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New York City Kicks Off a Month of Design Events

By Fred A. Bernstein and Architectural Record Staff
May 1, 2013
Image courtesy Davidson Rafailidis/Storefront for Art and Architecture
MirrorMirror, reflective tents by Davidson Rafailidis, will be on view in front of the New Museum beginning May 4.

New York’s answer to London Design Week, a festival called NYCxDesign (pronounced “NYC by Design”) will run from May 10 to 21, coinciding with and building on the Frieze New York art fair (May 10-13) and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (May 18-21). The brainchild of city council president and New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, NYCxDesign won’t be creating events so much as positioning them under the new umbrella. “In the spirit of openness and inclusivity, anyone who plans to create a design-related happening can list it with NYCxDesign,” says Willy Wong, chief creative officer of the city’s marketing and tourism agency and a member of the festival steering committee. Check the NYCxDesign website for additional listings.

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Here are highlights coming up this month, as well as others outside of the NYCxDesign umbrella, but worth checking out:

The New Museum of Contemporary Art
May 1-4

The New Museum's biennial IDEAS CITY festival includes more than 100 lectures, workshops, street activities, screenings, and installations throughout New York City. Architectural highlights include a panel on urban revitalization featuring current and former mayors from Miami, Nashville, Austin, Texas, and Lexington, Kentucky (May 2, 7:30-9 p.m., The Great Hall at Cooper Union); an exhibition preview and discussion, led by Jill Lerner of KPF and Lance Jay Brown, about post-Sandy design and public policy in New York City (May 3, 5-7 p.m., Center for Architecture); and projections on the facade of the New Museum by various artists and architects, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro (May 4, 8 p.m.-12 a.m., New Museum). Don’t miss MirrorMirror, reflective tents by Davidson Rafailidis in front of the New Museum beginning May 4. The German design firm won the StreetFest Tenting Competition, sponsored by the Storefront, Architizer, and the museum, with its scheme for Mylar mirror foil and aluminum frame structures that aim to make the ubiquitous street fair tent more exciting.

Center for Architecture
Beginning May 3

Rick Bell, the director of the New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a NYCxDesign steering committee member, has scheduled both a symposium and the opening of an exhibition presenting the AIA’s post-Sandy resiliency recommendations under the heading Future of the City.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art
May 4-July 7
Adhocracy
, a design technology show at the New Museum, will offer visitors the chance to have their bodies reproduced in miniature by 3-D printers, or try out an app (reportedly censored by Apple) that will send a notice every time the U.S. carries out a drone strike

Pier 57
May 8-11

Led by New York architect Steven Learner, Collective.1 will bring 23 design dealers to a soon-to-be-refurbished pier building on Hudson River Park. Galleries participating in the event (staged to coincide with the Frieze New York art fair) include Chicago's Casati Gallery, showcasing Italian design, New York's own Kinder MODERN, showing 20th century children's furniture, and Stockholm's Modernity, focusing on Midcentury work with Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, and Arne Vodder, among others. The fair will also host panel discussions and tours organized by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

MoMA PS1
May 12-September 2

EXPO 1: New York
, described as “a large-scale exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and socio-political instability of the early 21st century,” appears at MoMA PS1, in Queens, and also in a dome sponsored by Volkswagon in the Sandy-damaged Rockaway neighborhood.

Cedar Lake Theater
May 16

The Architizer A+ Awards presentation thankfully promises “no panel events!” at its red carpet gala. Instead the party will honor the winners in 8 typology categories, chosen by a jury of more than 200—and not your typical architecture insiders. (Stick around for the after party at Top of the Standard, the Standard Hotel bar 18 stories above the High Line.)

Pratt Institute
May 16

Brooklyn's Pratt Institute School of Architecture and the international nonprofit trade association Modular Building Institute (MBI) will present a daylong conference on modular construction and its role in building technology. Speakers include David Burney, commissioner for the New York City Department of Design and Construction, William Begley, director of Modular Housing and Hotels, Sea Box, and Douglas Cutler of Douglas Cutler Architects, among others.

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
May 18-21

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), North America's answer to Milan's Salone del Mobile, housed at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This year, ICFF is set to feature more than 500 exhibitors from 30 countries showing furnishings, bathroom, kitchen fixtures, textiles, and more. ICFF will also host speakers from the world of architecture and design journalism: David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, Tom Eich of IDEO, and Patty Johnson of the National Design Museum are each slated to give talks.

Fred Torres Collaborations
Through May 25

L’Abraccio is a terrific exhibition in Chelsea of the Italian-American designer Gaetano Pesce’s architecturally-scaled work.

Van Alen Institute
Through June 1

Deconstruction/Construction: The Cheonggyecheon River Project in Seoul is a show at the Van Alen Institute about the process of recovering a river, once buried beneath an elevated highway. 

Storefront for Art and Architecture
Through June 6

Storefront for Art and Architecture's exhibition No Shame: Storefront for Sale, opened this week. Promising to guide “visitors through a critical history of funding for cultural production” and imagining “a scenario of total commodification,” it’s a prescient exploration of culture and corporations, especially given the news about MoMA’s decision to raze Todd Williams’ and Billie Tsien’s Folk Art Museum building.

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