Kaunas – UNESCO City of Design

Kaunas is the first city in Eastern and Central Europe to be awarded UNESCO City of Design status. Kaunas was included in the Network of UNESCO Creative Cities) in 2015.

In order to achieve this title, the city must meet the following main criteria:

  • to have a developed design industry;
  • to have active design schools and research centres;
  • to have practicing creators and groups of designers.

The purpose of membership is to strengthen international cooperation with creative cities, share experiences, integrate design into local development strategies and plans, and increase cultural life accessibility.

UNESCO City of Design status is not only a huge honour but also a serious commitment.

What does it mean to be a City of Design? 

Kaunas’ identity of the City of Design is first based on design heritage: impressively rich and masterful architecture and design of interwar modernism.  However, today we are obliged to update our identity as a City of Design, expand the boundaries of design perception and activity, consolidate the quality of processes and services, and good design in the city. We are committed to making the city a good customer for public services and projects, good design and quality architecture.

Since 2019, “Kaunas 2022” and “Designing Happiness” programme became the representative face of Kaunas City of Design in the activities of UNESCO Creative Cities Network. We aim to establish Kaunas’s identity as a UNESCO City of Design, which would be based on the crossroads of design heritage, sustainability/accessibility and innovation.  Our objective is to create links and platforms that expand Kaunas’s international prominence, encouraging the discovery of design services and products and innovations in the city.  By 2022 we will start with international interdisciplinary Kaunas Design Event and Landscape Design Festival.



In total, UNESCO Creative Cities Network has brought together 246 different cities around the world, 40 of which have the status of the City of Design.

The Network combines seven creative areas: crafts and folk art, media art, cinema, design, gastronomy, literature, and music.

These cities interact with each other, develop public and private sector, professional organisations, communities, civil society and cultural institutions partnerships in all regions of the world, strengthens the creative industries, encourages the development of creative goods and services development, develop creativity and innovation centres, expanding the potential of creative sector developers and professionals.

Would you like to join or learn more?

Feel free to write and join us.






Artwork: Mantas Kuginis




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