Emerging Pathways for Up-and-Coming Designers

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By Dwell / Published by Dwell
Discover fairs, programs, and fellowships geared for young designers to gain visibility and experience.

Industry Fellowship

Helping hands are essential for a young designer’s career. A coalition of established brands pitches in. 

Be Original Americas, a nonprofit committed to educating and influencing designers, businesses, and the greater public on the value of authentic design, kicked off a fellowship program in 2016 to award young designers in the United States with a chance to meet with and learn from top companies. The program is a seven-week journey through the design industry, hosted by various members of Be Original Americas, such as Herman Miller, Bernhardt Design, Maya Romanoff, and Emeco. This year, the project culminated in a presentation by fellowship winners Tom Groom and Irene Lee. Applications for 2018 will be open early next year. 

Design Residency 

A global program explores the intersection of practice and theory.

Fabrica is a communications research center based in Treviso, Italy, established in 1994 by Luciano Benetton. Its residency program offers young people from around the world a one-year scholarship, including a round-trip ticket to Italy, enabling a highly diverse group of designers/artists to acquire real-world experience. The goal is to inspire "social catalysts" who, at the end of their time at the center, will continue their work independently. 

Unexpected Pathways

Innovative programs offer students new directions for study. 

Alongside such cross-disciplinary experts as industrial designer and biodesigner Guillian Graves, students at the Design and Sciences Program at ENSCI-Les Ateliers examine culture, design, and science. Previous projects include Mos(KIT)o kit, a system designed for local governments to detect and create maps of areas populated by mosquitos infected with arboviruses. It won Gold last year at the international Genetically Engineered Machine competition held in Boston. 

Talent Showcases

A global circuit of trade shows gives young designers valuable visibility.

Greenhouse at theStockholm Furnitureand Light Fair 

Location: Stockholm, Sweden 

Submission Deadline:September 22, 2017 

A juried exhibition for unestablished designers and schools. 


SaloneSatellite atSalone del Mobile 

Location: Milan, Italy 

Submissions Deadline: August 2018 for 2019. 

Open to architects and designers under the age of 35.


Pure Talents atimmCologne 

Location: Cologne, Germany 

Submissions Deadline: September 22, 2017 

Forum for young designers, institutions, and universities.


The Launch Pad atWantedDesign 

Location: New York, New York 

Submissions Deadline: January 15, 2018 

A juried selection of works by independent designers and small companies looking for manufacturers.