Dwell on Design Takes Manhattan

Dwell on Design is setting its sights on Manhattan.

That's right: After nine years in Los Angeles, the largest design event in the nation is coming to the Big Apple.

But this New York iteration will be less of a trade show, and more of a thought leader.

From Oct. 9-11, Dwell on Design will lead an intense series of discussions about the future of architecture and design, with some of the most respected professionals in the business.

Daniel Libeskind (c) Ilan Besor

For starters, there's keynote speaker Daniel Libeskind, designer of the master plan for Ground Zero. There's Caroline Baumann of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. And architect Barry Svigals of Svigals Partners, who designed the new Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"Amanda Dameron (Dwell's editor-in-chief) and I started concepting an event that was very much a summit-like discussion on design for New York," says Michela O'Connor Abrams, president of Dwell Media.

Discussions will revolve around architecture's role in 21st-century America -- where tragic events like 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Irene and the mass shootings at Sandy Hook -- seem to take place with alarming regularity.

Masterplan Sketch (c) Daniel Libeskind

"We want to make sure that our audience knows that Dwell is rooted in modern architecture and design, but that our voice is also part of the world that builds community after events like Sandy Hook," she says.

In other words, architecture today has meaning beyond site, intent, inspiration, and materials. It also affects behavior -- and that's a theme for the New York event.

"We want our readers come to the conference to get the vernacular to express themselves, and to understand what we're saying when we build something," she says. "That's our entire mission."

The three-day event will be capped off on Saturday, Oct. 11, with tours of five homes -- in Harlem, TriBeCa and the Meatpacking District, among others in Manhattan.

Residence and Salon for Joshua Bell, by Charles Rose Architects
Photo by Chuck Choi

Dwell Home Tours will feature an uber-chic residential quintet, curated by the magazine's clued-in editorial staff. They've selected the homes featured for the qualities of high design, good materials and solid building methodology.

"We want to show incredible homes and make it inspiring," says Dameron, Dwell's editor-in-chief. "It's hard to find residences at the level we want to see in Dwell, but that are also easily accessible so 300 people can walk through."

Residence and Salon for Joshua Bell, by Charles Rose Architects
Photo by Chuck Choi

But they did. Among the homes selected are a home and salon in the Flatiron District created for violinist Joshua Bell by Charles Rose Architects; an historic SoHo loft by architect Bronwyn Breitner of 590BC; a Harlem Town House restored by architect Nicholas Moons of MontesBuild; and a TriBeCa warehouse renovated by architect Andrew Franz.

"As always, we want people to walk away inspired and excited, and buying into the design and architecture," she says.

Residence and Salon for Joshua Bell, by Charles Rose Architects
Photo by Chuck Choi

Architects and owners alike will be on hand at each residence to take questions and explain their rationale.

"For the residents, it's an interesting enterprise to welcome people into their homes," she says. "They want to be on hand for the conversation - it's been a lot of work, and at the finish line they want to celebrate."

For more information, go to http://www.dwellondesign.com/

J. Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications. He also edits and publishes a digital design magazine at www.architectsandartisans.com. Portions of this post appeared there first.