The First Havana Design Biennial is set to provide intense days of interaction and promotion of the importance of this creative activity, which is involved in all areas of life, be they economic, social or personal.

May 14-20, Havana will become a multi-purpose venue, to attract the attention of both professionals and the public, since its broad program includes workshops, lectures, a comprehensive theoretical event, and the opening of 20 expositions in galleries, exhibit centers, and urban spaces.

Gisela Herrero, president of the National Design Office (ONDI) which has organized the event, offered a press conference in Leucona Hall at Havana's Alicia Alonso Grand Theater, to announce central themes and special guests, emphasizing that design is essential to any country seeking to promote development.

While featuring Cuban design professionals' role in the nation's development efforts, she said, we are going to highlight the contributions of design and its strategic implication in Cuba's industrial, economic, social, and cultural progress - thus the guiding maxim: Design and Prosperity.

Lectures will be offered in three locations, including the Fábrica de Arte, where the following experts will speak: Mexican professor Oscar Salinas discussing

Clara Porset; Christopher Turner, whose talk is entitled "Utopia and the London Biennial of 2016," a project he directs; Spanish designer Alberto Lievore who will address design, form and feeling; Birgit Lohmann, chief editor of Designboom, Italia, talking about "Design, Communication and Reality;" andAnna Berkenbush, a professor at the Burg Giebichenstein school, in Halle, Germany, presenting "Design can change the world."

The National Fine Arts Museum's Cuban Collection building will host the following conferences: "Design's application in industrial processes," by

José Luis Vázquez, project director for Sargadelos Porcelain in Spain; "Planting projects," by Isaac Piñeiro, from Spain's Nadadora Design Studio; and "Everything you have is like everything you leave behind," by Héctor Ayuso, graphic designer and founder of the OFFF Festival held in Spain.

Cuban graphic designers will gather at the Advanced Art Institute (ISA) to discuss several issues: "Republican furniture in Cuba," Annerys Fernandez, museologist; "From youthful posters to wood," Nelson Ponce, Giselle Monzón, Raúl Valdés (Raupa), Edel Rodríguez (Mola) and Michele Millares; and "From said to done - Creative methodological processes to concretize ideas," Carlos Zamora.

Workshops scheduled at the Advanced Design Institute (ISA) will address issues such as sustainable design and renewable energy; the personal image market (clothing and footwear); the product outside the product (packaging); brand names, the legal and the creative; and campaign creativity.

Along with all this, a theoretical event is set to take place at Havana's Convention Center, May 18-20, structured around several meetings: the First International Colloquium on Design and Creative Industries for Development; the Iberoamerican Symposium for the Promotion of Design; the 7th International Encounter on Public Policy and Design; the International Congress on Design and Society; and the 16th Congress of the Latin American Design Association (ALADI 2016).

Expositions will highlight a variety of areas including printed and environmental graphics; audiovisuals; packaging and wrapping; furniture; interior design; machinery; and clothing, in venues such as the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater's lobby, as well as spaces at Malecón 663; Lab 26 Contemporary Design; Alianza Francesa Palacio Gómez, on Prado; Factoría Habana; la Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC); the Cuban Ludwig Foundation; the Fine Arts Museum; and the Center for the Development of Visual Arts.

The Design Biennial's talks, workshops and expositions will continue in the country's eastern provinces, May 23-26 in Camagüey, and May 25-28 in Santiago de Cuba.