Detroit — The second annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF), presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), is slated to fill Detroit’s Woodward Corridor from September 19 to 23. The festival, which boasted 85 Design Happenings featuring 300 designers in its first year, connects designers and creative practitioners, and exposes them to new markets and consumers to help Detroit become a global center for design and creative innovation.
“Detroit has a rich history of producing internationally-esteemed designers. The design talent continues to thrive in our city today, sometimes in the most unexpected of areas,” said Matthew Clayson, DC3’s Director. “The Detroit Design Festival gives these designers a platform to showcase their work and offers buyers, consumers and enthusiasts access to our region’s top talent.”
The DC3 has already enlisted 50 designers to exhibit in this year’s festival and the application process for designers to propose Design Happenings for the 2012 DDF is open until August 10. Designers also have the opportunity to apply for microgrants, ranging from $50 to $1,000, to support their Design Happenings.
For the first time, this year, the Detroit Design Festival is also recruiting Design Ambassadors nationally, who will be asked to engage, promote and enrich the festival through their knowledge and networks. To date, some of the nation’s top design brands and names, including Ford GT Chief Designer Camilo Pardo and internationally-acclaimed graffiti artist Antonio “Shades” Agee have pledged their support as design ambassadors.
The DDF Web site, www.detroitdesignfestival, is currently in Phase One, during which it is serving as a portal where designers can post their proposed happenings and the general public can pledge support. “The Detroit Design Festival is more than a showcase; it is a vehicle through which we are developing a design network between the creative class in Detroit and the international design community. Phase One of the DDF Web site helps build that network and leverages the Design Happenings during the festival,” says Clayson.
The 2012 Detroit Design Festival will take place at venues along the Woodward Corridor, from Downtown Detroit to New Center, and in various neighborhoods throughout Detroit. The festival will feature dozens of Design Happenings, including installations, performances and workshops. Additionally, this year’s festival will be programmed in concert with the London Design Festival and New York Urban Design Week.
“Detroit’s design talent is on par with others in the major design cities, such as London and New York, so we want to create a synergy between these three cities to elevate the international dialogue about good design,” said Melinda Anderson, DDF director. “Plans are still in the making, but we are looking at several means for collaboration including simulcasts or telecasts of Design Happenings.”
Phase Two of the DDF Web site will launch in mid-August and will list the festival’s full schedule, including lists of designers, venues and happenings.
The inaugural festival last year represented a meaningful success for Detroit’s design community. More than 85 happenings took place, attracting more than 10,000 attendees to 10 Detroit neighborhoods that hosted events. Fifty venues throughout the city were activated for fashion shows, lectures, installations, exhibitions, pop-up retail and other activities. Liz Kerner, owner of Carriage House Press, who participated in the 2011 festival, noted a 200 percent increase in business after the Detroit Design Festival.
For more information about how to submit a design concept, apply for a grant or become a Design Ambassador, visit www.detroitdesignfestival.com.