DesignPhiladelphia organizes events and installations with the purpose of generating, celebrating and supporting innovative design in Philadelphia. They honor the historic role Philadelphia has played in the Design Field and showcase the innovation yet to come. DesignPhiladelphia gets the most attention for the annual celebration which take place in October, but the organization actually sponsors year round programming. In conjunction with The University of the Arts on Broad Street, Design Philadelphia brings together individuals and organizations from across the design spectrum, from fashion design, to interior design and architect or and graphic design. They produce lecture series, pop-up shops, competitions, panel discussions and parties.
There was a time when people believed that Philadelphia if you wanted a career in the creative industries you'd probably need to move or commute to New York City. DesignPhiladelphia strives to remind us that Philadelphia is not new to design. Following the Civil War, Philly was known as "the workshop of the world," due to it's immense production output. Philadelphia was producing high quality product that was distributed to customers around the world from it's many shops and mills from clothing to jewelry to furniture and locomotives. But in the ninetengh century Philadelphia's commercial fortunes plummeted and the city lost production to it's chief rival, New York. Many of the mills and factories were abandoned. After a period of dormancy it began to rebuild itself back into a culturally vibrant and fertile place.
For the past seven years, DesignPhiladelphia has put on a nationally recognized festival to showcase and promote Philadelphia's creative industries. Every year in October, over 100 events take place throughout the city. The Festival grows every year and in 2012 there will be more than 500 designers involved. There are open studios, exhibitions, lectures, even runway shows. Many of these events are free an open to the public, they take place in boutiques, galleries, museums, universities, warehouses and most importantly, the city streets. The events are as diverse and innovative as the designers. For instance their are group bike rides that tour Philly's bridges and tunnels, scavenger hunts to explore Philly's most innovative street design, architectural tours of the Reading Terminal Market, and block parties with pop-up shops by some of Philadelphia's best boutiques. The featured events shed new light on the city. More information on specific events can be found on DesignPhiladelphia Events Calendar.The festival serves as a reminder to all Philadelphian's that their city is a "rich resource for creativity, innovation and culture vibrancy." The DesignPhiladelphia Festival is unavoidable even if you weren't aware that it was happening. The Bold graphic design that plasters the city streets is an inspiring reminder of the talent that Philadelphia fosters and that you don't need to flea to that big city to the North to be a part of the creative workforce.