Alongside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Frankfurt RheinMain was in the running with the theme "Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life" among the two finalists selected by the WDO's selection committee representing all continents and prevailed over the competing city.
At the WDO's annual general meeting World Design Assembly in Tokyo, Japan from 27 to 29 October 2023, the title will be ceremoniously awarded to Frankfurt RheinMain. In the first quarter of 2024, the World Design Capital Signing Ceremony will take place, at which the Host City Agreement will be officially signed. This is the starting point for the World Design Capital year 2026.
In the video conference, the WDO Managing Director, Bertrand Derome, thanked the jury for the convincing and comprehensive application and congratulated Frankfurt RheinMain on winning the title of World Design Capital 2026. The jury particularly praised the application's claim developed by Prof. Matthias Wagner K, which will have a great impact not only regionally, but above all worldwide. The jury was also enthusiastic about the successful and impressive preparatory work that had taken place in the course of the application in the form of numerous events, many contributors and a tour of the entire Rhine-Main region.
The jury was also particularly impressed by the cooperation between culture, design, business and society, which conveyed a great sense of community in the Frankfurt RhineMain Region and stood behind the application with drive. Bertrand Derome was already in July 2023 together with Eunjoo Maing from the WDO for a three-day visit to the Frankfurt RhineMain Region and was able to convince himself in numerous discussions.
For more than two years, the team of the project company, led by Prof. Matthias Wagner K, Director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst, has been working on the application on behalf of the City of Frankfurt am Main and the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and has been pushing it forward intensively. The period was used to start a joint movement with various cooperation partners and participatory formats as well as actors, initiatives and supporters.
"I am very pleased that Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main Region will bear the title World Design Capital 2026. We did not apply for it in order to adorn ourselves with the title, but what was important within the entire period was that through the application a movement that stands for a democratic culture of freedom. freedom. And we succeeded in doing that. Our tour of the Rhine-Main region, numerous discussions and conferences have already shown how great the need is in Frankfurt RhineMain to talk about the issues that affect our future. This is already resulting in a widely ramified regional network, a new community on which the movement can build and which counters a wait-and-see "carry on like this" with a constructive "do things differently together" that goes far beyond the art and design scene. The project catalogue that emerged from the application is an impressive fund from which to draw now. With the title, we are building on this foundation that has already been created and thank all the initiators, the designers, all those involved, the cities and municipalities and the sponsors."
"I congratulate the citizens of Frankfurt and the RheinMain region on winning the title of World Design Capital 2026. This is a merit of joint efforts. The title offers a great opportunity for the field of culture, which was an extensive part of the application. Together with Design for Democracy, we want to focus on the existing and new cultural places in the Frankfurt RhineMain region that seize the opportunity to promote the common good and spread their charisma to the world through the inherent cultural assets they convey with their own productions and events. We are all looking forward to being the host city and region for a multitude of visitors."
"Our common goal was to hit the big time: Frankfurt RheinMain. We have achieved this goal, and in a few days the work will really begin. Until then, I am above all proud of our city and the entire Rhine-Main Region and grateful for the great team that has already achieved so much in such a short time. The city and region have impressed with their economic and urban quality, but also as a dynamic and resilient location with outstanding future potential. The networking among each other is tremendously important and would have remained as a lasting value even in the event of failure in the final. Now the title is an additional powerful impulse for the international perception and development of our creative location. It gives Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region a variety of opportunities to give projects space for discussion, development and realisation and thus perhaps also add a new facet to the high good of democracy".
"The successful application of Frankfurt and the RhineMain region as World Design Capital 2026 is a shining example of the power of cultural cooperation at all levels. I am proud that we can now host this important event together with our partners and bring the cultural identity of Frankfurt and the entire region closer to the world. At the same time, this award will further enhance the attractiveness of our metropolitan region and promote the idea of networking within the region as well as with other cities and nations. Together we will shape the future through culture, and the world will look to Frankfurt RhineMain as a source of creative inspiration"
The aim of the conceived 2026 programme of Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life is to create a sustainable, participatory international centre of design, design disciplines and design methods for people from all over the world here in the RhineMain region. A hub for all existing design initiatives, grassroots initiatives, universities with a design focus, NGOs, representatives from society, business, politics, law, technology, science and culture as well as citizens on the basis of illustrative historical design upheavals, existing and new projected projects.
And last but not least, design should give Frankfurt and the region a common identity. Under the common denominator of Design for Democracy, targeted work can now be done on the implementation of projects in cooperation with all cities and municipalities in the region. The title World Design Capital Year 2026 will ensure international attention.
In the spirit of Design for Democracy. Amospheres for a better life, twelve fields of action were defined in the application that are most pressing in the design of social coexistence. They determine and structure the basic work as a platform provider for the development of the programme for the World Design Capital 2026: Working, Building, Education, Energy, Health, Industry, Consumption, Culture, Mobility, Public Space, Sport and Living.
More than 100 projects were submitted from the entire Frankfurt RhineMain Region for the fields of action, which now represent impressive value for the city and its surrounding area. These include, among others, as major projects: Designkioske Frankfurt RheinMain, A Step Ahead - Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt New Campus Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG), Offenbach am Main, House of Democracy, Frankfurt am Main, Life Science Hub - biomindz, Mainz, Seilbahn High*Line, Offenbach-Frankfurt, Station Mitte, Offenbach am Main, Kulturcampus, Wiesbaden. In addition, more than 60 projects from the entire region found their way into the application.