Aamir Khandwala's guide to the top global destinations for design-lovers Advertisement

Aamir Khandwala’s guide to the top global destinations for design-lovers

The New York-based interior designer’s picks range from romantic Paris to bustling Tokyo

By Aamir Khandwala  February 12th, 2020

Does visiting architectural marvels from across the globe get your heart racing? Interior designer and aesthete Aamir Khandwala puts together an exhaustive list of visually pleasing places around the globe, that every art buff must visit. Scroll through the gallery:

New York City: It has been my home for over twenty-five years and, yet it features right on top of my list, because of its fascinating galleries, museums and cultural events. Favourite furniture galleries include Cristina Grajales, Hostler Burrows, and L’art De Vivre. Take time to visit smaller museums like the Noguchi Museum, Museum of Arts and Design and Neue Gallerie.

Istanbul: One of my favourite spots is the Rustem Pasha mosque behind the Spice Market. The colours and mismatched patterns of the Iznik tiles in this small mosque are simply stunning. Also, there are many gems to be discovered in the Cukurcuma antiques district. The Istanbul Modern is a must-see.

Fez: The heart of Morocco. Get lost in the colours, textures and abundance of materials in the labyrinthine medina that are so gorgeous! Fez Café is a special place to dine as it is located in the secret part of the garden at Le jardin des Biehn Riad.

Paris: The city never fails to inspire. Galerie Kreo and Musee Picasso are a couple of my favourite destinations. A chic spot for dinner in the High Marais is Supernova, which serves modern Italian fare in a minimal yet warm setting.

Milan: While Milan doesn’t ooze romance like other  Italian cities, it is truly a hotbed of design. The Brera district is brimming with inspiring showrooms, galleries and shops. The nearby Nilufar Gallery is an ideal destination for modern yet poetic furniture design. The Fondazione Prada is just outside central Milan and worth the trip.
London: I think of London as New York’s slightly more civilised sister city. Carpenters Workshop Gallery, numerous furniture showrooms on Pimlico Road, Tate Modern, and Victoria & Albert Museum, are always on my list when I visit.
Mexico City: I fell in love with this energetic and sophisticated megacity when I first visited it in 2016. The Condesa and Roma districts are green, walkable, and brimming with bohemian chicness. I would say its compulsory to make a trip to Casa Louis Barragan…and visit the studio of exquisite furniture designer, Gloria Cortina.
Havana: A feast for the senses, this city’s dilapidated grandeur is truly captivating. A visit to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a must. The Fabrica de Art Cubana is run by an arts collective and is housed in a former cooking oil factory. It’s a great place to see emerging art and people watch. La Guarida is a private restaurant housed in the gorgeous ruins of a building and is one of the most romantic places to dine in.
Tokyo: A bustling, visually dazzling yet remarkably organised city, Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise for luxury and beautifully crafted Japanese apparel and furnishings. The Meiji Shrine complex is a tranquil escape from the buzz of the city and is a testament to Japan’s remarkable heritage of landscape design.

Abu Dhabi: I must admit, my only motivation to visit the capital of the UAE was to see the Louvre Abu Dhabi—a space that is so sublime. I love how Jean Nouvel plays with light and pattern in this architectural masterpiece. Definitely make a reservation at Almayass, at the Sheraton Hotel. They serve sumptuous Armenian-Lebanese cuisine.

Photograph: Jacob Snavely (Aamir Khandwala)