Expo 2021 Dubai - Construction site of the central dome

Expo 2021 Dubai – Construction site of the central dome.

2021 forecast – In 2020, most of the major events either went sabbatical or have been postponed to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to vaccination plans the end of the tunnel seems to be in sight. While the first months of 2021 will be quieter with major fairs and exhibitions going virtual, the second semester is expected to be packed with important events, starting with Tokyo Olympics, Milan Design Week and Dubai World Expo. Check our architecture and design calendar and stay tuned!


5 Future mobility innovations debuting at CES 2020. 'Vision AVTR' car design by Mercedes Benz - © Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes Benz at CES 2020 – © Mercedes Benz.

CES®, the world’s most influential tech event, featuring every aspect of the tech sector. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, CES® will go virtual from Jan 11-14. Beside all sort of gadgets and TVs, this year all eyes will be on the automotive sector with new launches and keynotes by BMW, Mercedes, General Motors, Tesla and Stellantis, the new company born from the merge of FCA – Fiat Chrisler America and the French PSA which own Citroën.

IMM Cologne is the first furniture fair of the year giving professionals hints of the upcoming design trends have been canceled altogether. “The development of the last few weeks and especially your feedback has shown us that the cancelation of the 2021 edition – including the digital platform imm@home – is the right decision,” Said Matthias Pollman, fair trade vice president of Fair Management Koelnmesse.


Labyrinthine pavilion by Doshi Levien @ Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair - Photo by Jonas Lindström.

Labyrinthine pavilion by Doshi Levien @ Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2020 – Photo by Jonas Lindström.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, the largest and most influential design trade event in the Nordic region is canceled and rescheduled to February 2022. Stockholm Design Week [February 8-14] is preparing for both digital and safe physical meetings and will present alternatives on how you can take part in these events.

Landscape art project Desert X has been postponed. “In light of the urgent health crisis and surge in cases of COVID-19, the only responsible way forward is to wait until we are out of the lockdown period before opening to the public. The artists’ projects are ready, and the Desert X team and board will identify a new opening date as soon as we believe we can safely do so,” said Desert X Founder and President Susan Davis. Design Indaba, South Africa design fair, will not take place in February 2021, electing instead, to take a well-deserved sabbatical and strategize for 2022.


MaisonObjet2020 - All photos by ©AETHION.

MaisonObjet 2020 – photo by ©AETHION.

Originally scheduled in January, Paris’ winter design celebration will combine online and physical events throughout the first quarter of 2021 including the physical trade fair Maison & Objet scheduled on March 26-30 at Parc des Expositions de Villepinte.

Collect: International Arts Fair for Contemporary Craft and Design, the only gallery-presented art fair dedicated to modern craft and design powered by the British Crafts Council, is launching virtually for the first time [February 24– March 2], in partnership with artsy.net creative platform. On show works by living artists, To date, 28 galleries showcasing the work by living artists from three continents are confirmed.

NOMAD SaintMoritz2020. Carsten Höller for Massimo de Carlo. Photo: courtesy of NOMAD.NOMAD SaintMoritz2020. Carsten Höller for Massimo de Carlo. All photos: courtesy of NOMAD.

The winter edition of the nomadic collectibles boutique fair NOMAD has been rescheduled on 8-11 July in St. Moritz. With the full official support of local Swiss authorities, NOMAD will return to Chesa Planta, Samedan’s 16th-century jewel of alpine architecture.

Other March events are ISH bathroom design fair [22-26, virtual], Melbourne Design Week [March 26-April 5] and the Arctic Design Week in Rovaniemi, Finland – dates to be confirmed.


Kauffman Desert House I - Photo by Jake Holt.

Kauffman Desert House I, Palm Springs – Photo by Jake Holt.

April is generally booked by Milan Design Week which has been postponed to September. Still, companies will host a preview launch of their collection during Milano Design City. Other design events are Boston Design Week [April 28–May 9] and Ambiente [17–20 Apr, Frankfurt, Germany]. Modernism Week, Palm Springs’ celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture is scheduled on April 8-18.


Italy pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2019 - Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.

Italy pavilion at Venice Biennale 2019 – Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.

After being canceled last year, Venice Biennale, the world’s most influential architecture event is set to inaugurate on May 22 under the theme ‘How will we live together?’. “In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together. We  need a new spatial contract.” Said curator Hashim Sarkis.

New York City’s creative community will celebrate design in May [13-18] with NYCxDESIGNwhich includes Wanted Design Brooklyn. Other May major events are Collectible [27–30, Brussels, Belgium], IDS Toronto [13–16 May, Toronto, Canada], Bruges Triennial [May 8-September 26, Bruges, Belgium], and the first edition of Mexico Design Fair showcasing a selection of the country’s contemporary design [21-23 Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca].


DesignShanghai2020 - AUDI Pavilion at the main entrance.

DesignShanghai2020 – AUDI Pavilion at the main entrance.

Design Shanghai, Asia’s leading design event, will kick off on June 3 at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. After the success of the 2020 edition, the biggest one so far, the event will showcase leading and emerging Chinese design as well as international furniture brands.

On July 23, the Tokyo Olympics kick-off. After being postponed by one year, the global sports event offers always a healthy injection of innovation in architecture and design. Check our coverage of the games so far.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics' torch by Tokujin Yoshioka - Courtesy of Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ torch by Tokujin Yoshioka – Courtesy of Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Other Summer events are London Design Biennale [June 1-27], Design Miami/Basel [June 14-20, Basel, Switzerland] and Design Biennale Zurich [August 28-September 1]. Sao Paulo’s DW! Design Week-End, San Francisco Design Week and Côte d’Azur Design Parade haven’t announced the dates. During the summer we will also keep an eye on major festivals bringing forward great architecture and design such as Burning Man, Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial and more.


Entrance of Salone del Mobile.Milano -Photo by Salone del Mobile 2018

Entrance of Salone del Mobile.Milano -Photo by Salone del Mobile.

After being canceled last year, Milan Design Week, the world’s most important design event, will inaugurate on September 5. Salone del Mobile.Milano [5-10] will celebrate its 60th edition, bringing together for the first time Euroluce, Eurocucina and all the product categories. During the week the city will thrive with Fuorisalone, the ‘diffused festival’ featuring hundreds of exhibitions and events across Milan’s renowned design districts. Read more…

Denmark’s annual design event 3 Days of Design will go on show on 16-19 September in Copenhagen.

Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019 - Photo by Kendall McCaugherty

Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019 – Photo by Kendall McCaugherty.

Two major architecture events are scheduled in September: under the theme ‘Building the Resilient City’, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism [September 16-October 31] will focus on urban planning the city of tomorrow. ‘The Available City’ is the theme of the fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial [-January 2022] which will explore the impact collective space can have in cities today. Through a reinvented and responsive global platform, the Biennial will create opportunities for conversations about the intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice. Paris Design Week2019 - Photo via IG by @ublik.paris

Paris Design Week2019 – Photo via IG by @ublik.paris.

Many are the influential design events starting from Maison & Objet Fall edition [9-13] and the tenth edition of Paris Design Week, the ten days fringe event celebrating design in the heart of the French capital with new concept stores, staged window displays, vernissages, meet ‘n’ greets with designers and more [9-18].

London Design Festival [18-26] will take over multiple creative districts in the British capital with exhibitions, window displays and urban art projects. On show unexpected pavilions commissioned by the festival’s partners, unexpected installations at the Victoria & Albert Museum and temporary exhibitions at the Design Museum. Major design destinations include Coal Drops Yards, Shoreditch Design Triangle, Mayfair and more.

LDF18: 5 multi-sensory design exhibitions @ Victoria & Albert Museum. MULTIPLY by Waugh Thistleton Architects - Photo by Andy Stagg.

London Design Festival 2018 – Photo by Andy Stagg.

Design China Beijing [24-27] comprises a trade fair at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre and a programme of several offsite events across the Chinese capital. Other design events are Vienna Design Week [dates to be confirmed], Helsinki Design Week [9-19] and Cersaie, the most influential fair for the world of the ceramic industry and bathroom furnishings [September 27-October 1, Bologna, Italy].

FALL 2021

Dubai Expo 2020 - Mobilty Pavilion

Fosters+Partners, Mobility Pavilion – photo: courtesy of Dubai Expo 2020.

This fall all eyes will be on Dubai. The Emirati metropolis will inaugurate the long-awaited World Expo which will welcome visitors from October 20. Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the major event will feature over 180 national pavilions designed by globally acclaimed architecture studios such as BIG, Foster+Partners, Es Devlin, Santiago Calatrava, Grimshaw Architects and more.

Fluid Forces exhibition by ELLE DECORATION at Dutch Design Week 2019 - Photo by Britt Roelse.

Dutch Design Week 2019 – Photo by Britt Roelse.

Dutch Design Week [October 17-25] will return to Eindhoven. The biggest design event in Northern Europe presents work and ideas of more than 2600 designers from home and abroad. In more than 110 locations across the city, DDW organizes and facilitates exhibitions, lectures, prize ceremonies, networking events, debates and festivities.

New York Furniture Fair ICFF and Wanted Design Manhattan will go on show in the second week of November [14-15]. ‘El diseño es la rispuesta’ – Design is the answer – is the claim of Design Week Mexico which will go on show in October – dates to be announced.

Dubai Design Week 2019 - Photo vias IG via @mydubai

Dubai Design Week 2019 – Photo vias IG via @mydubai.

In November is time to go back to the United Arab Emirates for Dubai Design Week [8-13], the region’s largest creative festival, reflecting Dubai’s position as the design capital of the Middle East. The festival’s varied programme consists of design-related events, exhibitions, installations, competitions, talks and workshops across multiple creative disciplines.

Last but not least is Miami Art and Design Week – December 2021 -, a week-long celebration of creativity in the so-called Magic City. Many are the fairs and events starting from Art Basel Miami and DesignMiami/, on show also public art and urban design installations, parties, talks and exhibitions.

DesignMiami 2020. DesignMiami P0dium virtual tour - Courtesy of DesignMiami 2020

DesignMiami Podium virtual tour – Courtesy of DesignMiami 2020.