“Project 2” of the Busan Biennale 2016.
Photo: Courtesy of the Busan Biennale

The Best Art and Design Fairs Around the World This September

From Paris Design Week to the Beirut Art Fair, here are the art and design events to add to your itinerary

As summer draws to a close, cultural programming kicks into high gear and our calendars start to fill with art fairs, design weeks, and biennials taking place around the world.

In France, Maison & Objet (September 7) is the cornerstone of Paris Design Week, the dynamic citywide showcase for the latest trends in interiors. (The fair’s young talent show, Le Off, moves to a temporary art venue and shouldn’t be missed.) Nearby, the 30th edition of the highly esteemed Paris Biennale (September 7) kicks off. The event, which has recently transformed into a yearly happening, showcases 70 exhibitors displaying their wares under the glorious glass-domed roof of the Grand Palais, including the best in Old Masters, antiques, objets, and jewelry. (Highlights this year include a display of some 20 museum-quality Napoleonic pieces from the collector Pierre-Jean Chalençon.)

La Biennale de Paris 2017 at the Grand Palais. Photo: Courtesy of La Biennale de Paris

Other highly anticipated design events this month include the second edition of the Beirut Design Fair (September 21), which includes a vibrant mix of galleries, design studios, and emerging designers—confirming the cultural renaissance of Lebanon’s seaside capital. Aline d’Amman, the Beirut-born, Paris-based architect and interior designer behind the new Crillon Hotel, is an ambassador of the fair. “I’m thrilled to see my hometown buzzing with experiments, new talents, and a joyful way of interpreting traditions through the lens of a new generation,” d’Amman told Galerie.

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The ninth edition of the Beirut Art Fair takes place during the same week and gathers roughly 50 contemporary art galleries, including a selection from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Insider’s tip: Don’t miss the major satellite exhibition, “Cycles of Collapsing Progress,” an hour’s drive away at the International Fairground at Tripoli, the series of remarkable half-finished sculptural buildings designed in the 1960s by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Oscar Niemeyer’s unfinished International Fairgrounds of Tripoli Theater near Beirut. Photo: Anthony Saroufim

Detroit has also been experiencing a major cultural revival in recent years, and artists, curators, and dealers are laying the groundwork for a dynamic creative scene. In 2015, Detroit was the first American city to be named a UNESCO City of Design. Every September is a dedicated month of design. Highlights this year include an exhibition of historic Michigan and Detroit talents, including Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and Marcel Breuer at the Shinola flagship store or a private tour of the opulent 1922 Detroit Opera House.

Pia Camil’s installation The Little Dog Laughed, 2014, is on display at Art Basel Cities in Buenos Aires. Photo: Courtesy of Blum and Poe Gallery

South America is undoubtedly one of the buzziest regions for art and design right now. The 33rd edition of the Bienal de São Paulo (September 7), which opened this week, reveals the region’s experimental, diverse array of talents. In a departure from how the exhibition is traditionally organized, this edition comprises seven individually curated group shows under the helm of Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro.

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Held at the Oscar Niemeyer–designed Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, it includes such highlights as striking historic works by Tunga and Ana Prata as well as emerging local talents such as Maria Laet and Mariana Palmer. ArtRio is next up for those on the biennial circuit, which is opening back-to-back with the Seoul Mediacity Biennale, the Gwangju Biennale, and the Busan Biennale.

“Project 2” of the Busan Biennale 2016. Photo: Courtesy of the Busan Biennale

Read on for our curated list of the best in art and design happenings around the world.


Detroit Design Month, Detroit

September 1–30

Expo Chicago, Chicago

September 27–30



London Design Biennale, UK

September 4–23

Cosmoscow, Russia

September 6–9

Maison & Objet, France 

September 7–11

La Biennale Paris, France

September 8–16

Positions Berlin, Germany

September 13–16

Contemporary Istanbul, Turkey

September 20–23

Unseen Amsterdam, The Netherlands

September 21–23

Istanbul Design Biennial, Turkey

September 22–November 4

Art Berlin, Germany

September 27–30

Vienna Contemporary, Austria 

September 27–30



Art Basel Cities in Buenos Aires, Argentina

September 6–10

São Paulo Biennial, Brazil

September 7–December 9

ArtRio, Brazil

September 27–30



Beirut Art Fair, Lebanon

September 20–23

Beirut Design Fair, Lebanon

September 20–23



Seoul Mediacity Biennale, South Korea

September 6–November 18

Busan Biennale, South Korea

September 8–November 11

Gwangju Biennale, South Korea

September 9–November 11


Cover: “Project 2” of the Busan Biennale 2016.
Photo: Courtesy of the Busan Biennale


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