NY Design Week – Piers Review: Are Design Shows The New Nightclubs?

We'll be publishing David Pinter's report of the NY Design Week 07 show soon so expect to get a great bank of photos he took from the several days he...

Guy Brighton
Guy Brighton on May 22, 2007.

We’ll be publishing David Pinter’s report of the NY Design Week 07 show soon so expect to get a great bank of photos he took from the several days he camped in the stands and shows. Meanwhile, we missed a deadline to get an overview  paragraph or two about the show in, so we thought we’d republish here:

Are Design Shows The New Nightclubs?

Beyond some of the trends (delicate, playfulness, folded one pieces, hidden and orange(!)) we had already seen at Salone Del Mobile in Milan a couple of months back, the two things that stood out for us in terms of the exhibitors was, firstly the introduction of a European-style commitment to design by American brands; plus the dedication to sustainability (which put the southern-European show to shame).

Our biggest take away didn’t really come from the designers, it came from everyone’s reaction to the event. Are Design (and Art) Shows, the new night clubs?  The events around Design Week experienced a frenzied mobbing like the Pulse and Scope art shows in New York earlier this year and Art Basel Milan at the end of last. We couldn’t get in the parties (and boy, we weren’t going to queue), the talks at Haute Green were more like a networking party and champagne was being handed out to everyone and anyone in the stores and showrooms of the Meatpacking district.

What’s driving this design orgy?

Allan Chochinov of Core77 has a theory that with the vast distribution of ideas and design through the web, we’re more interested in the idea of owning a product more than owning the product itself. We’re spoiled by choice but in a virtual way – our eyes are filled with images on design blogs of the latest and greatest products. There’s a never ending line of beautiful products being fed to us by sites like NotCot, Coolhunting, MoCoLoco and LifeIsCarbon. And when we get the chance, we rush to shows like the ICFF to experience design-porn in 3D.

Another way to look at it may to look at the price of real estate. We’ve mentioned this before where we suggested that for many younger creative class urban dwellers, the concept of owning property in a place we want to live is getting harder and harder to achieve as prices drive higher. Are people turning to objects that should retain value and even appreciate – objects like art or a Fritz Hansen Space Chair – which they can just about afford??

Of course, these are just two theories. You have all been to these types of shows – what are your thoughts?