DesignPhiladelphia Festival Kicks Off October 4th at Cherry Street Pier

The 2023 design festival highlights the designers behind the designs elevating Philadelphia.

(Philadelphia, PA) – August 23, 2023 – The Center for Architecture and Design’s (CFAD)signature event, DesignPhiladelphia, runs October 4 — 15 with hubs at Cherry Street Pier and CFAD. Anchored by Thomas Jefferson University (Jefferson) as presenting sponsor, the 2023 Festival will be a healthy mix of emerging and veteran designers showcasing cutting-edge innovation and celebrating the strength and vitality of the local design community. 


“There are a lot of new faces joining us this year and I couldn’t be more thrilled to showcase their remarkable talents. The energy and passion that these designers bring to our city are truly inspiring and their fresh perspectives are shaping the future of our design community.” says Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of CFAD, “Our festival is a tribute to those pushing boundaries, and a testament to the vibrant design community that thrives in our city, where innovation knows no bounds and creativity takes center stage.”


The action begins with the Kickoff Party and VIP Reception at Cherry Street Pier on October 4th from 5:30 - 9:00 PM. Programming continues through October 15 with a variety of workshops, talks, tours, and open houses planned throughout the city You can check out the complete schedule on


Here are some of the highlights of this year’s Festival.


DesignPhiladelphia Kickoff Party + VIP Reception

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Sponsored by Parallel Edge, party attendees get a first look at the immersive installations by Jefferson, Drexel University, Temple University Tyler School of Art and Design, Gensler, BRDG, Hoffman Design Group, Unform Studio, Vox Populi, American Institute of Architects, Philadelphia Chapter, and more. Enjoy eating and drinking in the open-air venue on the Delaware River. The Kickoff Party raises critical dollars to support the year-long programming and planning of DesignPhiladelphia. General Admission, Student, and VIP Design Advocate tickets are available on the DesignPhiladelphia website.


Design is Inclusive Exhibition

October 5-15, 12:00 – 9:00 PM at Cherry Street Pier

A signature event of the Festival, this exhibition features exciting emerging designers honing their craft right here in Philadelphia. Including displays by:


Ann T. Dinh – With a Bachelor of Architecture from Temple and a Master of Industrial Design From RISD, Ann Dinh’s work covers a wide range of functionality and aesthetics. Credited as a designer & researcher, she is a creative individual that thrives on employing analytical thought with an artistic perspective.


Laura Bertapelle – A graduate of RISD with a BFA in Furniture Design, Laura Bertapelle designs and fabricates her pieces with a curiosity focused on the capabilities of familiar materials like glass, wood, and metal and how they work together while contemplating their properties for new and innovative uses.


Steph Trowbridge – A woodworker and ceramist, Steph Trowbridge thrives where function meets beauty. Her household items combine purpose and aesthetics, creating statement-making display pieces you can use every day.

DNA Floral – Custom floral designers known for their high level design installations and prioritizing local products and artists while promoting multicultural awareness and inclusivity.


Kids Fest 

October 7, 12:00 – 4:00 PM at Cherry Street Pier

Kids Fest is programming is filling up with lots of hands-on experiences to entertain the future designers in your life. With goodie bags sponsored by Kikkerland and workshops and events by Pals Socks, Ms. Amy Art Teacher, and the Center for Architecture and Design’s very own Wondering Studio featuring lessons in Architecture and Design Education — you won’t want to miss this exciting weekend-long festival within the Festival. 


Thomas Jefferson University Program and Event Highlights


Jefferson Fashion Face-Off

October 5, 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Center for Architecture and Design

Jefferson Fashion Design department hosts Fashion Face-Off, an event featuring two fashion-related panel discussions. These panels will revolve around the topics of "Sustainability, Environment, & Ethics: The Psychology of Consumer Habits" and "AI Takeover in Fashion Design".


JeffSolves MedTech Product Design

October 5, 12:00 – 1:30 PM at Location TBD

This event presents the commercially viable products developed by ten medical, industrial, and textile design students from Jefferson who were partnered with nurses from Jefferson Health to conduct research and then teamed with experts from Jefferson and Delve to identify a healthcare problem and design a product that solves the problem. 


Jefferson Textile Design Symposium

October 5, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 2:30 – 3:30 PM at Location TBD

Please join us for our Textile Design Symposium: Impact, celebrating and focusing on the impact that designers have throughout the supply chain, from materiality to inclusivity and sustainability to circularity. Comprised of multiple speakers, presented in hybrid format (on campus for the university community and virtually for all other guests). 


School District of Philadelphia Career and Technical Education


The Dobbins High School Fashion Experience October 5, 12:00 – 9:00 PM

This exhibition displays the talent of Philadelphia's only public high school, the Fashion Program at Dobbins High School. The students will explore identity and self-expression through fashion. These fashion design students have created clothing that responds to various social and cultural backgrounds by experimenting with and combining traditional and modern textile techniques.


The Wall Exhibition October 5-15, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Designs from various CTE Design programs in Graphic Design and Digital Media Production.


Philadelphia Student Film Festival October 5-15, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Film programs from various CTE high schools around Philadelphia will screen award-winning videos from NFL Film Festival and other major student-awarded film competitions.


AIGA Exhibition + Salon

Exhibition October 5-15, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Salon October 9, 5:30 – 8:30 PM at Center for Architecture and Design

Join AIGA Philadelphia for “Appear“ an exhibition that welcomes and recognizes the designers debuting during the unseen years of Philadelphia design (2020-2022). A salon focusing on the resilience, persistence, and entrepreneurship of young practitioners and seasoned practitioners embarking on new professional journeys. Both talks will follow a brief reception. 


MillerKnoll 100th Brand Anniversary Exhibition 

October 5-15, 9:00 – 5:00 PM at Center for Architecture and Design

From Milan to Chicago and now the walls of the Center for Architecture and Design, MillerKnoll celebrates 100 years with a deep dive into its rich archive of graphic design to bring its story of design authorship and cultural influence to life.


National Liberty Museum Project Liberty: A Design Challenge Exhibition Behind the Scenes Tours and Project Bus Stop Panel Discussion

Tours October 7, 11:00 AM + 1:00 PM, Panel Discussion October 11, 6:00 – 8:00 PM | 321 Chestnut St

Join our Director of Exhibitions and Exhibition Designer for behind-the-scenes tours of our Project Liberty exhibition which employs design thinking as a framework for solving problems, big and small, and empowers visitors to be active participants in findings solutions for real-world issues through a series of hands-on interactives and a dedicated studio space. Then on October 11, drop by for Project Bus Stop, a panel discussion accompanied by an open Visual Essay Competition that challenges the Philadelphia community of designers to determine how a bus stop can invigorate urban health while addressing the challenges of its location in the city.


Other Festival Programs of Note:

Thought for Food: Journeying into Philly’s Shared Food | frog PHL – October 5, 5:00-8:00 PM, Independence Visitor’s Center

Fierce Women Artists: A conversation with Cimone Berman of Argent Mirror | Argent Mirror & Dina Wind Art Foundation – October 12, 6:00-8:30 PM, Dina Wind Art Foundation

Designing the 250th | Philadelphia250 – October 10, 5:00-7:00 PM, Industrious

10th Anniversary Fashion Show and Fundraiser | MADE Institute – October 14, 6:00-11:00 PM, Cherry Street Pier

Invasive Species: Eco Systems Land Based Initiatives | Asian Arts Initiative – October 4-15, All Day, Public Performances October 7+8, 7:00 – 9:30 PM, 465 N 18th St

Open Houses on various dates and times - The Carpenters’ Company of the City of Philadelphia, Erdy McHenry Architecture, Metcalfe, Bok, MGA Partners Architects, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Architecture Demarest and Braid Mill, Ray Philly, ADE & Mission in Arts, CBP Architects, FCA Architects.

More information and programs can be viewed on the DesignPhiladelphia website.

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About DesignPhiladelphia Community

We foster a vibrant design community from K through Career committed to excellence, inclusivity and connections. As an invaluable partner in Philadelphia’s progress we do that through multidisciplinary design education, our annual festival, and public programs about design.

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