Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and the largest coastal city on the Caspian Sea. With a population 2.26 million inhabitants, the city has long been considered as the centre of creativity in the region. Recognized as a creative hub and a centre of innovative projects and start-ups in the field of design, the city provides opportunities in fashion, graphic and web design, eco-design, architecture, interior and urban landscape design. Since the turn of century, design in Baku has boosted its tourism development, representing 3.7% of the city’s income and providing employment opportunies for over 37,000 people. Design represents an important source of creative economy in the context of the its effort to diversify its economy into non-oil sectors and support sustainable development.
Creativity is celebrated and captured with the skyline and integrated within the ancient architecture. The city has been transformed with comtempory, futuristic masterpieces including the Heydar Aliyev Centre and the Baku Crystal Hall. By using design as a tool to create green-spaces and sustainable social infrastructure, Baku helps to develop and define a future in which regional development is centred around social, cultural and environmental improvement within urban areas. In support of its design sector, Baku has hosted a variety of events including the International Construction Exhibition and the International Furniture, Interiors and Design Exhibition. The city has promoted knowledge exchange and learning for its young and diverse designers through the organization of conventions as well as hosting the Azerbaijan Fashion Week.
By collaborating with local institutions, Baku’s design sector continues to grow with the support of the Azerbaijan Designers Association, which provides free co-working spaces and technical facilities to young artists and graduates of academic programmes. Promoting both traditional and contemporary art, the city’s new policies hope to create synergies between crafts and design sectors that are dynamic and provide additional sources to the city’s economy and strengthen both local and international design partnerships.
As a Creative City of Design, Baku envisages:
- developing opportunities for creators working in different fields of design;
- improving opportunities for creators at different levels and fostering job creation;
- supporting production, distribution and dissemination of goods and services in design;
- strengthening synergies with other creative fields covered by the Network, such as crafts and folk art, as well as gastronomy and music; and
- enhancing cooperation among the Creative Cities that have recognized design and other areas of creativity as important factor of sustainable urban development.