Top 5 Series: Best Cities for Great Furniture Design

Let’s face it: online shopping has opened up a world of furniture shopping possibilities, allowing you to purchase an entire house worth of pieces with just a few clicks (there’s even software and programs out there that help you visualize your space, as we discussed in a blog post a few weeks ago!).

But for me, it’s hard to beat actually seeing and being inspired by great design in person, and that’s one of the reasons why I love to travel -- to discover fabulous furniture and housewares. If you’re planning your next vacation and want to be inspired in some of the best cities for furniture design, then look no further!


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 1) Copenhagen, Denmark

Scandinavia has been one of the biggest hotbeds of subtle, simple, but beautifully crafted furniture design for decades (if not centuries!), and in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, great furniture design can be found just about everywhere. Larger contemporary design shops like Hay House and Normann Copenhagen are located in the city center, while smaller boutiques like Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery cater to more vintage (but still local!) pieces.



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2) Tokyo, Japan

Japan is known for its cutting-edge design and blended with the functionality of Japanese ethos, and lots of Japanese designers are producing thoughtful, delicate items (like the chairs above by Nendo). If you’re headed to Tokyo, be prepared for pieces with a tranquil, natural wood feel and spaces that are well-balanced and simple. Make sure you check out Bals Tokyo and Sempre -- they both have an awesome selection of family-friendly pieces, and carry the work of lots of local designers.



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 3) Stockholm, Sweden

While most people might think of Ikea when it comes to Swedish design, good design is actually a way of life in Sweden and is important to the local culture. The city is home to several museums with excellent furniture collections, including the Nordiska Museet and the National Museum, and the annual Stockholm Design Week with a specific Furniture & Light Fair keeps the scene exciting and innovative!



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4) Miami, Florida

In recent years, Miami has emerged on the design scene, complete with its own Design District -- a neighborhood dedicated to forward-thinking design, furniture, fashion, architecture, and dining. See if you can make your travel schedule aligned for DesignMiami, one of the most exciting forums for design in the world, where top art galleries, exhibitions, furniture pieces, lighting, and artwork come together for one awe-inspiring week.



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5) Buenos Aires, Argentina

A city known for its vibrant mix of South American lifestyle and European architecture and roots, Buenos Aires boasts its own Design District and tons of stores and boutiques filled with local and vintage furniture. Argentina has long been an exporter of high-quality leather as well as indigenous woven textiles (the Palermo chair, pictured above, is an Argentine classic!), and you’ll find both of these incorporated into Argentine designs. Try and stop by Elementos Argentinos, Bldv Furniture, or Arte Etnico Argentino for some local flair.

Great furniture finds can be had across the globe, from Asia to the South America, Europe to the United States. One of the best things about furniture shopping while traveling is the aesthetics and functionalities of the local culture embedded in the furniture that speak to their time and place -- a feeling and sensibility that you can then bring home with you. If you’re making vacation plans for 2017, happy travels and good luck finding some exciting furniture abroad!


Kate R.

Kate is a New York-based architect and preservationist, with a love for all things design! 


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