3 Surprisingly Stylish Cities With The Coolest Designs
Executive editor Kimberley Brown shares three unexpected design destinations.
Now that I’ve had some time to catch my breath after the whirlwind that is Toronto design week (January 16-22, 2017), I find my thoughts wandering back to one show in particular, presented by Toronto Design Offsite. The idea itself is so fun, I wish I’d thought of it. Called Outside The Box, it tasks a correspondent from select cities to choose products that offer a snapshot of the design scene there. The catch: everything has to fit into a banker’s box that is then shipped to the show’s location. This year, 11 cities participated, including style hubs such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Montreal. But it was three less expected spots that stood out to me, proving once again that great style can be found anywhere. Click through to discover the surprising places that made my list.
The Blue Ridge mountains that form the backdrop of this picturesque city are probably best known for providing the forest scenery in The Hunger Games film trilogy, but they also inspire the talented creatives of this town’s growing makers market.
This color palette — so pretty! Asheville correspondent Marilyn Zapf is the assistant director at The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design. She pulled together items that entice you to pick them up and take a closer look. How much do I love those ceramic plates by East Fork Pottery? Let me count the ways.
I was all eyes for the Everyone Welcome mug. I think we’ll see more activist design like this in 2017. This example was designed by Lindsay Rogers Ceramics for The Democratic Cup, a collaborative initiative that aims to “stimulate dialogue, energize individual voices and raise money for progressive causes through the sale of handmade cups.” Hear, hear!
If jewelry is art for your outfit, these are the Richard Serra of earrings: minimal, industrial, perfect.
Marilyn’s advice for things to see and do in Asheville include a drive along the Black Balsam Knob, a winding road with jaw-dropping views of the Pisgah National Forest, and a visit to OWL Bakery for coffee and sweets.
Here is the full list of designers Marilyn chose to represent Asheville:
7 Ton Co.
Anna Johnson Jewelry
A Little Weather
East Fork Pottery
Emily Maija Rogstad
The Bright Angle featuring The Democratic Cup
Shelter in collaboration with Jacob Brault
This small town is home to a 150-acre Historic Clay District that once provided Canada with over 75% of its ceramics. Today, the old factories are being turned into a cultural meca that includes a museum, gallery and education center. Medicine Hat also has the world’s tallest tepee! Originally created for the Calgary Olympics in 1988, the Saamis Tepee was moved in 1991 and stands 215 feet tall (the height of a 20-story building).
Given Medicine Hat’s clay-steeped history, it’s only natural that correspondent Jenna Stanton focused on ceramics. She’s a ceramicist herself, and included her porcelain Tally decanter (center) and tumbler in her round-up.
You’ll have to use your imagination for this one, as there was no way to take a photo of the effect: If you put on a pair of 3D glasses, the image on the flower plate by Jenn Demke-Lange of Mikind becomes 3D too.
Chances are if you’re Canadian, you’ve come across one of these in someone’s home or an antique shop. They are an icon.
Jenna confirms that a trip to the Medalta museum is a must. Both reproductions and pottery designed by the artists in residence there are sold at the gift shop.
Here is the full list of designers Jenna chose to represent Medicine Hat:
When it comes to design unrelated to UI and gigabytes, San Francisco tends to get overshadowed by L.A., but it’s just as deserving of attention. The area’s mix of cultures and range of industries — from sustainable wineries to the tech empires of Silicon Valley — are an inspiring mix. Did I mention the breathtaking geography? That too.
I liked the earthiness of the materials and colors that correspondent Melanie Abrantes chose for the show. Melani is a Bay Area artist who works with wood and cork. Her cork planters are just the thing to up your succulent game.
Small space dwellers everywhere will celebrate a hand broom that’s nice enough to not have to tuck away. Hannah Quinn also makes full-size brooms and dust pans and other useful household products that are too often overlooked for how they look.
I’m particularly fond of items that have more than one use. These leather and merino wool trivets by Materials + Process are also useful as a mouse pad.
Before you head out for a hike among the red wood trees in Muir Woods, fuel up on the best bread you’ve ever had at Tartine Bakery in the Mission.
Here is the full list of designers Melanie chose to represent the Bay Area: