Summertime: School is out, shoes are off and it’s time to relax and recharge. But if your drive for seeking out art and design doesn’t take a vacation, how can you plan a getaway that stimulates and inspires?
The following design destinations offer a respite from your dreary work-a-day, but also inject an element of artistic adventure. Forget endless hours idling poolside and send your imagination on a trip in living color.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs has been a design destination since mid-century modern was a brand new idea, and there are endless architectural examples to peruse. There are professional companies that will lead you around key sites as well as self-guided tours and even a Modernism Week, though you’ll have to wait until October for that. Situated in the Coachella Valley, The Saguaro is a vibrant boutique hotel in the heart of Palm Springs. A rainbow of cheerful color graces not only the outside of this mid-century modern structure; the rooms themselves are outfitted in a burst of technicolor furnishings, creating a visual oasis in the low desert.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Not only is the charming town of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the easternmost town in North America, it’s known as Canada’s most colorful city. Homes and commercial buildings throughout are painted in bold, wild and sometimes mismatched colors, offering a break from the often grey, foggy climate. For an additional and unexpected dose of color, the city also runs a Mystery Garden Tour in July, which has participants literally peeking over fences to see what their neighbors have got “growing” on.
As far as iconic design goes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a city with more shining examples than Copenhagen. In the heart of the city you’ll find Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian-only shopping streets, which boasts the flagship stores of several international design brands, including the Royal Copenhagen factory. And it’s just a short walk to the kaleidoscopic Nyhavn harbor, a local and tourist favorite. During July and August, the harbor bustles with summer market stalls, showcasing the colorful array of goods and foods that put Denmark on the map.
If graffiti gets you going as much as good design, Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood showcases one of the world’s largest street-art installations, and is adjacent to the Miami Design District. It’s like a one-stop shop for art and design in a sultry setting. Plus, there are community events like Wynwood’s Second Saturdays, where a plethora of food trucks, musicians and gallery exhibitions abound. Fine art and high fashion are on display in the Design District, too. So there’s a good chance you could spend your entire vacation just perusing this corner of Miami.
Finally, if you’re leaning more toward an escape from summer than a summer escape, head down under. It’s mid-winter in Australia, and the Vivid Sydney festival kicks off in late May for three weeks of conceptual, creative cacophony. The music, light and art event features installations, concerts and conferences on creative topics with experts in cutting-edge design and tech. Plus, the backdrop of Sydney Harbor and involvement of the iconic Opera House (designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon) put this interactive exhibition square in the sights of a tourist bent on adventure.
Have any favorite design destinations you want to share? Please do so in the comments below.