Dezeen Magazine

NYCxDesign postponed until October due to coronavirus

"Don't come wearing Milan or European glasses" says NYCxDesign executive director

New York's design scene has a breadth and energy that makes NYCxDesign an experience distinct from its European counterparts says the festival's executive director Ilene Shaw ahead of its opening this week.

New York City design festival NYCxDesign takes place just a few weeks after the world's largest annual design festival in Milan, which Shaw describes as a "tough act to follow". However, she believes there is still "nothing like" the design scene in New York.

"We have more designers and professional design professionals here than anywhere else," Shaw told Dezeen.

"There is an energy and a vitality that New York brings to everything and once you get here, you are sucked into that energy and then you have multiple showrooms to go to and exhibits to go to – so don't come wearing Milan or European glasses, come to have a New York experience."

NYCxDesign rebuilding after pandemic

After shutting down for the pandemic and changes in ownership, the 11-year old festival will return this week, with designers and enthusiasts from the US and abroad coming to the city.

"Of course, worldwide we were terribly affected by the pandemic and certainly New York City was in so many ways," said Shaw.

"We're not pre-pandemic stage. But we certainly are growing since last year," she continued. "So we're hopeful."

Ilene Shaw
Ilene Shaw is the executive director of NYCxDesign

Shaw, a trained industrial designer, was given the reins of the festival in February 2023 after years of organising Design Pavilion, a series of installations set up in Times Square.

Before the pandemic, as many as 18 pavilions were set up in Times Square to coincide with the festival, while in 2022 there were only two large-scale installations. However, this year, the organisers have postponed the public installations until October 2023.

"Sometimes you don't have to be everything all at once," Shaw told Dezeen.

"And you don't have to throw everything in all at once we could spread it out and give everything a little breath and a little air."


Shaw said that it was important to give the festival time to recover and to further understand the "needs of the community".

A variety of installations and special programming will continue at showrooms, museums and schools. And the yearly furniture showcase, ICFF, will go return, under the leadership of long-time showrunners of showcase WantedDesign, Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat.

NYCxDesign will take place throughout New York City from 18-25 May 2023. For more information about events, exhibitions and talks, visit Dezeen's 2023 guide to NYCxDesign

The photography is by Kaitlin Aurora.