In 2004, Greater Lille was named as a European Capital of Culture, and the city is now bidding for the title of World Design Capital—a first for France that would bring international prestige to the Hauts-de-France region.
“Design is not just decoration.” —Gianfranco Zaccai
Greater Lille and Lille Design have adopted the theme “Eldorado: the greatest design experiment” for the city’s bid. Between now and 2020, the partners plan to give design a more prominent role in the metropolis, using it as a tool to transform the region.
Once the title is granted, the winning city has a year to showcase its best practices and offer a calendar of events. To meet this challenge, Greater Lille has called on entrepreneurs, business leaders, local authorities, research and training centers, cultural sites, private citizens and other community members to become part of a co-design process.
Long list of strengths
With over 1,600 designers in residence, Greater Lille is a haven for design, and its population of over 110,000 students keeps the city young. The area also offers a wide array of cultural and sporting events.
Lille’s location in the heart of Europe, with ready access to a market of over 78 million consumers, is another powerful asset, and its economic energy is undeniable. Fifteen international corporations are headquartered in the metropolis, and it is home to 80 companies with more than 500 employees.
If selected as World Design Capital, Lille will build on all of these strengths to attract increasing numbers of foreign investors, forge new partnerships and project the image of an open, dynamic region.
The World Design Organization has named a World Design Capital every other year since 2008, choosing from among dozens of candidate cities around the globe. If Lille’s bid for 2020 is successful, it will become the seventh to earn the designation, after Turin, Seoul, Helsinki, Cape Town, Taipei and Mexico City.