Helsinki has been awarded the title of World Design Capital for 2012 at the World Design Congress held in Singapore last week. The Finnish capital beat out competition from the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven.
Organised by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the World Design Capital (WDC) is a concept which promotes city-wide celebration of the merits of design. Held every two years, the WDC highlights cities that truly leverage off design as a tool for improving cultural, social and economic life. YLE reports that Helsinki will showcase its design-related benefits through a series of events held over the course of the year.
The Helsinki application also included outlying cities Vantaa, Espoo, Kauniainen and Lahti, 100km to the north. The award recognises the collaboration by local government, businesses and universities in preparing the application.
“Helsinki has a vibrant design tradition but we also know that we must go further, beyond the edge of our limits and test the boundaries of design. The WDC project is an important step in this process and will help Helsinki to put design in a truly unique position in our society,” said Jussi Pajunen, the Helsinki Mayor, when the city was first announced as a finalist in the competition.
The WDC saw bids from 46 cities across 27 different countries and resulted in Helsinki joining Torino and Seoul as title holders.
”Helsinki has not been in the global spotlight in such a way since the 1952 Olympics. The international design community will be paying attention to the city,” said Pekka Timonen, Helsinki’s cultural director.