Most inspiring place you’ve visited?

Published:  November 22, 2012
Most inspiring place you’ve visited?

Each month desktop puts a question to six creatives. This month we asked: Where is the most inspiring place that you’ve ever visited?

Fenella Kernebone
A recent experience was visiting the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, in the Niigata Prefecture, north Japan, deep in snow country, although on my trip it was stinking hot. The festival is on a massive scale. Dotted over hundreds of kilometres are hundreds of mostly large-scale artworks in converted farmhouses or minkas (Japanese for ‘house of the people’), disused primary schools, rice paddies – it’s amazing.

One rather creepy installation is the Dream House by Marina Abramović – where guests can sleep the night in a converted minka. Another work – a 20-tonne mountain of clothes – was by the French artist Christian Boltanski. Plus, I must have visited at least five empty primary schools all transformed into art spaces – and they’re empty due to demographic changes and an ageing population. I loved the experience; it completely reignited my love of good art, installation and, yep, even a bit of spectacle.

Kelly Thompson
I have been very fortunate to have visited many inspiring places, but the most inspirational place I have ever visited is Turkey. In 2010, I packed up my home in New Zealand and detoured internationally for four months before landing in Australia. I arrived in Turkey at night during Ramadan and within an hour I was sitting surrounded by apple-infused smoke, stamping my feet, experiencing my first Turkish street party, sans any alcohol, but enriched with more enthusiasm than any party I have ever experienced. The remaining 10 days found me in constant awe and filled up with sights, smells and a saturation of clashing culture, past and present. I can’t wait to go back!

Marcus Trimble
We visited Naoshima Island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea in late 2005. The Inland Sea is facing a similar dilemma to Australia’s rural centre – a diminishing population as youth migrate to the cities for education and employment. And Naoshima is a startling model of how commercial and community interests, tourism, art and architecture together can reverse this trend. In 1985, the Benesse Corporation, working with the local mayor, established a gallery and hotel to house its corporate art collection and provide an educational and cultural facility for the region. Over the years, the project has expanded to include additional galleries, hotels, campsites, school-group housing, site specific artworks and permanent installations throughout the small island. Of particular interest is the Art House project, where artists and architects make permanent site specific artworks from abandoned houses that are then staffed by the local community. It is an inspiring model for the regeneration of a community, and a model for cultural sustainability through cooperation between public and private interests and an investment in excellent art and architecture.

Marc Martin
The ruins of the ancient city of Angkor are probably the most inspiring place I’ve seen. It’s an incredible combination of cultural history, art and architecture set within the Cambodian jungle. In the 12th century, Angkor was the largest pre-industrial city in the world, with the ruins lying hidden in the forest until the late 19th century, so it still feels like there’s a sense of discovery when you walk around the sites now. I find that any change in scenery is a good way to get inspired and grow creatively, while giving me the reflective space to reassess my goals.

Leif Podhajsky
This might sound clichéd, especially coming from me. But the most inspiring place I have ever visited is inside of me. That place of pure joy, contentment and balance. It’s what I strive to find every day and bring into my life and work. But, seeing as we are talking ‘sea change’, I would say Rio de Janeiro is right up there. The people and vibes of that city are soul nourishing. A sunset on Ipanema Beach with the anticipation of a night that will swallow you up in its hot and sweaty bosom is something to behold!

Gregory Anderson
Japan is a designer’s dream. I love the cultural aesthetic and it permeates all aspects of Japanese life – from graphics to architecture to food. The discipline, minimalism and restraint of Japan are well-known, but I find the country an intriguing mix of chaos and order. A chaotic maze of streets, an unfathomable street numbering system and very odd but delightful business combinations exist, such as ballet/architecture studios and dentist/doll shops. And nowhere else in the world offers seven-level stationery stores where you can find the perfect paperclip.

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