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WDCV 2022 rounds off its incredible year by reflecting on the spaces of the future

WDCV 2022 rounds off its incredible year by reflecting on the spaces of the future

DECEMBER 2022 | 7 minutes

2022 is drawing to an end and so are the World Design Capital Valencia (WDCV 2022) events and activities that Actiu has been a significant part of; going back to when it was nothing more than a dream shared by designers and companies from all over the Autonomous Community of Valencia. To be precise, on 30th July 2019, Actiu, together with the other companies involved, made their case before the World Design Organization jury as to why Valencia deserved to be designated World Design Capital.

In October 2021, Actiu equipped the Council of Valencia's Sala Chimenea with pieces such as Arkitek and Karbon. A room that has been used to host the most significant WDCV2022 institutional visits.

Without a shadow of a doubt, sustainability and protecting the environment have played a key role in Valencia's message as World Design Capital; a vision shared by Actiu and which it has helped to convey. An example of this is the Design and Sustainability Workshop that was attended by Carmen Berbegal, Actiu's Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. An event that brought together the fields' leading companies in the Autonomous Community, in which knowledge and ideas were exchanged.

Thanks to WDCV2022, Valencian design has transcended borders; not just because of those who came to visit from abroad, but also because of events held in other countries and locations. An example is the "Valencia, shapes uncovered" exhibition held as part of Berlin Design Week attended by Actiu as one of the ambassadors of Valencia and its design.

Ágora València, one of the main WDCV 2022 hubs, hosted a wide array of activities and design events in Valencia's Plaza del Ayuntamiento. This structure was opened to the public in June; equipped with 120 Actiu  Fluit chairs, a 100% sustainable chair created entirely from recycled materials. This space was rounded off with Trama tables. 

In mustard, grey and white tones, in keeping with the graphic identity of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022, the Fluit chairs equipped the 350 square metres of this ephemeral architecture designed by Valencian architect, Miguel Arraiz, together with Arqueha Arquitectura. The pavilion, used to showcase the entire project, fuses vareta and ceramics, creating a unique combination of tradition and the avant-garde, creativity and sustainability, artistry and industry; values very much shared by Actiu.

In June, the brand was also recognised for its commitment to design and to  designers alike, having been awarded the Honorary Innovation Prize by the Association of Designers of the Valencian Community (ADCV) for its work in innovation, internationalisation and sustainable design of business strategies and products.

After summer, it was time for one of the year's stand-out events: the return of Valencia's Hábitat Fair which, after a three-year break, regained its position as a benchmark national and international furniture industry fair.

From 22nd to 25th September, design and innovation, with sustainability and well-being at its heart, came together at Feria València to showcase all the latest products from designers and manufacturing brands. Actiu showcased in two spaces, which exemplified the dialogue between physical and digital spaces, within the framework of new hybrid contexts: a stand designed by Isern Serra as well as an infinity room co-designed by Isern Serra and Alba de la Fuente.

Two spaces that connected to create one-of-a-kind experiences. What's more, they were also used to showcase new products, such as the new Bee chair, designed by the Actiu founder, Vicente Berbegal, and the new Tubbe modular shelf

Hábitat gave Actiu the opportunity to chair the debate on the future of design at roundtables such as “Contract Design Capable of Conveying Emotions” which saw participation from the designers Isern Serra, Cutu Mazuelos from Stone Design and Gemma Alfaro de Alfaro - Manrique Atelier.

It also chaired the Women in Office Design (WOD) roundtable, “Hybrid Living and Working Models. This roundtable was attended by Harsha Kotak, founder of WOD, with presentations delivered by Clara del Portillo, designer and partner at Yonoh Studio, Laura Ros, architect and partner at Made Studio as well as Anna Boscà, Ramón Esteve's Director of the Health and Cultural Architecture department.

As well as these two roundtables, Actiu collaborated with and supported the launch of the book, “Office as a Tribe”, written by the Mexican architect Juan Carlos Baumgartner. 

This inspiration in international architecture travelled to Valencia with a group of fifty architects, interior designers and entrepreneurs from the United States, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru, among others, who had the opportunity to learn about Actiu's furniture, lighting and textile designs showcased at Feria València, as well as enjoy the events held as part of World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

Staying with the Hábitat Fair, Actiu equipped the Association of Interior Designers of the Valencian Community (CDICV) stand as well as the outdoor area of the “Interior Design and Health” conference, to create a space for collaborating and socialising. To name but a few, palaeontologist Juan Luis Arsuaga, psychiatrist Luis Rojas Marcos and architect Benedetta Tagliabue spoke at the event.

Additionally, one of the key events that took place in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento Ágora, as part of the Valencia Hábitat Fair, was the launch of “The Big D, the first design podcast by Podium Podcast, where Fluit chairs welcomed those involved in this project, supported by the PRISA group and presented by the journalist Anatxu Zabalbeascoa.

The Fluit chair was also showcased internationally at the Carme Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCC) that week, specifically in the Gothic cloister, at an event named ‘Endless Mediterranean; sustainability and design’ by Actiu, attended by Matilde Sessolo and Christian Gori from Archirivolto Design, designers of a chair that has been a milestone in Actiu's sustainability philosophy.

Next, WDCV 2022 held the World Design Policy Conferenceat the Valencia Palacio de Congresos, an event equipped with Noom armchairs on the stages and Second Act details for the speakers, a collection of handcrafted products made from leftover materials, giving them a new lease of life in line with Actiu's sustainability and circular economy philosophy.

After 12 months of non-stop activities, this initiative culminates with the ‘Scenes from the Near Future’ exhibition held at the Carme Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCC), curated by the journalist and design specialist, Tachy Mora. This exhibition, that can be visited until 19th March 2023, includes the microarchitecture ‘Work From Anywhere Hub’ designed by Actiu and the designer Eli Gutiérrez; a flexible, multi-purpose, transportable and fully-equipped installation.

Scenes from the Near Future strives to reflect the changes in lifestyle observed in recent years by calling on spaces and furniture based around five concepts: flexibility, multifunctionality, nomadism, modularity and sustainability, all premises that the Actiu-designed installation fulfils. The Actiu ‘Work From Anywhere Hub’ is an evolution of more people-centred, relaxed and casual workspaces that move away from the traditional office context to open up new environments for working, socialising and relaxing.

Staying with the CCCC, this year Actiu equipped the Delocalised Expanded Library (BED), a people-centred prototype of a 21st century library, envisaged as a meeting point, a place for knowledge-sharing and a venue to hold talks, workshops and cultural activities.

The temporary installation, located in the museum's cloister dating back to the Renaissance period, will become a permanent installation as of February, thanks to a project overseen by the UPV School of Architecture, the company FORMICA, the BED team and the CCCC itself. Bend, Longo Pod and Noom, to name but a few, are some of the collections Actiu used in this project.

Finally, they have also been present as speakers at the round table 'Casos d'èxit de disseny i sostenibilitat', where representatives of the companies Actiu, La Plana, Zumex and Fuente Primavera have sponsored a debate promoted by the Entidad Metropolitana para el Tratamiento de Residuos, where it has become clear that another industry that cares and takes care of the planet is possible.

Although Valencia's great year is coming to an end, these projects that remain beyond and the legacy left by all that has happened in these months point to the fact that València World Design Capital 2022 will mark a before and after in the projection of Valencian design, industry and talent on an international scale, thanks to the efforts made by all those involved in the last twelve months.

In the words of Soledad Berbegal, Director and Head of Corporate Reputation at Actiu "What was initially a dream of a community of people whose work and enthusiasm is design and industry, has ended up being one of the most important projects in recent years in Europe in terms of highlighting design, innovation and territory. There is no other platform that promotes these values in such a relevant way and that in turn has managed to connect industry and designers as much as the World Design Capital with the support of the local administration.

We have enjoyed and experienced one of the most memorable years in the history of design. A grand opening and a great loudspeaker of a way of living, creating and enjoying that connects civilisations and people of the Mediterranean. I believe that there will be a before and after the capital in 2022. From here, real initiatives and future policies have emerged so that, thanks to design, we can improve as a society (community) and as individuals.  Initiatives whose objective is to value design as a transversal tool for companies and society, thanks to which we will be able to design a better world. 

One more year we have seen that good design belongs to people, good design must be ethical, responsible, inclusive, sustainable, efficient, profitable, communicative, healthy, curative... it is that which seeks functionality at the service of people over aesthetics... We have been happy as a family and as a group to be part of all this".