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If you love design, you should visit these inspiring cities around the world

Design devotees listen up! These cities will leave you feeling refreshed, and inspired

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By Edwain Steenkamp | May 15, 2023 | Travel Leisure

While you don’t have to travel the world for design inspiration (every neighbourhood is already brimming with talent) there are a few cities that really stand out when it comes to design, art, architecture and fashion.


As far as textile design goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting destination than Dakar in Senegal. The vibrant prints, many of them hand-pressed, are among the most beautiful and revered on the continent. Walking through the markets, it’s easy to see why Dakar would steal the heart of any design lover.

Image by: Jean Papillon via Unsplash


South Africa has no shortage of design hubs (here’s looking at you Cape Town). But Johannesburg steals the show, not only for its long history of music, fashion, and architecture, but because it’s brimming with rising talent that is putting the country on the international map.

Image: by Tebogo Losaba via Unsplash


Nigeria is the promised land for creatives and designers alike. Whether you’re a practising professional or simply an observer, it has no shortage of inspiration. Lagos is perhaps at the pinnacle, being an intersection of pan-African design, it’s the very definition of culture and design excellence.

Image: by Nupo Deyon Daniel via Unsplash


Think of all the finer things in life, and you’re likely to think of Paris. And with figures like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Prouvé, and René Herbst hailing from the city, it’s no wonder it has remained the go-to destination for all creatives.

Image: by Hugo Delauney Unsplash


If you’re a design devotee you’ve likely heard of the renowned Salone del Mobile, the annual Italian furniture expo. Every year it attracts countless throngs of people to its streets to showcase the very finest in interior design, furniture and art. But if furniture doesn’t sway you, then the many incredible fashion houses, architectural gems, and sprawling gardens will do the trick.

Image: by Arno Partissimo via Unsplash

New York

There’s no denying that New York is the epicentre of international design, entertainment, and media. But more than that, the city is imbued with a strong legacy of modern design. Just think of names like Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Isamu Noguchi. These figures were pioneers and quite literally shaped the world of design and visual communication.

Image: by Wilmer Martinez via Unsplash

San Diego and Tijuana

All eyes are on San Diego and Tijuana as the international trans-border region has been named the World Design Capital of 2024. Being a major intersection for business, languages and travel, it’s no secret that the area is rich with multi-cultural design.

Image: by Digital Nomad Mx via Unsplash

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