Inspiring destinations for design

Having recently graduated in Product Design and with the UK job market struggling under the credit crunch, I’ve decided to go out and get my life experience by doing some international traveling for six months (along with a fellow corer’) before I get into a job that I don’t want to leave. I don’t want this just to be a trip for the party (but I guess that still will feature), I want to get something out of this that will help kick start my career when I return home…

So my question is this: Where are the most inspiring destinations for design in the world? Where will my eyes be opened and I get a chance to experience design otherwise alien to a european?

Obviously Japan (although where exactly in Japan I don’t know) is already high on my list, being famous for their use of technology and wacky designs, but I was hoping that someone else might have some other suggestions…

Cheers :slight_smile:

In Japan, the technology wild west is the Akihabara.

New York… galleries, architecture, and fashion. The underground culture is just as important as the above ground culture.

Vancouver… even though it is my hometown, it is the place where people know how to play outside. The reason it keeps placing on the best place to live index is because quality of life is more important than anything else… “taking a mental health day” is more than just a phrase. Extreme sports are commonplace and there is always a lineup outside the two Starbucks stores on opposite corners of the busiest downtown intersection. They just voted in a left leaning city council with a Mayor whose company makes organic juice. They also had the arrogance to tell Cirque du Soleil that their services are not needed for the 2010 Winter Games opening ceremonies.


There are schemes out there that find you placements/short term jobs in other countries related to your degree. They generally run from 3-6 months and whilst you don’t get much money (you cover your costs), you do get language training, get to see/live in a new place, immerse yourself in a different culture and get 3 months experience as a designer to go on your CV. The down side is (that if you want to travel) you have to stay in the same place for 3 months and you have to work five days a week, but when that place is for example, Venice etc, it isn’t really that bad and you can get quite far away on weekends. Living somewhere for 3 months really gets you into a place and isn’t like passing through. Plus you will have ticked off the hardest/most complained about graduate moan ie. I can’t get a job without experience and I can’t get experience without a job (Ahh that old chestnut). Either that or you can travel round loads of different countries for six months, chasing foreign women and trying every sworded den and exotic beverage known to man, and when you get back you can pass off your year as a design and culture exploration (yeah I visited a few museums) and depending on how well you pitch it, many employers will look on it favorably, because you’ve got the travelling bug out of your system. Its win win, enjoy!