Lonely Planet Writer

New York Design Festival kicks off for a two week celebration of all things creative

New York’s annual showcase of its design kicks off on 3 May, and continues for the next fortnight. NYCxDesign is an annual spring festival demonstrating the explosion of the creative economy across all disciplines and all five boroughs.

The jewellery of Harry Bertoia.
The jewellery of Harry Bertoia. Image by NYC X Design

The programme ranges from the wonderful – such as this exhibition on the jewellery of Harry Bertoia at the Museum of Arts and Design – to the weird, such as this invitation to discover King Tutankhamen’s lost tomb at an Egyptian restaurant in Astoria called Tut’s Hub.

Highlights include BklynDesigns, which bills itself as “Brooklyn’s premier design event showcasing a cross section of design, architecture and art”. From Friday to Sunday, it will feature exhibitions, panels on such subjects as what constitutes Brooklyn style, to workshops on everything from tapestry weaving to how to make the most of Kickstarter.

Paper lighting at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.
Paper lighting at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Image by Jyri Engestrom / CC BY 2.0

Beginning Friday the following weekend is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, featuring the latest and greatest in contemporary design, luxury interiors and high end furniture. Meanwhile, on the 15th floor of the Grace Building in Manhattan, is the free exhibition Sight Unseen Offsite, which claims to be “the most important American platform for independent design.” It brings cutting-edge indie design studios together with established brands.

Stretching over 12 days, the Downtown Design Festival will highlight the continuing emergence of Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport district, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Events include a series of talks called ‘Downtown Dialogues’, tips on brewing beer at the Sixpoint Brewery, and a design market at the Seaport Studios at 19 Fulton Street, offering a selection of furniture, lighting, accessories, artwork, and other merchandise.

The inaugural Design Pavilion at Astor Place Plaza in Greenwich Village has the stated aim of increasing “awareness of the power of design” through a “curated assemblage of creative structures and displays.” Other sites of interest for design buffs include the Tribeca Design District and a series of fun events at the downtown gallery Colony.