Organizing collaborative design events to promote design discussion in Chicago
Besides its rich history in design, Chicago is the base for some of the most forward-thinking design studios in the world, from architects to graphic and media designers, from fashion and industrial designers to filmmakers and musicians. We have the talent, but what is missing?
We are lacking the venues to share and discuss, to innovate and challenge one another, to involve not only the design community, but engage all communities. In other American cities and abroad, there are a variety of venues and events that, far from competing, actually complement each other and offer a vibrant design scene. The time to address this is now.
There is a need for more visibility and more infused, collaborative design events to promote design discussion in Chicago. This is the proposal for the first Chicago Design Festival.
The Chicago Design Festival starts with five goals:
1. Promote design ideas and solutions in Chicago.
2. Provide a platform for designers to share their work.
3. Create a collaborative network that relates design disciplines.
4. Establish new events and places for working and discussing design.
5. Showcase and rethink buildings, streets and spaces in Chicago.
The events are located along designated clusters and corridors in Chicago, reaching as many areas of the city as possible. The idea is to use cross-cutting systems, such as main diagonal streets and the Boulevard system, that connect different neighborhoods. Some of the initially identified diagonals are Milwaukee Avenue, Ogden Avenue, Archer Avenue, Elston Avenue, Clyborn Avenue, and South Chicago Avenue. Other streets include Midway Plaisance, Garfield Boulevard, Western Boulevard, Douglas Boulevard, Independence Boulevard, Franklin Boulevard, Humboldt Boulevard, Kedzie Boulevard, Logan Boulevard, and Diversey Parkway among others.
Within the designated city areas, the Chicago Design Festival uses existing buildings (vacant or in use), streets, and open spaces. The intention is to engage the public with the street and intensify the use of the open space. Utilizing different types of spaces allows the festival to propose activities of different scale and characteristics.
The Chicago Design Festival will be structured around four main types of events:
Installations and exhibitions
Creation of temporal installations for specific sites around the city as well as exhibitions.
Talks and debates
Establishment of lecture and debate series with local, national and international designers covering topics such as planning, urban design, architecture, graphic design, industrial design, fashion design, etc.
Presentation of films related to all of the design disciplines.
Implementation of tours around the different venues and events, whether they are walking, cycling, kayak, by boat, segway…