23 May 2007

Are design fairs really effective?

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London Design Festival
Jude Stewart ponders in a Print magazine article (reprinted by Business Week) if design fairs are really effective in drumming up business, boosting education, and promoting awareness of tomorrow’s next design capitals.

Design fairs make big promises to participants and visitors alike: creative rejuvenation, intelligent debate, matchmaking for employees and partners, convenience for major buyers, a boon to design education, and for tourists, fun. Design fairs represent a new wave in how designers promote themselves. In the past three years, Europe has gone from the twin hegemony of London’s 100% Design and Milan’s Saloni Internazionale del Mobile—both furniture fairs—to a calendar thick with inclusive design events, many in the EU’s emerging member states. As governments, sponsors, universities, and designers pour funds into these events, it’s worth asking: Do they really work? What are they even aiming for?

The article covers the London Design Festival, Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Budapest Design Week, Istanbul Design Week and Belgrade Design Week.

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