Bilbao Biscay, in the Basque Country, has established itself as a qualified Territory to offer advanced solutions in Design, a strategic discipline with international reach. Bilbao, as a member of the Unesco Creative Cities Network, embodies the calling and strength of an innovative and Competitive territory, in line with the collective commitment held by local Public Administrations and different agents in the industry. ■

Bilbao Biscay’s draw as a Competitive territory offers a solid foundation to promote and develop innovative projects. Part of this foundation is based on the strategic implementation of Design, as undertaken by the entity BiDC: Bilbao Bizkaia Design Council.

This firm commitment, promoted by Public Administrations (Bilbao Town Hall and The Regional Government of Biscay) and different players (companies, training and research centres, professionals, etc.) is already internationally recognised.

Bilbao: Member of the Unesco Creative Cities Network

On 1 December, 2014, the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that Bilbao would be added to its Creative Cities Network, in the Design category. Bilbao’s nomination to this Network was promoted by Town Hall and the Regional Government of Biscay, through the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Council (BiDC), with the active collaboration of EIDE (Designer Association of the Basque Country) and other local players.

This initiative forms part of the global strategy whose priority challenges are to generate a creative economy, to create qualified employment and to strengthen specialisation and the business fabric within the city and its Territory.

Cities such as Berlin (Germany), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen (China), Montreal (Canada), Seoul (South Korea), Nagoya and Kobe (Japan), Saint Étienne (France), Graz (Austria), Detroit (USA) and Puebla (Mexico) belong to this Network.

Along with Bilbao, Helsinki (Finland), Turin (Italy), Curitiba (Brazil) and Dundee (United Kingdom) were also accepted in 2014.

On an annual basis, these cities must present a report to the Unesco on the progress made within their field of work. For Bilbao, these initiatives are specifically related to Design.

Bilbao: finalist for Design Capital 2014

During the process to appoint the World Design Capital 2014, wherein the South African city of Cape Town was selected, Bilbao was one of the three finalist cities, along with Dublin (Ireland) and the winning city.

Although Bilbao did not win the award, Bilbao Town Hall, the Regional Government of Biscay and the Basque Government, along with the other public and private entities that endorsed Bilbao’s candidacy, stated their commitment to carry through with the lines set forth for Design and creative economy.

This action plan, sustained and renewed, was a determining factor in making Bilbao a top-rate city in regards to its urban and productive transformation, as proven by its potential to undertake innovative initiatives in creative industries.

A society with an industrial and entrepreneurial tradition

Basque society, with Bilbao acting as the hub of its most metropolitan area, has vast industrial experience. Developing and strengthening design is the logical result of its renewed history.

This highly-qualified industry in our country is upheld by a working culture and mastery of the craft, the manufacturing tradition, the exactitude of its entrepreneurs and training for its technical and managerial staff.

The best responses and solutions

Today’s social setting and the economic situation are the result of a profound transformation. The current challenges faced by professionals, companies, Public Administrations, Territories and cities require the best responses and solutions. Their future depends on how these responses and solutions take shape.

If we wish to be competitive and reach sustainable growth levels to promote projects, ensure the survival of organisations and the Welfare State, we must be well-trained and bold in meeting these challenges, which are greater and more complex than ever.

In order to contribute, Design needs to know how to adapt, shift its perspective, apply new tools and foment the creation of attractive scenarios. It has a strategic mission to push forward in competitiveness and internationalisation for all industries, based on a concept of Design that is engaged with innovation, sustainability and the balanced transformation of societies. ■