DesignPhiladelphia is not just about architecture. It isn’t solely focused on fashion, public art, commercial art or urban planning, either. The nine-day Center for Architecture festival, now in its ninth year, is an amalgamation of all those things. It’s a multi-event collaboration that stretches far and wide across the city, starting tomorrow. But you can get a jump start on the festivities at Wednesday's kick-off party at bahdeebahdu in Kensington. (The after-party, featuring King Britt, is at American Street Studio.)
DesignPhiladelphia “exposes what’s going on in the creative economy in Philadelphia by showcasing the community and what they have to offer through exhibitions and workshops,” says Nova Harris, program manager.
There are points when this festival will show you a creative side to Philly that you may have overlooked. Take, for example, the open studio tours which give you a peek into the local art scene, and the neighborhood tours, like the free trolley tour of Philadelphia’s historic rowhomes.
For some of us looking at the exterior isn't sufficient. For those obsessed with “real estate porn,” who love to drool over lavish interiors, join the free At Home with Mid-Century Architecture and Design tour, which takes you inside a stunning 1958 home designed by Irwin Stein. Current owner Bobbie Ann Tilkens-Fisher has passionately decorated her and her husband’s domicile with era-appropriate furniture, tableware and wallpaper. Tilkens-Fisher’s love of the flea market hunt inspired her Etsy shop, At Home Modern, where she sells vintage treasures and home goods.
But DesignPhiladelphia is about way more than decor — even painstakingly handcrafted decor we covet. “There are some things that started as a DesignPhiladelphia project that have really taken off. Not a Vacant Lot and pop-up gardens on Broad are some of them,” Harris says, referring to previous exhibitions that put vacant lots to good use or turned them into artist spaces as a way to raise awareness of the city’s underused lots – many of which are eyesores.
Go to www.designphiladelphia.org for a full calendar of events, prices, and times. Many are free but require registration due to limited capacity.