It no longer matters where you live. World-class design events are happening around the globe, with big names and ambitious programmes featuring at even the smallest, most intimate shows. We’ve handpicked a mix of our favourites, from a new upstart in Paris to a 45-year veteran. If we could attend them all, we would – but that no longer matters either. Since 2020, live-streaming has made it possible to catch the highlights almost anywhere as they happen. So mark your calendars.
World Design Capital 2024
When: throughout 2024
For the first time in the history of WDC, the field will widen to straddle the busiest international land border in the Western Hemisphere. San Diego and Tijuana – with 7.1 million inhabitants together – will share the title for their join commitment to innovative, human-centred design and creative cross-border collaboration. Together, both cities will harness design to launch a series of public events, exhibitions and summits to celebrate the region’s plans for green infrastructure, housing, transportation, food security and restoring its shared ecosystem.
1-54 Contemporary Art Fair, Marrakech
When: 8-11 February 2024
The Moroccan art event based at legendary hotel La Mamounia adds a second venue this year: the old city contemporary gallery DaDa. This expands the offering of the world’s only international fair dedicated to contemporary African art, accommodating dozens of international galleries in the sunny surrounds, from Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.
Palm Springs Modernism Week
When: February 15-25 2024
Modernism Week returns to Palm Springs for its 19th year, offering over 350 events across the desert enclave, including house tours, parties and the Palm Springs Modernism Show. This year’s 11-day programme spotlights the work of seminal architect Albert Frey and launches the inaugural Restoration Series of home tours, starting with E. Stewart Williams’ 1958 marvel Sutter House and James McNaughton’s Hollywood regency-style Villa Sierra aka the ‘Pink Door House’.
Matter and Shape, Paris
When: 1-4 March 2024
The latest contemporary-design salon to hit Paris will debut during Fashion Week in a 3000 sq m Tuileries venue, aimed at a savvy, fashionable crowd. Launched last year by journalist Dan Thawley with Milan consultants P:S and trade fair experts WSN, the fair promises to showcase furnishings and materials already in production and available for public consumption, with space for 50 exhibitors and a retail section.
Biennale of Sydney
When: 9 March – 10 June 2024
The 24th edition of Australia’s largest art biennale takes to the heritage-listed White Bay Power Station with a theme of Ten Thousand Suns. The curatorial team invites artists to consider the atomic era, which spurred climate alteration through human exploitation, and also imagine the historic catalysts that complicated Australia’s relationship with its minority populations. The 100-year-old station will host live music and dancing in its turbine hall.
When: 4-6 April 2024
Digital designers, developers, filmmakers, publishers and theorists will gather at at Disseny Hub in Barcelona to share their creative process and discuss the future of online and post-digital culture. Talents, including Stefan Sagmeister and Pentagram’s Marina Willer, are scheduled to attend this year to speak, contribute their insights, debunk trends and collaborate with peers and visitors.
Brighton Festival, UK
When: 4–26 May 2024
Author and advocate Frank Cottrell-Boyce guest-directs this year’s edition of England’s largest curated multi-arts festival. The month-long celebration always incorporates diverse talent in the spheres of music, theatre, dance, art, film and literature – inside churches, halls and schools and outside all the way to the lawns of Glyndebourne.
3 Days of Design, Copenhagen
When: 12-14 June 2024
Aimed at professionals and the general public, this curated, concentrated cross-section of Scandinavian design takes place at boutiques and galleries across 13 Copenhagen neighbourhoods. This is the sunniest, most exciting weekend of the year to visit the capital, when local emerging talent, small start-ups and established, heritage companies join some international participants to launch new products, experiment and discuss new ideas in lifestyle and design.
Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria
When: September 4-8 2024
This festival pioneer has been showcasing, analysing and celebrating digital art and technology for 45 years. From its earliest investigations into how machines are changing our lives, it has commissioned groundbreaking work in music, dance, performance, robotics and programming, informing and entertaining at once. This year it will go deeper into how machine learning, VR, robotics and biotech can contribute to socially and ecologically sustainable progress.
Architecture at the Edge, Galway, Ireland
When: early October 2024
Held two months after its popular rural research Summer School, the week-long AATE festival advocates for responsible architecture by celebrating excellence in the built environment and deriding irresponsible design and construction. The eighth edition investigates methods of ‘remaking’, inviting artists, academics and activists to submit visionary projects and ideas that aim to reimagine the world we live in. Organisers are working with the Royal Academy of Arts on a residency programme for 2024.