This fall, San Diego joins an international community of Design Weeks with the debut of the inaugural San Diego Design Week (SDDW), a five-day celebration of the city’s multi-faceted design community. The hope is that in years to come it will be an annual citywide celebration of design in all forms, from architecture, interior and landscape design to fashion, technology, and graphic design. Because San Diego wouldn’t be what it is without our relationship to Baja, SDDW is honored to feature events from the Mexican design community as well.

Of course, this year is different. While so many things we know and love are currently unavailable to us, we decided to adapt to make our first year memorable and accessible despite the circumstances. The submissions truly reflected the creativity of our region, with presenters providing multiple access points for participation. During these challenging times, SDDW aims to show how design is a catalyst for good. Created as a community experience for all, SDDW is presented by Mingei International Museum, with Intuit as its Founding Sponsor.

The programming keeps safety in mind and presents a variety of options to get involved, both virtually and physically. There will be a live lineup each day of the “week” and plenty of pre-released content for participants to engage with at any time. Most events are free and open to the public, and there are kid-friendly options too. Browse the Programs tab and curate your own Design Week schedule.

Q&A with SDDW Program Director, Stacy Kelley

What is Design Week?
World Design Weeks is a network of cities around the world that hosts annual design events dedicated to elevating the global conversation, understanding, education, and connection of people with design. Some West Coast neighbors include L.A. Design Festival, San Francisco Design Week, Design Portland, Seattle Design Festival, Design Week Mexico, and Vancouver Design Week. The SDDW team began planning Design Week over a year ago, and one of the first steps we took was to reach out to organizers in other cities, both in the U.S. and abroad. As we’ve found ourselves in a global pandemic we’ve all had to creatively shift and rethink what a Design Week is, and can be. The SDDW team includes Community Partners and advisors from San Diego-Tijuana that represent the many disciplines of design and we began creatively addressing the challenges of 2020.

Why bring Design Week to San Diego?
From an organizer’s perspective, I’m really interested in Design Week 2020. This moment calls for more intimacy and more honesty, with opportunities for creative experimentation. The need for change is immediate. With the 2020 theme of Design+, we’re considering not only how design shapes the region and our everyday life, but also design’s potential to envision a new future - how to design for community organizing, design for future, design for sustainability and resiliency. We’re looking at how designers are collaborating across disciplines and exchanging ideas to build and serve our neighborhoods. It’s an opportunity for conversation and for connection, which feels more important now than ever.

Collaboration drives creativity, and it’s easy for us to feel disconnected as we work from home. We hope Design Week will help bring us together. The vision for September’s event (as well as future programs) is to create a forum that allows for connection. This is just the first chapter, and we hope the projects and collaborations initiated this summer will continue to build in the months and years ahead.

What can we expect from San Diego Design Week?
In the name of connection and collaboration, we’ll use what we have available to us right now. As we’ve reached out to the groups that have stepped up to join the event in this online format, we’ve been inspired by the creative ways they’re contributing and responding to the platforms we have to work with. Most live online sessions at SDDW will be on Zoom, with a few on Crowdcast and Kast (an app made in San Diego!). For live events, you'll need to register on Eventbrite, and while most events are free, some will have a cost and/or attendance cap, so register early! Many other sessions will be pre-released, free, and available all week to view on your own time.

Self-guided tours allow participants to take a break from their screen and safely experience design landmarks, architecture, public art, and murals. Make a day of it with a picnic from a local restaurant along the way. We hope you’ll join and share what you find! SDDW is an opportunity to rediscover San Diego through the lens of design - a communal experience with many different ways to explore.

Until then, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and get a sneak peek of what’s to come!