The 15th edition of Vienna Design Week has the focus district Brigittenau.
© Vienna Design Week

Vienna Design Week is Austria’s largest curated design festival and has been making Vienna and a rotating “focus district” a venue for numerous events since 2007. This year’s festival, its 15th iteration, will cooperate with Vienna’s museums, manufacturing companies and local designers to offer a range of options for exploring design throughevents, exhibitions, installations, tours and workshops. Lilli Hollein, the co-founder and director, is leaving Vienna Design Week to become director of the Museum Angewandte Kunst (MAK) on Stubenring, so Gabriel Roland has taken over the reins for the internationally renowned design festival.

The focus this year remains on the diversity of the local design scene, which ranges from product and furniture design to graphic and social design. With a motto of “All eyes on Brigitte, now!”, Vienna Design Week is setting out to discover new sights. Accordingly, the focus district – which rotates annually – is Brigittenau this time. Brigittenau is Vienna’s 20th district (or “Bezirk” as the locals say) and offers familiar neighbourhoods for exploring, such as Hannovermarkt and the Nordwestbahnhof precinct, as well as many lesser-known spots to discover. The festival’s headquarters are located in the old trade halls at Sachsenplatz. They serve as an information point, pop-up cafe and venue for exhibitions, talks and workshops.

An endearing and special part of Vienna Design Week is that processes in design and handiwork are made visible using projects in studios and on tours to production sites throughout the city. Instead of designating a specific “guest country” for the year, as is normally done, the 2021 festival centres around the EU. There is a well-known open format called “Stadtarbeit” (“Urban Work”) which aims to give creatives an opportunity to present their projects at the festival. This time it is concentrating on a theme of “Resilient Neighbourhood”. This year’s Vienna Design Week is taking place from 24 September to 3 October. A dedicated app uses augmented reality to offer guided walks through the city and display tips at all the important design hotspots.

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