NYCxDESIGN is back and promises to be bigger than ever

Destination Design

After COVID postponements, cancellations, and downsizings, NYCxDESIGN is returning in full force this May. The tenth-anniversary edition of the festival, which runs from May 10 to 20, will flood New York’s five boroughs with design in all its forms. Expectations are high, with organizers predicting pre-COVID numbers in attendance and dollars. (For reference, the 2019 festival included over 400 events, saw more than 300,000 visitors, and generated $111 million of spending in New York City.)

WantedDesign Manhattan’s Look Book program acts as an in-person portfolio for high-end North American designers. Anony (above) and Forma Rosa Studio (below) are among the 31 designers to display their work this year. (Jake Sherman)

The festival will serve as a test for the organization’s new direction. At the end of 2020, NYCxDESIGN transitioned from a city-led initiative to a nonprofit, and it has been working ever since to establish year-round programming to engage New York’s broad community of creatives. A handful of key programmatic themes will be highlighted in May—diversity and inclusion, sustainability and climate change, and resilience and equitable recovery, to name a few. Curated itineraries will enable attendees to parse these themes according to their personal interests.

“I like to view the organization as having double bottom-line value,” Elissa Black, NYCxDESIGN’s executive director, told AN Interior. “We’re acting as the center of the spokes in the wheel of the design community by providing a collaborative platform for people from different areas of design to act on things with much broader social effects.”

(Courtesy Forma Rosa Studio)

Two of the festival’s anchor events—the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign Manhattan—will once again be staged at the Javits Center. Fifteen exhibitions designed by emerging talents for the ICFF Studio competition will be displayed alongside WantedDesign’s new Schools Exhibit, which presents the work of young design students from across the globe. Wanted will also bring back Launch Pad, a platform for international designers to showcase concepts and prototypes, and Look Book, a dedicated program for high-end North American designers, makers, and studios.

CLB Architects’s "FILTER" installation for Design Pavilion 2022 will act as a quiet oasis in Times Square. (Courtesy Ilene Shaw)

Another anchor event, Design Pavilion, will make design visible to the public through full-scale installations across numerous Manhattan sites. Each installation embodies the event’s 2022 theme, “Open to the Sky,” and will align with Design Talks NOW, a series of conversations, panels, and roundtable discussions.

The Isokon Plus collection will be exhibited at ICFF 2022. (Courtesy Isokon Plus)

In addition to its anchor events, the tenth-anniversary edition will roll out a host of special initiatives to facilitate direct engagement with design. The new IMPACTxDESIGN competition, in partnership with Caesarstone, challenged designers to create new opportunities for public gathering; the winning proposals by Karim Rashid and Kickie Chudikova will open in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn’s DUMBO, respectively, and remain on display through winter 2023. NYCxDESIGN will also introduce the Open Studios program, a series of five guided tours through design studios in Flatiron, Red Hook, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Long Island City, and Harlem.

And the list goes on. Hundreds of events, exhibitions, activations, and creative partnerships are planned, including AN Interior’s own Design Showroom Cocktail Crawl that will take place throughout Manhattan’s Nomad and Flatiron districts on May 11. Black hopes all of it will further NYCxDESIGN’s original mission of “solidifying New York City as a design capital for the world.”

Calendar of Events

May 7–15 Design Pavilion “Open to the Sky”

May 10 Unveil of IMPACTxDESIGN installations

May 11 Design Showroom Crawl presented by AN Interior and The Architect’s Newspaper

May 15 Harlem Open Studio Crawl

May 15–17 ICFF and WantedDesign Manhattan