The 31st edition of the World Design Assembly will be hosted in Hyderabad in October 2019. The biennial conference addresses issues related to urban infrastructure and industrial design, with top designers and entrepreneurs among its attendees, writes Bulbul Sharma.


In October next year, Hyderabad will host the 31st edition of the prestigious World Design Assembly, the global biennial event put together by the World Design Organisation (WDO).

The city of Hyderabad was chosen as the host after a careful examination, by WDO officials, of the bid that was presented by the Industries and Commerce Department of the Government of Telangana, in collaboration with the India Design Forum.

As part of the selection process, WDO reviewed different bids, examined each city’s working style, its capacity to host large-scale international events, as well as its ability to rally the wider design

Luisa Bocchietto, President, WDO said, “In the context of WDO’s recently adopted World Design Agenda, the City of Hyderabad presented an outstanding proposal, with numerous opportunities to position design as a critical tool for addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to working with the Government of Telangana and the local design community to elevate the role of design in creating inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities.”

Formerly known as the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, WDO is an international non-governmental organisation that was founded in 1957. The organisation endeavours to promote the profession of industrial design globally.

Under the theme of “Humanising Design”, WDO’s 31st Assembly will be held in Hyderabad in October 2019, in tandem with a five-day local design event organised by the India Design Forum (IDF), which will include installations, interventions, exhibitions and workshops that will demonstrate the power of design to improve lives.

IDF is an influential platform for a global dialogue on design, spanning all disciplines under the purview of design. The event will be a continuation of IDF’s programme, which serves as an invaluable platform for leading industry professionals and emerging talent alike. IDF also helps in the free flow of information by bringing together designers from across the world on a common stage.

Charminar, Hyderabad.

WDO’s World Design Assembly is held biennially and brings together the organisation’s leadership, membership and external stakeholders to discuss key issues that affect the industry. It also lays down guidelines for the future of the organisation and explores the ways in which design can contribute to the larger international development agenda.

On being asked about the highlights of the proposal that was presented to the WDO, Rajshree Pathy, founder and director, IDF, said, “In recent years, the WDO has placed particular focus on exploring the role of design in relation to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For the bid to host the World Design Assembly 2019, IDF worked closely with the Government of Telangana to create a proposal that demonstrated the numerous ways in which design is being used as a critical tool to achieve these goals in Hyderabad—to build an inclusive, resilient and sustainable city.”

In addition to the aforementioned parameters, Pathy told us that Telangana government’s “significant commitment” to furthering industrial development and design consciousness in the state helped greatly in the selection process.

The theme of the 2019 Assembly is “Humanising Design”, and for Pathy, this presents an opportunity for designers to explore the “human aspects of good design”.

She explained, “The theme is all about analysing how design makes people live more harmoniously with their environments. We want to enable people to better understand the power of design, and to use this opportunity to enhance their perception of design for India. Design is all around us: it’s what makes cities function effectively—from what technology you use to organise your business, to what makes your home comfortable. We interact with it every day.”

The Assembly will bring together WDO’s members—leading design professionals from across the world.

“Most importantly, the industrial design community in India and particularly from the progressive state of Telangana would be exposed to commercial opportunities and networking with WDO’s international fraternity. The five-day design programme that will be presented by the IDF post the event has been carefully designed to be inclusive of the city and its local community. The event will showcase the city through its local vendors, rich cultural venues, and the diverse yet distinctive cuisine of Hyderabad,” Pathy said.

IDF’s five-day design event will tap into Hyderabad’s local design community and will showcase the best of its creative offerings, from its technology sector to its regional film industry called Tollywood, which is second only to Bollywood in terms of revenues and scale.

As with all of IDF’s events, the 2019 conference will include a mix of eminent international designers, and some of the most innovative and inspiring professionals from across India.

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