travel photos


Ask any creative where they look for inspiration, and you’re likely to hear a common source: Travel. For many interior designers, there’s no better way to expand a creative repertoire (plus, discover new sources!) than exploring new places and soaking in the art, customs, colors, and natural surroundings. Of course, the past year has put travel plans for nearly all of us on hold—and just as the Design Leadership Network, a group of top interior designers and architects, was planning to publish a book spotlighting members’ favorite destinations, they all found themselves with cancelled flights and hotels. But instead of scrapping the project, the group forged ahead—now, they reasoned, was as meaningful a time as ever to celebrate the joy of travel, and to spotlight the places they most wish to return to once it’s possible. Enter: Travel by Design, an anthology of travel photographs captured by designers in their favorite locations—and the ultimate armchair vacation.

“While it’s been refreshing to enjoy the pleasures of home, as we await new treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, I suspect that anyone reading this shares my belief that travel in the months ahead will be more select and more appreciated than ever before,” writes DLN founder Peter Sallick in the book’s introduction. Indeed, we’re already dreaming of our next trip. Here, we’ve gathered a selection of the hundreds of destinations shared in Travel by Design. Consider it fodder for your travel vision boards, whenever they might resume.

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Machu Picchu, Peru

While the Peruvian mountain city is a favorite of adventure and nature lovers, it’s also an architectural marvel. “The extremely precise quality of the stonework is unforgettable,” says Paul Whalen, an architect at Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Rome, Italy

It’s little surprise that Rome is a perennial favorite of architects: “The incomplete nature of Rome’s ancient ruins lets one’s imagination soar,” says Tom Kligerman of Ike Kligerman Barkley. “The architect completes them, each in a different way.”

Bagan, Myanmar

Designer Tom Stringer calls this ancient, abandoned city—dotted with pagodas dating back to the 9th century—”an eerie and unforgettably beautiful landscape.” No wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cotswolds, England

“West of London, the Cotswolds are a world apart, teeming with some of the most idyllic villages dating back to the Middle Ages, elegant manor houses, romantic gardens, and breathtaking scenery,” says landscape designer John Howard. What better inspiration for a creator of gardens?

Mexico City, Mexico

For color inspiration, there may be no better visit than Louis Barragan’s Casa Gilardi, which is drenched in saturated hues, as captured by Woodson & Rummerfield’s Ron Woodson.


Sometimes, the best aesthetic inspiration is found in the most subtle differences in regions. “Every time I go to Australia, I am struck by the light,” says designer Jeffrey Alan Marks.

Ravello, Italy

Though it may look like a beach vacation from this image, this small Italian town has much more than that to offer: “The natural beauty of Ravello combined with the regional architecture is a total throwback in time,” says designer Frank Ponterio.

Great Plains, Botswana

Sometimes it’s a lack of the manmade that provides the best inspiration. “No words can describe the wonder of nature and wildlife, how they all coexist,” says designer Jiun Ho of Botswana’s sweeping plains. “What beckons me are the colors of the earth and vegetation.”

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