Design in Spain is currently in a sweet spot. Projects such as the 2022 Valencia World Design Capital are expanding the social perception of design and encouraging companies and people to be more aware of the design that surrounds them and the positive impact that it has on their daily lives.
In this regard, disciplines such as product design, space design and graphic design become even more relevant along with the designers who are the authors of these projects. But designers are already looking beyond just their daily work: to that undefined point in the future towards which a new, more committed and sustainable type of design is headed.
“Design is now entering a new era in which it will no longer be a merely formal type of design, but it must take into account the consequences that products have on the environment. Professionals have an obligation to design products with a long life cycle that can be regenerated and that apply circular economy principles. More value will be given to the durability of a well-made product than to the mindless consumption of a certain aesthetic,” says the designer Marcelo Alegre of Alegre Design, who designs collections such as Actiu's Talent, Noom and TNK Flex.
The graphic designer Ibán Ramón believes that, right now, no company, institution or project can live outside of design. “It has already become an inescapable tool. There is an awareness surrounding design and things are no longer improvised intuitively,” he says.
But, with a view to the future, this design must evolve in line with the social and sustainable needs of the society in which it is framed. “Companies will also not be successful if, in every initiative they undertake, they do not take design into account from the outset. Design which is understood as a work process at all levels,” he points out.
Inma Bermúdez agrees that designers can contribute much more than just products to the business world. “I am optimistic and I want to think that companies are already aware of the fact that design is essential for their product development department. But designers are very creative people and that creativity and experience can translate into more than just products that can be sold. We can contribute to improving the functioning of companies and people's quality of life,” she highlights.
The 2022 Valencia World Design Capital is largely responsible for this positive inertia linked to design, which is serving as a loudspeaker for the regional design ecosystem and hopes to lay the foundations for the future of design. A future that, according to its Vice President, the designer Luis Calabuig, will be affected by sustainability and circularity, since design is a “tool at the service of the common good.”
Ibán Ramón, Inma Bermúdez, Marcelo Alegre and Luis Calabuig are four of the designers who were awarded for their projects at the recent awards ceremony of the Association of Designers of the Valencian Community (ADCV), whose objective is "to reward design excellence" and recognises its "positive economic, social, environmental and cultural impact”.
At the awards ceremony, Actiu received the Honorary Innovation Award for its work in innovation, internationalisation and the sustainable design of business strategies and products.
“Through design, we want to enjoy unique experiences, be passionate, get excited, take care of ourselves, work and solve today's challenges. And we also want to do so in a way that is more inclusive, collaborative and digital than ever. With the objective of being responsible with people and the planet,” said Soledat Berbegal when receiving the award, the Counsellor and Head of Corporate Reputation at Actiu.
The other honorary awards went to the designer Paco Bascuñán (posthumously), and to the Carmen Centre for Contemporary Culture in Valencia.
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