The ten most popular architecture and design events of 2021


Design festivals and conferences have started to recover from the pandemic this fall. As the trade show season ends for another year, here are the 10 most popular events of 2021 according to visitors to the Dezeen Events Guide.


Dezeen Events Guide lists hundreds of international architecture and design exhibitions, conferences, trade shows and more. To inquire about registering for your event, contact [email protected]


1. Milan Design Week

Canceled last year and postponed from April to September this year, Milan has re-established itself this year as the design capital of the world with a smaller-than-usual offer that drew a surprisingly large and vibrant crowd.

The change of dates for Milan Design Week was spearheaded by the flagship event, Salone del Mobile (below), with fuorisalone events around the city following suit. This year’s highlights included a student reinterpretation of the Korova Milk Bar from the movie A Clockwork Orange (pictured) at the Alcova Lounge and a spectacular installation by luxury brand Hermès.

Find out more about Milan Design Week on Dezeen ›


Visitors walk through a blue installation

2. London Design Festival

The annual London festival has had to compete with a busy September schedule this year with many rescheduled events in hopes of avoiding the ravages of the pandemic. Although Brexit will make travel to the UK more difficult than before, LDF’s popularity among Dezeen Events Guide readers shows the enduring appeal of the festival and the city.

This year’s highlights included 18 rainbow-colored crosswalks by Yinka Ilori and a virtual installation by Sou Fujimoto (pictured).

Find out more about the London Design Festival on Dezeen ›


3. Mobile fairForestami project to plant trees in Milan
3. Mobile fair

The Salone del Mobile is part of wider Milan design week (see above), but the furniture fair was nonetheless the third most popular list in the Dezeen Events Guide this year.

After an internal battle that saw the president of the fair resign and the event hardly took place for the second year in a row, architect Stefano Boeri stepped in to inject vision and optimism into the furniture fair. largest in the world, which was renamed Supersalone.

Dezeen live streamed a series of talks called Open Talks that took place at the fair while highlights included a temporary 200-tree forest (pictured) that will now be planted around the city.

Learn more about Salone del Mobile on Dezeen ›


Danish flag connectivity

4. Venice Architecture Biennale

The world’s largest architecture festival was another event that was postponed from 2020, courageously sticking to its revised 2021 schedule and opening in May, just as Europe emerged from lockdown.

Curator Hashim Sarkis has avoided the usual starchy foods, instead choosing a refreshing list of contributors to respond to his “How are we going to live together?” Theme. In an article by Dezeen compiling participants’ responses, the architects hailed his curation as “interesting and courageous”.

Highlights included this year’s Danish Pavilion (pictured above and above), which explored the circularity of water, and Wooden Framing, an exhibit at the American Pavilion on the American lumber industry.

Find out more about the Venice Architecture Biennale on Dezeen ›


Mathieu Lehanneur

5. Design Miami / Basel

The art world finally regained its momentum in September, with the sprawling Art Basel fair held in Switzerland after a hiatus in 2020. The Design Miami / Basel Collectors Fair turned out to be the fifth most popular event. popular among our readers.

This year’s projects included a series of 3D printed ships depicting demographics from 140 countries by designer Mathieu Lehanneur (pictured).

Learn more about Design Miami / Basel on Dezeen ›


Extraperlo by Jorge Penadés

6. Madrid Design Festival

The Spanish capital has hosted this event every February since 2001. The 2021 event was a virtual affair, but that didn’t stop it from being one of the top ten most popular lists this year.

Highlights in 2019 included Extraperlo (pictured), an exhibition curated by designer Jorge Penadés in which he invited 14 international designers to create objects no bigger than a shoebox.

Find out more about Madrid Design Festival on Dezeen ›


A new normal by finding infinity

7. Melbourne Design Week

Australia’s premier design week exhibits this year included a proposed $ 100 billion zero-carbon strategy for Melbourne ‘that would pay off in less than 10 years’ (pictured) and a show exploring the sideways turmoil of designers.

Find out more about Melbourne Design Week on Dezeen ›


Ty Williams chairs

8. NYCxDesign

New York City’s flagship design event has moved from May to November this year due to the pandemic, meaning it hadn’t even happened when this article was published, but that he was still in our top ten.

In 2019, multimedia artist Ty Williams illustrated a set of Fort Standard chairs (pictured) with its iconic coastline-inspired shapes.

Learn more about NYCxDesign on Dezeen ›


Technicolor curtains and fabrics by Peter Saville

9. 3 days of conception

The Stockholm mini design festival was one of the few to physically take place last year after being moved in September from its usual May slot. The event is seen by many as a model for the future as it is small in size, allows people to enjoy the city, and is not anchored in a large trade fair.

This year’s festival once again offered the design crowd one of the first chances to network after the latest blockades. Highlights include the launch of Peter Saville’s fabric collection for Kvadrat (pictured). Dezeen attended the launch, broadcasting a live interview with the designer.

Read more about 3 days of design on Dezeen ›


Tom Dixon Hologram

10. Stockholm Design Week

The biggest celebration of design in Scandinavia has been a downsizing affair this year, with modest showroom events alongside digital initiatives, including a virtual video studio designed by ASKA. British designer Tom Dixon circumvented Covid travel restrictions by appearing at the festival via a hologram (pictured).

Find out more about Stockholm Design Week on Dezeen ›


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