How do you get Swedes to come to Cleveland? Sounds like the set-up to a joke, but it's the very real problem faced by Edward Hill and Daniel Cuffaro. Cuffaro, head of the ID program at Cleveland Institute of Art, and Hill, veep of Economic Development at Cleveland State University, are trying to set up a "design district" in a 24-block area of Cleveland.
The region's strong mix of designers and consumer-product companies, as well as proximity to some of the country's best industrial-design colleges, are reasons Cleveland can become the "Milan of the Midwest," say Hill and Cuffaro.
The pair are beginning by trying to establish "design embassies," where foreign companies would send their designers to establish a Stateside market presence. Design-friendly Sweden is first on the list:
A local chapter of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce heard the design-district pitch early this year, called business contacts back home and helped set up Hill and Cuffaro's trek.
"We want to help them bring some Swedish design to the district and, in reverse, bring some U.S. design to Sweden," said local businessman Lars Traner, secretary for the Swedish-American chamber.
We're all for cross-border design exchanges, and wish Cuffaro and Hill the best. Details of their efforts can be found here.