What is SF Design Week?
The Future Start Here
SFDW is an essential week-long city-wide festival that showcases the unique intersection of ideas, design, business & entrepreneurism that makes the Bay Area the birthplace of the future.
Now a global phenomenon and in its 11th year, San Francisco’s international success is born from a historically free-spirited entrepreneurialism, coupled with the imaginative vision of contemporary design and state-of-the-art technology. Pioneers of new ways of looking at the world, nimble Bay Area start-ups are now among the world’s most influential design-led companies, producing products, services and experiences that profoundly influence the daily lives of billions of people globally.
Through workshops, lectures/panels, open studios and other events, SFDW celebrates this spirit of newness by providing unique access to exhibitions and conversations with the designers who are shaping the future — from architecture to fashion, product design to digital services, and everything in between.
What is unique about SF design
- SF design is arguably the most major design force on the planet.
- Influential world-class designers, like Robert Brunner and Yves Behar, in the Bay Area are responsible for everything from technology (smartphones, app interfaces) to the way we learn and discover (Google). But it’s not all about technology. SF Bay Area architects like Gensler, Anne Fougeron and Stanley Saitowitz have set the tone for the way cities look and the way people live.
- Designers in companies like North Face, The Gap, AllBirds, and Everlane have changed the way we dress daily, and arguably have more influence on what people look like around the world than “name” fashion designers and Kim Kardashian.
- We’ve redesigned how people navigate cities (Lyft, Uber) and even the cars they drive (Tesla).
- We changed what people eat and drink, courtesy of pioneers such as Alice Waters, Chad Robertson/Liz Prueitt of Tartine, or Blue Bottle Coffee and St. George Spirits.
- We define the way they live, whether it’s Williams Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, Heath Ceramics and Pablo lighting or everyone’s favorite online moodboard, Pinterest. Meanwhile, companies like Airbnb have changed the face of travel and hospitality.
- We entertain people, through the magic of LucasFilm, or Pixar, or Electronic Arts.
- We design peoples’ health through medical device and biotech companies like 23andMe, Spire, UNYQ and CUR
- We create the tools that influence the way people design: from Adobe and Autodesk to Sketchup. We’ve changed the way people do good through organizations and initiatives such as Change.Org, Social Capital Markets, and Kiva.
- We create the platforms to facilitate marketplace transactions like Paypal, Square Cash, and Venmo.
What is SF design? It is rooted in our culture, our history, our geography.
- We are Fearless. Exploring is hard-wired into who we are. From the Gold Rush to the Silicon era, we are fearless explorers and pioneers who follow opportunity, and our own convictions, come what may.
- We Embrace The Edge. The Edge is where things happen, what’s next. Being on the edge is never comfortable, and not a place where you can afford to get stagnant. The edge is always shifting (sometimes literally). We’ll always be there first.
- We are CounterCultural. There is a strong contrarian streak in who we are. We fight for what we want. We strive to right wrongs. We speak truth to power.
- We believe in the Good Life. We are sensualists. We like our pleasures. We love the outdoors. We love our food. And we share that love with the world.
- We keep it simple. We do not over-design. We keep things essential. We believe in honest materials.
- We are diverse. We have always been a magnet for great ideas and designers from around the world, and this diversity affects the way we think about solving problems.
- We are doers. We are always experimenting, prototyping, creating. We are always in beta. We are always trying new things. Because this is how to get things done.
What is the Hub
The Hub is a place for the SF Design Week community to come together to explore the future through innovative exhibits and experiences, hands-on workshops, hackathons, talks and panels, and informal discussions. Just as importantly it’s a chance for people to meet kindred spirits, network, solve problems, and yes, have a good time.