Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in our third report from New York, Willy Wong, chief creative officer for the city's marketing and tourism agency, introduces the new NYCxDesign festival and explains why the city is starting to put more money behind its design industries.
NYCxDesign, which launched this year, is a new design festival that encompasses a range of existing shows including the Frieze New York art fair, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), Wanted Design and NoHo Design District, as well as a programme of new events such as designjunction's Intro NY.
Wong explains that one of the motivations behind NYCxDesign was a report by the Centre for an Urban Future think tank, which identified the untapped economic potential of New York's design sector.
"A few years ago there was a report that identified design as an industry that the city should really embrace," says Wong. "There should be a moment in time when the city actually celebrates all of the great design that happens in New York."
"In 2009 they discovered that there were almost 40,000 designers in New York, and that's a huge concentration compared to other cities in the US," he continues. "So there's a real reason to invest in the sector."
The influx of visitors that come to New York each year for the big design shows is also good for the economy, Wong goes on to explain.
"Events like ICFF bring in close to 30,000 people a year, and that's just for ICFF," he says. "Whenever we are taking on an initiative, we are looking at both the qualitative cultural effects but at the same time the economic impact."
Wong believes that the city's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who has been in office since 2002, has "focussed on design as a competitive advantage for the city," citing the High Line as an example of the kind of project that has helped to improve New York's built environment. "There's a real consideration on transforming what it means to be a city."
We drove around New York our MINI Cooper S Paceman.
The music featured in the movie is a track called You Go To My Head by Kobi Glas. You can listen to the full version on Dezeen Music Project.