Washington, D.C. might be an epicenter of politics, non-profits and museums, but until recently it hasn't had it's own signature trade show for contemporary design. Local design platform Apartment Zero hopes to change that, though, with the launch of its three-month long Washington, D.C. International Design Festival opening to the public from February 21 through May 19.
“It’s always surprising to me to compare the size of metro D.C. to other major metropolitan areas around the country,” says Douglas Burton, Apartment Zero co-owner and festival curator, “and to find that we have the second highest density of residential design showrooms, architectural firms, commercial furniture showrooms, and published interior designers after New York.”
The fair hopes to capitalize on that critical mass with a series of free public programs, including panels on women in design, the history of American design, and the work of Lella and Massimo Vignelli and Roberto Palomba.
These programs compliment the main event, a 4,000-square-foot exhibition of international products. Housed in the stunning space Artisphere (a co-sponsor of the festival), “The Next Wave: Industrial Design Innovation in the 21st Century” will include over 100 one-offs, prototypes, and production pieces from around the world, encompassing everything from textiles to interactive design to furniture.
“These cultural centers,” continues Burton, “create a stimulating environment for those who believe that industrial design makes a difference in people’s lives.” And for those, at last, who live and visit our nation’s capital.