Architecture & Design

A World of Unique Furniture and More at DesignPhiladelphia 2019

In addition to the festival's installations, the Philadelphia Furniture Show is part of this year's event. Also new this year: A chance to have dinner with architects and design mavens.


design philadelphia festival preview 2019 cherry street pier

Cherry Street Pier is the main activity hub for this year’s DesignPhiladelphia festival, but as always, festival events take place all over the city. | Photo via DesignPhiladelphia

Each year in the spring, the Philadelphia Furniture Show puts one-of-a-kind custom furniture from our region’s finest designers, plus others from further afield, on display at the 23rd Street Armory.

Each year in the fall, the DesignPhiladelphia Festival celebrates the talent, creativity and work of the region’s design community — including furniture makers and designers from all over.

This year, the two events have joined forces.

The 25th annual Philadelphia Furniture Show will take place on the first weekend of the 15th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, Oct. 4th through 6th. The show is one of two significant new additions to the citywide festival, the nation’s oldest festival devoted to architecture and design. The festival is organized each year by the Center for Architecture and Design, which is in turn supported by the American Institute of Architects Philadelphia Chapter. That organization is also celebrating a milestone this year — the 150th anniversary of its founding on Nov. 11th, 1869.

Showgoers can examine, admire and purchase unique works by more than 40 designers, woodworkers and craftspeople. Most work in the Philadelphia region, but the show this year also includes noted designers from New England, New York, North Carolina and Michigan, among other far-flung destinations. Recent University of the Arts graduates will also have work on display and offer at the show.

design philadelphia festival preview 2019 irene wei

Among the artisans and designers exhibiting at this year’s Philadelphia Furniture Show are several George Nakashima acolytes and this noted designer from Ann Arbor, Mich.: Irene Wei will have items from her YeShing Collection, named in honor of her late grandfather YeShing Chao, on offer. | Photo via Philadelphia Furniture Show

Even more furniture beyond the show

The Furniture Show, however, isn’t the only chance festival-goers will have to purchase fine furniture. On Thursday, Oct. 10th, at 6 p.m. at the Center for Architecture and Design, fans of modern furniture will have a chance to bid on variations of a classic at Herman Miller’s annual Modern Classic Reception and Auction. This year, the legendary modern furniture manufacturer asked area architects and designers to channel Charles and Ray Eames and come up with reinterpretations of the classic Eames Molded Chair. The finished products will be auctioned off to benefit the Charter High School for Architecture and Design.

And as in years past, several local furniture showrooms and design studios will have exhibitions tied into the festival. Among the places you can visit: LEMA Studio, Millésimé, Minima and Poggenpohl in Old City’s Design District and Jasper Studio in Port Richmond.

Furniture design will also be featured at several installations at this year’s Festival Central locations, Cherry Street Pier and the Center for Architecture and Design.

And if your tastes run beyond furniture, don’t worry — there are more than 130 exhibits and events covering everything from architecture to fashion to fabrication to graphic design to science and technology to urban planning all over the city.

Dinner is also on the menu

And speaking of tastes, also new this year are four special curated “Dine with Design” dinners. These events will bring participants together in four unique spaces to chat over dinner with architects, designers, entrepreneurs, community builders, and design mavens.

Including me. I will be co-hosting the dinner at Enoteca Tredici in Bryn Mawr along with its designer, architect John Weckerly of Boxwood Architects LLC. This dinner, the first DesignPhiladelphia event to take place outside the city itself, will take place on Monday, Oct. 7th, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Three other dinners are scheduled for this series:

  • Friday, Oct. 4th, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Suraya, with Melissa Alam, a digital and brand experiential designer
  • Monday, Oct. 7th, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the offices of Scout US Ltd. inside BOK, a space not normally open to the public, with Scout US co-founder/managing partner and BOK redeveloper Lindsey Scannapieco, Whitney Joslin of the Kaminski Pew design studio, a former BOK tenant, and video artist and projection design innovator Ricardo Rivera of Klip Collective, which is based at BOK.
  • Thursday, Oct. 10th, from 7 to 9 p.m. on the amenity floor and terraces at ROOST East Market and The Girard apartments, with Clemens Construction Company President Stephen Pouppirt, Habitat for Humanity Director of Project Planning Tya Winn and Germantown United Community Development Corporation Deputy Director Emaleigh Doley.

More information and tickets for the dinners (the one at Suraya is almost sold out) can be obtained at the Dine with Design page on the Center for Architecture and Design website.

For more information and to purchase Philadelphia Furniture Show tickets, visit the show website.

The DesignPhiladelphia website contains complete information about all festival events, including this year’s DesignCrawl in Manayunk on Oct. 3rd and Philadelphia Design District design crawl in Old City on Oct. 4th.

I hope to run into you at one of this year’s festival events!