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Love to Travel

Who says you must have that special somebody to indulge you this Valentine’s Day? In celebration of the holiday, we thought we would spread the love by sharing some of our favorite places, foods, movies, and music throughout the month of February.

Traveling often begins as a means of exploring new places or as a way to relax and unwind from the daily grind of life. We have decided to write about a few of our favorite places that seem to encapsulate their own distinct cultural nuances, while also offering some inspiration for design-minded individuals. First stop is Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.

L-R clockwise: 1) Brazil military headquarters. 2) Palacio da Alvorada, the President of Brazil’s residence. 3) Statues of the Candangos. 4) Broyhill Brasilia collection, introduced in 1962 at Seattle World’s Fair. 5) Brasilia Cathedral. 6) modern office building.

L-R clockwise: 1) Brazil military headquarters. 2) Palacio da Alvorada, the President of Brazil’s residence. 3) Statues of the Candangos. 4) Broyhill Brasilia collection, introduced in 1962 at Seattle World’s Fair. 5) Brasilia Cathedral. 6) modern office building.

A lesser known city than the tourist destination and former capital that is Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia is the countries fourth largest city, but the largest city in the world that did not exist at the beginning of the 20th century. Looking for a more geographically central location to become the capital,Juscelino Kubitschek, President of Brazil, ordered the development of Brasília in 1956. Lucio Costa was the main urban planner who named his close friend Oscar Niemeyer, chief architect. The city was designed and built-in 41 months, and stands as the most concentrated collection of the famed architects work. Palacio da Alvorada, the residence Niemeyer designed for President Kubitschek, still serves as the official residence of the President of Brazil. With it’s concrete and glass visage, it’s no White House, and is a true reflection of the city’s status as the only completely mid-century modern city. So brush up on your Portuguese and put this destination on your bucket list!

Brasilia National Congress Building
Brasilia National Congress Building

What kind of design-lovers would we be without mentioning Copenhagen, the birthplace of Danish Modern?

L-R clockwise: 1) The Royal Danish Playhouse. 2) Mirror House, Central Park Pavillion. 3) Spiked balconies at VW House residences. 4) Danish folk art. 5) Interesting windows. 6) Hans J. Wegner Wishbone chairs.
L-R clockwise: 1) The Royal Danish Playhouse. 2) Mirror House, Central Park Pavillion. 3) Spiked balconies at VW House residences. 4) Danish folk art. 5) Interesting windows. 6) Hans J. Wegner Wishbone chairs.

Situated on the islands of Zealand and Amager, Copenhagen has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life. In fact, studies show that Copenhagen has the happiest population in the world. It is also considered one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities, with 36% of all citizens commuting by bicycle.Copenhagen is made up of multiple districts, each with its own distinctive character based on the time period in which it was built.

Copenhagen’s skyline.

Copenhagen’s skyline.

While some of our favorite mid-century designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, and Verner Panton are all Danish and helped shape the future of modern furniture, much of Copenhagen is made up of Baroque, Renaissance, and Rococo architecture. “The City of Spires”, as it is sometimes called, is known for its horizontal skyline, being broken only by the spires common on churches and castles. In becoming a metropolitan city of international scope, Copenhagen has seen a boom in modern architecture. It also has one of the highest number of restaurants and bars per capita in the world. Coupled with their large array of museums, concert halls, and parks, there is plenty to explore in Copenhagen.

If you were a cowboy/girl who wanted to live in the West Texas desert, believed in the extraterrestrial, had a knack for modern art, and an appreciation for 1950’s kitsch, then Marfa is where you would want to call home.

L-R Clockwise: 1) Donald Judd sculpture at Chinati Foundation. 2) Yurt at El Cosmico campgrounds. 3) Leather and wood handcrafted chair. 4) Downtown Marfa. 5) Directions to Marfa Lights viewing platform. 6) Crocheted Airstream trailer.
L-R Clockwise: 1) Donald Judd sculpture at Chinati Foundation. 2) Yurt at El Cosmico campgrounds. 3) Leather and wood handcrafted chair. 4) Downtown Marfa. 5) Directions to Marfa Lights viewing platform. 6) Crocheted Airstream trailer.

Marfa is a place unlike any other. In this small Texas town, one block is an ironic combination of ranchers, hipsters, and everything in between. You can go to an art opening for a famous Japanese installation artist, mosey past a western bar where horses are tied up outside, and then cross the street to check out the punk band screaming profanities at an audience of elderly tourists who came to see the aliens and wondered what all the racket was. NPR is a local radio station and you can readily find the New York Times at the local bookstore. If this isn’t proof enough of the wackiness of what is essentially a ghost town located in the Chihuahua desert, then it gets weirder. Marfa is known for the unexplained phenomena known as the Marfa Lights, twinkling orbs of light that seem to dance on the horizon along an area near U.S. Route 67. The most logical explanation seems to be that the lights are a mirage caused by sharp temperature gradients between cold and warm layers of air, but why believe this when it could be UFO’s or ghosts?

Prada Marfa, a permanent art installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, located 37 miles northwest of Marfa.
Prada Marfa, a permanent art installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, located 37 miles northwest of Marfa.

In 1971, renowned artist Donald Judd, moved to Marfa from New York City and started installing his art on a larger scale in two hangars he purchased. Working to maintain his legacy, the Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation were formed and host many events where artists, collectors, and enthusiasts come from around the world to attend openings and events. Visit during the Chinati Art Festival or El Cosmico’s Trans-Pecos Festival of Music, and there will be plenty of sights and sounds to enjoy. Pack up your pearl snaps and get to Marfa, you won’t regret it!

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, constituting the country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart.

L-R Clockwise: 1) Prestige Mall. 2) Hagia Sophia, a former basilica, later a mosque, and now museum. 3) Instanbul Modern, art museum. 4) Sultan Ahmed Mosque. 5) Besiktas Fish Market, re-constructed with a modern aesthetic. 6) Lanterns at the Grand Bazaar.
L-R Clockwise: 1) Prestige Mall. 2) Hagia Sophia, a former basilica, later a mosque, and now museum. 3) Instanbul Modern, art museum. 4) Sultan Ahmed Mosque. 5) Besiktas Fish Market, re-constructed with a modern aesthetic. 6) Lanterns at the Grand Bazaar.

Founded around 660 BC as Byzantium, the city now known as Istanbul has developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. For nearly sixteen centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, this now cosmopolitan city, served as the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul straddles one of the world’s busiest waterways in northwestern Turkey, the Bosphorus, making the city straddle two separate continents. Its commercial and historical center lies in Europe, while a third of its population lives in Asia. It’s historic center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the discovery of Neolithic artifacts dating as far back as the 7th millennium BC.

Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace

Istanbul is in the midst of a cultural renaissance. Modern architecture, art galleries, fine dining and boutique hotels are sprouting up all around this city whose conservative and mostly Islamic culture has only recently welcomed these changes. One could spend their entire vacation exploring the Topkapi Palace, the large palace that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. If shopping is your forte, then put your negotiation skills to test with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops, you should have no problem scoring that perfect Kilim or authentic Turkish souvenir!

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