Anyone who knows me will tell you: I'm a big fan of the mini-break. Though I love my adopted hometown of London, I can't seem to sit tight here for more than a couple months before I get the urge to hop on a plane and take a long weekend somewhere else. When that weekend also recharges my creative batteries in the form of a design hit, all the better.
Since I moved here almost eight (!!!) years ago, I've done a good amount of traveling in Europe; and why not, since it's so close? Here are three of my favorite destinations for a quick (from London, at least) design fix:
The Danish capital gets top billing from me, not only for the great (if pricey) shopping and fab interiors, but the design of the city itself. Beautifully maintained period properties sit comfortably next to the best of modern architecture, and all the ugly stuff in the middle that most cities have to deal with? It just doesn't seem to exist here. The city works well too; from the ultra-efficient (and clean!) metro to the incredible network of bike lanes, it's civilization at its best. No wonder I've been twice and am planning to return again this year.
The first time I visited Berlin, I was surveying some of the rampant construction in the city centre, when I turned to the friend I was with and said "Berlin is going to be so beautiful when it's finished." Immediately, I caught myself: Berlin is so inspiring precisely because it's not finished, and probably never will be. This is a city that has Western history written all over it, yet is enamoured with the new, and constantly regenerating itself. The grand squares and monuments, the beautiful museums, the underground nightlife: it all adds up to a city that gets under your skin in a way few can manage.
This one surprised me. When I first visited Barcelona, I was expecting to find beautiful weather, fun nightlife and great tapas, sure, but design? I knew that Gaudi had left his mark on the Catalonian capital (and the handful of buildings he designed here are well worth a visit for any design lover) but I wasn't prepared for the equally impressive modern design the city boasts. From beautiful restaurant interiors to a stunning waterfront region full of incredible architecture, Barcelona is a treat for all the senses.
Now, over to you: what's your favorite city to visit for great design? Europe, North America, Asia or wherever, let me know so I can put them on my list!