In October Seoul was designated “World Design Capital (WDC) 2010” by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) and the people from Red Dot have published a longer feature story on the matter.
“The World Design Capital 2010 has been determined”. Triumphing over strong competitors such as Dubai, Singapore, and Toronto, the South Korean metropolis Seoul laid claim to the 2010 title of the biannual competition. The official announcement was made at the 15th Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) congress, held from October 17 to 20, 2007 in San Francisco.
The competition was brought to life to find cities from all over the world that successfully apply design in all areas of public life. The decision for Seoul was made unanimously by the five-member jury, consisting of the designers Marc Newson and Patricia Urquiola, Torino (World Design Capital 2008) Mayor Sergio Chiamparino, Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, former Icsid president, and Jacques Lange, former president of Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations). “The jury was highly impressed by Seoul’s bid”, said Prof. Dr. Zec, WDC founding chair and jury member. Seoul’s remarkable achievements in design development—particularly in the past decade—exemplify the spirit of the World Design Capital designation. Moreover, the bid successfully emphasised and detailed the far-reaching significance of design for the social, cultural, and economic development of a metropolis. Factors weighing in favour of Seoul were: the economic figures of the city; high-tech products of Korean companies such as LG Electronics, Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, Helio, and Kia; and an exceptional interest in design.
Indeed, Seoul can boast an unusual dedication to design, with Mayor Oh Se-hoon declaring the integration of design into the city’s economic development as a main priority. In his acceptance speech in July 2006, Oh Se-hoon affirmed: “The 21st century is the age of design. From today on, we are all designers with the task of making Seoul the best city of the world.” There has rarely been such a clear commitment to the subject of design from the leading politician of a country. The city has already set up a design headquarter that provides new design guidelines for the redevelopment of urban structures such as streets, sidewalks, and bus stops. The government is also planning to build a huge design plaza; construction of the over 246 million US dollar project is slated to begin in April 2008 and to be completed in 2010.
“Design will be a driving force of Seoul’s economy”, said Oh Se-hoon in his acceptance speech. “We have surprised the world with the ‘Miracle of the Han River’ and great information technology, but will now attract the world’s attention with design.” He said to have great expectations for the future of the city. Thanks to the designation of Seoul as World Design Capital 2010, the city will have the opportunity to give its design industry a major boost.
The City of Seoul plans to more than double its 2005 annual market value of approximately 5.3 billion euros by 2015. It also wants to increase the current number of design firms from 1,500 to more than 2,500 by the year 2012. Finally, a multitude of design activities and conferences are planned for the year 2010—the year in which Seoul is World Design Capital.”
When you do what you like, you won’t get sick of it too long, if ever.