Medellin Design Week 2018

The Voxel chair by Karim Rashid.

The Voxel chair by Karim Rashid.

A direct result of Medellin’s fairly recent social and structural transformation, Medellin Design Week provides a space for new and established designers, professionals and creatives to showcase their latest projects to potential clients, partners and international guests, while offering up their expertise in citywide talks and workshops. This year’s design week brought world-renowned designer Karim Rashid to Medellín, a testament to the success and innovation the city has been credited with in recent years, one that has furthered its worldwide notoriety to rival that of other design-famous cities.

Karim Rashid 540, a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

Karim Rashid 540, a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

Now in its fourth year, and recognized by World Design Weeks, the international authority uniting global design weeks, the five-day festival allowed Colombia’s second-largest city to once again prove itself as the epicenter of forward-thinking design and innovation. To follow, we’ve highlighted the top events and shows offered last month in Medellin.

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Karim Rashid at BoConcept

Launching design week was guest of honor, the Egyptian-born, Canadian-raised Karim Rashid, who hosted the design week opening party at BoConcept Medellin. Held on the eve of the DESIGNA Congress, where Rashid would give the conference, “The Future of Design,” the world-renowned designer was praised by attendees for emphasizing the importance of bringing passion and sentiment into the creative process.

DESIGNA Congress

2018 signaled the first DESIGNA International Design Congress, an academic initiative led by La Feria de Diseño in collaboration with Medellin Design Week, aimed at promoting, integrating and informing Colombia’s design industry. Apart from a noteworthy conference by special guest Karim Rashid, Umbra founder Paul Rowan remarked on the importance of defining a clear purpose, versus solely producing a quality product, as an essential element to a brand’s success; and the Heroes Talk featured an exchange between industry leaders Julián Oquendo of Hatsu, David del Valle of Medellin Design Week/ TuTaller Design/ Maker Home, and Tomás Vera of Verdi Design.

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La Feria de Diseño

Known as Colombia’s largest commercial design fair, La Feria de Diseño consistently gives the country’s creative industries a space to promote their brands and foster new relationships in a monumental venue like Plaza Mayor. This year’s fair exhibited over 200 local brands, including Casa Abierta, a landmark exhibition featuring a fully furnished home installed directly on the event fairgrounds. Now in its third edition, this architectural macro-installation directed by David del Valle and architect Amalia Ramírez presents trends in interior design and features over 40 participating local brands. Read our article about Casa Abierta here.

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Bodega Central

Medellin Design Week’s primary exhibition space, Bodega Central, housed over fifty exemplars of local and international design in an open-air warehouse. Bodega’s theme expanded on Rashid’s future-based conference topic, raising the question “El Futuro es Incierto: ¿Yo qué estoy haciendo?” (The Future is Uncertain: What am I doing about it?).

Conferences and Workshops

Alongside a busy week featuring events scattered around the city, the design week also held a plethora of conferences and workshops inviting design-lovers and professionals alike to discover new perspectives and listen to local and world-renowned experts in their field. Highlights included creative director of Facebook Ji Lee, local business CEOs, illustrator Gemma O’Brien, and distinguished Colombian designers.