Spring is traditionally the season when the international architecture and design community looks forward to the year’s biggest and buzziest exhibitions, events, and openings. This spring is different.
As health officials brace for a possible global pandemic, a rapidly spreading outbreak of coronavirus (COVD-19) is hitting the design world, geographically speaking, where it hurts most.
Outside of mainland China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan, and in South Korea, the most reported cases of coronavirus are in Italy, with a vast majority being in the northern Lombardy region. As a result, the organizers of Salone del Mobile in Milan, the world’s largest furniture trade show, pushed the annual event back two months.
While the 2020 Milan Fashion Week was not postponed earlier this month, some shows were notably altered while China’s formidable showing of designers, buyers, and journalists sat this year out due to mounting travel restrictions. As Women’s Wear Daily reported, a handful of major U.S.-based media outlets that sent fashion editors to Milan are advising—and some mandating—their staffers self-quarantine by working from home for two weeks. Meanwhile, China’s own big upcoming fashion events, China Fashion Week in Beijing and Shanghai Fashion Week, have been delayed (some creative workarounds, however, have been hatched).
Outside of design fairs, architecture exhibitions, and fashion shows, the status of what’s perhaps the biggest global event to take place this year, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, remains uncertain although there are no immediate plans to cancel at this point. The World Health Organization (WHO) is advising the Swiss-based International Olympics Committee as to how to proceed.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of cultural events, programs, and openings—the focus is on art, architecture, and design—that have been rescheduled or outright canceled due to what the WHO has deemed a “global emergency.” AN will continue to add to this list as needed.
2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, Chicago: The Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat has postponed its upcoming conference in Chicago scheduled for April 5-7.
AIGA Design Conference, Pittsburgh: The Professional Association for Design’s annual conference, scheduled to kick-off at the end of this month in Pittsburgh, has been rescheduled for November 12-14.
AIA Conference on Architecture 2020, Los Angeles: The American Institute of Architects has canceled its 2020 conference, which was scheduled to take place May 14-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The AIA is “exploring options to reschedule.”
The Architectural Digest Design Show, New York City: Scheduled for March 19-22 at Manhattan’s Pier 94, the annual AD Design Show has been pushed back to June 25-28.
The Architecture League of New York: In an email sent to members and friends, The Architecture League of New York announced the cancelation of a slew of upcoming lectures and events, including a series of lectures by the 2020 winners of the Emerging Voices program. The lectures will be rescheduled for a later date.
Frieze New York: Scheduled to commence May 7, the New York edition of the massive annual art fair has been canceled. Frieze London is still a go for October 8-11 as of this writing.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard GSD has canceled all of its upcoming spring events and public programming. The school itself, like many colleges and universities across America, has shifted to online coursework.
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York City: ICFF will return to its home at Manhattan’s Javits Center in May 2021.
The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.: The National Building Museum is postponing its March 13 reopening following a three-month closure to complete extensive renovations. All special educational programming and events scheduled through April 30 will also be canceled or postponed.
NeoCon, Chicago: Bustling annual commercial design fair NeoCon will not be held June 8-10 at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart as scheduled.
NYCxDesign: Scheduled to kick off May 12, this five-borough design bonanza features openings, installations, talks, and open houses. It’s been rescheduled for October to coincide with a slew of existing planned architecture and design events including Arctober and Open House New York.
The Shed, New York City: The Shed cultural center at Hudson Yards has suspended all performances and events through March 30.
South by Southwest, Austin, Texas: The massive annual tech, music, film, and arts festival—along with all auxiliary conferences and events associated with it—has been canceled by the City of Austin. It was slated to kick off March 13 and run through March 22. “We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU,” reads the SXSW website.
The Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles: SCI-Arc is postponing its upcoming slate of public programming through April 7.
WantedDesign Brooklyn, WantedDesign Manhattan: The next edition of the popular two-borough annual design show WantedDesign will be in 2021. “Having anticipated celebrating our 10th anniversary with our dear NYC friends and international design community, we are genuinely disappointed not to be able to proceed with our May exhibitions in Manhattan and Brooklyn as planned,” reads a post on the WantedDesign Facebook page.
China International Furniture Fair, Guangzhou: The 2020 edition of this long-running furniture fair was set to take place March 18-21 at Guangzhou’s Canton Fair Complex. It’s been postponed and be held on a yet-to-be-determined date.
Design Shanghai: Asia’s largest international contemporary design fair was scheduled to take place March 12 through 15 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. It has been rescheduled for May 26 to 29. “We have made this decision based on advice and information from government and local authorities,” reads the Design Shanghai website, “in China and consultation with our partners, venue and local team. The safety of our customers and team is our first priority. The venue and layout will stay the same and we will keep you fully informed of any further developments.”
Festival of Design, Shanghai: As reported by Architectural Digest, this interdisciplinary lecture series launched by architecture practice Neri&Hu and held concurrently to Design Shanghai has been canceled.
He Art Museum opening, Shunde, Guangdong: The unveiling of the Tadao Ando-designed He Art Museum (HEM) in the Guangdong province has been pushed back from its original March 21 opening date. The museum “is looking forward to finding a suitable date for which will be announced in due course” reads a notice announcing the postponement.
JINGART, Beijing: The third edition of this hip nascent art fair has been canceled. It was scheduled to take place May 21 through 24 at the Beijing Expo Center.
Shenzhen International Furniture Exhibition: Held annually in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, this highly attended event was scheduled for March 18-21. It has been postponed.
Art Dubai: On March 3, organizers of the annual art fair, now in its 14th year, announced that it would be postponed. It was originally slated for March 25-28.
Light + Building, Frankfurt: The massive annual lighting and home automation trade show scheduled for March 8-13 at Messe Frankfurt has been postponed after “extensive consultations.” It will now take place through September 27 through October 2.
Art Basel Hong Kong: The Hong Kong edition of Art Basel, which was scheduled to take place at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Centre from March 19 to 21, has been canceled. As the Art Basel website reads: “We remain committed to Hong Kong and look forward to welcoming you to the next edition of Art Basel Hong Kong on March 25-27, 2021.”
M+ Matters: Archigram Cities: The opening of this highly anticipated series of events showcasing the archives of English avant-garde collective Archigram at visual culture museum M+ was delayed on February 12. A new opening date is forthcoming.
Expocasa, Turin: The start of the long-running trade show, focusing on interior design and renovation, has been pushed back from February 29 to March 28.
Fuorisalone, Milan: Fuorisalone, an informal series of events that take place across Milan’s different design districts in conjunction with Salone del Mobile, has been postponed to coincide with the rescheduled furniture fair in June.
Salone del Mobile, Milan: On February 25, the organizers of Salone del Mobile announced that the international furniture fair was moving from April 21 to 26 to June 16 through 21 as health officials worked to contain the spread of coronavirus in the heavily impacted Lombardy region. Organizers launched a Twitter hashtag #salonemovestojune to help spread the word, proclaiming: “We can’t stop. We won’t stop.”
Syracuse University School of Architecture, Florence: The central New York-based university has suspended all of its spring semester study abroad programs in the Tuscan city. This includes the School of Architecture’s popular Florence program based at Villa Rossa and Palazzo Donatello. Various other colleges and universities with campuses in Florence have also canceled their spring semesters.
Venice Architecture Biennale: The start date of the 17th edition of the Biennale, curated by Hashim Sarkis, has been pushed back to August 29 by organizer La Biennale di Venezia. It was scheduled to commence on May 23. Despite the delay, the exhibition will still conclude on November 29.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul: Housed in buildings designed by Jean Nouvel, Mario Botta, and REM Koolhaas, this popular art museum is closed until further notice. Several other galleries and museums in Seoul are also temporarily shuttered.