Design For... Nashville

Design For... Nashville

Words by Isaac Ray Norris

Design, in all its forms, affects almost every aspect of our life. Think about it: when you enter a space, how does its design make you feel? Or, when you’re using one of your favorite social media apps, how does it make you feel? Is it crowded? Clean?

Take your car—does the design make you want to drive? 

When you really think about it, design, aesthetics, and function really do affect your mood, how you think, and even deeper—how you feel. Nashville Design Week hopes to encourage deep thought on design, in all its forms.

Nashville, Tennessee has become a hotbed of cultural significance in the last year, but did you know that Music City is home to not only some of the most influential musicians and songwriters, but also designers?

Entering its sixth year, Nashville Design Week (NDW) asks the question, “Design is _____?” With this prompt, the Nashville design community hopes to bring new perspectives and ideas that cover everything from interior design, culinary pursuits, renewable and green design, and even how design is being impacted by the advent of AI. 

In anticipation of NDW, Good Grit took an in-depth look at a few of the events throughout the week. You can learn even more about these events and others at Of course, the full calendar can be viewed here. You can also find registration information and more on NDW’s website. Here’s a look a just a few of the events you can expect:

Design for the Black Culinary Experience

Wednesday, Nov. 1
7-9:30 pm at Hardison House, 1010 Hardison St.; $40

Over a collection of small plates, hosts Brian & Cassia Garrett of HUE and a panel of local Nashville professionals and chefs will discuss representation and creativity as they imagine the future of the Black culinary community. Their goal? To inspire the local creative community to “imagine new ways of honoring and supporting the black experience in culinary spaces.”

The Garretts co-founded HUE in the hope to showcase Black chefs through private dinners, with an emphasis on storytelling. This event is the first for the Garretts in Nashville, and the line up is sure to impress. Featuring recent Chopped champion Star Maye, Marcus Buggs of Coneheads and Plane Jane, Chef Jerod Wilcher, and Karen Thomas of Pepper Pot. 

Design for the Long Game

Wednesday, Nov. 1
5-6:30 pm at Dunn Studio, 2100 Dunn Ave; $25

Panelists will provide beneficial insight on how to tailor your specific design style to a rapidly growing city.

Nashville is evolving at such a rapid rate that it can be hard to keep up. As designers, leaders, and entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to want to capitalize on this growth, possibly losing sight of your vision and passion as a result. The Commonwealth has gathered 7 creative and seasoned entrepreneurs of diverse fields who can speak directly to growing and thriving in this city. Sit at the table with one of these creatives and have an intimate conversation regarding designing for not only what is happening now, but how to keep your values, passion, and vision intact long term.

Each ticket will include a 1-hour round-table conversation with 1 of the 7 entrepreneurs and 6 others guests. Attendees will also receive 2 drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres.

Parking is free in a small lot and on the street but is very limited. Rideshare recommended.

Design for Sustainability

Thursday, Nov. 2
8:30-10:00 am at Hensel Phelps, 1131 4th Ave S #430; $20

Over mimosas and coffee, join NDW for a panel that focuses on future-proofing Nashville with socially responsible and investment-friendly buildings. 

Design for single-use buildings and impermeable surfaces is a thing of the past. They continue to be a quiet burden on owners, designers, and the commercial real estate market at large. An evolving focus on wellness, mixed-use buildings, and must-have outdoor amenities is now driving multi-functional, experiential, and long-lasting design (and if you’ve been in Nashville recently, you know how important these qualities are).

This panel discussion and morning mixer over mimosas and caffeine will be led by diverse expert voices, whose job it is to dissect these critical considerations. Proceeds benefiting Greenways for Nashville.

Nashville Design Week 2023 is packed with events, and this is just a small taste of what you can expect during a fantastic week! For information, be sure to visit