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Which Way Design: Seven Telling Events for the Fall

As surely as weighty new catalogues from Design Within Reach and Ikea land with a thump at your door, the fall design season awaits on the far side of Labor Day. This is the customary moment for design editors to preview fall events. The predictions and appraisals have added intrigue after a year freighted with uncertainty. It's hard to gauge the design field during the dog days of summer. So the weeks ahead will be a test: with the economy mustering itself, will design pick up where it left off a year ago, or will it take off in new directions. The clue may lie in these seven events:


The Paris design show is the first wet, red finger to the wind. Architecture is slow to register culture changes because the design and construction plays out over years. Smale-scale design, like tabletop items and textiles, is fare more responsive, and that's what goes on display next week at Maison et Objet, the Paris design show. Prediction: designs with hive-like interchangeable modules, like the Flux lamp by Jonas Klein (above), will be a conspicuous trend. September 5 to September 9.

Governor's Island

Droog takes over Governor's Island. To mark the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in New York, the Dutch design collective Droog will stage a 10-day festival of design, fashion and architecture on Governor's Island, a decommissioned Coast Guard station in New York Harbor. Droog is a pranksterish outfit with a conceptual bent, and true to form their plans include carpets knitted with six-foot long needles and a cafe with embroidered menus and hand-sewn teabags. September 11 to September 20.

tom dixon

Tom Dixon opens a showroom. Tom Dixon almost singlehandedly put British design back in the conversation, and he will solidify his place as that country's most influential designer by opening a showroom for his entire collection, at the Wharf building, during the London design festival. September 24.

Dark Nostalgia

Interior design gets seriously nostalgic. The Nineties fascination with plastic blobby forms is giving way to materials and textures that our great grandparents favored—deep colors, shiny woods, furs, leather and dark metals. That's the thesis presented by Eva Hagberg in her book Dark Nostalgia, which shows 26 idealized versions of the past created David Rockwell, Roman & Williams, and Julian Schnabel, among others. Published September 29.

parking garage

Architects rethink what to do with cars. Just as the car industry faces great changes, so too does the car-centric design of our homes and cities. Cars and the built environment are the subject of "House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage" at the National Building Museum in Washington. October 17 to July 11.

Full Irish

Ireland becomes a design force. Ireland's unlikely transformation over the past ten years into an economic powerhouse is playing out in the field of architecture and design. Young designers like Boyd Cody and Dominic Stevens who might have once left the country to pursue careers in London and New York are now opening sudios in Dublin and other Irish cities and pursuing commissions from the country's wealthy new patrons. Is Ireland turning into a design center? Some of the country's best new work is shown in Full Irish: New Architecture in Ireland by Sarah A. Lappin. Published November 3.


Winka Dubbeldam will design a new Bungalow 8. What does cool look like now? Amy Sacco, founder of Bungalow 8, the tiny lounge with x-large doormen, is expanding to Amsterdam with a new place designed by Sacco's friend Winka Dubbeldam (above), a Dutch-born architect who cuts a glamorous figure in Manhattan's design circles. No design yet, tropical modern would be the default mode. But who knows? Whatever it is, you can be sure it will reflect interior design's coming mood. Late November.