Montreal (Canada) – 14 May 2013 The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) has closed the first phase of the World Design Capital® (WDC) 2016 application process following the 30 April 2013 deadline. A selection committee consisting of five international representatives of varied expertise will convene to evaluate the entries by August 2013. The designated city will be announced during the 2013 International Design Alliance Congress in Istanbul (Turkey) on 17 November 2013.

The selection committee consists of Prof. Soon-in Lee, Icsid President (South Korea); Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town; Ayse Birsel, Co-founder and Creative Director, Birsel + Seck; Dr. Beatriz Garcia, Head of Research in Cultural Policy & Impact, Institute of Cultural Capital and Senior Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Liverpool; and Jens Martin Skibsted, Creative Director and Founder, KiBiSi / Skibsted Ideation.

“I am delighted to have been invited to join the WDC 2016 Selection Committee. This is an exciting time for the WDC designation, which has made phenomenal progress since it was first hosted in 2008. As proven by the experiences of host cities as diverse as Torino, Seoul and Helsinki, the designation has provided a fantastic platform to explore and challenge our understanding of design practices and values, and encourages an exploration of design applications in their widest sense,” said Dr. Beatriz Garcia. “In my role at the forefront of mega-event research and extremely competitive global city positioning strategies, I have been able to appreciate the distinct contribution that the WDC designation has made to enrich debates on the future of cities and the relevance of developing ambitious, distinct and sustainable cultural agendas. I look forward to applying the extensive knowledge gathered by all past designated cities to assess, inform and raise the bar for design as a catalyst for urban change in the 2016 cycle.”

The close of the WDC 2016 applications marks the fifth designation cycle for the World Design Capital initiative, where lessons learnt have multiplied with each passing year. “Icsid will continue to explore opportunities to further improve the assessment criteria for future development,” stated Icsid President Soon-in Lee. “With a specific focus on industrial design, we will also attempt to expand our understanding of the return on investment related to design on urban revitalisation strategies and share more comprehensive information as these results will seemingly continue to be of significant interest globally.”

“Urban populations are hyper exponentially overtaking rural populations in terms of size and growth generation. And they are becoming increasingly uniform, as a consequence of globalisation,” remarked Jens Martin Skibsted. “Cities have more challenges in common than countries have with each other – and have no geopolitical disaccord, the need to promote design as a cutting edge practice for cities, among them. Through its World Design Capital designation, Icsid identifies the spearheads of this movement and I look forward to being part of this process.”

“The well-being of the user is always at the centre of great design execution. If we consider urbanisation as a giant design enterprise, the inclusive nature of the design process combined with our deep empathy for the user has to become the way we design our cities,” said Selection Committee member Ayse Birsel. “Design needs to move beyond the boardrooms into the streets, never losing focus of who we are designing for.”

Following the first round of deliberations by the WDC Selection Committee, Icsid Executive Board Member Mr. Nils Toft and Icsid Secretary General Ms. Dilki de Silva will attend site visits on behalf of the WDC Organising Committee to meet with prospective cities to gather any additional information required. A report of their findings will be shared with the WDC Selection Committee during the final meeting to determine the WDC 2016 designated city.

For more information, please contact:

Eduardo Caldera Petit
Project Manager
t: + 1 514 4484949 ext. 224

Natalie Dutil
Communications Officer
t: + 1 514 4484949 ext. 223

About World Design Capital® (WDC)

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital 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 established and managed by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008, Seoul (South Korea) in 2010 and Helsinki (Finland) in 2102 whilst preparations for Cape Town (South Africa) are underway for 2014. The cities shortlisted for WDC 2016 will be announced in August 2013.