Helsinki looks back on a successful year as World Design Capital 2012

On 29 November 2012, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced the conclusion of Helsinki’s official World Design Capital 2012 year. During the Closing Summit, international guests commemorated the city’s successful yearlong programme and also witnessed the handover of the WDC title to Cape Town (South Africa), which will bear it in 2014.

In Helsinki altogether 580 projects were explored and 2,800 events were organised throughout the year which resulted in nearly 1 million visitors to the city. Not only Helsinki, but also the entire region still benefits from the unique distinction: "World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 has widened the use of design in Finland in a number of ways. It has also increased the understanding of the possibilities design offers and gained exceptional international attention," says Pekka Timonen, Executive Director of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, and continues: “During the yearlong programme, design became a topic for public discussion. More than anything, carrying on with the legacy of the World Design Capital year, Helsinki is on a path towards becoming even more liveable."

While Cape Town is still preparing projects for the 2014 festivities, Icsid already launches the application process for the World Design Capital 2016. The 5th circle of the initiative, which was initiated by Professor Dr. Peter Zec in 2005, will once again provide cities with a unique tool to position themselves as a design city in an international competition. The Founding Chair of the World Design Capital points out the motivation of the applicants: “The cities are greatly interested in becoming the World Design Capital as they can gain worldwide visibility as a centre for innovation and creativity and thus become an attractive place for design-related companies and people.”

» Further information on the World Design Capital and application

» Information about Cape Town's "Live Design. Transform Life." WDC programme