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What to Look Forward to at NYCxDESIGN’s 2023 Festival

New York City’s annual design week returns May 18–25 with exhibitions, public installations, and trade fairs—here’s what to look out for.

From May 18–25, the NYCxDESIGN Festival will return to the Big Apple for its 2023 edition. Anchored by major trade fairs ICFF, WantedDesign, and Lightfair, this year’s programming promises to offer something for everyone from the casual design enthusiast to the serious professional. “Highlighting the strength of New York’s creative economy, the Festival is once again tapping the industry’s brightest minds to create brilliant activations across the city,” says Ilene Shaw, interim executive director of NYCxDESIGN, the nonprofit organization that produces the annual festival and facilitates year-round programming. “Following 10 successful years of unparalleled inspiration and innovation, the Festival has helped establish New York as a premier design destination.”

NYCxDESIGN The Festival NYC's official celebration of design May 18-25, 2023

Besides the trade fairs, programming will include neighborhood activations, open studios, and crowd favorites like a live recording of The Mic, a design podcast hosted by Debbie Millman, the ever-popular DIFFA by Design, and a live DesignTV by SANDOW screening. With hundreds of events, exhibitions, and happenings packed into a single week, there’s no better opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative spirit of New York City’s design community. Here is a selection of the events and sights we’re most looking forward to during the week. For more information about everything that’s happening during the NYCxDESIGN Festival and to RSVP for the events below, visit festival.nycxdesign.org.

an immersive digital environment in the color magenta
Artechouse’s MAGENTAVERSE is an exploration of the Pantone Color of the Year ‘Viva Magenta.’ COURTESY ARTECHOUSE

Attend the NYCxDESIGN Festival’s Opening Night Celebration

The Festival’s annual kick-off event is the NYCxDESIGN Awards ceremony presented by Interior Design, which will take place on the Festival’s opening day, Thursday May 18. Following the ceremony, join an opening party hosted by Studio by Tishman Speyer at the Bjarke Ingels Group–designed skyscraper dubbed The Spiral. An afterparty will be held at the Chelsea gallery Tuleste Factory hosted by Satu & Celeste Greenberg, RSVP here.

people sitting on benches at the NYCxDESIGN Awards
The NYCxDESIGN Awards presented by Interior Design kick off the Festival’s programming. COURTESY NYCxDESIGN

Visit any of Three Design Trade Shows

NYCxDESIGN’s anchor events taking place at the Javits Center from Sunday, May 21 to Tuesday, May 23 include ICFF, WantedDesign Manhattan, and LightFair, which runs through Thursday, May 25. Their combined offerings showcase latest design introductions across hospitality, commercial, and residential design sectors. DIFFA by Design, a three-day celebration of design that fights AIDs, will also be co-located with the trade shows at the Javits Center this year.

people attending wanteddesign trade fair
WantedDesign Manhattan will join ICFF and Lightfair at the Javits Center. COURTESY NYCxDESIGN

Explore New York City’s Design Districts

The week’s highlights are not confined to the Javits Center: a variety of NYCxDESIGN experiences are open to the public and taking place in design districts across the city. Madison Avenue launches its inaugural Design Week May 20–25. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of NYC’s most iconic innovation centers, invites visitors into a dozen studios across fashion, furniture, and product design on May 20th for its Design Day at the Yard event. The NoMad and Soho design districts are also hosting evening events on May 19th and 20th, respectively.

people enjoying the outdoor spaces at Industry City in Brooklyn

Take Part in Tons of Tours and Talks

The 2023 edition of the NYCxDESIGN Festival will feature hundreds of live talks and conversations from the world’s top changemakers in design. A live DesignTV by SANDOW screening will bring key speakers from participating institutions together, highlighting themes like design’s intersection with climate change, food insecurity, and social justice. ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks also return for 2023 with nearly 100 design visionaries who are looking forward to sharing their creativity, innovation, design insight, and what makes them tick with fair attendees across twenty sessions.

three people speaking during a panel discussion at NYCxDESIGN

Immerse Yourself in Art Exhibitions

Scores of exhibitions will occupy New York City’s numerous galleries and museums during the week of the festival, offering fresh inspiration to visitors and locals alike. While student exhibitions at Pratt Institute, The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Cooper Union, and Parsons demonstrate what the next generation of design talent is capable of.

students look at an installation at Pratt Institute
Students share their work at the Pratt Architecture exhibition. COURTESY PRATT INSTITUTE

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