Design Philadelphia Returns October 10-14: Our Guide To Hands-On, Interactive Events During The City-Wide Festival

DesignPhiladelphia, the annual city-wide celebration honoring the vital role of design in the Philadelphia region, is just one day away, returning October 10-14.

The festival, now in its eighth year, is the nation’s largest of its kind. Over the course of the fest, 120 events will take place all over the city, featuring the work of more than 450 national and international designers.

Check out our roundup of free events, as well as details on the opening night kick-off.

Below, we present our top picks for interactive events that let you get hands-on with designers, learn something about design and even take a souvenir home to remember the experience by.

• Open AirSeptember 20-October 14, nightly 8-11 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Parkway; Project Headquarters: 24th Street and the Parkway, Free. Open Air, the giant 3-D light installation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is affiliated with DesignPhiladelphia. Check out all of our coverage, including four detailed guides to where to watch, here.

The Day of the Dead Symbolism in Latin American Craft at Eye’s Gallery: October 10-14, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (11 a.m.-8 p.m. on October 13, noon-7 p.m. on October 14), Eye’s Gallery, 402 South Street, Free. Learn about the tradition and mystery of the Day of the Dead at this South Street institution since 1968. Enjoy three floors of folk art, exhibiting the use of Latin American crafts at home. Buy a sugar skull and decorate it in the Skull Room. There will also be paper mache demonstrations by visiting Mexican artisans.

• Printing in the Open: Common PressThursday, October 11, 6-8 p.m., The Print Center, 1614 Latimer Street, Free. This one-night only, interactive printing event at The Print Center takes place in the garden, where you can help print unique designs inspired by the center’s op-art exhibition Color Motion: Edna Andrade Prints. BYO t-shirt, tote bag or bandana. Tote bags will also be available for purchase.

Framing Philly: An Interactive Art Attack in WordPress: Friday, October 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Hussian School of Art, The Bourse, Suite 300, 111 S. Independence Mall East, Free. Participants will document the Independence Mall area with their digital media (cameras and phones) and share these unique, collaborative pieces globally through WordPress. Hussian artists will lead participants in creating the works and wiring them for the web.

Tales the Cocktail Tells at More Than Old: Reception Friday, October 12, 6-9 p.m., exhibition runs throughout the festival, More Than Old, 144 N. 3rd Street, Free. Want to learn how to design a great Philadelphia party for 10 to 10? Head to this mixology exhibition and tasting. Submit your best drink recipe to for inclusion in the favorite drink contest.

Draw the Line at Hunt Fike Design: Opening Friday, October 12, 6-9 p.m., workshops Saturday and Sunday, October 13-14, Hunt Fike Design, 734 Pine Street, Free. Jeweler Allison Hunt and designer Denise Fike invite you to their opening night party premiere of a collaborative collection of bold floral paintings and signature jewelry in their Pine Street studio. Join them on Saturday and Sunday when they will be instructing one hour flora-inspired, metal wire jewelry workshops.

How to Create a Custom Design Look for Your Home: Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m.-noon, Luxe Home Philadelphia, 1308 Chestnut Street, Free. What are the tricks designers use to create awesome design? Joey Jagod, celebrity designer, will show you how to find the perfect fit, fabrics and scale to match your life and home. Joey will show you how to take your inspiration to a customized designer level, at Luxe Home. This one-hour presentation is followed by lunch and a Q&A. RSVP at (215) 732-2001 or

Instagram Accordian Book at Casa Papel: Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Casa Papel, 804 N. 2nd Street, Free. Learn how to make an accordion book from start to finish, designed to hold prints of your favorite Instagram photos or any square format images. You’ll come away with your very own brag book that makes a nice gift or just something to cherish. Written instructions are included, as well as mimosas and baked goods.

Jewelry Workshop at Anthropologie: Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m., Anthropologie, 1801 Walnut Street, Free. Bring your cast-off baubles to be transformed into a new jewelry piece by Artemisia. RSVP to; it’s open to the first 20 registrants!

Music + Design at King’s Design: Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., King’s Music, 1828 East Passyunk Ave. Record and design your own personal CD and custom design your own guitar. They’ll also be giving away a first place price to a creative child (15 years old or younger) who can come up with the most imaginative Mummers costume.

Simple ReUpholstering Workshop at Era Atomica: Saturday, October 13, 6-7 p.m., Era Atomica, 1726 East Passyunk Ave, Free. Grab that old dining chair for a quick and easy hands-on demo on how to bring new life to an old seat.

Make a Handbag with On 3 Designs at Spool: Sunday, October 14, 1:30-4 p.m., Spool, 1912 South Street, $10. Join Julie Lange to create a simple yet chic, no-sew handbag using On 3 Designs’ original, screen printed fabric.

Introduction to Letterpress Workshop: Sunday, October 14, 2-4 p.m., Red Wheel Press/HYMY Industries, 2215 E. Tioga Street, $40. This two-and-a-half hour workshop introduces the basics of letterpress printing, with information and demonstrations on working with metal type and printing on a Vandercook press. Attendees will receive hands-on instruction in setting type and printing. RSVP to

Want to see the full event listings? You can flip through the printed guidebook online, on theDesignPhiladelphia website. Or you can search by discipline and location using DesignPhiladelphia’s interactive guide.

Check out an awesome trailer for the festival. below.

DesignPhiladelphia 2012
When: October 10-14
Where: All over the city
Cost: Mostly free
More info:


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