The design universe lands in New York City every spring for the NYCxDESIGN Festival. This major international design event, now in its 12th year, will be in full swing from May 16 to May 22. Expect an influx of visitors seeking the latest creative offerings, fresh ideas, and inspiration from the world of design. Anchored by the major industry fair ICFF and its satellites like WantedDesign, the city-wide festival is awash in new talent showcases, exciting retail launches, open studios, and exhibitions. The week-long-plus event is a great opportunity to source the best new visions and trends in furniture, lighting, textiles, and accessories before they appear in your favorite magazines, blogs, and stores. Read on for a short list of highlights.

Photo © 6sqft

In addition to being home to 10 of the nation’s top design and architecture schools, New York City boasts the nation’s largest concentration of designers and design studios. As an umbrella organization, the not-for-profit NYCxDESIGN promotes the successes of this diverse creative community.

Alongside the many showcases and exhibitions, there are cocktail soirees and block parties city-wide, with shops and studios opening their doors to visitors. Design theory and important cultural and environmental issues inform thought-provoking talks and workshops. You can get a complete calendar and schedule at the festival’s website, and there’s even an NYCxDESIGN app for your mobile.

Photo © 6sqft

The big event

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 429 11th Avenue
May 19-21
In its 35th year, this important modern and contemporary furniture design fair brings international design to Manhattan’s shores. ICFF 2024–along with the co-located WantedDesign –puts the spotlight on the best and brightest in original design from 450 established and emerging design brands in the residential, contract, and hospitality furnishings environments from more than 35 countries.

WantedDesign, the curated showcase and platform for an innovative combination of commerce and culture of design, returns to ICFF this year with its annual Launch Pad program and The Crossroads of American Design. Additional fair highlights include the ICFF Editors Awards, Talks, The Oasis, The Bespoke Salon, and a wealth of international pavilions from design-forward nations like Italy and Norway.

Photo courtesy of NYCXDESIGN

Collectives, collabs, exhibitions, and showcases

The annual Student Showcase Night event offers innovative projects from new graduates of Cooper Union, SVA, Parsons, and many more.

The second iteration of minimalist brand MUJI’s MUJI IS exhibition invites visitors to immerse themselves in the copywriting work of Miyuki Tokunaga, whose words have moved the narrative behind the brand’s products for many years, including the iconic product tags that have become part of the brand’s legacy.

FAD Market. Photo courtesy of NYCxDESIGN

FAD Market’s NYCxDESIGN pop-up features the work of local rising designers and makers at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Over 50 creators will offer fresh takes on home furnishings, tableware, apparel, jewelry, and more.

Common Things, a story-forward shop of everyday objects, is pleased to present “Finding the light,” a showcase that combines innovative–sometimes surrealist–design with lighting.

An Ode to NYC is a poster series that taps into the expansive design ecosystem of the city, reflecting the heartbeat of the ever-changing design scene. Unified by the overarching theme of hope for a more equitable New York City, this year’s collection features expressions of inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, and creativity in celebration of the city’s ever-growing cultural landscape.

Photo courtesy of NYC x Design

The advent of the digital world in the 21st Century has seen a renewed and changing interest in physical objects that spark memories. NYCxDESIGNxSouvenir is a special exhibition of new souvenirs that will be presented to an assembly of design professionals, manufacturers, and international press, celebrating the design all around us

Danish “soft minimalism” design brand Audo is opening the doors of their by-appointment-only Tribeca studio so design lovers can experience a vast portfolio of products characterized by clean lines, earth tones, and natural materials. In Brooklyn, the brick-and-mortar shop Assembly Line asked ten designers to create a piece of furniture or decor with “time and materials” as a theme. See the results in the exhibit, as well as other wares from the shop founded by interior architecture and design studio General Assembly.

Magen H. Gallery in the West Village is presenting “Timeless Fusion: A Journey Through 20th Century Design,” an exhibition that highlights elements from different periods of the 20th century with unexpected pairings by juxtaposing iconic pieces from Pierre Sabatier, Philoloas Tloupas, Pierre Chapo, Pierre Jeanneret, and Chaneac, among others.

Herman Miller Vintage Pop-Up: In celebration of the release of this year’s Picnic Poster, Herman Miller’s flagship store at 251 Park Avenue South will host Picnic on Park with a summer picnic, in the form of a bespoke hot dog cart, and you can grab a collectible tote adorned with this year’s picnic poster.

Lee Broom once again opens his Tribeca apartment for NYCXDesign, offering a rare opportunity for visitors to schedule a private tour of the elegant duplex, which occupies two floors of the first sustainable restoration of its kind in New York City.

The 2023 NYC Kips Bay Show House at River Mansion. Photo © Nickolas Sargent Photography.

As an unofficial highlight of the design festival, the 2024 Kips Bay Decorator Show House showcases 24 top designers and architects who help to transform a historic Upper East Side townhouse as a fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.

The Orior showroom. Photo courtesy of NYC x Design.

Design districts: neighborhood-based retail and studio highlights

Showrooms, shops, and studios throughout the city’s neighborhoods will stay open late to offer cocktails, conversation, and special events like product launches and exhibitions. Open studios are a great opportunity to be among the first to spot fabulous creations from local designers and artisans.

A few highlights:

The Soho Design Day puts the spotlight on the Soho Design District and its standouts, including Poggenpohl, Boffi, Artemide, and Original BTC, among others, who will be sponsoring events, launching new products, or showing off their latest and greatest. A Soho soiree kicks off the celebration. Another highlight is the Mercer Street Block Party at the Orior Showroom with exciting new launches from BDDW, Calico Wallpaper, Hem, Henrybuilt, Kasthall, Orior, Roll & Hill and Stellar Works in addition to entertainment and refreshments.

Photo courtesy of NYCXDesign.

Madison Avenue Design Week returns to the Upper East Side with curated programs, talks, and festivities in the neighborhood’s numerous interior design and home furnishings stores, showrooms, and galleries. The Aspire Design Tour program will host neighborhood tours in Midtown, Flatiron/Nomad, and Harlem.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to thousands of designers and innovators at its 300-acre campus. During NYC x Design, the Yard welcomes design fans for its 2nd annual Design Day at the Yard featuring activities and celebrations in support of local creators and design studios.

Caroline Kaufman at Industry City. Photo courtesy of Industry City

Industry City in Brooklyn is a hub of design and industry all year round; AIGA NY and Industry City have teamed up for an exclusive guided tour of the district’s art and design studios. Get an intimate look into the daily workings of some of Industry City’s busiest studios.

May 22 is Dumbo’s day in the spotlight. Dumbo x Design is an annual celebration of the neighborhood’s design companies, with DJs, free drinks, and an impressive showing of Dumbo designers.

Photo © 6sqft

Talks, classes, workshops, and parties

NYCxDESIGN Festival Opening Night Party. The big shebang–a kickoff party for the entire festival–happens this year at Mercer Labs; it’s a chance to toast the upcoming festivities, exhibitions, and events.

Design On The Rocks is happening at the Wing Partners and Luxy penthouse showroom. Join industry professionals among the greenery with cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks.

The North Brooklyn AR scavenger hunt is a chance to try out augmented reality from the safety of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while seeing the future of New York with your own eyes (and help from your smartphone).

At the intersection of technology and design, featured guest Hillary Coe, who is at the forefront of new technology and design at Vast, working on the first commercial space stations, will join a live Design Better podcast discussing how design is shaping the future of space technology and human exploration.

Queens gets its day in the spotlight with Oui Design Resonance, an immersive experience hosted by Ateliers featuring live craft demonstrations by esteemed designers and artisans who will transform natural materials into dazzling furniture and decor. Afterward, enjoy a cocktail reception and a DJ party.

On the business side of things, DESIGNcomm Summit brings entrepreneurial expertise from diverse creatives, visionaries, and thought leaders to bring your business to the next level in an ever-changing industry.


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