The World Design Assembly™ (WDA) is organized every two years by the World Design Organization (WDO)®. It took place in Tokyo from October 27 to 29, 2023.
Under the theme Design Beyond, international participants explored the evolution of design and its intersections with people, society, technology and the environment. As part of the World Design Assembly, the ceremonial presentation of the globally prestigious title World Design Capital® 2026 to Frankfurt and the RheinMain Region took place. The President of the WDO, David Kusuma signed the Host City Agreement, which had already been signed by Prof. Matthias Wagner K and Prof. Roland Lambrette of Design FRM gGmbH (responsible for the implementation of the application and the World Design Capital year 2026).
Frankfurt and the RheinMain Region have been awarded the title World Design Capital 2026 for their application with the theme Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life. With regard to Design for Democracy, the presentation of the title to Frankfurt RheinMain in the context of an internationally attended and respected event such as the World Design Assembly with the theme Design Beyond was of particular importance.
Design for Democracy is about 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. Regarding the proposed theme for 2026, WDO President David Kusuma stated that "this is a timely theme that speaks to our current global context and the importance of leveraging design as a tool for collective good. A tool through which citizens can more fully participate in the preservation of democratic spaces."
The extraordinarily positive reaction of the international participants of the WDA confirmed the global relevance of the application theme and showed how urgent the questions about the design of a future worth living are. Frankfurt RheinMain's application content was received with great interest and enthusiasm by the design community from all over the world. Already through the application and the awarding of the title, Frankfurt RhineMain has further strengthened its international perception.
The 33rd World Design Assembly, hosted by WDO member Japan Institute of Design Promotion, included a series of international keynote presentations, workshops and breakout sessions. On October 27, a Research and Education Forum was held, allowing 350 students and designers to interact with fellow students and industry leaders from around the world. This was followed by the International Design Conference with about 600 participants on October 28 and the 33rd General Assembly of the WDO on October 29.
The World Design Assembly hosted the global design community in Tokyo to discuss the contribution of product, industrial, communication and many other design disciplines to a livable future. Strengthening society-wide participation in shaping its reality and developing the corresponding education at universities, schools and colleges were central themes. In the various formats, the aim was to develop a vision for tomorrow through the lens of humanity, planet, technology and politics using the methods of the design process: "Humanity - designing from a new perspective on human identity", "Planet - designing to solve environmental problems", "Technology - designing the digital transformation" and "Politics - designing the future of design policy". Individuals from the fields of design, business, technology, art and culture from around the world spoke about Design Beyond from the perspective of their main topics.
The official announcement of the World Design Capital 2026 designation marks the beginning of a new phase for Design FRM gGmbH – the organizing entity set up to develop and implement the 2026 programme, which will be completed by the end of 2024.