Philadelphia Center for Architecture Announces 2015 DesignPhiladelphia Festival Returning October 8-16

-- The 11th annual festival features a first-of-its-kind marquee event and “program tracks” to help festival-goers more easily discover close to 100 events showcasing artists and designers --

PHILADELPHIA--()--DesignPhiladelphia, the signature event of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and oldest design event of its kind in the country, will return for its 11th year with approximately 100 events showcasing the work of more than 400 local and international practicing architects, designers and creative professionals from October 8-16. DesignPhiladelphia events highlight a wide range of design disciplines, including architecture and urban planning, as well as product, interior, furniture, multimedia, graphic and fashion design through programming ranging from exhibitions, tours, talks and workshops to open studios, demonstrations and more. Most events are free, and all are open to the public.

“Philadelphia has always been a hub for creative activity, and today, Philadelphia’s creative economy is nearly 50,000 people strong,” said Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of Philadelphia Center for Architecture. “The Center for Architecture looks forward to DesignPhiladelphia each year to celebrate the designers and architects who are working together to improve the community and people’s lives through design.”

This year’s DesignPhiladelphia theme is SHIFT, inspired by the rapid changes in Philadelphia’s skyline and urban landscape and how these changes have the power to shift perceptions about the city. The 2015 festival programming will explore the shift in design process, education and practice toward a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach. Lead sponsors this year include Urban Engineers and Jarvus Innovations.

For the first time, DesignPhiladelphia programming is organized into six tracks in order to help attendees more easily discover the events that interest them. Each track is geared toward a program goal and specific audience, and together they reflect the many different ways it is possible to engage with and be impacted by design.

“As part of DesignPhiladelphia’s mission, we encourage the general public to consider all the different ways in which they engage with design every day, both personally and professionally,” said Nova Harris, Program Manager of DesignPhiladelphia. “These new tracks are a way to help festival-goers find the events that resonate with them, but at the same time we hope the tracks will encourage people to experience design in a way that they hadn’t considered before.”

As one of the largest and oldest design events in the nation, DesignPhiladelphia annually welcomes more than 25,000 attendees during its nine-day run. Starting September 1, attendees can design their own experience by creating and exporting a personalized schedule, register and/or purchase tickets and view an interactive map of all events by visiting

The highlights of 2015 DesignPhiladelphia include:

Kickoff Party & Benefit

On the eve of the 11th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, members and supporters of Philadelphia’s creative industry are invited to attend the Kickoff Party & Benefit at the treasured antiques showroom of the Liao Collection. Presented by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the party on October 7 will feature offerings from 12th Street Catering, desserts by Chaat & Chai and an exclusive whiskey tasting from WhistlePig, as well as live entertainment from Worldtown SoundSystem, J.E. Kim and 7textures. Hilary Jay will be the evening’s special honoree, recognized for her contributions to the City of Philadelphia and her vision and steadfast commitment to high-quality design and designers. Kickoff party attendees will also be the first to explore Pearl Street Passage, this year’s marquee event.

Tickets for the Kickoff Party & Benefit can be purchased at starting on August 31. Proceeds from the event will benefit DesignPhiladelphia.

Pearl Street Passage

DesignPhiladelphia’s marquee event is Pearl Street Passage, which will transform the 1100 block of Pearl Street in the Chinatown North/Callowhill neighborhood with 10 temporary installations from October 8-12. Led by Groundswell Design Group, the installations – created and built by multidisciplinary teams of Philadelphia-based artists, designers, makers and builders – will be experiential, educational and fun. At its core, Pearl Street Passage is a place-making project intended to explore the possibilities for neglected city space. Major support for Pearl Street Passage was provided by ArtPlace America and was made possible through the partnership of Philadelphia Center for Architecture, Asian Arts Initiative and Friends of the Rail Park.

Program Tracks & Signature Events

The six program tracks and their signature events for 2015 DesignPhiladelphia include:

  • FOR THE ADVOCATE: Events that demonstrate the power of design to solve problems, drive innovation and improve the quality of life in the city and its neighborhoods
    Signature Event: Shifting Attitudes in Health & Wellness: Designed by You, for You!

This afternoon of design thinking will aim to produce innovative shifts in how to approach existing – or currently unchallenged – problems in health care. The program includes a 30-minute panel discussion about the future of health innovation, featuring experts in the fields of design, health care and science, followed by a charrette in which organizers will lead small groups formed from the audience to brainstorm around a topic related to the theme of SHIFT in health and wellness.
October 10, 2:30-5 p.m. at The Center for Architecture, $10
Presenting sponsors of the Advocate Track: Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation, MEDstudio@JEFF and Likuma Labs

  • FOR THE PRACTITIONER: Professional development and networking opportunities for design pros, faculty and students
    Signature Events: Philadelphia University Multidisciplinary Series

Philadelphia University, a professionally focused university leading a critical SHIFT in higher education, will host a series of events aimed at educating and collaborating with an audience of professionals and students. The series includes a workshop on artifact-based learning led by the curator of the Textile and Costume Collection (Oct. 8); a Pecha Kucha night with industrial design alumni (Oct. 8); a textile design screen-printing workshop (Oct. 10); a symposium on the emerging discipline of surface imaging (Oct. 13); and the 2015 Geodesign Forum (Oct. 16). Through its award-winning Nexus Learning approach, PhilaU is preparing its graduates to be leaders in their fields. By focusing on real-world experiential learning and collaboration across disciplines and with industry education partners, PhilaU graduates have a clear competitive advantage in today’s dynamic job market. It’s an approach that has led to a 95 percent job and graduate school placement success rate.
Presenting sponsor of the Practitioner Track: Philadelphia University

  • FOR THE EXPLORER: Interactive events, including hands-on workshops and neighborhood tours that showcase Philadelphia’s historic and contemporary assets
    Signature Event: Create with Corian! Hands-on Workshop at NextFab

This workshop offers a first-hand experience of the unique features of DuPont™ Corian® Solid Surface and its broad potential in both horizontal and vertical applications. The evening will include interactive demonstrations, including thermoforming, CNC routing, seaming and dye sublimation.
October 13, 5:30-8 p.m. at NextFab Studio, Free
Presenting sponsors of the Explorer Track: DuPont™ Corian®, C.H. Briggs Company and NextFab

  • FOR THE ENTHUSIAST: Opportunities to meet the people, explore the ideas and see the inspiration behind the latest trends in design
    Signature Event: Society of Design Conference

This one-day multidisciplinary design event features presentations from leading creatives who shape culture around the world. Eight speakers will share compelling and thought-provoking case studies from a wide range of design disciplines. Creatives from Europe include: Nick Asbury, copywriting; Annie Atkins, film design; and Oskar Zieta, industrial design. Creatives from the United States include: Spencer Charles, lettering; Craig Dykers, architecture and interiors; John Ryan, interaction/media; Kelly Thorn, lettering; and Alisa Wolfson, branding.
October 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at University of Pennsylvania – Harrison Auditorium, $125-$250
Presenting sponsor of the Enthusiast Track: Go Welsh

  • FOR THE NEXT GENERATION: Opportunities for children and young adults to explore design and its ability to shape the future and create positive change
    Signature Event: Art of Active Play

Throughout the Festival, try out three new play pieces designed and built by Philly youth with Public Workshop and the support of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. During the Healthy Play Panel on October 8, hear from experts in public health, education and design who will discuss play and its impact on childhood learning and health and its surprising role in creating a great city. Turn Columbus Day into a “day of play” for the whole family (Oct. 12).
October 8-16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Smith Memorial Playground, $5-10 for Healthy Play Panel
Presenting sponsor of the Next Generation Track: Community Design Collaborative

  • FOR THE PATRON: Events showcasing creative vendors and design-forward products and services
    Signature Event: Festival Closing Event: Design Crawl in Old City

Celebrate the closing night of the 11th Annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival in the heart of Old City. Begin at the Center for Art in Wood for the last chance to see this year’s Design Showcase featuring room settings created by Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design. Continue onto Millesime & Ligne Roset for the grand opening of the brand-new showroom.
October 16, 6-10 p.m. starting at the Center for Art in Wood
Presenting sponsors of the Patron Track: Center for Art in Wood, Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design, Millesime & Ligne Roset

To learn more about DesignPhiladelphia 2015, visit:

About Philadelphia Center for Architecture

The Center for Architecture performs the charitable and educational work of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects and serves as the physical home for the Chapter in Center City Philadelphia. The Center offers walking tours, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and children’s programming on architecture, urban planning, and design. The Center is also home to the AIA Bookstore & Design Center and the Community Design Collaborative. For more information, visit:

About DesignPhiladelphia

DesignPhiladelphia, a signature event of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, is the oldest design event of its kind in the country and annually showcases the work of over 400 practicing architects, designers, and creative professionals. Experience design in unexpected ways through approximately 100 exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, tours, talks, and events held in venues across the city. Learn about wide-ranging topics, including architecture, urban planning, landscape, graphic, multi-media, product, furniture design, fashion, and the like. This year’s Festival kicks off on the evening of October 7, and events run from October 8-16. For more information on attending the 2015 Festival, visit:


Brownstein Group
Kelsey Ruane, 267-238-4131

Release Summary

The 2015 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, the signature event of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, will showcase the work of more than 400 practicing architects and creative professionals.


Brownstein Group
Kelsey Ruane, 267-238-4131