International design events in October

International design events in October

Where to go and what to see this month for design aficionados


Istanbul Design Biennial

Istanbul, Turkey

Until November 4, 2018

This year’s edition of Istanbul Design Biennial, (pictured below) takes an educational approach with the theme, ‘A School of Schools’. It seeks to generate new ways of thinking about education in the age of artificial intelligence and ubiquitous technology.

The six-part biennial, ‘A School of Schools’ has been curated by design critic and teacher Jan Boelen, with Nadine Botha and Vera Sacchetti. Rather than create exhibits, participants will run a variety of learning situations, or ‘schools’, under eight themes: Measures and Maps, Time and Attention, Mediterranean and Migration, Disasters and Earthquakes, Food and Customs, Patterns and Rhythm, Currency and Capital, and Parts and Pockets.

The show is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (iKSV) and sponsored by Vitra. Istanbul Design Biennial has been taking place since 2012, and aims to bring together a diverse cross section of design ideas once every two years. Seeding ideas and fostering dialogue and intersections within the creative and academic community, the biennial operates on a network of national and international collaborations with cultural agents, institutions, universities and companies. 

Designart Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

October 19 to 28, 2018

In its debut last year, Designart Tokyo (pictured below) showcased over 200 young and emerging designers' works. This year the design and art festival is expected to draw 70,000 visitors to the Japanese capital to discover upcoming talent as well as famous brands like B&B Italia, Hay, and Kartell across 100 different venues in central Tokyo.

Conceptualised by creatives from diverse fields - designer Akio Aoki, artist Shun Kawakami and architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham – the event was intended to revitalise Tokyo’s cultural scene. Shops, galleries, cafés, restaurants and a wide range of other venues host works by artists and designers.  An under-30 platform has been created to shine the spotlight on young designers and artists. Commemorating 150 years of friendship with Sweden this year, the festival will also feature various products by designers from the country known for their practical yet stylish designs.

The opening ceremony at Omotesando Hills, has a star-studded line up of presenters such as Noritaka Tatehana, the designer of Lady Gaga's ‘heel-less heels’, designer-engineer Moritz Waldemeyer, and Swedish design and architecture superstars Claesson Koivisto Rune. Their talks will be followed by an afterparty with DJ Quietstorm. All events are free to attend. 

Dutch Design Week

Eindhoven, Netherlands

October 20 to 28, 2018

Billed as the biggest design event in Northern Europe, Dutch Design Week (DDW; pictured below) showcases the work of more than 2,600 designers to more than 335,000 local and international visitors. It’s different from similar design events across the world because of its focus on the future, emphasising experimentation, innovation and cross-overs in design.

Three ambassadors have been appointed for this event, the 17th edition of DDW: Ravi Naidoo, founder and managing director of South Africa’s Design Indaba, Laurens van den Acker, head of design at Renault, and Wendy Plomp, founder, curator and art director of Dutch Invertuals. The event will also be accompanied by a full-fledged music programme, the DDW Music Festival, where more than 90 national and international artistes will perform at locations across Eindhoven.

The theme for this year’s DDW is ‘If not us, then who?’. It seeks to underscore the responsibilities designers have (as do policy makers, clients, users and governments) in thinking up solutions, innovating and making the world better. 


Köln Messe, Cologne, Germany

October 23 to 27, 2018

Orgatec is the leading international trade fair for equipment and furnishing of offices and properties. The fair takes place every two years in Cologne and is considered as a switchman and driver of all operators throughout the industry for office and commercial equipment. This year, 583 companies are expected to attend the event this year. International exhibitors show the latest trends and innovations in the fields of furnishing, lighting, flooring, acoustics, media and conference technology. Among the visitors of Orgatec are architects, interior designers, planners, designers, office and furniture retailer, office and contract consultants, facility management providers, investors and users.

This year’s event takes place under the banner headline ‘Culture@work’ and addresses questions such as what types of spaces the work culture of the future will call for. In the light of these developments, how can workplaces be created which give freedom and structure equal space? What kind of environment makes it possible for ideas to grow, and for meetings to become successful brainstorming sessions? Orgatec addresses these questions and provides a platform for innovative products and pioneering ideas, thematically divided into the space, contract, mobile and office segments. 

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