Unexpected Inspiration: The Rainforest of Costa Rica

Well-Designed Travel

Up in the mountains of Costa Rica, searching for good design takes on a whole new meaning. Throughout our trip, I've been thinking lots about design and local culture and how it all fits together. Last week, I was lucky enough to spend some serious time up in the rainforest, unplugged and offline, taking in as much fresh air as possible. I started to think less and less about human-made design, and concentrated more on the breathtaking natural inspiration all around me.

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A while back, one of our fantastic readers suggested that I check out Rincon de La Vieja, an area of Costa Rica with crystal blue waters, lush forests and even a currently erupting volcano. Here, I began to think less about innovation in design and more about taking a backseat to the natural beauty that was around me.

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The cool thing was, somehow all of this natural beauty really got me thinking about how it's all connected back to what makes us comfortable at home. The rich greens of the vegetation could be repeated in a wall color or a handmade quilt. A furry plant is inspiration for a brightly colored throw pillow with a fuzzy overlay. The crystal blue waters that occur naturally due to calcium deposits could easily inspire bathroom decor, and the intricate patterns of the butterfly could become the rhythm of a rug or print textile. There's an innate sense of being at home when you're enveloped by nature, so when we're indoors, surrounding ourselves with objects inspired by these natural resources is the fastest way to immediately make your place feel more like home.

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(Images: Smith Schwartz)

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