The telltale sign summer is over isn’t just the weather getting chillier. For designers and architects, the turn of the season is marked with a renewed wave of showcases, events, and fairs. In Detroit, Design Month festivities are already underway, while in France, Paris Design Week has come and gone. From now until the quickly approaching 2023 iteration of Archtober and Chicago Architecture Biennial, it can be hard to keep track of all the buzziest openings, but this non-exhaustive list can hopefully help make sense of the latest offerings kicking off the new season.
This year, the list of events feels particularly robust, featuring festivities in South Korea, Singapore, Rhode Island, and even the Metaverse. Though these openings and panels span cultures and geographies, one theme runs through many of them: sustainability. From imagining more natural urban ecologies to exploring mycelium’s potential as a green material to designing for unknown ecological degradation, leaders around the world are contemplating our collective futures. The following are ongoing or quickly approaching festivities where creatives are gathering to unveil the newest collections, trends, and perspectives on the industry.
Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
September 1–October 29
Returning for its fourth edition, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism is tackling the themes of ecology, topography, and views this year. The festival, curated by architects Byoung Soo Cho and Eui Young Chun, will also be hosting the Seoul 100-year Masterplan exhibition, an exploration of what the city of Seoul could and should look like when it integrates its natural landscapes. International as well as domestic firms have been invited to imagine different neighborhoods that harmonize the industrial with the natural, including RIOS, MVRDV, UNStudio, and Snøhetta.
London Design Festival
Designers are once again converging in London to make up yet another vigorous roster for the city’s Design Festival. In addition to the numerous furniture, lighting, material, and tableware unveilings, the festival features architects like Guan Lee, who collaborated with designer Marco Campardo for dinnerware collection, The Farm Shop, and Hayatsu Architects who are showcasing a seating installation. Like previous years, the festival celebrates leading designers through their London Design Festival Medal awards. This year, Hanif Kara OBE, Pooja Agrawal, POoR Collective, and Magdalene Odundo DBE took home awards.
Design Week RI
Design Week RI is celebrating their tenth anniversary with another week of talks, panel discussions, tours, and parties. 2023’s lineup includes a tour of the new new LitArts RI Center, designed by architect Charlotte Handy, in addition to a speed networking event hosted by KITE Architects, and a discussion on the future of sustainable design led by Markus Berger, director of the Repair Atelier and Professor of Interior Architecture at RISD.
Metaverse Architecture Biennale
September 21–October 6
The inaugural Metaverse Architecture Biennale is titled Presence of the Future. For this debut, the fair—organized by the help of digital platforms W3rlds, Dearch Space, and Metancy—brings together 17 architects who will each create an installation for two platforms: Decentraland and W3rlds. UIC Barcelona, Untitled. by Maria Touloupou, Space Lane, Shashwat Prakhar, and Dariana Andrei are amongst the participants. The installations fall alongside a lecture series, featuring Zaha Hadid Architects, UNStudio, HWKN, DressX, Artisant, MetaTrekkers, WOW Summit, and more.
For its 10th year, MEXTRÓPOLI, a festival that explores architecture through culture, is bringing together citizens, designers, architects, and students to reflect on the practice in relation to housing, mobility, public space, and equity. This year’s offerings includes a pyramidal pavilion by Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, founder of bgp Arquitectura and director of ArquiLab of the Universidad Anáhuac México; an exhibit on architectural furniture by designer Joselo Maderista in collaboration with 16 other Mexico-based offices; and more.
September 29–October 28
Interim: Acts of Adaptation is the title of the 17th edition of Singapore Archifest which seeks to rethink the built environment as a space of continuous transition. Directed by Calvin Chua, this year’s festival presents itself as a lab through which architects and stakeholders approach design while planning for continual ecological degradation. Both global and local firms make up 2023’s conference series. Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow, Teo Yee Chin of Red Bean Architects, and Craig Miller of Heatherwick Studio are just some of the speakers featured in the fair.