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Our Guide to Design Week Portland 2018

Written By Blaire Ottoboni | Apr 4, 2018

Hooray! Portland’s festival to celebrate design and visual culture kicks off next week. From product design to architecture, robots to photography, this year’s edition has once again come correct.

With hundreds of events taking place throughout the city, hitting everything in your wish list can be a little tricky.

To help you out, here’s a roundup of must-do events.


Opening Party
To kick things off, there’s a massive, food truck-flocked bash taking place in SE over the weekend. One thing’s for sure: this year promises to keep the creative juices—and booze—flowing.

Saturday, April 14, Custom Blocks, 900-998 SE Main St. $15

Flora Exotica: An Exhibition of Stone Pots and Unusual Plants
Flora Noble’s outdoor studio will showcase one-of-a-kind handmade stone pots by Claire Bandfield with super rare plants. Are Fiddle-Leaf Fig plants a thing of the past? Come find out.

Sunday, April 15, Casa Rana, 3325 SE Harrison Street, FREE

Voices of the Future: Gen Z Speaks
Just so we’re clear… Generation Z kids were born starting in 1998. They’ll be at eROI critiquing creative work in front of a live audience.

Monday, April 16, eROI, 505 NW Couch St #300, FREE

60 Odd Blinks
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your design portfolio. At AKQA, creative and design directors will be reviewing individual portfolios in “rapid-fire” format: 5 minutes each. This sounds like an informal way to get some solid advice from the pros.

Tuesday, April 17, AKQA, 1120 NW Couch Ste 650, FREE

FTW: For the Women
Sorry guys, this one’s for the ladies. Swift has paired up with 17 different organizations to set up an ongoing mentorship program with some of Portland’s smartest babes. You’ll be paired up on small teams that will help guide your individual progress over 6 months.

Required: goals
Not required: a bra

Wednesday, April 18, Swift, 1250 NW 17th Avenue, $20

Fuck Up Night
Rather than focusing on the positive, speakers will share the story of why their business failed. Fuck Up Nights is a global movement that started in Mexico City in 2012. We will hear what went wrong, how it affected their life, and how they moved on.

Wednesday, April 18, PNCA, 511 NW Broadway, FREE

The Alchemy of Wasted Time
This talk is all about exploring our relationship between arts & humanities, experimentation, and daydreaming. We will learn new ways of organizing our workflow to add more space for play, and why it’s a good idea for us to do this.

Thursday, April 19, Fiction, 2250 NW 22nd, FREE

The Pressure is Good For You
One of my favorites from last year has returned! Even though the speakers remain a mystery, this live talk/performance delivers every year. A no-brainer.

Friday, April 20, Instrument, 3529 N. Williams, $10


Still undecided? There are tons of open houses to peruse, and all week long, adidas MakerLab has opened their doors for you to explore their creative studio.

Many events are free, but they’re likely to sell out. Take the initiative to reserve your ticket, or get on a waitlist as things do open up. And, since things are happening from dawn-till-dusk, even if you have dedicated the week to binge-watching that documentary about the Rajneesh, we’re sure you can squeeze in some Design Week love. We believe in you!

Find the full schedule and register for individual events here.

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