Design Industry in Northem Europe


In November 2005, Cathy Huang, the General Manager of China Bridge International flied to Stock-holm, Sweden to perform the judge duty for Electrolux Design Lab 2005, and she was the only one from Asia-Pacific region. Cathy visited various design firms, organizations during this trip and the following notes would be something inspiring for you.


The Year of Design is open to everyone who wants to participate through public projects. In the spring of 2004, 150 Government agencies were com-missioned by the Government to carry out projects during the Year of Design. At the same time other actors, including all local governments and a range of institutions, organizations and businesses have been invited to take part in the 2005Year of Design.

The purpose of the 2005 Year of Design is to carry out a wide range of activities throughout Sweden in order to increase awareness of the contribution that form and design can make across society. The goal is for as many as possible to develop their use of, interest in and knowledge of design.

During the Year of Design the Government wants to highlight seven priority areas

- Working life and design
- Design as a cultural expression
- Public procurement
- Design as a growth factor
- Design for all
- Sustainable design
- Education and researc

The Year of Design is a long-term effort to strengthen the standing of design. The experience gained in the run up to the Year of Design and during the Year itself is intended to help to further strengthen the standing of design even after 2005. The Year of Design is also intended to underline the strong potential of the area in an international context. The Government has commissioned the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design to prepare and implement the campaign for the 2005 Year of Design. The Campaign Office has opened a website ( with a calendar of events and other information about the Year of Design. A special steering group has been set up for the Year of Design. It includes representatives of the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Public Art Council, the Arts Grants Committee, the National Swedish Handicraft Council, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation.

A Design Year Group for growth and innovation has also been set up. Its main role is to develop netw-orks in the business sector and to increase the commitment to the importance of design, focusing on growth and innovation. One important task is to help to make the business perspective visible during the Year of Design.

The members of the Design Year Group are directors of design in major Swedish export companies, university representatives and trade union representatives.

To further stress the importance of design for growth and innovation, the Government has allocated SEK 64 million to ten national projects over a three-year period. In addition to the activities of the Campaign Office there are nine national business related development projects with design as a force for development:

- Design for services
- Employees and companies in good shape
- Design for business enterprise
- Competitiveness of sub-contractors of vehicle suppliers
- Packaging as a value creator
- Design for the export of medical and biomedical technology
- Summer design office
- Design for large and small communities
- The outdoor environment – design for the educational experience

Except for these national projects, the basis for all participation in the Year of Design is that registered projects can be carried out within existing appropriation and budget limits. No special state funds will be available for applications to finance projects during the Year of Design.

For more information, please visit

Design Year 2005 Denmark

After the Electrolux Design Lab 2005, Cathy was invited by Danish Design Center to visit Copenhagen. There, she saw another Design Year.

For the Design Year 2005, the Danish Design Centre stages the big exhibition "DANISH - framing the future of design", which offers a radical new view of Danish design. A new generation of Danish designers is emerging, with design that is characterized by powerful aesthetics, social awareness and new expressions - in product design and graphic design, modern communication design and sol-utions to complex challenges concerning environmental sustainability and other issues. Some of the designs are brand-new, created especially for DANISH, while others are already in production and have a strong position in the marketplace.

The five exhibition spheres

Design affects our lives - from the layout of the public space to the ways we shape and live out our private dreams. From we pick up our toothbrush in the morning until we set the alarm and go to bed at night. Therefore, DANISH is divided into five thematic spheres:

- OUTERNATIONAL: In the public space we are all "on display", communicating messages and opinions to each other with designer bikes, fashion, body design etc. We are surrounded by design, as signs, logos, information columns, ads and even bus tickets and cities are being branded.
- HELP ME HELP YOU: Traditionally, rehabilitation and medical design has tended to try to camouflage and depersonalise problems, but today's designers are working with much more expressive and individual design, for example wheelchairs for children that enable play and action in an innovative and funky design.
- YOU BETTER WORK: The workplace has become an important venue for self-realisation, and we demand original surroundings that stimulate creativity and innovation, for example in the form of bea-utiful furniture or meeting rooms that facilitate recreation or creative thinking.
- BLAH. BLAH. BLAH.: In communication design, graphic design, illustrations, fashion design and music videos Danish design has abandoned the conventional formula for discreet design whose primary goal is function and substance. For example in the graphic design for prime time shows on Danmarks Radio or in music videos.
- HOME SWEET HOME: The home is today's shelter from a maddeningly globalised world. Mass-produced design has been given an individual touch with an emphasis on humour, history and critical content. Decorations and craft are seeing a renaissance in the home, for example in wallpaper design and knitting books.

Design expresses individual needs, dreams and wishes. In the same user-oriented spirit "DANISH" does not present design on a silver plate, but encourages the audience to not just look but also take a stance, touch and even test some of the designs. The Danish Design Centre invites everybody on a journey into the future of design!

Ewa A Kumlin, the Chairwoman of Swedish Society of Crafts and Design Ms. Birgitta Capetillo, the CEO of Danish Design Center and Cathy 
Prof. Carl Gyllenhoff of Danmarks Designskole Cathy and the welcome post in Danmarks Designskole


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