Helsinki will be the World Design Capital of the year 2012. The designation was announced by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) at the Icsid World Design Congress 2009 in Singapore on November 25, 2009.
"This is a magnificent achievement for Helsinki. It is an important recognition for us and our collaborator cities Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti, as well as for all the participating organizations and individuals. We have received a unique opportunity and will be taking every advantage of it," says Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen, accepting the World Design Capital 2012 designation at the Icsid World Design Congress 2009.
The title of Helsinki's bid for the designation was Open Helsinki - Embedding Design in Life. The concept expressed by the title will form the basis of Helsinki's ambitious program for the design year 2012.
Altogether 46 cities from 27 countries applied for the designation. An international jury first shortlisted Helsinki and Eindhoven of the Netherlands before awarding the designation to Helsinki.
The World Design Capital project will comprise a large number of design events and bring a great deal of visibility for the Helsinki region. Program planning and preparations begin immediately.
"We will invite all citizens, enterprises and organizations in Helsinki, as well as visiting design professionals and enthusiasts, to participate in the preparations and the events of the design year 2012," Mayor Pajunen says. "This is a major challenge for us to use design in Helsinki and in the other participating cities to further the development of our cities from the social, economic and cultural perspectives, according to the World Design Capital project's vision.
"The work begins now. The effort will extend well beyond one year and one city. The World Design Capital 2012 project will support the long-ranging development of the entire region. The project will also strengthen our role in the international community."
The Helsinki bid was supported by the Finnish government, many schools and universities, and design enterprises and organizations. Mayor Pajunen commends the excellent cooperation between all players in the bidding process that earned Helsinki the designation: "We had a great consortium, and the same players, complemented by many others, will collaborate to put together the events of 2012. Finland and Helsinki have grand and internationally renowned design traditions, and this new recognition for Helsinki demonstrates that we are pioneers in design and in concepts for high-quality urban life."
Mayor Pajunen points out that design should be seen from a broad perspective. "Our goal is to build a better city and to improve our quality of life. Design-oriented thinking can, for example, be used to reform public services."
Helsinki will be the third World Design Capital, following Turin (Torino, 2008) and Seoul (2010). The World Design Capital is a biennial designation given to one city at a time.