WantedDesign is a platform dedicated to promoting design and fostering the local and international creative community throughout the year.

WantedDesign Approaches 2021 with a Positive Outlook

WantedDesign Approaches 2021 with a Positive Outlook

As we enter 2021, the team at WantedDesign is looking ahead with characteristic optimism and a positive attitude. Even acknowledging current uncertainties and challenges, we enter the new year with renewed energy, with a new US president and exciting plans for innovative initiatives, from an expanded edition of CLOSEUP to new showcase opportunities for design schools and students from around the world.

In 2020, we took on the challenge created by the cancellation of in-person events by launching WantedDesign Online conversations and programming, including teaming up with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) to create new hybrid trade event CLOSEUP. We’ll be building on that successful pilot with an expanded version in May 2021 at Industry City, Brooklyn, as well as planning for WantedDesign Manhattan in November 2021 at the Javits Center in NYC.

As we look back at highlights from last year and proceed with plans for this year, we see multiple reasons for optimism:

The Design Industry and Projects ARE moving forward

It’s not business as usual, but there is business happening. In speaking with our design industry friends and WantedDesign participants, we’re encouraged to hear studios and brands big and small reporting they’ve been busy.

Projects are moving forward. The high end, residential market is particularly strong. As Business of Home noted, “mass shelter-in-place orders kicked off a flurry of home renovation projects” in 2020.

And even with setbacks for the travel industry, Hospitality Design reports that Marriot will roll out 100 properties across Asia-Pacific in 2021.

Recognizing that the industry is moving ahead, it’s all the more important to continue providing opportunities for designers and studios to launch their collections and products. Get in touch if you’re interested in showcasing your work through WantedDesign’s trade events this year.

Moooi joining CLOSEUP 2020 from Amsterdam and New York. Photo credit: Sandrine Charvet
Moooi joining CLOSEUP 2020 from Amsterdam and New York. Photo credit: Sandrine Charvet

The Resilience of Designers and Creators

In NYC, we were especially hard hit during the early stages of the pandemic. With limited square footage and outdoor space, and cold winters, the restaurant industry, which provides over 300,000 jobs for New York City workers, continues to face major challenges.

But as chef and entrepreneur Melba Wilson noted during CLOSEUP 2020, “What this has allowed us to do was to band together like never before. We’re in crisis right now, and this is something that none of us have ever experienced before.”

Morning panel including David Rockwell and Melba Wilson, with host Stacy Shoemaker-Rauen

“It’s about collectively coming up with solutions to problems,” she continued, as she and architect David Rockwell shared their collaboration on the DineOut NYC project of modular outdoor dining systems for restaurants adapting to the pandemic. “As New Yorkers, we definitely will come back. This too shall pass.”

“I think it’s that drive of human beings to be together that is going to propel things forward,” added David Rockwell.

A Wealth of North American Talent

A big part of WantedDesign’s raison d’etre was co-founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat recognizing the immense amount of design talent in the United States and North America as a whole, and building a platform to showcase the work of these designers and studios.

North American studio sessions during CLOSEUP 2020, presented with Dwell
North American studio sessions during CLOSEUP 2020, presented with Dwell.
Photo credit: Sandrine Charvet

Looking ahead at 2021 and beyond, sourcing locally will be more valued than ever, for reasons ranging from sustainability to supply chain concerns.

For many attendees of CLOSEUP 2020, the virtual studio visits of independent designers and makers broadcast as part of the North American studio sessions presented with Dwell magazine were a high point for many attendees. 

Studio tour videos proved popular during CLOSEUP 2020

You can watch replays of the sessions on the CLOSEUP YouTube channel. 

We anticipate the industry continuing to take a strong interest in sourcing and commissioning unique products and taking a thoughtful approach to A&D projects.

CLOSEUP 2021 will continue to give attendees a behind-the-scenes look at designers’ creative and manufacturing processes. North American studio showcase Look Book will also return to WantedDesign Manhattan in November.

CLOSEUP 2020, broadcast live from Industry City, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Sandrine Charvet

We look forward to coming together with the design industry again during CLOSEUP in May, our hybrid trade event with ICFF, and in-person at WantedDesign Manhattan in November at the Javits Center. Get in touch if you’re a brand or studio interested in showcasing your work through WantedDesign this year.

We look forward to making 2021 the best year possible with you.