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First Austin Design Week kicks off this fall

Inaugural event unites disciplines from architecture to digital to DIY

A creek with lighted purple banners stretched from one side to the other
Waller Creek Conservancy’s light show has partnered with Austin Design Week
Courtesy of Waller Creek Conservancy

Maybe it’s because we all hang out in coffeeshops together, but when you think about it, it’s kind of weird that Austin—unlike New York, Portland, or San Francisco—doesn’t have its own Design Week. We’re not talking Fashion Week (which Austin does have, kinda), but an interdisciplinary, multi-event gathering where designers of all kinds—from fashion to architecture to digital to film and more—can meet up, cross-pollinate ideas, and hopefully have some fun.

Three Austin women—Danielle Barnes, regional director at General Assembly; Candice Digby, marketing lead at General Assembly; and Amber Atkins, head of global recruiting at IBM Design—recently stepped up to address just that issue. Austin Design Week will take place November 7-11, and will involve a mix of independently organized lunchtime workshops, studio tours, and opportunities to socialize around talks, panels, or art installations in the evenings—all free and open to the public.

The organizers have also brought some more major local talent into the project. Their advisory committee includes members from multifaceted designers LewisCarnegie and Gensler, digitally focused Argo Design, locally based landscape design star dwg, and the Downtown Austin Alliance.

They’ve also partnered with Waller Creek Conservancy’s 2016 Creek Show to showcase the light­-based art installations that have become a major Austin installation/event every year.

Austin Design Week’s call for entries is open through September 15. Organizers say they’ve “purposefully left the entry guidelines broad so every type of designer feels welcome and encouraged to participate” and that they are looking for “designers, artists and creative professionals to share their work, their process and their vision.”