5 Signs of a Great Design Show
Our founder Beth Dickstein weighs in on what makes for a memorable design experience.
I had the chance to get outside the usual show schedule this year. This got me thinking – what makes a design show great? What makes a show a “must” – exciting and inspiring – in 2019?
A great show is easy for all to see and experience. Clearly, it was easy to navigate Eindhoven. Between Renault granting 45 electric cars to shuttle people around, bikes that were abundant and the sheer number of buildings involved, it was a breeze to see a lot in a short time. Unfortunately, Mexico City’s traffic made it difficult, in a short time, to get to see some of the great things they offered.
Design is a word that spans everything from products and architecture to fashion, food, automotive and more. Once again, Dutch Design Week didn’t disappoint, from the Creative Chef making lunch from local plants and products (like oils that can be for cooking or perfume!) to innovative fashion by students from around the world affected by materials, technology and politics. Even the Renault charging stations were located in an area surrounded by restaurants and galleries. One was never at a loss for inspiration.
Mexico City has a vibrant and interested architecture and design audience. The Design House, where several designers were given a room to design including exteriors, was superb, with an interesting use of materials and daring design. Much of the week’s events also take place in museums, which makes the city feel integrated and a part of the whole experience. The exhibitors’ designs, however, seemed quite craft-based. Knowing how much talent there is in Mexico, I am looking forward to this expanding into more experimental design.
Dutch Design Week showed many concepts that were truly experimental. An incubator for premature babies that was warm and thoughtful; a “flu” spa to experience that crappy feeling of being sick for when they find a cure for simple illnesses. And Robot Love was a whole building dedicated to…robots and robotics. What will the world look like when robots are common?
Sustainability is the present and future of design, and this was evident at Dutch Design Week in special exhibitions on sustainable materials, both existing and conceptual. This was not just limited to product, but shined through diverse categories, from healthcare, to fashion, to objects. At Design Week Mexico, it was more obvious through incorporation of natural elements in the designs. A successful show will highlight sustainability, and show why – and how – the design industry is a leader in investing the future.
A great show knows how to promote itself beyond its borders, considering what visitors from all over the world might want to experience. With Mexico City being the Design Capital of the World for 2018, they were quite modest taking advantage of this honor…and they truly have so much to offer. Dutch Design Week invited me as part of a program to get more North Americans to attend, and their proactive outreach really works. The large banks, railway company and car companies put their best sponsorship foot forward to help get more than 350,000 people to attend!
As I’ve seen first-hand at Design Week Mexico for three Be Original Americas panels, there is an enthusiastic and passionate design community worldwide – and a great design show will speak to all of them.