DesignPhiladelphia is a festival celebrating Philadelphia as a place of creative innovation. From October 6 until October 16, it will highlight local artists, architects and other creative professionals in a series of events ranging from lectures, exhibitions, tours and hands–on experiences. The festival, now in its twelfth year, states that its mission “is to support, demonstrate and promote the ability that design has to generate innovation, solve problems, enhance daily life and influence both the perception and economics of the region.” With over 100 events, DesignPhiladelphia will exalt the city’s history of engagement with design and present an image of how it will continue this history into the future. For Penn students, other college students and just residents of Philadelphia in general, the festival is an opportunity to learn something about the construction of the city, to learn about how it breathes and how it grows.

1. Stephen Burks Man-Made

Stephen Burks is internationally recognized for his work in product design and won a National Design Award in the field in 2015. On his website, Burks states that he “has dedicated his work to building a bridge between authentic craft traditions, industrial manufacturing, and contemporary design.” Burks is an undoubtedly strong voice in the world of design, and his presentation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is sure to give insight into what it means to be a creative professional. 

Friday, October 14
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
Van Pelt Auditorium, Philadelphia Museum of Art 
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway 
Free with museum admission

2. Horace Trumbauer Walking Tour

The architect of the Gilded Age robber barons, Horace Trumbauer is celebrated as one of America’s premier architects. Some familiar works of his include Penn’s Irvine Auditorium, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Free Library of Philadelphia at Logan Square. His prolific works continue to be acclaimed to this day, and this walking tour promises to give an intimate look at the mark of a great architect on Philadelphia.

Saturday, October 15
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street

3. Texting and Tea

The Fabric Workshop and Museum originally sought to create a space where artists could experiment with fabric as a medium, but today it is a contemporary art space devoted to collaborating with artists to create work in new media. With its current exhibition Ann Hamilton: habitus, the museum continues to prove that it is committed to this mission. Texting and Tea promises a fun time of dyeing and printing your own tote bag. And who doesn’t love a nice tote…

Friday, October 14
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street

4. Emergence of a Modern Metropolis: Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s architectural wealth can sometimes be hard to see. This walking tour is the perfect way to actively go through the city’s different architectural styles and building technologies. The tour not only focuses on the aesthetic or art historical relevance, but also seeks to present the social, economic and political forces that have created the metropolis that Philadelphia is today. 

Saturday October 8 – October 15
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Center for Architecture and Design
1218 Arch Street

5. PennDesign Fine Arts Lecture: Matthew Suib and Nadia Hironaka

Though not officially affiliated with DesignPhiladelphia, PennDesign’s semesterly series of lectures and events coincides with the festival. Matthew Suib and Nadia Nironaka “employ the tools and conventions of moving–image culture to offer counter–mythical visions of our contemporary world. In doing so they re–construct existing narratives and envision new images that challenge popular understandings of History and Culture.” 

Thursday October 13
6:30 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art
118 S. 36th Street


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