•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Saving a city and making it ready for the 21st century takes creative and sometimes quirky vision. DesignPhiladelphia, calling itself the “oldest and largest festival of its kind in the United States,” has this quixotic foresight, exemplified in its annual celebration teeming with programs meant to unite Philly design geeks past, present and future.

Free activities abound for this year’s nine-day 10th iteration, including the Pop-Up + Maker Station on Saturday from 3 to 8pm on the 37th Street Walkway between Chestnut and Market streets.There, folks can learn new fabrication skills or figure out how to light up that ceramic pumpkin they’ve salvaged during trash day. There’s going to be plenty of crafts available for folks to make and take home, too, and all ages are welcome. At sunset, DesignPhiladelphia says attendees will “play with light and watch projections of data” about the surrounding area as well. It’s basically one big family-friendly geek fest.

Families include our four legged friends, so there’s Woof!, called one of the festivals “experiences.” Together with Shake Shack at 2000 Sansom, SHIFT_DESIGN, which previously has taken over parking spaces and vacant lots in the city, takes over space in and around the restaurant and redistributes it to canines. Stop by for free dog treats from  throughout the fest and see just what all the barking is about.

Then there’s the Old City Fest on Sunday, which begins at noon. Along North 3rd Street (also known as N3rd Street) from Market to Race streets, vendors ranging from Franklin Fountain to The Clay Studio will be on hand, and there’ll be a stage with live music, a design showcase room, pop-up theatrical performances and more, plus acclaimed American designer Stephen Burks will be doing a meet-and-greet at Roche Bobois, presented by the luxe furniture chain in honor of its 40th anniversary in the U.S.

Not everything is free, but it’s certainly affordable. Such is the case with Tuesday’s Storefront Challenge 2014 at the Center for Architecture. For only $5, attendees get to learn about and recognize some of the most innovative and creative storefront designs across Philadelphia. After all, says DesignPhiladelphia, these businesses have been “putting their best face forward throughout [the city], replacing shabby awnings, uncovering historical details, and brightening up entrances with lighting and planters.”

Next Wednesday night, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Van Pelt Auditorium, bubbly Antiques of the Future author Lisa S. Roberts takes folks along a book-launching adventure for her newest, DesignPOP, a strange tome “housed in a neon pink-padded vinyl cover” which features 82 “innovative products that have pushed the boundaries of expectations.” The widely-accessible book brings to light why design is important, and it triumphs in making and talking about design fun and widely accessible. There’s even a screening of a bona fide television show featuring Roberts and her book, too.

Just like its prior fetes, DesignPhiladelphia 2014 promises to be one hell of an homage to everything pretty, geeky and functional in the city. And with most of the programming free and open to the public, you’ve no excuse not to enjoy it. 

Thurs., Oct. 9 through Fri., Oct. 17, Various times, prices and venues. 215.569.3186.designphiladelphia.org

About The Author

Contributing columnist

Josh Kruger is an award-winning writer and commentator in Philadelphia. His @PhillyWeekly column, “The Uncomfortable Whole,” took the 2014 First Place Spotlight Award for weekly newspaper commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2014 Second Place Award for weekly newspaper commentary in the United States and Canada from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He also blogs daily for PW on various topics including queer culture and news, mass transit, politics, crime, drugs, HIV/AIDS, civil liberties, activism, media and everything else Philly.

Leave a Reply

Login with your Social ID

Your email address will not be published.