Helsinki has been chosen as World Design Capital 2012. The appointment is conferred biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) to a city that uses design in an innovative way. The criteria for the award is the use of design to improve the social, cultural and economic life of a city.
This year, the cities of Helsinki and Eindhoven made it to the final. Helsinki is the third city to be conferred as a World Design Capital. Last year the honour went to Turin, Italy, and next year it will be Seoul in South Korea.
The main emphasis of Helsinki’s application was openness. The theme of the application was “Open Helsinki enabled by Embedded Design”. The thinking behind “embedded design” is that design is in-built into society. In concrete terms, this means giving consideration to people’s needs, aesthetic values and accessibility in everything. In addition, the creation of new, unique actors (e.g., the Aalto University), a strong tradition of industrial arts education, the presence of renowned companies, as well as a strong design tradition are contributing factors to receiving the award.
A total of 46 cities from 27 countries took part in the application process. Helsinki WDC 2012 involves not only Helsinki but also the neighbouring areas of Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti.
Sitra has been involved in the World Design Capital 2012 delegation and will continue to cooperate with the City of Helsinki on Helsinki WDC 2012.
Design is seen in Sitra’s own work as an opportunity and tool to meet the complex needs facing society.