This city’s creative culture is incredibly vibrant, and few events celebrate its resonance like DesignPhiladelphia, the annual city-wide festival, which is set to launch this week, October 10-18.
Now in its ninth year, and with new support from the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, DesignPhiladelphia remains one of the largest design festivals in the entire country.
New this year, the festival has a theme — EXPERIENCEdesign! — and intends to draw focus to experiencing design in an engaging way.
Amid Philadelphia’s festivals devoted to food, drink and pure entertainment, DesignPhiladelphia’s mission celebrates the historic role of design in the Philadelphia region while showcasing innovation yet to come.
With more than 120 events over nine days, the festival is set to present an incredible range of programming from symposia and round table discussions to street parties, exhibitions and public installations.
Kicking off with Pop-Up Place, a ticketed benefit party on October 9, and continuing with dozens of daily events through October 18, festival-goers will have the opportunity to meet and see the work of more than 400 national and international designers at the heart of our creative economy.
Read on for a handful of festival highlights, and for a complete look at the hundreds of events, check here.
• Pop-Up Place Kick-Off Cocktail Party + Benefit: Help launch the 2013 DesignPhiladelphia Festival with an incredible party-going experience. Hosted by multidisciplinary design studio bahdeebahdu, the soiree is set to include art exhibitions and installations like a participatory olfactory performance, a light installation, a textile installation and more. Tunes from the Heath Allen Trio and the West Powelton Steppers will keep the crowd moving, and food and drink by 12th Street Catering, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Whipped Bakeshop and Illy will keep attendees well fed. Tickets for Pop-Up Place are available online. Don’t miss one of the best parties of the season.
When: Wednesday, October 9, 6-9 p.m.
Where: bahdeebahdu, 1522 N. American Street
Cost: Pop-Up Place, $75 in advance, $85 at the door
• Pop-Up Place After Party: After the main event, what promises to be a high-energy after party will go off at American Street Studio, a former PECO substation that is now home to the collaborative showroom of Philadelphia-based companies Amuneal, Groundwork and Robert True Ogden. Yet more dynamic entertainment keeps the party going well into the night — punctuated by a performance from King Britt. Tickets for the after party are available online.
When: Wednesday, October 9, 9 p.m.-midnight
Where: American Street Studio, 2200 N. American Street
Cost: $20 in advance, $30 at the door
• AIGA Philadelphia Found Design Scavenger Hunt: Put your Instagram habit to good use with the American Institute of Graphic Arts Philadelphia found-design scavenger hunt during DesignPhiladelphia. A panel of local judges will scour the #designphlhunt tag on Instagram to find the best examples of found design, and each day will focus on a different discipline, ranging from architecture to graffiti. Prizes will be awarded based on the best-curated collections. Start your hunt here by registering and checking out the daily themes.
When: October 10-18, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Throughout the city
• Visage Façade: At Old City’s Silicon Gallery, a day-long visual arts event transforms impromptu portraits into public art. Between noon and 6 p.m., photographer Caity Coleburn will photograph black and white, retro-style portraits of participants and volunteers. Then, the team will print and paste them to the exterior and surroundings of the building. Watch the snapshots semi-permanently transform the cityscape into a giant pattern, developed by wallpaper designers Tennyson Tippy and Katie Tackman.
When: Friday, October 11; Photos, noon-6 p.m.; Reception, 8-10 p.m.
Where: Silicon Gallery, 139 N. 3rd Street
• The Five Tastes of Chinese Cuisine: In conjunction with its ongoing multimedia exhibition, The Way of the Chopsticks by Beijing-based artists Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, the Philadelphia Art Alliance hosts celebrated local chef Joseph Poon. Chef Poon will use the “five tastes” of Chinese cuisine — sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy — to create Beijing pork dumplings for guests to sample.
When: Friday, October 11. 6-8 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street
Cost: $10, Art Alliance members; $20, non-members
• Build with Stick(s)-lets: In a family-friendly festival event, bring young ones (or the young at heart) to play with Stick-lets, a flexible connector toy created by Philadelphia-based designer and Philadelphia University professor Christina Kazakia. During these free events, everyone is invited to construct forts, creatures, planes and more with sticks that are bound together by stretchy Stick-lets. Some sticks will be provided at the event but participants should bring more sticks and dowels, if possible.
When: Saturday, October 12, 3-5 p.m.; Sunday, October 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Saturday, Schuylkill River Park, 25th and Spruce streets; Sunday, Julian Abele Park, 22nd and Carpenter streets
• Wanderlusting: Reserve your spot on this whimsical walking tour of Old City with multimedia artist Candy Coated (a.k.a. Candy Depew). Start at Depew’s CandyCoated Center to screen-print your tour gear (a T-shirt, which is yours to keep) and toast with a Jazzmarnier Ice Cream Hot Toddy before embarking on a “wanderlust,” a walking tour of historic spots dotted with appearances by colorful characters. The tour ends with a visually engaging flash gathering on Independence Mall. To participate, snag a spot here.
When: Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13, 6:15-8 p.m.
Where: Throughout Old City; Starts at CandyCoated Center, 118 North 3rd Street, 4th Floor; Ends at Independence Mall
Cost: Tour, $45; Flash gathering, free
And stay tuned for more as the design-filled festival continues.
When: October 10-18
Where: Locations throughout the city
More info: www.designphiladelphia.org