With the new year comes a brand-new season of design festivals and fairs in India. These festivals are hotbeds for innovation, collaboration, and experiential engagement. Bustling with a cultural tapestry of India and crafted with rich possibilities of technology, design festivals are a creative melting pot of ideas, knowledge, and innovation. Each design festival brings a unique narrative of India’s growing design culture, empowered by technology and digital connectivity.
These festivals offer brands, design houses, designers, students, and artists a platform for expression. To showcase their cutting-edge design solutions, encourage cultural interactions, exchange ideas, inspire young designers, and encourage student engagement.
These design festivals have become prime spots to engage the audience in immersive storytelling experiences. Highlighting tools used that bring these experiences to life. Brands like HP, Wacom, and Microsoft often become sponsor partners for these events to build demo stations and gain feedback from the industry on their new launches. Hardware and software products that offer design solutions using AR/VR or other technologies are often a great attraction factor at these events.
Many installation designers and artists use mixed reality (MR) to bring the audience into the world of Metaverse and experiential design at design events. All highlighting the significance of design events in bringing the right audience up close with the latest in the design industry.
Mark Your Calendar for the Upcoming Design Events in India
a. Pune Design Festival (PDF)
Date: 13- 14 Jan 2024 and 1-2 March 2024
Where: Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) and Hyatt Regency respectively, Pune
PDF is one of the most prestigious and leading design festivals in India. It is the property of the Association of Designers of India. PDF is a true testament to empowering innovative design and engaging the design community. From established to emerging designers, students, educators, design researchers, and global industry stalwarts, this design event brings multiple design stakeholders to one event. Engaging their audience with keynote talks, workshops, exhibitions, installations, panel discussions, student design battles, and networking events. Over the past few years, the event has become a melange for design collaborations, knowledge building, and learning. This year the event has two main events scheduled:
one, Design Education Festival scheduled for 13-14 Jan 2024, and
two, the 18th Pune Design Festival is scheduled for 1-2 March 2024.
b. India Art, Architecture and Design Biennale (IAADB)
Date: On till 31st March 2024
Where: Red Fort, Delhi
The sight of Red Fort curated with exceptional and pioneering design spectacles is a not-to-miss this season. The exhibit is open till the end of March 2024 for all to draw in some awe-inspiring creative motivation. IAADB is one of its one-of-a-kind initiatives by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India (GoI). As quoted by Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development of Northeastern Region, IAADB ‘is designed to initiate a holistic conversation between artists’, architects, designers, photographers, collectors, connoisseurs, curators, art professionals, gallerists, academic institutions, researchers, students, and youth to strengthen the cultural dialogue and provide them with avenues and opportunities.’
This flagship design event by GoI celebrates India’s rich tapestry of fine cultural artists and brilliant contemporary designers. It highlights India’s diverse design heritage along with technology-driven design. The flagship design property of the GoI, this Biennale acts as a catalyst to leverage art and design for global cultural diplomacy and connection. With its curated themed pavilions, the exhibit represents India in its cultural and visual glory. The launch event in December saw multiple workshops with engagement from thousands of students and several academic institutions. If you are visiting Delhi any time before April 2024, block your visit to this extravagant exhibit.
c. India Design ID
Date: 15-18 Feb 2024
Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi
India Design is known as India’s most definitive design week. It’s a refined, classic, eclectic, and sophisticated collective of everything art, craft, design, décor, interiors, and architecture under one roof. An initiative by Ogaan Media, India Design ID has the following initiatives under its name:
> ID Exhibit: Spread across the sprawling land at NSIC grounds, ID Exhibit is a showcase of India’s emerging and established luxury brands in design. With close to 135 exhibitors, it is a superbly curated exhibition area showcasing leading Indian architecture, interior, and design firm talent.
> ID Symposium: A thought leadership platform to exchange knowledge, learn, and interact. This space invites leading Indian and global experts in design over planned conversations on all things design. Around 30-40 leading architects, interior designers, multimedia artists, product designers, graphic designers, design innovators, and thinkers are part of this as speakers. Offering food for thought in the design world.
>ID Honours: An award programme to honour various talents in the design field.
>ID Collectible: A recently launched initiative; ID collectible brings out design discoveries from the defining lens of leading Indian designers.
d. Mumbai Festival (Kala Ghoda Arts Festival)
Date: 20-28 Jan 2024
Where: South Mumbai
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of the art districts of Mumbai, especially South Mumbai. Several art and design patrons with art galleries come together to host an array of interactive activities. For this year, Maharashtra Tourism offers this as a range of events under the single umbrella of the Mumbai Festival. This includes the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai Marathon, Happy Streets, Yoga by the Bay, and other events. Music concerts, film festivals, and tourism conclave are amongst other aspects of the Mumbai Festival.
Each year Kala Ghoda festival brings together design institutions, art galleries, architecture, designers, enthusiasts, and museums. All collectively representing designs curated with a theme in mind. The theme for this year’s Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is UDAAN. This translates to the desire to progress and reach for the sky. With its wide range of outdoor-based installations, workshops, and immersive design, don’t forget to visit the festival in all its grandeur.
e. Design Up
Date: 28 September to 4 October 2024
Where: Bangalore, location – not yet disclosed
DesignUp is a fine amalgamation of a conference and festival. The event claims to be ‘an eclectic meeting ground of emerging ideas, exciting opportunities, and connections. Quartz.com mentions them to be the ‘most exciting Design event worldwide’. It’s a collective that leads the interactions between technology and design. Hosting designers, designer tech professionals, product leaders, design makers, creators, and technology professionals under one roof. They aim to bring Indian youth, students, and global design leaders together to talk, interact, and build actionable ideas for design in tech. If tech-driven design is your passion, this design event is a must-attend event for you!
From government-curated design exhibits to design associations and community-led events, each of these design festivals fosters an exchange of knowledge, learning, and collaboration. Acting as catalysts for influencing career trajectories in design, enriching design practices, and boosting dialogues for entrepreneurship.
For students, these design events bring interactive and immersions experiences. Students gain the opportunity to learn from the best in industry practices. Build their network in person by engaging with industry leaders.
For educators, it’s a space packed with learning, knowledge, and case studies to enhance their curriculum and build relevant industry connections for student projects.
These design events have become cultural and innovation hubs that foster creative discussion and celebrate the evolution of design.
Block your dates for your favourite design event and get ready to be inspired! Stay tuned for an update on the global design weeks and events, coming soon.