The Consulate General of Germany in Canada presents the application for Frankfurt RhineMain as World Design Capital 2026.


Shaping the future together

The Consulate General of Germany in Canada presents the application for Frankfurt RhineMain as World Design Capital 2026.

The World Design Organization™, based in Montreal, Canada, launched the application process for the title of World Design Capital 2026 on 3 November 2022, which Frankfurt RhineMain is now applying for. Since the opening of the application process the project management team has worked extensively to develop the application portfolio on behalf of the City of Frankfurt am Main and the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. On 30 March 2023, the project company has now submitted the application to the World Design Organization™. For this purpose, the link to the final documents was printed in cooperation with the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz using a historical printing process as hand typesetting with lead letters. In a symbolic gesture, the Consulate General of Germany in Canada, represented by Consul General Susanne Aschi-Glesius, presented the art edition of the application to the World Design Organization™.

The submitted application includes a detailed presentation of the vision behind the claim Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life which was developed in the summer of 2021 by the head of the application and director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst, Prof. Matthias Wagner K. Additionally it includes an image video about Frankfurt and the RhineMain region, and answers to an extensive list of questions. A digital submission was specified by the World Design Organization™. Therefore, the application documents comprising more than 700 pages were embedded in a digital platform built especially for this purpose.

The application, which was inspired by ideas from the design community, by the initial sponsors of the application, by actors within cultural and scientific institutions, as well as by numerous citizens of the region, has already received considerable support: From the State of Hesse represented by the Hessian Prime Minister, Boris Rhein, from the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, from the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, Mainz, from Messe Frankfurt, from Frankfurt Main Finance, from the Deutscher Designer Club, from the Art Directors Club for Germany and from the German Design Council, which as a founding member of the WDO is closely connected to the project.

In June 2023, the World Design Organization™ will publish the short list with the final cities, which will subsequently be visited by the international jury representing all continents. A final decision will be announced by the WDO at its official Annual General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in October. In the past, the international accolade has been awarded to cities such as Helsinki, Cape Town and San Diego-Tijuana.

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Voices from society, politics, economy and culture on the occasion of the submission of the application

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"As World Design Capital 2026, the Frankfurt RhineMain region would be in the spotlight of the international creative industries and benefit permanently from the exciting WDC projects. The Hessian creative industry is enormously committed to the application. The motto is an ideal fit for our federal state with its democratic tradition and high quality of life. We firmly believe that the application will be successful," says Hesse's Minister of Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir.

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"A look at the past shows the rich tradition of Frankfurt and the region as a center of modern design and social awakening. The application to become World Design Capital 2026 builds on comprehensive societal transformations through design and applied sciences, which have characterized the living, economic and cultural region of Frankfurt RhineMain for more than 550 years. Cross-industry networks combined with a diverse range of cultural offerings that are unique in their quality ensure an excellent infrastructure, the best prerequisites for the title," said Dr. Ina Hartwig, Head of the Department of Culture and Science, as she welcomes the submission of the application.

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"The title World Design Capital 2026 would be a powerful impulse for the international perception and development of the creative hub Frankfurt RhineMain. The city and its region have excellent chances to impress not only with its significant economic and urban quality, but also as a dynamic, resilient business location with outstanding potential for the future. Frankfurt RhineMain is a diverse and vibrant region, an ideal place for a real-life laboratory in which we can provide space for projects to be discussed, developed and realized," says Stephanie Wüst, Head of the Department for Economics, Law and Reform in Frankfurt.

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"The Rhine-Main region has a strong competency in design and is also the cradle of German democracy. It would be an unforgivable mistake not to further develop this potential. The motto of the application is highly suitable for promoting the democratic and cultural unity of the region and its positive dynamic development," says the Managing Director of the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, Karin Wolff.

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"Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life, is not only the title of this application, but also a movement that we launched at the beginning of 2022. It is dedicated to the most pressing issues of our time and develops concrete projects and comprehensive visions for the year 2026, and beyond, arising from lively discourse and diverse ideas. By Design for Democracy, we mean responsible design to facilitate, expand, sustain, and intensify life – designing good, participatory solutions to good problems arising from changes in our environment, technology, economy, and society. At the same time, we understand Design for Democracy as a movement consisting of very different participants who focus on the potential ability to design a future worth living in and who are prepared to convincingly develop new possibilities for the shaping of processes, structures and atmospheres that make it possible to approach one another and to live together in the present," explains Professor Matthias Wagner K.


The sponsors who launched the application Frankfurt RhineMain. World Design Capital 2026 are the City of Frankfurt under the leadership of the Department of Culture and Science and the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain – which includes, among others, the cities of Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Offenbach and Hanau, the districts of Offenbach, Hochtaunus, Main-Taunus, Rheingau-Taunus and municipalities in the region – as well as the State of Hesse, represented by the Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein.


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