5 Designer-Approved Pieces to Pick Up During Your Summer Travels Abroad
by Mark Cutler, Chief Designer at nousDECOR
Traveling in the summer is a great tradition, as it gives us all an opportunity to recharge our batteries and a chance to explore new and different cultures. Shopping on vacation can be a great thing too, of course, and finding the right native piece can be a fantastic way to bring the vacation home with you. But what to buy? Here are some of my favorite places to travel to over summer and some great suggestions on things to pick up while you are there.
Northwest Argentina (Salta to Purmamarca to Tilcara): Woven Textiles.
Incan influences and the vibrant colors of the hills find their way into throw blankets, rugs and tabletop linens. Alpaca and llama wool are prevalent fibers. Typical patterns there tend to go abstract, bold and geometric.
Venice, Italy: Murano Glassware.
Murano, a suburb (and island) of Venice has been making glass pieces dating back centuries. Murano Glass is made up of 70% silica sand and melts at a lower temperature to create homogeneous and bubble-free glass. All products are still made by hand, employing Old World-techniques. From vases to glassware to chandeliers, many stores will ship to avoid breakage while traveling.
San Miguel De Allende, Mexico: Art.
Developed as an artist's destination after WWII, painters and sculptors created a true artists' colony in this mountainous town in Mexico. From numerous galleries (one of which is an old textile factory converted into an art center) to local art schools, the art ranges from traditional Mexican folk art to abstract, graffiti-inspired pieces.
Hoi An, Vietnam: Silk and Silk Lanterns.
A well-preserved Southeast Asian trading port, Hoi An is known for its windy streets lit with lanterns. It's a tourist tradition to light paper lanterns at night, make a wish, and set it afloat down the river. For a more permanent option, track down the shops that make colorful, hand-painted silk lanterns (some with tassels, some without) in all shapes and sizes.
Basque Country, France: Table Linens.
Its culture blends with neighboring Spain, making it a little less traditional “South of France." Mountainous and rural, the area produces table linens that incorporate a traditional French striped theme, but adds in vibrant colors for a bold, one-of-a-kind look.
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