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Our Guide to Design Week Portland 2018

For eight days in April (14-21), design will overtake the Rose City.

Celebrating its sixth year, Design Week Portland is set to host more than 300 events(!), ranging from gallery tours to lectures to workshops across the city, and open houses galore. In concert with its mission—to demonstrate the significance of design’s cultural and economic impact while making it accessible to all—DWP will have something for everyone, across all disciplines. GRAY is proud to once again be a media partner of this essential celebration of design.


The festival kicks off this Saturday with the Opening Party, taking place at Custom Blocks, SE Portland’s newest creative space. While we rarely need an excuse to party, expect to find drinks, music, parklets, and design activations from new local studio Plastic Sunshine. Later in the week on April 21, GRAY is also proud to be a media sponsor of AIA home tours, which lets you into some of Portland’s most alluring residences. And of course, don’t miss the debut of GRAY’s Hot New Next design competition series on Monday, April 16, where creatives hoping to come up with the next big thing in design will pitch their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges in a Shark Tank-style presentation event.

DWP is selling out quick, but there are still plenty of events left to attend. Don’t know where to begin? We’ve got you covered with a few events the GRAY team is looking forward to.


This week-long series Define Material invites you to explore the creative processes behind material studies.


SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Party time! The festival will kick off with an Opening Party taking place at Custom Block starting at 7pm.


SUNDAY, APRIL 15

Design History Walking tour explores the intersection of design + architecture, and Portland’s unique socio-economic history through a series of four events scheduled throughout the week.


MONDAY, APRIL 16

Ever wonder how Adidas has maintained its wildly successful, three-stripe status in sportswear for decades? Adidas Makerlab, a five-event series, invites you to learn about the processes behind the brand’s vision, not to mention a personalized t-shirt is included.


MONDAY, April 16 HOT NEW NEXT is GRAY’s dynamic competition celebrating the innovative ideas moving Pacific Northwest is a Shark Tank-style program that will offer contestants the chance to present a rapid-fire pitch of a compelling new design-related concept or product to an expert panel and live audience at Design Within Reach. Of course, no GRAY event is complete without an after party. Join GRAY at Hotel Lucia to toast to the next big thing in design and after-party the night away.

MONDAY, APRIL 16

The pressing issue of homelessness is addressed in Places as a Platform for Living, as the Portland design community comes together in search of solutions.


TUESDAY, APRIL 17

Virtual Reality is no longer a thing of the future, which is why Immersive Storytelling through Virtual Reality is an event we won’t be missing IRL.


TUESDAY, APRIL 17

The power of design is unveiled in an Open Conversation on Design for Good. The ThinkShout team discusses how visual language can effectively create change.


TUESDAY, APRIL 17

Don’t miss Undesign from Wieden+Kennedy, described as “one part conceptual art, one part systems design, and one part design scratch-and-win.”


TUESDAY, APRIL 17

How Sustainability Powers High Performance panel discussion, presented by two powerhouse firms, ZGF Architects and ZIBA Design, will excite practicing designers and architects and green design die-hards.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Attend Inside Fashion Design and Creative Capital design to hear from multi-disciplinary industry experts in a panel discussion that looks to leave behind traditional commercial design thinking and surpass consumer expectations.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

PDX Creative Women Unite offers lightning talks of successful design stories from a powerhouse group of women.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Ping Pong O Rama serves up some friendly competition to the Pacific Northwest design community at Pips & Bounce.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Not sure how to advocate for social justice through design? Learn how El Pasaporte Project affected change in their creative community at this social impact design workshop.


THURSDAY, APRIL 19

Prepare to geek out about interior design, as an esteemed design panel discusses the value of antique and salvaged materials at Primary Sources.


THURSDAY, APRIL 19

Introducing Corpse Gallery, the only event at DWP offering a “deadly” branding game and collaborative drawing sesh.


THURSDAY, APRIL 19

The state of Trust in PNW has never been a hotter topic and you won’t want to miss this unique, dramatic performance exploring the status of confidence in our global community…trust us.


FRIDAY, APRIL 20

The fashion hub presents Construct, a onetime installation, resulting from a collaboration between celebrated Portland style icons.


FRIDAY, APRIL 20

The Pressure is Good For You talk show event returns discussing the concepts of fear, insight, and humor, through the design world.


SATURDAY, APRIL 21

AIA home tours takes you inside some of the best in residential architecture and interiors.


SATURDAY, APRIL 21

What better way to close an epic design week than a branding tournament for a good cause? At All For Good Design Equity participants will have the opportunity to design a logo for a to-be-revealed client that’s part of Portland-based non-profit, Visible.


SATURDAY, APRIL 21

Celebrate the end of another engaging year of DWP at the Closing Party, where you can expect to find drinks, live music, and of course, good vibes.


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