Spring Break Design Destinations

Film still from Where the Boys AreScene from “Where the Boys Are”


Spring break is something anyone still in school looks forward to, regardless of what you decide to do for its duration. For some it might just be a reprieve from the usually hectic academic schedule and a way to catch up on an increasingly heavy workload, but for the most part many choose to take the time to enjoy some of the first bouts of warm weather for the year.

For the last few years I sadly haven’t really had the chance to do some exploring for spring break and mostly kept it local. For those people who still might be looking for some cool design and art-related destinations, however, I put together a list of some interesting destinations. I hope I get to visit some of these places in the future!

Asia
Towada Arts Center

Towada Arts Center in Aomori Prefecture, JapanImage from Wikimedia Commons

The Towada Arts Center is an art and exhibit space located in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, north of Tokyo. It’s located in a small town, which, although developed, is still very much a part of the rural Japanese landscape. A visit to Towada would be interesting to see innovative contemporary art installations against the backdrop of traditional Japan.

Europe
Living architecture

Stay in an architect designed home during your next vacationPhoto from www.bustler.net

Ever wondered what it would be like to live or stay in a space designed by a famous architect? Living Architecture, a social enterprise, gives you the chance to do just that. The collective currently has five houses designed by firms such as MVRDV and David Kohn, with one opening in 2013 designed by Peter Zumthor. The houses themselves are tucked away from an urban setting, but this vacation is definitely all about staying in.

North America, Stop 1
Washington, DC

Washington DCImage from www.realcourage.org

A few weeks ago, the online magazine GOOD had a feature on 8 cities in America experiencing a boom in arts and design. I was beyond thrilled that DC made it to the list – the nation’s capital really has taken strides in becoming not just political hub, but a cultural center for the United States as well. The museums are overflowing with visitors, and art gallery walls are constantly being refreshed. There are also a number of notable interesting hotels to stay in if you decide to visit – like the Capitol Skyline hotel, which boasts a very mod exterior and lounge inside.

North America, Stop 2
Austin, Texas
http://www.sxsw.com

Austin Texas' cultural festival SXSWPhoto by Brittany Ryan / SXSW

Another American city on the list was Austin, Texas. I haven’t looked into it too deeply, but one event that happens in Austin every year that is certainly on my list of things to do or see at some point in the future is the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference. SXSW is an annual event that showcases music, film, and interactive design. It was originally more of a music festival, but has grown over the years into a highly anticipated cultural event that heralds new trends in the cultural industries.

North America, Stop 3
Montreal

Visit Montreal, Canada a cultural hubPhoto from Sid Lee http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidlee/

Last year I had the great fortune of participating in the first international conference of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) in Montreal. While the conference location changes every year, last year’s even definitely put Montreal on my map of cultural hubs. Apart from iconic sights such as the Biosphere and the old city, there are numerous art installations and a constant flow of art and design events, such as the Design Montreal Open House. Unsurprisingly, Montreal is a UNESCO city of Design for this reason.

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