Are you someone who bases your trips around discovering the most thoughtful, innovative and aesthetically-stimulating ideas in the world? You’re in good company! There are many reasons to venture abroad, and experiencing incredible art and design tops many people’s list. Check out our five favourite destinations for satisfying that ever-present design-lust in your traveller’s heart.
Named “World Design Capital” for 2018, Mexico’s biggest city is also one of the hippest, with a plethora of galleries and modern cafés in every corner.
Lalo! – Fun, cartoon-style graffiti line the expansive wall behind a long communal table at this trendy café.
Cicatriz – Is it a bar or a restaurant? Either way, it’s on people’s radar as THE place to get a drink and a bite.
Tori Tori – Visit their Polanco location to dine in a conceptual mesh-like cube.
Chapulín – Chef Josefina López Méndez dishes up fresh tradition in her light-filled, design-forward garden restaurant.
Museo Soumaya – The stunning aluminum structure at Plaza Carso is a glorious introduction to the Mexican and European art collection contained within.
Kurimanzutto – Modern art housed in contemporary architecture, this famous gallery is a must-visit.
House of Gaga – Diverse shows of modern and experimental art.
Museo Jumex – A rotating calendar of intellectual exhibits keeps this gallery fresh and interesting.
ARCHIVO – Eclectic resource for designers and forward-thinkers everywhere.
Tablet Hotel – A modern mix of sleek contemporary in a heritage shell, this hotel offers comfortable style.
Blend – Design aficionados simply cannot miss this concept store.
As Asia’s creative nucleus for the last several years, Seoul is on the cutting edge, bursting at the seams with trendy fashion, architecture, food, and music.
Kafé Nordic – Grab a coffee with the fashion crowd at this fun Scandi-inspired café.
Anthracite – Rustic-chic coffeehouse with a hip vibe for working or meeting.
HoneyHole – Chill boutique bar with limited seating and creative, high-quality cocktails.
Doore Yoo – Michelin-starred chef Tony Yoo serves up fresh plates in his modern-traditional restaurant.
Toc Toc – The latest and greatest (and freshest) culinary pairings start at this trendy bistro.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Fluid and famous, this futuristic architectural marvel was designed by innovative architect Zaha Hadid.
City Hall – Gigantic waves of glass and steel tower over Seoul’s former city hall, creating a stark symbol of the city’s relationship with old and new.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art – Contemporary and traditional art housed in buildings designed by three of the world’s most prolific architects, each more fascinating than the next.
Signiel Seoul – Get the best views in the city all night long at this hip boutique hotel based in one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Stylenanda Pink Hotel & Pink Pool Café – Neither a hotel nor a pool, this trendy fashion brand offers shopping treasures on several hotel-themed floors, with an all-pink café on the roof.
Dragon Hill Spa – With pools, saunas, restaurants, arcades, gyms, theatres, and even simulated horseback riding rooms, this popular family-friendly bathhouse is redefining Korean spa culture.
From painted alleyways to ultra-modern galleries, Melbourne is on the forefront of cool in a country already known for its design-savvy cities.
Tonka – With a steel-mesh ceiling installation by a local artist floating above and mouth-watering plates of Indian fusion on the table, this hotspot can’t miss.
Minanoie – Open-plan concept café serving up fresh organic food with a Japanese minimalist sensibility.
Little Big Sugar Salt – Steaming cups of coffee and mouth-watering brunch served on dishes just begging to be Instagrammed.
Lucy Liu – Modern Asian plates in a hip open-concept bar.
Federation Square – No design-lover would leave the city without experiencing Fed Square, a large urban plaza defined by modern architecture, blockbuster events, and a festive vibe.
Heide Museum of Modern Art – With a vast sculpture park and extensive gardens, this museum in the suburbs showcases a unique collection of modern art.
Southern Cross Station – Forget taking the train; come here for the striking rooflines reminiscent of a stingray’s wings.
Street Art Tour – The graffiti-lined lanes of Melbourne are world-renowned; follow the map to guide your own walking tour.
Pop & Scott – Curated shop of modern handmade homewares and gifts.
Rooftop Cinema – Surround yourself with the city lights while watching a film on the roof.
Third Drawer Down – Art oddities for the quirky and the fabulous at this fun collaborative shop.
Ovolo Laneways – Live like a local in this design-conscious boutique hotel in the CBD.
With public sculptures and modern architecture sandwiched between historic buildings, every corner you turn in Barcelona is a visual delight.
Ikibana Paralelo – Waves of rich buttery wood ripple across the ceiling and down the walls, while cozy pods of tables set the tone at this trendy Japanese-Brasilian eatery.
Cosmo – A hip café and modern art gallery with live events.
Tragaluz – Through the kitchen to the glass-ceiling dining room, artful touches grace this popular Mediterranean restaurant.
Satan’s Coffee Corner – Small but busy coffee shop to fuel up with the good stuff before discovering the treasures of Gótico.
MACBA – Juxtaposed beside neighbouring traditional buildings, this museum with its modernist architecture is the starting point for contemporary art in Barcelona.
Fundació Joan Miró – Of course, Miró is one of the greatest artists of the 20th-century, but arguably the star of the show here is the building his architect friend, Josep Lluís Sert, built to house his collection.
Sant Pau – This modernist former hospital is a tribute to the notion of good design leading to better health.
La Variété – A design-forward shop based on the idea that everything can be made better by simplifying.
AOO – Locally-made furniture with a few other objects of desire for good measure.
Barcelo Raval – The wire mesh exterior lures you, a hot pink lobby entices you and a rooftop with 360 views of the city seduces you at this design hotel in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of El Raval.
LA has long been a bastion of creative cool, but it has recently stepped up its game to rival any city in the world for top design honours.
The Daily Dose – Located in a brick alley with long communal tables, farm-fresh dishes and artisanal beverages, this café is the epitome of LA cool.
MTN – This hot new izakaya, featuring a charred-wood interior, lots of natural light, and delicious house-made dishes, is rocking the beaches of Venice.
BS Taqueria – Get your taco fill at this bustling hotspot with brightly-painted murals on the walls and plenty of colour in every corner.
Rose Café – Featuring posters by a local artist and ample indoor and outdoor seating, this iconic Venice bakery is a must-visit.
Cassia – Beautiful modern food in a beautiful modern space – what more could you ask for?
LACMA – Even if you don’t make it inside the city’s preeminent Museum of Art, the outdoor sculpture park makes it worth the visit.
Annenberg Space for Photography – Interested in photographic art? So are we. Here’s where we’d go to enjoy a day well-spent.
Walt Disney Concert Hall – Designed by Frank Gehry, its perfect curvy forms symbolize the waves of sound emanating from the Philharmonic Orchestra inside.
M+B – Emerging artists have a home at this avant-garde space.
Object – A curated collection of whatever strikes the shop owner’s interest.
Palihouse West Hollywood – Your home away from home in a luxurious, modern-trad design hotel in the West Hollywood hills.
The Line – It feels like visiting someone’s elegantly designed home, but everything is offered for sale in this clever experience shop.
The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Get tickets to a show just to be mesmerized by the fantastic Spanish-Gothic interiors of this historic theatre.
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