In 2024, San Diego and Tijuana will co-host design enthusiasts from around the world who come to see the first bi-national region to be selected as a World Design Capital®. They will see graphic, industrial, architectural, artistic and other design projects that help define our region.
Billing this historic event as ‘Designing Transborder Futures,’ the local HOME 2024 team that put together the San Diego/Tijuana bid to become a World Design Capital is currently developing and aggregating much of what will be featured that year by bringing together a diverse group of creatives. The World Design Capital 2024 planning effort explores ways to design for innovation, transformation, activation and imagination.
According to the HOME 2024 website, the World Design Organization (WDO) “is an authoritative voice on design and design-driven innovation internationally. Every two years, they select a ‘World Design Capital.’ This yearlong designation involves an array of public events and legacy projects and shines an international spotlight on one successful city”…or two.
Part of what stood out to the WDO selection committee, in addition to the cross-border collaboration between San Diego and Tijuana, was our region’s focus on human- and community-centered design.
HOME stands for:
• Multicultural + Multidisciplinary
The refresh of Balboa Park buildings was mentioned as a factor in San Diego-Tijuana’s designation. (As Platt/Whitelaw is currently working on two of these refresh projects and previously helped design refresh projects at Balboa Park, we couldn’t be happier to hear this news!)
While the groups that spearheaded the HOME 2024 bid include the Design Forward Alliance, UC San Diego Design Lab and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement (as well as the support of San Diego and Tijuana governments), a broad cross-section of design leaders helped present to the WDO committee. To provide an architectural perspective, AIA San Diego Executive Director Leigh Eisen was one of them.
We chatted with Leigh to get her perspective.
PWA: Does the architectural community have a designated project(s) it’s contributing to HOME 2024?
Leigh: Not yet. The HOME 2024 committee is completing a visioning process. They don’t want to be prescriptive. Instead, they want design organizations to leverage their strengths. One of the great things that I see happening is that the Design Forward Alliance brought different design groups and nonprofits together, both through its formation and later through its co-leadership in securing the World Design Capital designation. While we still don’t know what the specific contributions will be from architecture and other design professionals to the World Design Capital experience, we’re working more collaboratively than ever before.
PWA: Can you tell us about touring with the WDO committee?
Leigh: I attended the tour and presented to the jury at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla. We all had 10 to 15 minutes to pitch to the jury members. The bid committee chair MaeLin Levine was really helpful in pulling the entire presentation together. I think one thing that made a difference with the judges was highlighting San Diego’s annual Design Week, which is already a big collaborative effort between architects, designers, arts institutions and more.
PWA: How does the AIA San Diego plan to keep the World Design Capital vibe going beyond 2024?
Leigh: We will have a chance to keep the collaborative partnership between many different groups. We’re all part of “Design with a capital D,” meaning architects and designers are part of a broader community. This includes our counterparts in Tijuana and those serving on AIA San Diego’s international associate members committee.
Another of our committees, the regional design advisory council, which is comprised mostly of architecture and planning professionals, is focusing a lot on HOME 2024 and will likely identify ways to parlay that experience into a lasting legacy.
PWA: If people want to get involved with HOME 2024, what can they do?
Leigh: All regional design advisory council meetings are open to anyone. It’s a broad coalition and a dynamic group.
We’d like to thank Leigh for sharing her insights with us. We’re excited to see what lies ahead for the World Design Capital of 2024!