DESIGN WEEK RI Keynote and Final Program Announced

PROVIDENCE, RIDESIGN WEEK RI announces final program details for the inaugural event taking place from September 17-27, 2014, with eight featured speakers including keynote, eight lunch time tours and talks, three design conferences, and over 33 design firms opening their doors throughout the state. Celebrating design and the Rhode Island design community, DESIGN WEEK RI the first event to bring together design happenings and activities that showcase the innovative and economic impact of design practices across the state. Registration and details can be found at

The 2014 event features Michael Hendrix, partner at global brand firm IDEO as Keynote Speaker on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:00 pm at RISD Auditorium. Award-winning trailblazer, collaborator and leader, Michael Hendrix brings a 20 year career in graphic and sustainable design and recognition as a thought-leader by Business Week and Fortune Magazine. He has contributed design to diverse group of leading brands and organizations from Converse, Temper Seeley and Steelcase to the Department of Homeland Security, and has been recognized with over 50 awards with major U.S. design associations and publications. He currently leads IDEO’s Boston studio and guide’s the firms East Coast-based Design Directors.

In addition to the keynote, a special 4×4 Speaker Series takes place at Aurora in downtown Providence and features local Rhode Island designers making a large impact throughout the world. The 4×4 Speakers are as follows:
· · Monday, September 22, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Long-time and celebrated set designer at Trinity Rep, Eugene Lee has been the production designer for Saturday Night Live since 1974 and recently completed the new set for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He has received the Tony Award, Emmy Award, Pell Award and is a recent inductee to the Theatre Hall of Fame in New York.
· · Tuesday, September 23, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Justin Maguire, Senior VP of Customer Engagement at Schneider Electric, leads an international design team that pushes Schneider’s brand awareness globally and locally. Maguire’s early career found him designing the user interfaces of Microsoft’s Office 1997, Office 2000 and Office XP and running frog Designs Munich studio.
· · Wednesday, September 24, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Founder and CEO of Epic Decade, Seth Goldenberg works with leaders at organizations such as Apple, Google, NASA, the Department of Defense and Harvard University to take on complex challenges they face within their business, industries and the broader culture. He has been written about in the New York Times, Fast Company and Wired Magazine for his innovative approach and design thinking application.
· · Thursday, September 25, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: This 4×4 finale features four speakers in a Marathon Clambake, in honor of the monthly design meet-up event in Providence. Featuring: Anaezi Modu, Founder and CEO of Re-Brand, an international design competition; John Caserta, Founder and Director of the Design Office, a design collective in downtown Providence; Cas Holman, an industrial designer and educator who created NYC’s High Line Children’s Workyard Kit, a pop-up playground; and Eric Army, an architect and maker that recently completed the redesign of the Providence G, also in downtown Providence.
Bookended by three design conferences – the Business Innovation Factory BIF-10 Summit, A Better World by Design and the AIA New England Regional Conference – the 11+ days of design happenings also includes an EAT AND SPEAK Lunch Series, with eight events hosted by designers and design organizations throughout the state; Open Firms Night, with over 33 design firms opening their studios for wine, cheese and conversation in communities throughout Rhode Island, including downtown Providence, the Jewelry District, Pawtucket and Warren; and, a celebration of the newly established RI Design Hall of Fame honorees at a fundraiser and party.

The week is being organized by DESIGNxRI, an initiative spun out of RI Foundation’s Make It Happen RI that is working to showcase the vast design talent in the state, in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design, The City of Providence, AIGA – the professional association for design, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects (RI Chapters), A Better World by Design, Jamestown Arts Center and RallyRI.

“Since our founding in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design has been an advocate and vital resource for advancing the role of art and design in innovation and economic development. We’re pleased to be partnering with DESIGNxRI to continue this work, to engage our community, and to help build Rhode Island’s economic and cultural future,” said Roseanne Somerson, Interim President, Rhode Island School of Design.

“We are really excited about the energy and participation of so many partners, and design hosts,” stated Libby Slader, a co-founder of DESIGNxRI and principal of Libby Slader Interior Design. “The collaboration of those helping to organize events during this week is representative of the plentiful and growing design sector in our state. DESIGN WEEK RI will more than showcase our vast design talent. We invite all to gather and celebrate design in RI.”

DESIGN WEEK RI is supported by the Providence Business News, Rhode Island Monthly, Commerce RI, RI State Council on the Arts, (add)ventures, International Interior Design Association (New England Chapter), KITE Architects, Ximedica, Aurora Providence, Meridian Printing and others.

For more information, contact Joye Whitney at 401-263-3137, Visit for more details on the week of events.



DESIGNxRI (DxRI) is an initiative working to coalesce the design talent in Rhode Island. Our goal is to maximize the assets of the design community and highlight its innovative problem-solving practices to create more business opportunities and nurture growth in the design industries in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is a hot-bed of activity around design. We have the 3rd largest concentration of creative sector jobs in the country, after New York and California. We host the 2nd most industrial designers per capita than any other state, and a study of the creative industries in RI between 2007 and 2012 found design businesses had the largest change within all the creative industries being analyzed – a positive one, adding 500 new businesses during that time period. While most know of the vibrancy of the arts in RI, design is just now starting to reveal itself as an important part of RI’s economy. Despite this growth, design has been largely under the radar as a strong economic sector in Rhode Island.

DxRI is working to change this.

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