From IRL to URL: How design festivals are adapting for the COVID era

By Matthew Hague

There are benefits to a URL – as opposed to IRL – approach. Last October, two of New York City’s major design fairs, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign, co-organized a two-day virtual festival called Closeup. International talents, such as Dutch industrial designer Marcel Wanders, chatted with the likes of William Hanley, the editor-in-chief of Dwell, in TV-style interview panels.

“It was quite a different thing to organize than a traditional festival, and involved a separate production company,” says Phil Robinson, ICFF’s show director. “But it gave us a better opportunity to tell the stories behind the designs, as opposed to simply showing the designs. That was something many of the designers appreciated.” Plus, the interviews were seen well beyond New York. “People tuned in from all over the world,” says Robinson, who is currently organizing another Closeup for this May. “And more people watched the recordings, made available for two months after the initial event, than tuned in live.”

Source: The Globe and Mail