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Inspiration by Design

In its eighth year, Month of Modern is celebrating how design can impact our daily lives and make the world a better place

Born out of Boulder’s local design community in 2014, September’s Month of Modern is a month full of design events, exhibitions and experiences exploring the theme “design for change” with a focus on how to empower, inspire and create change in the world. All events are open to the public and anyone curious about design is encouraged to attend.

Design is all around us and good design makes our lives easier. That’s exactly what Boulder’s annual Month of Modern (MoM) event celebrates. In its eighth year, MoM will focus on designing for change.

“We're experiencing a lot of flux in the world right now, so I got thinking about how can we use design to inspire and create change,” Stephanie Bingham, a founding partner at Month of Modern and marketing director and partner at HMH Architecture + Interiors, says about this year’s MoM theme.

All events will take place in-person and health and safety measures will be in place, including low-touch, individually packaged food curated by GB Culinary, extra space for attendees to roam each venue, and limited capacity and ticketing for indoor events.

MoM events are open to everyone. “You don't have to be a designer. All of our events are open to the public,” Stephanie says. “Anyone who's curious about design or has ideas to share is welcome, and I hope that this year’s theme makes people curious.”

Various Month of Modern events will take place across Boulder in September, including a panel discussion about the future of workplaces, a local art and design exhibit and a self-guided tour of homes. MoM also partners with nearby nonprofit organizations. This year, proceeds will be donated to NoBo Art District, Street Wise Arts and Historic Boulder.

Read on to find out more about these wildly popular events. Stephanie suggests RSVPing or purchasing tickets in advance because seats are limited and have sold out every year.

The Creative City
Sept. 2
6-9 p.m.
Location: Nobo Art District “Emerald City”
Cost: Free
Taking its inspiration from the 2021 Birmingham Design Festival, the Creative City showcases 60 of the region’s top designers and artists. Each artist will create a large board that coincides with this year’s Month of Modern theme “Design for Change.”

“Its intriguing ‘Design for Change’ theme will surely inspire interesting ideas that make people think seriously and creatively about the future,” says Leah Brenner Clack, interim director at the NoBo Art District and founder and executive director of Street Wise Arts. “The concept of The Creative City is perfect for Boulder, having so many amazing creatives and artists here, and we are looking forward to the debut of the showcase at NoBo Art District’s First Friday.”

Visitors are welcome to explore the exhibit on Sept. 2 and Sept. 8. A people’s choice winner will be chosen by attendees and presented with an award designed by local jewelry artist Todd Reed. After the event, the artwork will be converted into corn hole sets and auctioned off at the Wrap Party on Sept. 29. Proceeds from the auction will go to the NoBo Art District and Street Wise Arts.

Pecha Kucha Night
Sept. 8
6-9 p.m.
Location: Dairy Center
Cost: $25 (includes light bites and one drink ticket)
Similar to a Ted Talk, the Pecha Kucha Night is an evening of fast-paced storytelling guaranteed to leave attendees inspired. With Jay Ferracane of graphic design studio Angry Bovine as the emcee, the evening will include an interdisciplinary panel of Boulder’s design thinkers. Each speaker will present 20 slides centered around this year’s Month of Modern theme, how to use design to create value, and ultimately make the world a better place. This already hefty task comes with a catch—each speaker has only 20 seconds per slide, speaking for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds each. Food and drinks will be provided thanks to the event’s title sponsors YESMF, Cottonwood Custom Builders and Signature Windows.

Workplace of the Future
Sept. 15
6-9 p.m.
Location: BC Interiors
Cost: $20 (includes light bites and drinks)
For the last two years, companies have been investigating and testing different design methods and reconfiguring their workplaces. But what do employees need in an office now and how does design play a role? Taking place at BC Interiors, this panel discussion will explore that question and focus on how to best set up workplaces aligned with today’s protocols and what workers are demanding.

“We’ve all spent the last two-plus years of uncertainty discussing how the office could and should evolve,” says Laura Chapman Boyd, creative director at BC Interiors. “We look forward to continuing that conversation with the thought leaders from Haworth and our panel of design experts.”

This event will challenge architects, interior designers, office managers and others about the future of design when it comes to office spaces. Attendees will leave this event with new ideas and an idea of what’s next for workplaces.

Home Tour
Sept. 24
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Various locations
Cost: $50 (one ticket), $80 (two tickets)
Are you curious about how a home is designed and what makes a good design? Or have you ever found yourself wandering the neighborhood wondering what the inside of your favorite house looks like? Join Month of Modern for a look inside five local homes.

In partnership with Historic Boulder, this one-of-a-kind tour will showcase a variety of architectural styles, budgets, project types and sizes and offer a closer look at how design can impact how we live. One home will also be awarded with a “Landmark of the Future” award.

“Celebrating our 50th year, Historic Boulder is delighted to participate with the Month of Modern tour of homes. We initiated the ‘Landmarks of the Future’ tours in the 1990’s as a part of our mission to promote the benefits of preservation through education, advocacy, rehabilitation and celebration,” says Leonard Segel, executive director of Historic Boulder. “Highlighting distinctive homes by architects is a way of reinforcing the enduring, innovative spirit of Boulder.”

Wrap Party
Sept. 29
7-11 p.m.
Location: Boulder Theater
Cost: $65 (includes food and drinks)
Celebrate with Month of Modern designers, architects and other community members during this evening of food, drinks, music and conversation.
In addition to music, food and drink, performances by the Boulder Ballet will take place throughout the night. Awards will also be given to the winner of Creative City and for the “Landmark of the Future” home. Both awards are designed and presented by local artist Todd Reed.