For Shillington Post 07—The International Issue, we asked six teachers from around the world to talk about the place that has left the biggest impression on them for design inspiration.
Read on to find out what they loved about each location—everything from street art to architecture, signage and hand lettering.
Leipzig, shared by Marcea Decker, New York Teacher
Some have called Leipzig the “Paris of Germany”—the architecture and landscape really tells the city’s history at each point.
“I went to Leipzig, Germany almost a year ago, for the first time. I visited some friends of mine, a photographer and designer/owner of a small DIY record label. Together they run a contemporary art museum in a renovated historic building. As children, they participated in Leipzig’s Peaceful Revolution that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. They showed me the meeting place where the march began, and other famously historic places, as well as not-so-famous relics of the underground art scene that now has ceased to be. They also introduced me to current DIY spaces, where young people have converted abandoned buildings into functional meeting venues to hear music, show art, dance, and talk all night long.
From the canals, to the Art Nouveau villas, late-19th-century apartments with Renaissance and Gothic-style accents, brutalist utilitarian structures of the Soviet era, and now a reclamation and modernization of gorgeous historic buildings, the landscape speaks a lot to what this city has been and where it aims to go. Seeing the city through the eyes of two artists who grew up there inspired me through songwriting, as well as my own personal artistic approach of mixing traditional art methods with new design techniques and technology.”
Mexico City, shared by George Simkin, London Teacher
I’m a big colour lover. A lot of my own personal work is very colourful.
“So when I went to Mexico City, it blew my mind, colour everywhere! Especially on hand made signs, signage on the sides of streets and of course, taco trucks. Beautiful hand painted lettering with bright and punchy colours. I took photos of all the signs and I still use them today as references. They are great for creating new colour palettes. I can’t think of any other country that embraces colour quite like Mexico does. I want to go back, and not just for the tacos!”
Tokyo, shared by Chris Norman, Melbourne Teacher
The Blade Runner-esque dystopia of Tokyo is an outright graphic shock.
“Encountering the in-your-face colours and information-heavy signage excites me every visit. I document the graphic vernacular of the metropolis in the road markings, signage and neon lights as inspiration for future projects.”
San Francisco, shared by Tia Queen, Brisbane Teacher
I find that San Francisco is a city that stretches every creative muscle.
“The museum SFMOMA is a contemporary art and design oasis. The Victorian and Edwardian architecture is full of character, as well as history—I’d recommend taking an architect-led walking tour! Plus, some of the biggest design and tech companies like Airbnb, Google and Uber are all based there. I believe that their sheer presence encourages big and unrestrained thinking, which is essential for creativity.”
Berlin, shared by Martin Power, Manchester Teacher
Design-wise, it has to be Berlin.
“The aesthetic in that city connects with me completely, from the utilitarian typography on the posters to the tongue in cheek brands that line the high street. I think the history of the city has bred this beautiful mixture of brutalism and humour that just chimes with me.”
Japan, shared by Adam Busby, Brisbane Teacher
Japan is easily the most inspiring, influential, perspective-changing place I have travelled to.
“The feeling of deep, sincere simplicity is the common foundation of anything beautiful in Japan. There is a satisfaction when holding a pen or sitting in a chair knowing that everything has been considered and anything that doesn’t contribute to the design has been removed.
Considered, thoughtful and intentional are the words that kept coming up when I visited Japan. The care and consideration placed into every act was astounding. I think it’s the enjoyment and passion of the process that produces these results rather than a means to an end. Instead of racing toward the finish line, the process is something to cherish and almost ritualize. For instance, we enjoyed some traditional tea ceremonies, and if you have ever witnessed one of these events, you will know that every pour, ever turn of the cup and place setting has a meaning.
Check out the rest of the articles from The International Issue of the Shillington Post over on Issuu.
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