Part 2: Design Inspiration
I have been fortunate to be able to travel all over for inspiration. I have been able to see cities, people and cultures completely unique, experiencing them for the sole purpose of understanding this uniqueness so I can look at world, art & design from a new lens. As soon as I step out of the familiar I get creative bursts of inspiration. Some days its as easy as going out to a new market near home, but if I want new big ideas it helps to get on a plane and go somewhere completely new to me.
When I travel I spend a lot of time in markets, shops, bazaars and especially antique stores. One part of my role is knowing what is being mass distributed so I can understand the tastes of brands and consumers and make an educated choice to participate or not in what is happening so I visit not only the nooks and crannies of cities but I also have to get into malls & galleries and see the big brands. If it were up to me (and I suppose it is) I would spend all of my time in the nooks and crannies. The Designer brands have the funds to make some beautiful hardware pieces that you cant necessarily find in boutiques (and I am a sucker for hardware, in case you didn’t see my blog about considering hardware) so I do pop into their shops to experience their offerings.
Where I really find my inspiration is in those unexpected corners of a city. The dusty antique stores with brass gramophones that inspire new print ideas, or a street market with an embroidered zip pouch. A woven silk rug. An old oil panting. A book binding. A door hinge. A chipped old ceramic piece. The spice market. The ceiling of a hamam. A cobblestone pattern. Everywhere you look, if you’re looking, there is something to ignite the imagination.
I want to twist and turn on a city or country street to find the place with a face and a smile and not a word of English. I want to get by using hand signals to communicate. I want to negotiate having to write figures down on a scratch piece of paper. I want to dig into boxes and shelves and find that piece almost forgotten and think of new ways to bring it back to life.
When it comes to color inspiration, I go straight to nature. I will admit there are some fantastic cities that are vibrant with color. Doorways, shutters, shingles and paint all a new pop of life. But when you see those colors in the wild, there is just nothing like it. The first time I went to the Amazon I kept saying, how does this color even exist in nature?! I couldn’t believe the neons & brights of the plant, animal and insect life. The blue sky peaking between the leaves of trees. The orange flower blossoming in a sea of green. The purple butterfly resting on the trunk of a tree.
I also love the juxtaposition of this wild natural life with something man made. A plant in front of a bright doorway. A line of vibrantly colored laundry in someone’s backyard lush with florals and greenery. When you combine the mastery of Mother Nature and our human twist you can get some real magic happening.