12 January 2018 was a historic day for Spanish design: The Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, held a conference called “Spanish Design in the 21st Century: Challenges and Strategies” gathering more than 200 guests, representing all the agents in the design industry.
The aim of this event was to urge the government to implement design policies in the context of a broad innovation strategy. It was the initiative of the Socialist Parliamentary Group in collaboration with READ (Spanish Network of Design Associations), RED (Association of Spanish Design Companies) and CEA (Confederation of Arts and Design Schools) to support the submission of a Non-Law Proposal summarised in ten points. This proposal will be debated in the Commission of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
The conference consisted of two round-table discussions with 14 design experts, who shared their knowledge and vision around two key points, challenges and strategies. Each round of speeches was followed by an open discussion, where the attendees were able to share ideas and proposals.
Marcelo Leslabay, journalist and Editorial Director of the magazine Experimenta, moderated the first debate, which included Soledad Berbegal, Director of Strategic Communication at Actiu; Carlos San José, Director of Design Projects and Product Development at ADN Design; the graphic designer Emilio Gil, from Estudio Tau Diseño; the industrial designer Vicent Martínez; Soledad Hernández, President of the Asociación de Diseñadores de Madrid (DiMad- Madrid Association of Designers); and Pepe Cosín, representing the Colegio de Diseñadores de Interior de la Comunitat Valenciana (School of Interior Designers of the Valencian Community).
The second discussion was moderated by Vicente Gallega, President of READ, and included Nacho Lavernia, from Lavernia & Cienfuegos; Nani Marquina, President of the Fomento de las Artes y el Diseño (FAD-Promotion of Arts and Design); Juan Mellen, Manager of RED; Sofía Rodríguez, Director of the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (National Museum of Decorative Arts); Eugenio Vega, President of the CEA (Confederación de Escuelas de Artes Plásticas y Diseño – Confederation of Plastic Arts and Design Schools) and Anxo López, designer in multi-national corporate environments.
There is a broad consensus in the European Union about the importance of design-driven innovation and its contribution to the efficiency of public and private sectors, as well as its capacity to create value and contribute to competitiveness, prosperity and wellbeing of our countries. Sadly, Spain has failed, until now, to promote and coordinate design policies and to include design in the political agenda. Nevertheless, all the speakers in the conference agreed upon this great momentum built up in Spain.
You can find more detailed information here.