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The NoMad Design District will be inaugurated in New York on May 18 with a series of cultural events, just in time for New York Design Week. The bourgeoning neighborhood has roots dating back to 2000, when ddc became the first major design company to open a showroom, designed by Phillip Johnson, on 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Soon after, came a second ddc showroom, followed by spaces from Minotti, Moooi, Duravit, B&B Italia, and Poliform, all around Madison Square Park and Madison Avenue.
With a successful series of events during New York Design Week last year, and the anticipated openings of Christian Liaigre and Molteni&C flagships in the area, it was fitting that the neighborhood be referred to as the NoMad Design District.
This spring, the area between 28th and 34th Street on Madison Avenue will be home to store celebrations and cultural happenings, like a “Spanish Masters” exhibition hosted by ddc, featuring artwork by Salvador Dali, Antonio Gaudi, and Arturo Alvarez. To get ready for the launch of the new design district, Whitewall spoke with Ryan Shoushani, the location’s Project Manager.
WHITEWALL: Why does it make sense now to establish a Design District in the NoMad neighborhood?
RYAN SHOUSHANI: New York City needed an international design destination. Prior to NoMad becoming a creative center for art and design, you would have to go all around Manhattan to see the types of collections you can now see within a few blocks. The NoMad Design District is that one-stop destination where designers, architects, and clients can fulfill all their design needs within walking distance. The building layouts and centralized location between all parts of the city make it ideal. With the rapid growth in the last few years of high-end furniture showrooms, architectural and design offices, as well as art exhibitions, ddc wanted to spearhead the effort to formally establish this area as the NoMad Design District to help proliferate all the amazing design talent, artwork, and high-end furniture collections we have in the area. NoMad Design District has become an elite staging ground for some of the finest European craftsmanship to be showcased to the American market.
WW: What will be some of the defining characteristics of the NoMad Design District?
RS: I think the defining characteristics are deeply tied to our mission statement, which is to create a community that enriches people’s lives through good design. To do that, my team and I have really set out to help activate the entire neighborhood with cultural events that showcase artwork and exceptional design. You’ll see more art events, unique design exhibitions, industry talks by leading architects and designers, as well as a media campaign that highlights some of the amazing architects and designers who have helped to beautify our environments.
WW: What are some of the standout showrooms on Madison Avenue?
RS: Some of the iconic showrooms are the ddc design post showroom on 34th Street, designed by world-renowned architect Phillip Johnson; the Minotti showroom, designed by Rodolfo Dordoni; the Moooi showroom; the Porcelanosa showroom; the B&B Italia showroom; and the new Molteni&C showroom that’s coming soon.
WW: What kind of events can we expect from New York Design Week and the official launch of the NoMad Design District on May 18?
RS: During Design Week for our official launch of the NoMad Design District, we are coordinating a series of events all along Madison Avenue on May 18. Designers, architects, and clients will be able to go to all the parties that night along Madison Avenue and experience one of the most unique cultural happenings of the year, with each showroom unveiling its new collection or exhibition for the year. Some of the showrooms will also be having smaller events and serving cocktails throughout the week.
WW: Can we expect to see more cultural programming like the “Spanish Masters” exhibition at ddc?
RS: Absolutely. Throughout the NoMad Design District you’re going to begin to see more cultural programming. We truly believe that by exhibiting great art and design to the public, we can help to activate this community and enrich people’s lives through good design.