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The Barcelona skyline lights up the night.

A Design Lover’s Travel Guide to 2018

Article by Kat Johnson 05.25.2018

From explosive ideas to late-night revelry, experience the world’s great design destinations: art shows, museum openings, fashion events and new architectural wonders. See the world in style at exclusive events and openings, from now until December.

It feels like every year our calendars get more crowded with all the design festivals, art fairs, conferences and exhibits unfolding across the planet. This year is already off to a racing start, with the TED Conference in Vancouver and Milan’s Salone del Mobile both wrapping in April. Where are aesthetes, artists, visual communicators and big thinkers headed next? These are the essential design destinations for (the rest of) 2018, along with the extraordinary moments that you’ll only find at The Ritz-Carlton.

Under a blue sky, the sun illuminates the columns and grand statue of the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

Spark Your Sense of Wanderlust in Berlin

With a theme that’s likely near and dear to guest of The Ritz-Carlton, “Wanderlust” explores the desire to travel with works from international artists including Paul Gauguin, Caspar David Friedrich, Auguste Renoir and Gustave Courbet. Whether you’re more transported by art or by travel, this world-class curation will carry you away. The exhibition runs May 10–Sept. 16 at Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

Don’t miss: Afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, hosted by India-trained tea sommeliers and featuring 68 aromas from the French brand Mariage Frères, to inspire your wanderlust without leaving the hotel.

“Wanderlust” runs May 10 – Sept. 16 at Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Visit smb.museum/en

Shoppers browse the chic goods inside the WantedDesign boutique.

Discover Cutting-Edge Home Design in New York City

NYCxDesign (May 11–23) showcases design in all disciplines, with fairs including the ICFF, Collective Design Fair, WantedDesign and a variety of satellite exhibits — like the influential Site Unseen OFFSITE — that are arguably even cooler. Last year saw ogle-worthy furnishings and installations from Philippe Malouin, India Mahdahvi and Rockwell Group — perfect for sprucing up your dining room, or just your Instagram feed.

Don’t miss: Rediscovering classic design that stands the test of time. After a busy day in the city, relax at the iconic bar inside The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, where the chic atmosphere provides a perfect place to kick up your feet.

NYCxDesign runs May 11 – 23 in New York. Visit nycxdesign.com.

The Barcelona skyline lights up the night.
A man captures a photo of the blue OFFF logo.

Credit to Chris Milne for OFFF Barcelona

Celebrate Beauty and Innovation in Barcelona

Where better to revel in the art of design than Barcelona? OFFF is a three-day festival May 24–26 that gathers top international designers to discuss visual creativity, from branding, advertising and user experience to illustration, animation and more. OFFF has expanded to major cities around the world, but the Barcelona event is an annual tradition now entering its 18th year.

Don’t miss: A hands-on flower workshop at Hotel Arts Barcelona, hosted by floral artist Donna Stain, whose custom arrangements are a lush complement to the hotel’s modern design and collection of Spanish and Catalan art.

OFFF Barcelona runs May 24 – 26 in Barcelona. Visit offf.barcelona.

An isolated driveway sheltered by lush green vegetation leads to the Miho Museum.

Take a Deep Dive into the World of Color in Japan

If you’ve never been, Miho Museum — an hour’s drive from Kyoto — should sit atop your bucket list. Designed by I.M. Pei, the mystical space is entered by first walking through a long tunnel; the majority of the museum is carved within a rocky mountainside. After cherry blossom season, the next best time to go is this summer, when a new exhibition makes its colorful debut: “Red and Blue: Exploring the Wonderful World of Color,” which runs June 30–Aug. 26. The permanent collection of Asian and Western antiquities is equally spectacular.

Don’t miss: An art tour of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, whose impressive collection of contemporary art is inspired by scenes from The Tale of Genji, often considered to be the world’s first novel.

“Red and Blue: Exploring the Wonderful World of Color” runs June 30 – Aug. 26 at the Miho Museum in Shigaraki, Japan. Visit miho.or.jp/en.

The modern architecture of the Cleveland Museum of Art is illuminated on a sunny day.

Explore a New Hotbed of American Art in Cleveland

Cleveland continues its ascent on the world art stage with an ambitious triennial featuring 70 local and international artists with site-specific commissions, performances, films and programs. The inaugural edition is “An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises,” which founder Fred Bidwell says will play out against the backdrop of the Rust Belt’s singular crossroads of racial, political, social and economic issues. The exhibition runs July 14–Sept. 30.

Don’t miss: The reimagined TURN Bar + Kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, which honors the city’s steel-working legacy and features locally sourced American fare, weekend live DJs and a dramatic onyx bar.

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art runs July 14 – Sept. 30, 2018 in Cleveland. Visit frontart.org

Patrons mingle outside the modern, white structure of the Leopold Museum on a sunny day.

Uncover Vienna’s Rich History through Photography

Pioneering Austrian photographer Moriz Nähr (1845-1945) is known for portraits of Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This exhibit chronicles the urban and social changes that rocked Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, when Nähr served as court photographer to Archduke Franz Ferdinand — providing an essential visual record of a complex era.

Don’t miss: The city’s 2018 art theme, “Beauty and the Abyss,” which focuses on artists Klimt, Schiele, Wagner and Moser. Choose from three cultural packages at The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna to take advantage of exclusive gallery opportunities.

“Moriz Nähr: Photography and Modernism” runs Aug. 24 – Oct. 29 at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Visit leopoldmuseum.org.

www.downtowndesign.com

www.downtowndesign.com

Discover Up-and-Comers in Dubai

Dubai Design Week is an ambitious festival that firmly cements the city as the creative capital of the Middle East. The event includes more than 60 separate activities and projects, including a massive design fair (Downtown Design, Nov. 13 – 16); talks, lectures and workshops; and a focus on incubating both young and regional talent.

Don’t miss: An indulgent Friday brunch, a favorite local tradition. At The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, choose from lavish experiences at 1920s-style Café Belge and the lush urban jungle of Flair No. 5.

Dubai Design Week runs November 12 – 17 in Dubai. Visit dubaidesignweek.ae.

Revel in Miami’s Acclaimed Art and Culture Scene

You already know about Art Basel’s artistic wonders — a thrilling mix of established artists, under-the-radar discoveries and star-studded parties — whether you visit the Swiss festival or the Hong Kong iteration. But for the perfect excuse to visit Miami in December (and for the stellar design event that occurs alongside), this is the best way to cap off the year.

Don’t miss: Escaping the Basel buzz with a spa treatment, yoga session or barre class at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami. The property also has a multimillion-dollar art collection, including a monumental installation from sculptor Guy Dill.

Art Basel Miami Beach runs December 6 – 9 in Miami. Visit artbasel.com/miami-beach.

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Plan Your Stay in these Destinations


  • Berlin

    Location Berlin, Germany

    Experience A striking hotel in the vibrant Potsdamer Platz quarter.

    • Fantastic views of the Tiergarten
    • Minutes from historic Berlin attractions
    • An exceptional on-site restaurant
  • New York, Central Park

    Location Midtown Manhattan

    Experience Sweeping Central Park views from your hotel room

    • Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best
    • Steps away from Central Park
    • Just one block from the famed 5th Avenue
  • Barcelona

    Location Barcelona, Spain

    Experience A beachfront hotel overlooking the Mediterranean

    • Mediterranean and city views
    • 5 outlets, including a two Michelin-starred restaurant
    • The highest spa in Barcelona
  • Kyoto

    Location Kyoto, Japan

    Experience A modern take on time-honored Japanese traditions.

    • Nestled on the banks of the Kamogawa
    • 180-degree Higashiyama mountain views
    • The most spacious guestrooms in Kyoto
  • Cleveland

    Location CLEVELAND, OHIO

    Experience Finest luxury hotel in heart of downtown Ohio

    • Minutes away from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
    • Views of the city, Lake Erie or the Cuyahoga River
    • Indoor access to Tower City Center's shopping, dining and movies, Quicken Loans Arena
  • Vienna

    Location Vienna, Austria

    Experience A five-star hotel set in four historic 19th century palaces.

    • Luxury urban retreat at The Ritz-Carlton Spa
    • Viennese charm meets contemporary luxury
    • Elegant venues for dining and dancing
  • Dubai International Financial Centre

    Location DIFC

    Experience A luxury retreat in one of the world’s most exciting cities.

    • Art deco inspired architecture
    • Executive Residences for long-term stays
    • Internationally inspired spa
  • Bal Harbour

    Location Bal Harbour, Florida

    Experience The exclusive Bal Harbour Village neighborhood.

    • Private waterfront terraces from each guest room
    • Waterfront spa treatments and outdoor spa terrace
    • Minutes from luxury shopping and museums