Turn design inside out

Dublin’s bid for World Design Capital 2014

Who was behind the bid?

Father Collins Park, Abelleyro + Romero Architects & MCO Projects. Image and wayfinding by Detail Design Studio

The Bid

On the 31st March 2011, Dublin submitted a bid to host World Design Capital® 2014.
The World Design Capital® (WDC) designation is a city promotion project that celebrates the accomplishments of cities that have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life. A competition to award the designation is held biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid).

The designation is a recent initiative.  The inaugural World Design Capital was Turin in 2008, Seoul was the 2010 capital and Helsinki is the current 2012 World Design Capital. The winning city hosts a programme of events over the course of the year.

Dublin’s bid was short listed to the final three out of 56 cities with the 2014 designation awarded to Cape Town. This distinguished performance in a prestigious international competition has enhanced Dublin’s reputation as a city rich in design resources across all disciplines; from architecture, product, fashion and graphic design to animation, film, gaming and interaction design.

The lasting value of the project lies in the process, which involved engagement across business, political and social enterprise sectors as well as the wide range of design industries. A consistent story emerged from this process regarding challenges and opportunities of the city region and the design resources available to meet them. Notable opportunities are; advancement in computer software, communications and content; improvement of the quality of the city’s urban environment and infrastructure; developing our reputation as a design destination and communicating the value of design to the end user.

Useful links
The World Design Capital programme
ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design)
Helsinki, World Design Capital 2012
Cape Town, World Design Capital 2014

What did Dublin’s bid consist of?
Dublin’s bid was a comprehensive design activity in Dublin and Ireland’s design story, showing the rich traditions of design culture, craft and innovation. This was presented in a 416 page “bid book” which is now available in public libraries in Dublin City and Counties, a series of films and this website, which has become a growing and valuable resource for debate about design in Ireland and elsewhere.


Dublin’s bid for World Design Capital 2014 was prepared as a joint venture between the four local authorities of the greater Dublin area: Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council. It was led and coordinated by City Architect’s Division, Dublin City Council. The websites of the four local authorities provide further information:


In addition to the four Dublin City and County Councils and Government Departments, Dublin’s bid gathered testimonials of support across many sectors – the Design Bodies, the Universities and Design Schools, Fáilte Ireland, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the CCD, Dublin City of Science, the Crafts Council, the OPW, Dóchas, ESB, and business such as Live Nation, Smurfit Kappa, PwC and Intel.



Dublin City Council, City Manager: John Tierney
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Manager: Owen Keegan
Fingal County Council, County Manager: David O’Connor
South Dublin County Council, County Manager: Joe Horan


Dublin City Council - City Architects’ Division: Ali Grehan, Owen O’Doherty, Mary Harvey
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – Architects’ Division: Andree Dargan
Fingal County Council - Architects’ Department: Marguerite Murphy
South Dublin County Council - Architectural Services Department: Eddie Conroy


Toby Scott, Dr. Lisa Godson, Professor Elizabeth Hatz, Ré Dubhthaigh, Dr. Michael John Gorman, Damini Kumar, Aisling Prior, Jean Byrne, Vannesa Ahuactzin and Wayne Hemingway MBE


Red&Grey Design: Bob Gray, Keith McGuinness, Richard Weld-Moore and Lorna Melody
Emma Curley Architecture, Urban Design, Facilitation: Emma Curley, Andrew Murray, Stéphanie Fy and Denis O’Kelly
Areaman Productions: Shane Hogan and Tom Burke
Other Contributors: Dr. Linda King (IADT) and Henrietta McKervey


Communiqué International: Aibhlin McCrann
RPS: Mary Murphy
Dublin City Council: Michael Sands, Dick Gleeson, Kieran Rose, Sinead Connolly, Peter Finnegan, Evelyn Hanlon and Alan Breen


Red & Grey Design

Dublin photo series photo by Gregory Dunn
CatDog, Detail Design Studio