effective use of design in their cultural, social and economic development. More at

The World Design Capital title is conferred by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) and The International Design Alliance (IDA). The previous World Design Capitals are Torino (2008) and Seoul (2010).

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 World Design Capital is an initiative of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). Founded in 1957, Icsid is an international not-for-profit organisation committed to the advancement of industrial

About the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid)

The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is a non-profit organisation that protects and promotes the interests of the profession of industrial design. Founded in 1957, Icsid serves as a unified voice of over 50 nations through which members can express their views and be heard on an international platform. Since its inception, Icsid has continued to develop its wide-reaching network of students and professionals devoted to the recognition, success and growth of the industrial design community. Together, professional associations, promotional societies, educational institutions, government bodies and corporations create a comprehensive and diverse system on the forefront of industrial design education and progress.