6 Homes Near the World’s Top Design Events

Good design is a gateway to the world, a universal language understood around the globe. Effective design showcases the brilliance of individual creators along with the cultures and contexts in which they work. And it’s certainly worth traveling for—hence the emergence of international design weeks. Every year, amazing exhibitions of high style and exceptional craftsmanship take place in cities globally.

Here are six you won’t want to miss, along with some of the most stunning homes nearby. For true patrons, establishing a home base near these flagship events can make a one-off experience an annual pilgrimage. After all: a design enthusiast visits; an aficionado moves in.

Dubai: INDEX Dubai and Dubai Design Week

Dubai

Dubai Design District, United Arab Emirates, photo courtesy of Solkafa/ Shutterstock Inc

Dubai has become synonymous with design; over the last decade, it has witnessed the rise of an avant-garde skyline whose buildings have shattered world records and won accolades. Within this architectural wonderland, the innovative Dubai Design District (d3) hosts Dubai Design Week every November. And in September, thousands of interior designers, decorators, artisans, and architects, converge on the city for INDEX Dubai.

design events around the world

Lewis KnollmanGulf Sotheby’s International Realty

This spectacular penthouse, situated in the heart of downtown just across the water from d3, puts visitors at the heart of Dubai. It’s a rare unit in Burj Khalifa, the tallest freestanding structure in the world. This luxury home has a front-row seat to some of the most interesting and iconic architecture in the world.

But why fixate on the landmarks around this residence when you could be enjoying the landmark features within? Leading Dubai firm Bishop Design is responsible for the contemporary interiors, set among curving open-concept spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Stockholm: Stockholm Design Week and Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

stockholm design week

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, photo courtesy of Gustav Kaiser / Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

Nordic design is well-known around the world for its elegance and functionality, and every February, Sweden’s enchanting capital lights up the long Scandinavian winter with Stockholm Design Week and the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. Hundreds of events, exhibitions, and installations are on display, featuring work by household names as well as exciting newcomers.

interior design competition

Anders ElbeSweden Sotheby’s International Realty

A spacious loft in Östermalm is a great way to get cozy in this chilly city and take in the sights during the short days and long nights. With its edgy, sloped ceilings and exposed beams, this beautiful apartment on historic Sibyllegatan is a blank canvas—and therefore, a design buff’s dream.

Singapore: Singapore Design Week

Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, photo courtesy of Ake Wa/ Shutterstock Inc

A futuristic metropolis set in the tropics, Singapore is home to some of the most striking architecture and design in the world; look no further than the famous Marina Bay Sands and the public Gardens by the Bay nearby. It’s only natural that it would be the focal point for one of the premier creative gatherings in Asia Pacific: Singapore Design Week, which typically goes for two weeks, and in its latest edition hosted over 100 events and 200,000 visitors.

kitchen luxury

Karen KOHList Sotheby’s International Realty

Of course, many of the city’s most eye-catching design landmarks are mainstays—like this luxury condominium in District 9. The building is by the acclaimed firm Arquitectonica, and the innovative Y-shaped layout maximizes both the floorspace and windows, which overlook Singapore’s major shopping and entertainment strip on Orchard Road.

Milan: Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile; Fiera Milano

Milan design

Salone del Mobile, photo courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano by Alessandro Russotti

The mere mention of Milan makes most people think of fashion, with brands like Prada, Armani, Gucci and Versace headquartered in the city. But every March, it’s the interior and industrial designers who truly put on a show.

Milan Design Week is arguably the most iconic event of its kind, and its crown jewel is the Salone del Mobile furniture fair. What was once a trade show is now a confluence of epic conversations and larger-than-life ideas, with installations and demos from over 2,500 companies. In the off-season, patrons can still enjoy the largest permanent trade fair in Europe, hosted by Fiera Milano.

italy sotheby's international realty

Ivan ImbrianiItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

To really embrace the spirit of industrial design, escape to this turn-of-the-century loft. Originally a distillery for Compari, the building has undergone recent renovations; the eclectic mix of materials—checkered tile, wooden paneling, exposed brick—makes this home a feast for the eyes and a rare collector’s item. Not to mention, 10 Corso Como, a hub of Milan culture and style, is just down the street.

New York: NYCxDesign and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair

NYCxDesign

NYCxDesign, photo courtesy of NYCxDesign

Each May, New York City becomes the center of the design world with NYCxDesign, a series of fairs, events, and celebrations that span all five of its boroughs. Of course, Manhattan is at the heart of the festivities, and the ICFF at the Javits Center has been an institution of luxury style for over three decades.

Steve SallionWarren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty

Manhattan may be in the thick of the action—but after several consecutive days of events, Midtown can be exhausting.This converted Brooklyn condominium is a perfect oasis for design aficionados looking to take a breather: originally constructed in 1927, it once served as the printing facility for theNew York Daily News, but now offers 4,000 square feet of outdoor living space, a two-tiered private garden, and an open-concept interior that gives the owner complete creative license.

São Paulo: DW! São Paulo Design Weekend

design week

DW! São Paulo Design Weekend Installation, photo courtesy of DW! São Paulo Design Weekend

São Paulo has always known how to put on a show, and DW! São Paulo Design Weekend is no exception. Though it’s younger and less established than its counterparts in Milan and New York, DW! is known for its wide selection of featured events, and is the largest design festival in Latin America.

bossa nova

Bossa Nova Sotheby’s International Realty

For a home away from home in South America’s design capital, it’s difficult to do better than this apartment. Not only does the building bear the signature of modern design legend Daniel Libeskind, but the interiors have been meticulously appointed by noted Brazilian decorator Dado Castello Branco. To top it off, this retreat among the treetops comes with furniture from Minotti, along with the latest home automation systems.

Design weeks invite you to enjoy an ephemeral experience—a fleeting snapshot of world-class style that lasts for just a few days. But you can turn a weekend into a lasting work of art: whether you’re looking for a blank canvas to style, or a turnkey showroom featuring the work of today’s top artisans, there are apartments waiting for you the world over. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find one just around the corner from your favorite festival of contemporary design.

Take inspiration from the world’s top design destinations, and source your own home with remarkable details.

 

Transform Your Space: Curating Art for Your Home

Your home serves as the outward expression of your inner-self, something of a vessel for your spirit. To capture that essence, clear structure, a thoughtful palette, and ambient lighting hold key roles; but it’s what you display in this space that makes it unique. Curating art for this blank slate is what makes a home uniquely yours.

Perhaps you’re a strategist, focusing on pieces with a kind of visual mathematical precision; maybe you’re a minimalist, preferring one or two bespoke pieces where the light hits them just so; or it could be that you’re a bona fide enthusiast, peppering your dwelling with an eclectic mix of oils and photography, not to mention a strategically placed sculpture or two.

If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to art, you’re in luck—the home itself is one the best starting points when looking for curation clues. After all, everything from the white quartz of kitchen counters to industrial-chic finishing touches can inform your art collection. Consider your abode a look book for inspiration, and transform it from blank slate to bespoke gallery. No gallery-white walls necessary.

Identify Your Taste

Florida home

ONE Sotheby’s International Realty – Contact Alexa Iacovelli for more information

Some things in life speak to you, and you alone, and that can lead to feeling torn between aesthetic aspirations and authentic representation when decorating your home. In theory, you may love the idea of sharp, mod looks and lines, but in practice, find yourself choosing bold colors and organic shapes.

The same can be true of art curation. You may admire the broken grid gallery walls in a recent issue of Wallpaper*, yet in a gallery, you’re drawn to a single, enveloping piece commanding the space. Instead of trying to conform to an idea of what should be into your home, consider what instinctually draws you in.

Focus on Mood

buy and sell

Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty – Contact Leigh Williamson for more information

How do you want to feel when you walk into a room? Elated? Relaxed? Inspired? Just as you took great care in finding a home with an infinity pool to end your days on a mellow note, equal attention should be given when seeking poolside art to complement it. Perhaps the wave-like quality of a smooth marble sculpture reminds you of peaceful shores, or maybe the mirrored shards of a mixed-media piece in the library help shift your focus to self-reflection.

You can embrace, amplify, or transform moods with the right curated collection. Art can shape not only how a room looks, but also how it makes you feel.

Play Matchmaker

luxury home

Sotheby’s International Realty – Montecito Brokerage – Contact Suzanne Perkins for more information

You have this room in your house that’s truly magnetic. When friends and family are introduced, they immediately get it. There’s something about the way the furniture frames the window, or textures you’ve added throughout—it simply works. Now you just need to add some final polish by finding that perfect finishing touch.

When you’re searching for new pieces to fit the bill, bring mementos of your favorite rooms with you—think photos, fabrics, swatches, or even small hardware. Trained in the art of curation, gallery directors can help create an encompassing artistic voice for your space from similar textures, colors, or cues. Sometimes the smallest slice of similarity is a match worth marrying.

Frame it Right

expensive art

Sotheby’s International Realty – Wine Country – East Napa Street Brokerage – Contact Ginger Martin and Gregg Lynn for more information

Framing your new favorite piece isn’t simply about the physical frame. In fact, your burgeoning collection may not require wall mounting at all—it’s about how it works withinthe space. Great arrangements draw in the eye and invite it to explore nearby, but they continually loop you back to a focal point.

Decide what you want the focal point in your room to be. It doesn’t have to be the art, but it could be a breathtaking view, elegant handcrafted side table, or even a prominent lighting fixture. Wherever you want your eye to start and finish, frame it with complementary—but not overpowering—furnishings and works, so you keep coming back to your favorite spot.

However you decide to curate for your inner-sanctum, let it reflect your personality and show yet another side to how you love to live.

Play with Light

interior lighting

Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty – Contact Josi Van Horn for more information

Lighting is more than just a regal lamp or sconce placed near a remarkable work of art. It brings the work to life, highlighting its most beautiful details. It can be a challenge to match the proper lighting element to the piece, but when done correctly, the lighting elevates the portrait into that of a masterpiece.

Play with the physical bulbs first – what color light shines the best light; white, yellow, or a soft blue perhaps? Then, discover the outer hold. A lamp, a tasteful sconce, or installed lighting from the ceiling can provide the perfect ambiance for your artwork. Be careful not too overdo the lighting, as it may take away from your luxurious pieces.

 

Discover homes awaiting your masterpieces