Singapore…This modern Asian city is bursting with state of the art architecture! The skyline is starting to take on a space age look with a futuristic sensibility!
Marina Bay Sands is the new icon of the waterfront…it’s spaceship top high in the sky holds an incredible cantilevered pool over the city with a disappearing infinity edge!
All around the Marina Bay you can spot cool new marvels of architectural engineering!
Standing at the water’s edge feels as if you are looking at a glossy magazine featuring creativity with an eye to the future! It is great to see a city working so hard to remain current and evolve with the times! Singapore is rapidly growing and evolving to reflect what a modern day metropolis should look like!
Singapore…Usually the skyscrapers and mega malls define this modern yet tiny Asian country. But as a melting pot of numerous Asian ethnicities; Singapore marries Indian, Malay, and Chinese cultures that have had an extreme impact on this city’s food, architecture, and vibe!
The modern airport of Chiangi is the welcoming point for most Singapore visitors and its status as the world’s best gives visitors the first glimpse at how Singapore works…well organized and very user friendly!
The shopping and high rise mania doesn’t excite me, so I wanted to experience the more ethnic and historical heart of Singapore! A walk to the Kamplung Glam introduced me to Arab Street and area surrounding the Sultan Mosque. This Malay area dates back to the turn of the century and is beautifully lined with multi color historical buildings!
I loved the color combos of the buildings and especially how each shuttered facade is painted in a different unique color combo!
My first sampling of Singapore revealed a different side of this city and the cultural diversity that this city holds!
Melbourne, Australia…what a difference a day makes! This city is totally different from Sydney…the vibe, the look, the style, all of it! The “beachy” body consciousness of Sydney is a direct contrast to Melbourne’s hip urban eclecticism!
A great walking city, Melbourne is a shoppers paradise! Lanes, alleyways, little streets, and arcades abound filled with cool shops!
I love the mix of Victorian 19th century architecture seamlessly alongside Art Deco throughout the shopping meccas of Collins Street and Bourke Street!
The shopping arcades are stunning! Intricately tiled walkways open into these narrow light filled arcades with a Victorian feel…I understand these beautiful arcades started as little lane ways that provided rear access to properties facing big streets. Later they were roofed to provide refuge from weather and the crowds! These arcades give Melbourne it’s unique character and I really love how you just stumble upon one after another unexpectedly!
It gives this city a much more European feel and comes off much more sophisticated than Sydney…I feel an individual edgy chic vibe on the residents here and artsy individuality seems much the norm!
Melbourne is really surprising me with it’s charm and fashionable edge! Traveling to this southern city is allowing me to see Australians through a difference filter…
Chicago,Illinois…I am realizing what an amazing city I grew up in! This beautiful sunny Fall day I have spent strolling through downtown Chicago…
The lake, the river, the art installations of Millennium Park, the architecture & skyline…amazing elements that work together to create a world class city! This Midwestern hub really shines…I am strolling up the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue falling in love once again with my hometown. I am amazed at how the city really combines an urban vibe but retains a Midwest sensibility!
Leaving a place and returning with a new perspective really pays off…I am walking around wide eyed absorbing all that the Windy City has to offer!
Chicago, Illinois…I have travelled the world and yet so close to where I grew up is an area I took for granted for its sights and major contribution to the world of style and architecture…Oak Park is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and the district bearing his name is a showcase for his brilliance that launched Prairie style architecture! This area served as his laboratory for him to experiment and develop his world renowned and beloved style.
It’s a feast of housing style that lines the historic streets. I have driven by many times in my younger life and didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the impact and importance of this small artistic suburb! It’s breathtaking to walk these streets and see the different homes that explore this style of architecture.
Beautiful modernist lines, a pre art deco vibe, and brilliant use of woodwork and masonry.
Sometimes the best sights are not a world away, but right under your nose! We just need to slow down and take them in…
Warsaw, Poland…I am enjoying my stay in this city and a large part is due to the little gem of a hotel I discovered. I am staying at Rialto Boutique City Center in Warsaw. It is located in a central location yet set back from the bustling city streets in a quiet residential neighborhood.
It’s a fully restored Art Deco masterpiece! Amazing woodwork, period built ins, and lots of chrome! Everywhere you look you see an amazing historic touch. Even the light switches are period black turn knob style and thermostats look like chrome clocks. I always prefer boutique hotels over large chain hotels that lack uniqueness and charm; the sense of history married to modernity is terrific! It’s a total high to discover these kinds of undiscovered gems. Plus, this 5 star stunner was under 60 US dollars a night! What a steal!
The sun is out, the city is at my feet, and I am living in a utterly memorable place! Life is good!
Vienna, Austria…I am blown away by the art, but the museums themselves are masterpieces! Smartly, a large group of museums are built together around a modernist central courtyard, called Museum Quartier. It’s as enjoyable hanging out there as it is to admire the exhibitions inside! This planning also makes museum hopping very easy…
Away from Museum Quartier, the Secession Building is a sight to behold on its own with it’s ornate gold ball top and Klimt murals adorning the facade…literally, it glistens under the sun! All that before you get a sight of the magnificent work on the inside!
The grand museums of Belvedere and Upper Belvedere are connected by an elaborate garden…the whitewashed interior of Upper Belvedere leading to that chandelier strewn great room is more than an opening act for the great artwork collection inside!
Prague, Czech Republic…I decided to do the real tourist thing today! I started my day with the “hop on-hop off” bus to get the full overview of Prague’s sites. This is totally unlike me and not my idea of how to see a city, but this was my lazy way to get a big picture reference point. I would be lying if I told you it was anything other than boring! The young guide, who coincidentally grew up blocks from me in Chicago, didn’t seem to appreciate my constant yawning. The sights of this amazing city can only truly be taken in via foot tour from the stunning old town, not circling detached from it all atop an topless bus. I did learn that Czechs consider themselves part of Central Eastern Europe, not Eastern Europe; which refers to Russia or Ukraine. Central Eastern Europe includes the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Art comes in all forms and not all artists have the luxury of ritzy gallery showings or refined museums to display their work. Prague is a huge canvas for Graffiti! I enjoy all forms of expression, some of it is art and some of it is political…counter balanced to its street art, Prague boasts a bounty of Art Nouveau architecture and interior design in addition to it’s Renaissance period old town. This is just the start of the Art Nouveau I will encounter as Vienna, the home of Gustav Klimt, is next on the itinerary.
Shortly after my bus tour, the skies suddenly darkened and rain started to pummel down on the town; this is the first rain I have seen in ages! It is a welcome relief to help moderate yesterday’s sweltering heat.
The rain passes and off to meander thru old town I go! I have to say after a lazy month in the Mediterranean, city tourism sure is hard!
I head back via taxi and my driver gets aggressive with another driver and displays a very different kind of road rage! He rolls down the window and spits at the other driver! Whoa! The Czech may not consider themselves Eastern European, but that stunt sure seemed pretty Eastern Bloc behavior to me!
Today is a big WOW! I am strolling thru what looks like Mars or some sci-fi set for a futuristic movie feeling like somehow I have been transported into OuterSpace. I am not lost, rather I found the nirvana of modern and forward thinking architecture in of all places, Valencia, Spain!
I am walking around having to pick my jaw off the floor at every turn…I am at the site of Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciencias (the city of arts & sciences) not far from the old town center of Valencia. Museums can be boring, but not here!
Creativity is king…we can do anything with imagination. Spain is a testament to this and this country has sparked so much inspiration with it’s blend of old & new! This is beyond sightseeing, this is a religious experience for anyone creative or anyone who appreciates creativity.
Architecture so perfect and symmetrical yet like nothing you have ever seen! Whitewashed and glowing under the intense sun, there is something to see at every angle.
Rent a bike and enjoy a ride around this amazing complex labryinth of curves and angles. Duck under arches and pillars and test some of the acoustic wonders this place holds!
I loved the kids playing in inflatable balls in one of the lagoons.
Valencia is the birth place of Paella, but I will remember this place for opening my eyes to so many design possibilities!
Seville, Spain…today I set out from our port of Cadiz to the beautiful city of Seville. Renfe trains are modern and clean and the ride was easy and comfortable.
I am awestruck by the juxtaposition of modern futuristic architecture amongst buildings centuries old. Cutting edge work such as the spectacular Metropol Parasol (the world’s largest wooden structure) built so amazingly like a waffle in the sky to the Alamillo Bridge are set amongst the Cathedral of Sevilla housing the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the royal residence, Alcazar, built in the 10th Century by Muslim Kings.
I am totally inspired by how seamlessly it all works together. I realize this is a great idea for fashion. People refer to style that is futuristic or weird as “Avant Garde”, but by mixing it together with classic or traditional pieces it really is not so weird or “out there”, rather it pays respect to the past and speaks to the need for the future!
I suggest walking from Parasol to the Cathedral as the stroll through winding narrow cobblestone lanes allowed me to stumble across tiny shops selling the most amazing handmade scarves, jewelry, and couture gowns all made by Spanish artisans!
Viva Espana and congrats on your big soccer win last night over Italy…you can feel the country’s pride everywhere today!