Mexico and Brazil vie to host next World Design Capital

A shortlist of two has been announced for World Design Capital 2018, with Mexico City and Curitiba in Brazil both in the running for the title.

Eye shaped Oscar Niemeyer Museum at Curitiba, Brazil
Eye-shaped Oscar Niemeyer Museum at Curitiba, Brazil

Mexico City and Curitiba in Brazil are going head-to-head in the bid to be named World Design Capital 2018.

The two cities have been shortlisted in a bid process run by the International Council of Societies of Design.

Icsid says it received bids for the title from four continents: North America, Oceania, Asia and South America.

The World Design Capital title is awarded every two years by ICSID and aims to celebrate and promote cities that use design to improve economic, social and cultural life.

The first World Design Capital was Turin, which was given the title in 2008. Other cities to receive the accolade have been Seoul, Helsinki and Cape Town.

Taipei will be World Design Capital in 2016 – but was the only city to bid for the title. Icsid said it was “not discouraged” at having only one bid submitted and has “leveraged this opportunity to focus its assessment on the viability of the application”.

Last year claims were made in the South African parliament that Cape Town had “bought” the World Design Capital title for 2014. These allegations were roundly rejected by Icsid and the city’s mayor.

For the 2018 World Design Capital, Icsid now has two shortlisted cities to appraise.

Skyline in Mexico City, view from the Chapultepec Castle
Skyline in Mexico City, view from the Chapultepec Castle

The Curitiba bid team say they are aiming to use their legacy in design and urban planning to develop new multidisciplinary projects to create positive change.

Gustavo Fruet, mayor of Curitiba, says: “For 50 years, Curitiba has been leading distinct projects in areas of urban planning, mobility, and design, as well as environmental preservation, sustainability, and quality of life.

“It is time for Curitiba to consolidate itself as a design pole, connecting the various segments related to design in order to reward innovative projects, which improve the quality of the urban environment and people’s lives.”

The Mexico City bid team says that if the city is selected it will help build bridges from Latin America to the rest of the world.

Design Week Mexico director Emilio Cabrero says: “Mexico City is a flourishing ground for designers, since it is only through design that we can achieve real change.

“We envision making design permeate across all aspects of our megalopolis to offer a wide perspective; as well as aesthetic and cultural exchanges, which determine the development and purpose of design to make a better future.”

The World Design Capital Organising Committee will now visit both Mexico City and Curitiba to assess their suitability for the title. The winning city will be announced on 18 October.

Discover more:

Claims Cape Town ‘bought’ World Design Capital 2014 title rejected

• Hunt for World Design Capital 2016 turns up only one bid

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