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West Michigan Design Week unites industry

May 1, 2014
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West Michigan Design Week unites industry
The American Institute of Architects Grand Rapids is comprised of members from more than 100 firms. Photo via fb.com

The design industry is drawing up the final plans for West Michigan Design Week.

West Michigan Design Week, a week-long event celebrating the range of design capabilities in the region, will run from May 5-10.

The week will feature about 23 events, including tours, exhibitions, films, workshops and lectures in Grand Rapids and Holland.

United industry

The week is being run by a diverse committee of design industry organizations: AIA Grand Rapids, AIGA West Michigan, ASID Michigan, Design West Michigan, IDSA Michigan, IIDA Michigan, IxDA Grand Rapids and Kendall College of Art and Design.

“This is West Michigan’s first year leveraging the ‘Design Week’ concept, which has done very well around the globe in places like San Francisco, Beijing and Milan,” said Sara Klele, Design Week chair, AIGA West Michigan. “Our goal is to share the impact that design has on the world around us, from the brand of coffee that wakes us up to the smartphone we fall asleep to at night.”

The first-ever Design Week in West Michigan is evidence of the region's "growing creative community,” said John Berry, executive director of Design West Michigan.

“The collaboration among the many diverse design talents has created an energy unique in the country," Berry said. "Design Week celebrates those connections and provides a greater awareness of how design is an economic building block for our region.”

The week

Several notable speakers will highlight the week: Richard Saul Wurman, co-founder of the TED conference; Susan Szenasy, editor in chief and publisher of the design magazine Metropolis; and Mei Mah, deputy director of New York City’s Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

West Michigan Design Week will feature architectural tours of recently restored local real estate, like the Basilica of St. Adalbert and Kendall College’s Woodbrdge N. Ferris Building.

The event will also feature a director’s preview tour with Dana Friis-Hansen of the exhibit “Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America," which opens on May 18 at Grand Rapids Art Museum.

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