World Design Organization (WDO)® announced today that the designation of World Design Capital® (WDC) 2026 will be awarded to the region of Frankfurt RheinMain (Germany) as a result of their demonstrated commitment to design that is rooted in social cohesion, urban transformation and the empowerment of more democratic futures.
Building on years of all-encompassing social transformation in the area, the Frankfurt RheinMain bid was put forth by Design FRM gGmbH under the theme of ‘Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life.’ In 2026, the region is looking to showcase how design can act as a tool for collective good through which citizens can more fully participate in the preservation of democratic spaces.
Comprising over 70 cities and towns, Frankfurt RheinMain represents the second-largest metropolitan region in Germany and is a global hub within Europe. As stated by Matthias Wagner K, Head of the Frankfurt RheinMain application and Director at the Museum Angewandte Kunst, “the city of Frankfurt and the RheinMain Region are very pleased and proud to bear the title of World Design Capital 2026. Design for Democracy. Atmospheres for a better life is more than a theme. It is a call and an invitation to jointly address the most pressing problems of our time and to jointly search for solutions. In our region, design will be able to demonstrate its relevance through concrete topics and practical examples and to make clear what a significant tool design can be for the transformation processes of societies.”
The region was awarded the designation by the WDC 2026 Selection Committee, comprising seven international experts in the fields of design anthropology, urban studies, public policy and civic advocacy. As noted by the Selection Committee, “invoking their storied design history, the Frankfurt RheinMain bid was both compelling and timely in the way that it explored design’s impact on civic well-being and social accountability. Overall, the region demonstrated a very strong alignment to the long-standing objectives of the WDC programme, and we at WDO look forward to seeing how they leverage this platform to support design-led transformation within their respective region and internationally.”
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) was the other shortlisted city for the title of World Design Capital 2026 and was recognized by the Selection Committee for the way in which their bid showcased the city’s flourishing creative sector and design-led urban progress.
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