Where in the World is Workshop/APD?

May 05, 2023

Our designers often find inspiration in the spaces around them. But when they’re looking for a change of scenery, travel serves as an incredible opportunity to explore the built environment in new facets of the world. Below, a few Workshoppers tell stories from recent travels that left them with a new point of view.


Senior Designer, Jeremy Morton – Hakone & Naoshima, Japan


Hakone is a mountain town near Mt. Fuji surrounding rivers and Lake Ashi. It’s known for the “Onsen,” its natural hot spring spas & resorts. We took a switchback train ride from the coast, visited the Hakone Open air sculpture museum and the Kuzuryu Shrine. The path of Typhoon Hagibis – a category 5 super typhoon – passed directly through Hakone, while my sister and I were there. It turned out to be the costliest typhoon on record – $17.9 billion! I also discovered a few months later that this was a stop on my grandparent’s honeymoon – a full circle moment.


Naoshima is an island with art museums & installations throughout. We walked around the whole island, but you can also rent bikes. Triennial Art festival with surrounding islands. For designers, there are endless attractions to check out: Tadao Ando museums, Benesse House (and hotel), Lee Ufan Museum, and Chichu Art Museum (with James Turrell Installations). And of course, the Yayoi Kusama Yellow Pumpkin, pictured above.

Founding Principal Matt Berman – Rome, Italy

We visited Milan as part of the 2022 Design Leadership Network Summit, where we also visited Florence and Rome. Touring around Italy with our contemporaries was a unique, powerful way to connect over design – especially in a place where good craftsmanship is ubiquitous.

  1. We had the opportunity to tour a number of fabricators, like the Rubelli textile mill in Como, getting a look behind the curtain into some of the techniques that Italy is so famous for.
  2. Can’t-miss recommendation for travelers: aside from all the incredible food, I would recommend a trip to see the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church.
NLC Barolo

Senior Designer Nick Locicero – Drawing class in Barolo, Italy

    1. I travelled to La Morra, Italy by way of Milan in September of 2022. I have been taking figure drawing classes consistently since 2020. I started on Zoom with the same instructor and I am still studying under him. My instructor, Greg Follender, has a friendship with a local artist, Pierflavio Gallina. Pierflavio has a bed and breakfast in La Morra and we traveled to Italy to work out of Pieflavio’s studio there.
      1. Every day that I spent in La Morra we would eat breakfast and draw for a few hours and then travel to a nearby town to eat lunch and plan the rest of our day. We often would return and draw again for a few hours before dinner. La Morra is located within the Piedmonte region of Italy where Barolo Wine originates. Being surrounded by sprawling vineyards and quaint farm style local architecture while drawing for hours a day was truly a transformative experience. It was a great way to recharge and get perspective on my daily life in New York.
  1. Can’t-miss recommendations for travelers: The Cappella Delle Brunate Church that was painted by Sol Lewitt located just outside of the town of La Morra, Agricola Brandini – a local vineyard and hotel nestled into the countryside. Amazing food and wine! Day Trips to nearby Alba and Bra; Bra closes its streets to pedestrians on Friday nights when college is in session and people flood the streets to eat and drink, and it also has an incredible cheese festival.

Designer Abeer Jazza – Granada, Spain

I travelled to Granada/Spain in December 2022. I wanted to explore the city’s culture and architecture. I’ve always been fascinated by cities that have multiple historical layers and how those layers influence and shape contemporary culture.

I stayed at Albaicin neighborhood; a historical neighborhood known for its narrow slopping streets and well preserved traditional Medieval Moorish houses.  My favorite experience was walking through the narrow-curved streets edged by a beautiful palette of brown wooded roof lines, white stucco/plaster walls, and vegetation.  The streets felt as though they weren’t leading to an exit, and just before I started panicking, I was pleasantly surprised to see another street leading to either up the hill where the most beautiful scenes of the city are or down to the main road.

  1. Can’t-miss recommendation for travelers: Alhambra palace and the Mirador de San Miguel which is one of the highest vantage points in the city. And for Tango lovers, Tango shows in Granada are authentic.
Lpw 3

Executive Assistant Lili Whitelaw – Lucerne, Switzerland

    1. I traveled to Lucerne in May 2022. We decided to go to Lucerne due to it being the hometown of my best friend, Collier (Coco), and her family. Knowing it was an extremely special place in her heart, visiting for a few days and meeting her extended family gave us a deep understanding and love for Switzerland. Not only this, but we were able to tour her future wedding venue.
      1. Everything about lucerne is beautiful and designed articulately. The city alone is an architectural masterpiece, often known as where nature, architecture and culture meet. This picturesque town not only is designed beautifully, but surrounded by the Swiss mountains and the stunning Lake Lucerne.
  1. Can’t-miss recommendation for travelers: Personally, a run (or walk) around Lake Lucerne during sunrise is my best piece of advice to do when visiting. One of the first days, I woke up early to run from town , around the lake and back. That hour is today still the most memorizing, beautiful and monumental experiences of my life. I fell in love with Lucerne that morning, and it will forever be in my heart.

Marketing Coordinator Ellie Glass – Marseille, France

  1. I wanted to visit the south of France, a seaport region famous for its melting pot of cultures. I took the train from Paris last summer and stayed for a few short days.
  2. I got to visit the Mucem, a museum dedicated to the Mediterranean civilizations of Europe, built on the 7th century Fort Saint-Jean. The space blends old and new in a way I’ve never seen before – mainly because of just HOW old the structure is in contrast with how recently the museum was inaugurated (in 2013). The views from the many footpaths of the fort are stunning, and the foundation frequently hosts arts & culture events.
  3. Can’t-miss recommendation for travelers: Being surrounded by the sea, Marseille is home to dozens of incredibly rich seafood restaurants. For me, the most memorable was La Cantine de Nour d’Egypte, where I devoured a mezze plate followed by a whole grilled branzino and washed it down with cups of mint tea.
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Senior Designer Tarika Thienapirak – Portugal

I traveled to Portugal in both February 2022 & 2023 (couldn’t get enough to of it!). I visited my partner’s home town and took the opportunity to explore the rest of the country while I was there.

My favorite design related experience in Portugal is visiting the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a stunning example of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The palace is decorated with intricate azulejo tiles, intricate wood carvings, and beautiful gardens. It is a truly magical place to visit!

  1. Can’t-miss recommendation for travelers: Crossing the bridge (Ponte D Luís) in Porto at sunset, then having Port wine tasting after!