No matter where you are in the world, you’re able to find design inspiration. Each city has its own style, personality, and lifestyle. Whether you’re taking direct inspiration from the design you see around you, or you’re extrapolating the overall vibe you experience and translating it into design, the influence of a given location is strong. While all locales offer design inspo in some form or another, some places are more design-minded than others. Here are some of the top design destinations (Hint: Go where the designers go!)
Frankfurt + Cologne, Germany
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Your surroundings and the culture in Germany are enough to offer any visitor ideas in terms of design, but there are also some incredible design exhibitions that come to this part of the world. Take IMM Cologne as an example. Here you’ll find exhibitors showcasing the most trendsetting interior design ideas on the market. There’s a mix of basics, designer items, and luxury goods to capture the interest of any visitor. Germany is also host to Ambiente, and Orgatec – two other popular fairs.
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Scandinavian and Nordic design has long been incredibly popular around the world. This type of design offers minimalistic and chic solutions to any interior. Stockholm is bursting with culture and design innovations that stem from this mindset. The city is also host to many popular design fairs including FORMEX, the Furniture and Light Fair, and Stockholm Design Week. Stockholm Design Week is considered the most important meeting place for Scandinavian design. There are over 100 design-related events held across the city offering plenty of opportunities for inspiration and collaboration.
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One of the most popular destinations for all things design related (think fashion, interior design, architecture – everything!) is Milan. This beautiful and historic city is home to incredible design gatherings including the Milan Expo – an annual event, with a given theme that designers from different nations examine in their showcase. There’s also the innovative Salone del Mobile, where some of the most incredible designs of the year are featured. An annual event since 1961, Salone del Mobile is considered a ‘global benchmark’ for home design and a great opportunity to promote and showcase Italian designs to the international market.
New York City, USA
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New York City is famous for its creative energy. Designers and artists of all kinds flock to the big apple to showcase their creative efforts. Depending on what realm of the design world you’re interested in, there are a handful of New York exhibitions. In terms of interior design, the city has lots of exhibitions to showcase up-and-coming talent as well as industry leaders. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair offers the best in terms of exhibiting ‘what’s next’ for contemporary, luxury interiors and high-end furniture. Another notable exhibition is Architectural Digest’s Design Show. Entering its 16th year, this show exhibits 400 brands, and is a thoughtfully curated presentation of furniture, accessories, lighting and art.
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Our own beloved city is not to be forgotten in terms of design! Toronto is bursting with design talent. From innovative interiors, to contemporary design, to emerging industrial designers. Toronto is also host to some big exhibitions including IIDEX Canada – a national design and architecture exhibition/conference, and the Interior Design Show – a weekend that helps shape the industry for the coming year. The Interior Design Show celebrates leaders in the field, while also showcasing rising stars in the industry. The spotlight is put on Canadian-made products, as well as small-batch designers. Another festival worth mentioning is the Toronto Offsite Design Festival. Hosted city-wide, this exhibition of independent design offers invaluable exposure for emerging designers.