35+ events, 12+ design disciplines, 10 days, 7 featured speakers, 6 panels, 5 parties, 4 open studios, 1 state… DESIGN WEEK RI 2018 is going to be an amazing experience full of discovery and celebration. This year, #designweekri brings you discussions and panels on many relevant issues in the design world today: the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in making good design and how to design to solve wicked problems (the housing crisis, a dying environment, addiction etc). We will explore how to think about design as part of the business world and what it’s like to design here in Rhode Island, a growing creative hub and historical center of manufacturing and design innovation. You’ll also have the chance to visit the studios of some amazing RI designers and even try out some new creative practices yourself!

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been looking at the #dwri2018 schedule since the day it was published, reading and rereading event descriptions, trying to decide which events to go to, and wondering which events are right for you. Well, wonder no further! Today, I present to you a sorted guide to DESIGN WEEK RI 2018:


PARTIES! Celebrate design and the amazing community here in Rhode Island. Did you know that some of your favorite band members are designers too? The DESIGN WEEK RI Kickoff Party features 3 bands with designers as their vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and more! Bring capped plastic containers like cleaning/care products like shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent to help a designer/musician with her art project - and a chance to win prizes. The RI Design Hall of Fame party will celebrate and induct 4 designers into the Hall of Fame! From Pneuhaus launching their new inflatables at the Newport Art Museum to AIGA RI hosting a block party focused all on TYPExDESIGN, there are plenty of design celebrations!

- Art After Dark: Inflatable Lawn Party! (@ Newport Art Museum, 9/13 5-9pm)

- DESIGN WEEK RI 2018 Kickoff Party (@ Rathbone Studios, 9/14 7-11pm)

- TYPE x DESIGN Block Party (@ Downtown Providence by the Shepard Fairey mural, 9/15 6-9pm)

- 2018 RI DESIGN HALL OF FAME (@ The Foundry, 9/20 6-9pm)

Image by iolabs


The RI design community boasts designers in disciplines ranging from architecture and graphic design to industrial design to interaction and experience design. Sometimes designers come together from all areas of design to create projects that break the boundaries of any single discipline… the RI design community particularly loves to share their collaborations during #designweekri!

RISD Food Lab brings together two of Providence’s most prized industries - food and design - through the work of students while the Newport Restoration Foundation explores two other Rhode Island hallmarks - jewelry design and Newport (mansion) architecture. Taking a broader perspective, PellOverton Architects and iolabs - in Shaping Experience and Community through Design - explore how architecture, interiors and furnishings, materials, graphics, and programming of interaction and engagement all play into the design of our physical environments and daily experiences. You can also hear all about how multidisciplinary design dramatically reshaped the physical environment at Royal Mills Riverpoint - transforming a decaying 1850s textile mill into 250 residential units in 3 adjoining buildings.

See more info and register:

- Royal Mills Riverpoint: Design transformation of a decaying mill into a historic preservation site (@ Royal Mills Riverpoint, 9/17 12-1:30pm)

- Food and Design at RISD Food Lab (@ RISD Campus9/20 12-1:30pm)

- A Closer Look at Designing for Doris by Newport Restoration Foundation (@ Rough Point, 9/20 4:30-7pm)

- Shaping Experience and Community through Design by PellOverton Architects and iolabs (@ iolabs, 9/21 5:30-7:30)

Image by Union Studio


Why do we design? Answer: to solve problems. For many RI designers, the answer is: to solve wicked, unsolvable problems - problems like the housing crisis, discrimination, political tensions, and health.

Discuss with a panel of designers, developers, and urban planners how design can help solve the housing crisis at Solving the Housing Crisis: Where Does Design Fit In? Zoom into Rhode Island to explore a potential solution to Providence’s housing crisis at Small Builds, Big Futures. You can also discover how Ximedica applies a user-centered design process to develop tools and concepts aimed at conquering large-scale health issues like the opioid crisis, then, with a panel at Brown University, explore the ways in designers have elevated the practice of Inclusive Design to shape products, experience, and entire industries to cater better to our beautifully diverse humanity. And at the Keynote talk with Ashleigh Axios, learn how 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue led by design during the Obama Administration.

See more info and register:

- Solving the Housing Crisis: Where Does Design Fit In? by Union Studio Architecture (@ AS220, 9/14 8:30-10am)

- Inclusive Design: Beyond Accessibility & Across Industries by EveryWear (@ Watson Institute on Brown Campus, 9/14 12-1:30pm)

- Small Builds, Big Futures: A Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis in Providence by One NB (@ Southside Cultural Center, 9/14 5-8pm)

- Keynote Speaker: Ashleigh Axios - Still Hopey, Changey (@ RISD Metcalf Auditorium, 9/18 7-8:30pm)

- Applying Innovation to Addiction by Ximedica (@ Ximedica, 9/19 12-1:30)


Designers are business-owners and entrepreneurs, and they must navigate client relationships, collaborations, different industries, and law just like every other business-owner and entrepreneur. At these #designweekri, you can gain insight on how to run your design studio as a business.

In a discussion with OCTO PD, explore how designers navigate client relationships and learn to collaborate with clients in the interest of customers. With help from IP Attorney turned designer Flann Lippincott, get a taste of how U.S. intellectual property law protects designers and discover how a long-term IP strategy can and should be integrated into the management and goals of any new venture. New England Medical Innovation Center (NEMIC) also helps designers navigate unknown water; at Changing Health by Design, the co-founder of NEMIC will explore opportunities for designers in the healthcare field and reveal how NEMIC can help support innovators bridge the “valley of death” and expedite the developmental process of medical devices.Then with a panel brought to you by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, learn from several prominent local designers how to grow your design business.

See more info and register:

- Changing Health by Design by NEMIC (@ NEMIC, 9/17 12-1:30pm)

- Whose Design is it? by OCTO PD (@ OCTO PD, 9/18 12-1:30pm)

- Intellectual Property: Protecting The Core of the Design Economy by Lippincott IP (@ Lippincott IP LLC, 9/19 12-1:30pm)

- Growing Your Design Business by GS10KSB (@ Knead Doughnuts Downtown, 9/21 4-6pm)

Photo by Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN)


Why design in Rhode Island? Rhode Island might be the smallest state, but the impact of the design community here is unmistakable. At #dwri2018, you will learn from RI designers in many disciplines why designing in Rhode Island is meaningful and inspiring!

Find out why Studio Meja decided to design in Olneyville; Hear the design stories of four Rhode Island designers at our special Marathon Clambake; See Rhode Island’s top interior designers showcase their creative talents in Making a Grand Entrance; Learn how Rhode Island’s leading textile sector has guided designers and manufacturers in bringing new textile technologies and products into the market at a panel discussion led by RITIN and Polaris MEP!

Designers make use of local resources, but it goes both ways! In a panel discussion with the city of Providence (Good Design, Local Design), you can hear how municipalities like Providence can make use of a strong local design community to support other projects.

See more info and register:

- Why Design In Olneyville? by Studio MEJA + co (@ Atlantic Design Works, 9/19 4-6pm)

- RI Design Community: Making a Grand Entrance by ASID (@ Hope Artiste Village, 9/19 5-8pm)

- Marathon Clambake (@ The Plant Courtyard, 9/19 6-8pm)

- Good Design, Local Design: How Designers and Cities Can Support Each Other by Providence ACT (@ Southlight Pavillion at the Southside Cultural Center, 9/20 9-11am)

- Textile Design Case Studies in Manufacturing—A Panel Discussion by POLARIS and RITIN (@ RI Nursing Education Center, 9/21 12-1:30pm)

Image by Looking Glass Factory


Uncover the design processes of designers in many disciplines in these #designweekri events! From landscape architecture firm Landscape Elements LLC designing a school garden, to KITE Architects renovating and adding to the Steel Yard, to Oomph creating a new Digital Experience for the RISD Museum, to Photographer Elaine Fredrick photographing the wonderfully restored WaterFire Arts Center… you can learn all about the behind-the-scenes processes! Additionally, you can visit McKenzie Gibson Studio to see how McKenzie creates innovative, artistic furniture while navigating the predominantly masculine domain of wood and metalwork.

At The Art of Praxis, an Architect, Graphic Designer, and Product Designer will walk us through their design processes, or “art of praxis” (the processes by which they enact or embody a theory). And don’t forget about our Featured Speaker, Alex Hornstein! As co-founder of interaction design firm Looking Glass Factory, Alex takes holograms out of the realm of science fiction and into reality; at Chasing the Hologram, you will step onto a guided tour through four years of rapid-fire invention, play with the latest interactive holograms, and savor a taste of the holographic future!

See more info and register:

- A Pollinator Garden: Designing for Education by Landscape Elements LLC (@ Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary School, 9/16 12-3pm)

- Art in a Design World; Female in a Masculine Domain by McKenzie Gibson (@ McKenzie Gibson Studio, 9/17 12-1:30pm)

- Featured Speaker: Alex Hornstein, Looking Glass Factory - Chasing the Hologram (@ Hope Artiste Village, 9/17 6-8pm)

- Vacant to Vibrant! - Photographing the WaterFire Arts Center by Elaine Fredrick Photography (@ Waterfire Arts Center, 9/18 12-1:30pm)

- Scrappy Meets Savvy by KITE Architects + The Steel Yard (@ The Steel Yard, 9/18 12-1:30pm)

- A RISD Redesign: Oomph & RISD Museum create a new Digital Experience (@ Oomph, 9/20 12-1:30pm)

- The Art of Praxis by Frank Mruk and 3 designers (@ Tiverton Yacht Club, 9/21 12-1:30pm)

Image by TL Studio


From gardens to studios to factories, you can see with your own eyes the places where RI designers make the magic happen! Explore public art at The Avenue Concept, wander through a landscape designer’s personal garden, tour a former-mill-turned-factory, take a peek into the full-service landscape architecture firm TL Studio Inc, and don’t miss the laid-back party at Elmwood Studios (home to Nest Homeware, Oblique Studio, Studio Endo and Work-Shop)!

See more info and register:

- The Avenue Concept Public Art (@ The Avenue Concept, 9/13 8-10am)

- Open Day for My Personal Garden by Louis Raymond (@ Louis Raymond Design, 9/15 12-4pm)

- Open Studio/Meet and Greet at TL Studio Inc. (@ TL Studio, 9/19 12-1:30pm)

- Factory Tour & Lunch at Accurate Services, Fall River, MA (@ Accurate Services, 9/21 12-1:30pm)

- Elmwood Studios Open House (@ Elmwood Studio, 9/21 7-9pm)

Image by MojoTech


#dwri2018 gives you plenty of chances to be creative and try new things! Mix media and make collages at the Providence Children’s Museum, practice the ancient art of calligraphy with MojoTech, and master the critical skill of storytelling with Business Innovation Factory. Then after dark, learn to print in a low-key environment at AS220’s DRINK + INK.

See more info and register:

- Collage Creators at Providence Children’s Museum (@ PCM, 9/13 11am-2pm)

- DRINK + INK (@ AS220 Print, 9/13 6:30-8pm)

- Calligraphy Workshop (@ MojoTech, 9/14 2-4pm)

- Storytelling as a Lynchpin Capability for Innovation (@ Business Innovation Factory, 9/20 12-1:30pm)

Written by Katherine Magee.