World Design Capital® (WDC) Taipei 2016 commenced with a bang on January 1stduring “New Year’s Eve of Design”. Besides a launch ceremony held next to the Taipei 101 skyscraper just minutes before an unprecedented fireworks display, the 2016 Taipei Break-Of-Dawn Concert rang in the new year with citizens and foreign visitors alike, attracting a total of approximately 65,000 attendees. To coincide with the launch of WDC Taipei 2016, local museums remained open 24 hours, hosting activities including outdoor pop-up galleries and all night art film marathons.
WDC New Year’s Eve of Design
Named World Design Capital® 2016 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), Taipei will be given a one year platform to showcase its core appeal as an “Adaptive City” to the entire world. WDC is designated by Icsid every two years to recognize a city’s innovative use of design for economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. The project will engageTaipei’s citizens to apply innovative “design thinking” to overcome the constraints that limited resources have placed on the city’s development, helping to pursue continual renewal and change for a better quality of life in a liveable city. Mr. Shikuan Chen, Icsid board member, defines the essence of design, “design is not a goal but a tool, and its implementation does not necessary limit to just aesthetic/innovation related businesses. Design thinking is a solution-based thinking technique/skill that can be utilized in every part of our lives, resolving our everyday issues”. Mr. Chen, a famous Taiwanese designer, was recently elected to the board of Icsid in October of 2015.
Icsid President Professor Mugendi K. M’Rithaa, gave his blessings at New Year’s Eve of Design, “as World Design Capital 2016, you can expect to gain even more visibility on the global stage as a leader in creativity and innovation, for improving economic development and the quality of life for your citizens”. He was also impressed with Mayor Ko’s plans to engage citizens of Taipei and turn the city into an example for others. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, expressed his vision of improving Taipei by initiating design thinking, which would modify the culture and ultimately turn Taipei City into an Adaptive City; this will help encourage citizens to accept and promote change in their daily lives.
Additionally, World Design Partner® Rado will work in conjunction with WDC Taipei 2016, activating local programs that help promote the role of design in effecting positive change. The pioneering Swiss watchmaker is well-known for its support of young design talent. As a leading watch brand focused on design, Rado is pleased to form an integral part of WDC Taipei; this includes plans to organize the first ever Rado Star Prize Taiwan to promote young local design talents, which follows on the heels of our successful inaugural partnership with WDC Cape Town in 2014, Matthias Breschan, CEO of Rado mentions.
Previous World Design Capitals, Cape Town (2014), Helsinki (2012), Seoul (2010), and Torino (2008) used design to enhance the quality of life of their citizens along with their city’s global profile. For example, through WDC-enabled urban engineering projects such as the “Han River Revival”, Seoul (WDC Seoul 2010) was able to create 170,000 job opportunities, raise its global competitiveness ranking from 27th to 9th, and increase its brand value by 90 billion South Korean Won (approx. 70 million US dollars). These achievements serve as a reference for what can be accomplished through WDC Taipei 2016.
Taipei residents have already shown their willingness to find opportunities to enhance city life, with over 3.7 million participants in preparation for the program. Many social design projects will be implemented in 2016 including a grant program inviting proposals on how to enhance the city in areas such as bridge underpasses, recycling, neighborhood parks, and much more.
As WDC 2016, Taipei will host a series of high profile international events, including the WDC International Design Gala, International Design Policy Conference, International Design House Exhibition, Design Week Forum, and Network of Cities Meeting. WDC Taipei 2016 will conclude with the Convocation Ceremony in December, during which the title will be passed to World Design Capital®Mexico City in 2018.