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Design Week Takes Over West Michigan

Posted April 23, 2014 in Public

Eight regional organizations are collaborating to launch a weeklong event that will promote West Michigan’s design expertise and capabilities. Running May 5-10, West Michigan Design Week will showcase an impressive range of design work from both firms and individuals.

Building on the region’s rich history of design innovation, Design Week will celebrate the emergence of West Michigan in the 21st century as a world-class design community. Throughout the week, a series of events will demonstrate the strategic and economic advantages of design thinking, build connections between designers and cultural, educational, and business communities, and raise the profile of West Michigan’s thriving design culture to both increase opportunities for regional designers and attract new design talent.

“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, AIGA West Michigan Design Week Chair. “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.”

Adds John Berry, Executive Director of Design West Michigan, “The first ever Design Week in West Michigan is both evidence and a tribute to our growing creative community. The collaboration among the many diverse design talents has created an energy unique in the country. Design Week celebrates those connections and provides a greater awareness of how design is an economic building block for our region.”

Starting Monday, May 5, Design Week will host 19 different workshops, lectures, tours, films and exhibitions throughout Grand Rapids, Holland, and Traverse City. The lecture series will feature renowned design professionals Richard Saul Wurman, inventor of the field of information architecture and founder of the TED conference, Susan Szenasy, Editor in Chief and Publisher of prominent design magazine Metropolis, and Mei Mah, Deputy Director of The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.  

Other Design Week highlights include an exploration of our state’s contributions to modern design with guided architecture tours of recently restored historical structures such as the Basilica of St. Adalbert and Kendall College of Art and Design’s Woodbrdge N. Ferris Building, a director’s tour preview of the Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America exhibition opening May 18th at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), Look Behind Design: A Process Exhibit at Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA), design thinking workshops for students at Innovation Central High School and Coit Creative Arts Academy, and special events on the lakeshore.

Most of the events are free of charge, but registration is required for each as seating is limited. Complete details and a comprehensive list of events can be found at http://www.wmdesignweek.com


West Michigan Design Week Partners

AIGA West Michigan

AIA GR | The American Institute of Architects Grand Rapids Chapter

ASID Michigan | American Society of Interior Designers Michigan Chapter

Design West Michigan

IDSA Michigan | Industrial Designers Society of America Michigan Chapter

IIDA Michigan | International Interior Design Association Michigan Chapter

IxDA Grand Rapids | Interaction Design Association Grand Rapids Chapter

Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)


West Michigan Design Week Sponsors

AIGA West Michigan


AMDG Architects

AIA GR | The American Institute of Architects Grand Rapids Chapter

Creative Displays and Marketing

Crites, Tidey & Associates, Inc.

Custom Printers

Design West Michigan

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Extra Credit Projects

The Forest

Gilson Graphics

Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM)

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Image Group

IDSA Michigan | Industrial Designers Society of America Michigan Chapter

Interphase Interiors

IxDA Grand Rapids (Interaction Design Association)

Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)


Lott3 Metz

Mannington Carpets

Mutually Human

NewNorth Center


Propaganda Doughnuts

The Right Place

SolidThinking Design Software

The State Theatre Traverse City




Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA)