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The Top 5 Destinations for Design Lovers to Visit in December

Laura Itzkowitz

Though the holidays are just around the corner, one might want to consider taking a design-focused trip before the madness sets in. Miami will be buzzing with artists and designers for Art Basel and Design/ Miami, plus a host of satellite events throughout the city. The World Architecture Festival will return to Amsterdam with talks by some of architecture’s biggest names. The Angkor Photo Festival will draw photography fans to Cambodia, while major design festivals in Chiang Mai and Seoul are sure to attract design lovers to Thailand and Korea.

Amsterdam

Architecture and city lights in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam.
Photo: George Pachantouris / Getty Images

Architects and designers from more than 50 countries will attend this year’s edition of the World Architecture Festival and Inside World Festival of Interiors taking place December 4–6 in Amsterdam. This year, keynote speakers include Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Massimiliano Fuksas of Studio Fuksas, Petra Blaisse of Inside Out, and Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. If you go, find some time to visit the Rijksmuseum, which is celebrating the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death all year long. Check into the Pulitzer Amsterdam in a series of canal houses, the Conservatorium Hotel in a renovated music conservatory, or Hotel de l’Europe, a historic grand dame and member of Leading Hotels of the World.

Siem Reap

Angkor Wat one of the seven wonders of the world in Cambodia.

Photo: Boy Anupong / Getty Images

Siem Reap may not be known as a design destination, but forty years after the Khmer Rouge was defeated, a new generation of artists and designers is bringing the arts back to Cambodia. Now in its 15th edition, the Angkor Photo Festival is a prime example of this cultural renaissance. Following a series of professional workshops, the public festival will take place December 3–7 with a series of exhibitions, nightly slideshow projections, artist talks, panel discussions, and workshops in venues across the city. The just-opened FCC Angkor, managed by Avani, will host a show curated by Matca, a Vietnamese photography collective. Check into one of the property’s 60 new rooms and dine at the Mansion, which lived past lives as the French governor’s mansion during the colonial era and later as the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. The hotel offers budding photographers the chance to do a photo tour of Angkor Wat led by professional photographers.

Miami

Beachfront buildings under sunset sky

Photo: Getty Images

Heading to Magic City for Art Basel and Design/ Miami? You’d better book your hotel if you haven’t already. For a respite away from the South Beach crowds, you might want to stay at the luxurious Four Seasons the Surf Club—home to Le Sirenuse—or Life House Little Havana, an intimate new member of Design Hotels. Aside from the fairs, there are lots of art and design happenings around the city. As you walk down the shore by Lincoln Road, keep an eye out for a monumental installation by Argentinean artist Leandro Erlich depicting a traffic jam with cars made of sand. The Wynwood Walls will unveil new murals by Faile, Futura, Kenny Scharf, and a handful of other artists, in addition to hosting a group retrospective show and a solo show featuring the work of legendary artist Shepard Fairey.

Seoul

Sunrise scene of Seoul downtown city skyline, Aerial view of N Seoul Tower at Namsan Park in twilight sky in morning. The best viewpoint and trekking from inwangsan mountain in Seoul city, South Korea

Photo: Mongkol Chuewong / Getty Images

Now in its 18th edition, the Seoul Design Festival aims to provide a platform for Korean designers who want to enter the world stage. From December 4–8, it will provide an opportunity for visiting architects and designers to scout to new talent and discover what this megacity has to offer. Stay at the Park Hyatt Seoul, a bastion of chic design in the city’s ritzy Gangnam district, or the Four Seasons Seoul, which is home to one of the city’s buzziest speakeasy-style cocktail bars.

Chiang Mai

Phra Singh Waramahavihan Temple of Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Photo: Peerapas Mahamongkolsawas / Getty Images

One of the ancient capitals of Thailand (formerly known as the Kingdom of Siam), Chiang Mai is known for its incredible temples and gorgeous natural scenery. Lately, though, its becoming more of a hub for the arts and design, which will be celebrated during Chiang Mai Design Week from December 7–15. Organized by the Thailand Creative & Design Center, the festival gives Thai designers a chance to exhibit and sell their wares. If you go, book a room at the luxurious Anantara Chiang Mai and visit the Elephant Nature Park, which cares for elephants rescued from abuse.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest