There are certain times during the year when home-design trendsetters convene to display (or buy) the latest products and styles. Known collectively as international design week, these events host visitors from around the world who are interested in the very latest items.
International design week events are usually exclusive “to the trade.” Attendees are likely to run into buyers for West Elm or CB2 selecting textiles or home accents to order for their stores; top interior designers such as Thom Filicia or Kelly Wearstler buying items for their clients or promoting their latest collections; and companies like Jonathan Adler or Zuo selling their wares.
Many of the visitors simply take inspiration from what’s new, interesting or just plain weird and translate them into what you, the consumer, will see and buy in your favorite home furnishings store in the next few months.
Although most of the events are not open to the public, you can visit the websites to catch a glimpse of the latest trends that exhibitors are showing. Hundreds of international design week events take place worldwide throughout the year; here are our picks for the top shows in 2016.
Cologne, Germany; January 18-24
IMM, or the International Interiors Show, prides itself on being the first design week of the year. It’s more than just a race to be the first, however; IMM’s goal is to be the world’s design leader and show the freshest upcoming trends.
Paris, France; January 22-26
This show features an extensive collection of the best in design, ranging from throw pillows and vases to furniture. Paris Design Week runs at the same time as Maison&Objet, giving the 100,000 visitors that come to this international design week event plenty of things to check out throughout the city.
Las Vegas, Nevada; January 24-28
Located in three massive buildings in the World Market Center, this event represents nearly every major furniture, home accent and lighting manufacturer. Like Las Vegas itself, the market is over the top, featuring guest talks and appearances by major industry players and celebrities.
Stockholm, Sweden; February 8-13
The Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair is the main design week event in this cool city, the perfect place to showcase the latest in Scandinavian contemporary design. Design events and installations take place throughout the city and present the latest in both furniture and lighting.
Frankfurt, Germany; February 12-16
This is the largest of the international design shows, featuring thousands of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. Whatever you see at your favorite home furnishings or design store was probably shown at Ambiente first.
Singapore; March 10-13
This design event is the most important in Asia. All Asian nations are represented at this show, making it a one-stop destination for a dose of Asian contemporary design. The event is not only a major international design show, it’s the place to meet suppliers and manufacturers while getting an introduction to which Asian country to visit next.
Dubai, U.A.E.; March 14-18
The top show in the region is home to the best in contemporary design, with a focus on luxury items and unique, bespoke works of art for the home.
New York; March 17-20
The city’s Piers 92 and 94 are converted into a combination of galleries, rooms furnished and styled by top designers, a book and gift shop, and other events throughout the city. Open to the public, this show is a great place to get inspiration for your dream home.
Milan, Italy; April 12-17
This show is a must-visit for any design lover. Various events happen throughout the city, including the International Furniture Exhibition (Salone de Mobile). The top contemporary furniture and design trends are born at this event.
New York; May 14-17
This show is the United States’ top presentation of the best in contemporary design. Besides a beautifully curated collection from both young and established contemporary designers, there are plenty of events and exhibits to enjoy on site.
Los Angeles; June 24-26
For a look at the latest design and architecture trends and products in the modern and mid-century market, this show is the place to be. One of the few international design week events that’s open to the public, the show is curated by the editors of Dwell magazine. More than 30,000 visitors attended last year. (If you’re on the East Coast, Dwell on Design holds a show in New York on May 13-15.)
Shanghai, China; September 8-11
The city of Shanghai alone is worth a visit for its vibrant nightlife and up-and-coming design scene. The combination of East meets West living is present on the city streets and at the aisles of product at the furniture expo. Chinese manufacturers show their best to thousands of international buyers, designers and other industry insiders.