Unsure where you’re going with your creative projects? Suffering from writer’s block? Travel is a wonderful way of picking up new ideas – but where do you go to kick-start your creative imagination?
Unless you already have a germ of an idea – and you know what to do with it – escaping to a country cottage or desert island may be a mistake. Instead, head for a place that offers a degree of urban turbulence, cultural diversity and a strong local creative scene. And don’t forget to take your notebook.
As well as the prestigious museums and galleries of the Kulturforum, there are plenty of smaller venues showcasing more offbeat artistic offerings. The Bauhaus Archiv Museum is the ultimate pilgrimage for design lovers. Meanwhile, the city’s fabled weekend flea markets allow you to rummage through a century’s worth of consumer culture.
But, if Kanazawa proves to be a bit too folksy, then fear not – you can always stop off in Tokyo on the way back.
There’s a distinctive national style in the arts and crafts here – modernism and folk motifs come seamlessly together. Investigate this at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design and the KUMU art museum – the latter is a contemporary architectural statement in its own right. The Museum of Occupations, detailing the effects of both Nazi and Soviet power, provides gritty historical context.
You can also meet local creatives at the Telliskivi Centre. This building is a former engineering works that now houses a cluster of studios, design shops and nouveau-Nordic cuisine restaurants.
New York took over from Paris as the planet’s leading urban muse some time in the mid-twentieth century – and NYC shows no sign of giving up that status. As a city swelled by immigration, many of the world’s great languages, cultures and cuisines are represented here, and a huge portion of the globe’s cultural output is on show too.
The list of big-hitting institutions speaks for itself: the MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim. And there’s not just one major design museum, but two: the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian and the Museum of Arts and design.
The city offers old-school artistic inspiration by the bucket load, too. Rembrandt’s House, the Van Gogh Museum and the modernist masterpieces of the Stedelijk are among the highlights.
The sprawling city also has scores of bustling neighbourhoods suited to endless urban roving. Whichever part of the megalopolis you find yourself in, the music blasting out of bars, cars and private flats is a revelation.
More than just a place to buy cheap denims, it’s the undoubted centre of Indonesia’s art, design and indie music scenes, and has the teeming café life to match. It can also boast some truly inspirational one-offs: the Regia inner-city forest comes complete with treetop walkway and alfresco cultural events. The perforated cube that is the Al-Irsyad Mosque is one of the most beautiful contemporary sacral buildings in Southeast Asia.
Istanbul is also the contemporary art capital of southeastern Europe, with a spread of cutting-edge galleries including Istanbul Modern. The Istanbul Biennale kicks off on September 16, 2017.
Top image: Museumsinsel (Museum Island) with excursion boat on Spree river and famous TV tower, Berlin © canadastock/Shutterstock