Well Designed Travel: The Sidewalks of Buenos Aires

When I told my friends and family I'd be spending a few months in Buenos Aires, the number one piece of advice I heard was, "watch your step!". Somewhat notorious for major potholes, loose sidewalk tiles and dog owners who might not bother cleaning up after their beloved pooches, taking a walk in Buenos Aires is no simple task. However, I quickly began to notice that despite the pitfalls, these are some of the most beautiful sidewalks in the world.

Because each building owner is in charge of maintaining their own sidewalk, there are infinite varieties of styles. Many buildings choose to go with basic grid-patterened tile, but other owners are quite creative in their choices, and they have turned this cautious commuter into a sidewalk obsessed person who is constantly snapping photos of various types of tile.

1. This is a typical sidewalk scene in Buenos Aires. Three buildings, three different types of tile.

2. This photo shows an example of a very common tile, but here you see a black frame outline in the center of the design for a bit of added interest.

3. A mix of light and dark greys, this circular pattern was quite beautiful.

4. Here you see a stone driveway in a fanned pattern contrasting with the gridded sidewalk.

5. This bold, black, geometric pattern was really quite striking.

6. Occasionally, you can even learn to tango on the sidewalk (photo of this activity, not included!).

7. Illustrating the purpose of their business in sidewalk form, this taxi company got a little cheeky with their design.

8. A striking asymmetrical design was quite sleek with concrete and pebbles.

9. There's nothing like this charmingly traditional black and white tile pattern. One of my favorites.

10. These tiles were so intricate and delicate, it almost seemed more like interior tile work than a sidewalk.

(Images: Smith Schwartz)