The Milan of the Midwest

When it comes to industrial design, Milan, Italy is a world capital, leaders in fashion and architecture and home to Alfa Romeo and Fiera Milano, the largest trade fair complex in the world. There is no product
design equivalent in the U.S., but Cleveland, Ohio is poising itself to take on that mantle. What’s the point? For one, design is found to be correlated to economic growth. If you’re wondering how industrial design makes an impact, think of Apple and their influence.

In the heart of the city’s theater district, 120 businesses and 1200 employees in the local industrial design economy are establishing the Cleveland District of Design within a defined 28 block area. What’s especially noteworthy is that not only is the city looking to develop an identifiable economy, but a destination and community as well.

Perhaps inspired by the Fiera Milano, the District of Design will feature The Marketplace, a 100,000 s.f. expo of design studios, showrooms and customer experience spaces demonstrating the wares of 60 global consumer products companies based in the city.

The District’s source of talent? The Cleveland Institute of Art, one of the best industrial design schools in the country, winning 80% of peer industrial design awards. However, the City of Cleveland isn’t stopping there. Soon to open is an industrial design high school modeled after the successful DASH (Design Architecture Senior High School) program in Miami.

To learn more about the effort, listen to the Smart City Radio interview with Ned Hill, Vice President of Economic Development at Cleveland State, who has a leadership role with the District of Design.