What to expect this year from NY design scene

New York Design Week reinvents itself with the idea of reaffirming the city into an authentic creative hub. NYCxDESIGN officially becomes a non-profit company and inaugurates a new vision of the culture of design, an innovative format of the annual event, new partnerships, awards, podcasts and publications extended throughout the year... As Valerie Hoffman - NYCxDESIGN Program Director - tells IFDM.design

Valerie Hoffman, NYCxDESIGN Program Director
Valerie Hoffman, NYCxDESIGN Program Director

Now that NYCxDESIGN is officially a not-for-profit corporation, what are the most relevant changes for the organization?

As an independent not-for-profit corporation, NYCxDESIGN positions itself as a year-round brand to support design. In addition to the traditional festival held in May, NYCxDESIGN will also activate and amplify design at other key moments for design in NYC to maintain a strong presence throughout the year. In addition to our Steering Committee, we are also in the process of forming a Board of Directors made up of key industry leaders.
In a city filled with world-renowned design leaders, all five boroughs are populated with a myriad of smaller workshops of talented independent designers that play an equally significant role in the fabric of NYC design. With that in mind, we’re excited to be establishing the Breakout Moment Grant beginning in 2021. The initiative will focus on celebrating and supporting entrepreneurship in independent design. Our aim is to fund a designer/design business that embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of NYC and is pushing ahead in terms of diversity, sustainability, and innovation.

Salvage Swings by Somewhere Studio. NYCxdesign 2019. Photo © James Leng
Salvage Swings by Somewhere Studio. NYCxdesign 2019. Photo © James Leng

In this moment of the global shutdown, how have you planned to continue supporting the New York design community?

In recent months, NYCxDESIGN has led several campaigns and partnered on initiatives to offer visibility, foster connection, and unite and inspire New York City’s design community to ensure the revitalization and continued strength of not only the design industry, but all creative sectors in NYC. In partnership with NYCEDC, AIANY, and Design Advocates, NYCxDESIGN introduced Design Corps in July, a network aimed at supporting local businesses through pro bono design services. The program assists restaurants across the five boroughs in improving their space and ensuring compliance with the requirements of outdoor and indoor dining.
In October, NYCxDESIGN launched the An Ode to NYC poster campaign featuring a bold collection of graphic expressions dedicated to New York City’s enduring creative energy by twenty-one local designers. The posters were on view throughout the city’s five boroughs to inspire and delight (and still available for sale exclusively at the Poster House SHOP with proceeds going to the Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG).
The organization will also continue to produce The Magazine, the first edition of which features dozens of contributions from NYC designers, as well as NYCxDESIGN’s new podcast hosted by Debbie Millman entitled The Mic. These platforms highlight NYC’s most creative minds and provide ongoing opportunities for the creative community through Open Calls.

WoOL Amsterdam for Ventura New York @ ICFF 2019
WoOL Amsterdam for Ventura New York @ ICFF 2019

When do you expect the next NYCxDESIGN exhibition?

In 2021, NYCxDESIGN will present a series of Design Days taking place May 13-18, showcasing NYC’s talented design community. The program will feature primarily virtual events, in addition to outdoor experiences, select tours, and other small gatherings, depending on COVID-19 protocols at that time. The annual NYCxDESIGN Awards program, hosted by Interior Design and sponsored by ICFF, will take place virtually to celebrate and recognize exceptional design in NYC. The May timeline also includes Design Pavilion’s Open to the Sky, a special, city-wide installation activating all five boroughs with small, built structures that embody messages of hope and spirit, and an expanded edition of ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan’s virtual CLOSEUP event.
In addition to partner organized events, the NYCxDESIGN team will curate special offerings including self-guided journeys and broadcasted interviews and tours that will be broadcasted on DesignTV by SANDOW, reaching millions of viewers globally to further promote NYCxDESIGN programming. Those interested should stay tuned for more information on event registration, opportunities to participate, and how to attend.

Oscillation by The Urban Conga. NYCxdesign 2019. Photo © Savannah Lauren
Oscillation by The Urban Conga. NYCxdesign 2019. Photo © Savannah Lauren

How does your collaboration with NYCEDC take place? And how will you promote design in the different areas (museums, schools, districts, associations)?

NYCEDC continues to own the NYCxDESIGN trademark, fund key initiatives for the brand, and act as a key member of the Steering Committee. NYCEDC and NYCxDESIGN regularly speak to ensure that the program is fulfilling its long-standing objectives to bring together diverse stakeholders across many creative verticals, showcase the City’s leadership in design thinking and manufacturing, and engage and educate the public in promoting the impact of design.

Pier 17 @ Seaport District NYC
Pier 17 @ Seaport District NYC