Collective Design - About

Collective Design brings together creative voices from around the world in a lively, essential discourse on modern and contemporary design and art. Based in New York City and active in the arts community throughout the year, Collective Design presents engaging conversations and educational programs to foster dialogue, encourage the exchange of ideas, and build a growing audience for collectible design and art. Programming culminates each May in the annual Collective Design fair, which showcases masterworks of the 20th and 21st centuries alongside experimental works from the next generation of global talent. The fair, celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2017, illuminates both the creative process and the diversity of our material culture, promoting a spirit of discovery that resonates with new and seasoned collectors alike.

The Fair

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The Collective Design fair is a commercial and educational platform highlighting curated works from a global roster of galleries alongside rich and varied programming. Emerging and established galleries often exhibit side by side; the surprising material juxtapositions that result can lead to discoveries, revealing new aspects to familiar, even iconic work and lending context to the latest innovations.

Through its annual fair, Collective Design highlights both the creative process and the diversity of today’s material culture, starting provocative conversations and encouraging the exchange of ideas that foster a growing audience for collectible design.

The fair has leveraged the city’s energy to become a vital part of New York’s cultural calendar, cultivating a spirit of discovery that appeals to both avid patrons and those new to collecting. Collective Design explores the significance of design across creative disciplines and everyday life.


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Throughout the year, Collective Design hosts conversations and other programs putting design at the center of lively debate. At the fair, the Collective Conversations series welcomes the audience to take a seat next to esteemed artists, curators and others shaping ideas about today’s material culture. In 2015 (above), designers Joseph Walsh, Wendell Castle and Cathrine Raben Davidsen joined curator Glenn Adamson and Collective’s Sarah Medford around a table custom-fabricated by BroLab.

Collective Design’s popular studio visits open up private workspaces for demonstrations, discussion and the chance to get together over a cocktail with others interested in how the creative process unfolds. Designers and artists with diverse practices enjoy our intimate gatherings as much as we do! Join us for future visits in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London and elsewhere—our program continues to grow.

Fluid, wide-ranging and continually growing, the Collective Design community meets throughout the year for events that reinforce our creative networks and encourage discussion. Sponsors and partners play an active role in shaping these get-togethers. Past events have included an intimate dinner in the Los Angeles studio of the Haas Brothers and a festive 2016 dinner (above) at The New York Edition, our hotel partner.



Behind Collective Design is a passionate group of designers, architects, curators, collectors and gallerists who have recognized the need for a new design platform and come together to help realize this goal. The Collective, as the group is known, brings diverse experience and shared enthusiasm to our organization, creating an environment where discovery and education are celebrated.

The Team

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Collective Design is made up of a dedicated team that offers unparalleled depth of experience across the creative spectrum. Meet the people who make Collective Design happen.

Steven Learner, Founder and Creative Director

Steven Learner is an architect and interior designer who has worked extensively in the worlds of art and design, creating galleries, private museums, and residences for a diverse range of collectors. In more than 20 years of practice, including at his award-winning firm, Steven Learner Studio, Learner has developed strong ties to the creative community across the U.S. and abroad and developed an approach that bridges the traditional boundaries between architecture and interiors. In 2012, he recognized the opportunity and need to create a vibrant, large-scale, and innovative design platform to complement the energy of New York City. His initial idea has been realized as Collective Design, of which he is Founder and Creative Director. Learner holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a BFA from Otis Art Institute/Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.

Sarah Medford, Director, Strategic Development

Sarah Medford brings more than 25 years of editorial and marketing expertise in the fields of design and architecture to her role as Director of Strategic Development at Collective Design. She is currently a Contributing Editor at WSJ. Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, where she writes on issues surrounding design and creative culture. Medford has also served as Executive Editor of Architectural Digest, Director of Arts, Culture and Design at Town & Country magazine, and has held editorial positions at Art in America, Martha Stewart Living, and Self. Medford is an honors graduate of Brown University and holds a certificate in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design.

Jillian Choi, Fair Director

Jillian Choi, formerly of FITZ & CO and Cristina Grajales Gallery, brings with her an eclectic background in fine arts, design and communications, as well as extensive experience in event management and brand partnerships. As Event Manager at FITZ & CO, Choi produced events for many esteemed institutions, including Art Basel, The Sender Collection, and The Sharjah Art Foundation. She is also a co-founder of MAKER Magazine, a bi-annual contemporary arts publication, where she focused on content curation in addition to the magazine's events and brand collaborations. She holds a degree in Art History from New York University.

Natalie Nielsen, External Relations Manager

Natalie Nielsen has experience in all aspects of exhibition production in art and urban design. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the Van Alen Institute and No Longer Empty, and she joined Collective Design in 2013 for its inaugural fair. Working for the Director of Artisan Development at the Lindblad National Geographic Artisan Fund, she focused on a sustainable glass production and training project in the Galapagos. Nielsen graduated from Vassar College with a BA in anthropology and Parsons New School of Design with an MA in design studies.