As the year begins to draw to a close, consider getting off the beaten path to discover emerging design destinations that might not be on your radar—at least not yet. Aside from more expected destinations like Berlin—which is celebrating the centenary of the Bauhaus and the fall of the Berlin Wall—and Austin, we’re spotlighting lesser-known hubs that are making waves in the design world. Take Sharjah, for example: The cultural capital of the UAE flies under the radar, but it’s going to attract architecture and design fans for the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial in November. Likewise, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Canberra, Australia, will draw architects and aesthetes for design week festivities. If you’ve been itching to get off the beaten path, this is the time to do it.
This year is a big year for Berlin, so if you haven’t been yet, now is the time to go. From November 4–10, a weeklong festival will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There will be projections of historical pictures, film, and sound installations in seven locations where the wall once stood in addition to lectures, readings, poetry slams, and concerts. Plus, all year long, the city is celebrating the centenary of the Bauhaus, the short-lived yet highly influential school founded by Walter Gropius. Though the Bauhaus-Archiv is still under renovation, you should visit the Berlinische Galerie in Kreuzberg to see the exhibit Original Bauhaus. Check in to the luxurious Hotel de Rome by Rocco Forte Hotels, which is centrally located in an old bank building near the Brandenburg Gate, and book the tasting menu at Nobelhart & Schmutzig for a memorable experience.
If Sharjah—designated by UNESCO as the cultural capital of the Arab World—isn’t on your radar, it should be. Kicking off on November 9, the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial will bring issues of architecture and urbanism to the forefront. The theme, “Rights of Future Generations,” aims to rethink the global climate crisis through the lens of architecture and the relationship between generations. If you go, keep in mind that alcohol is completely banned, so if you’d like a glass of wine at the end of the day, you might want to stay in Dubai and take day trips to Sharjah.
Launched in 2015, Belfast Design Week has grown to become one of the U.K.’s most innovative design events. Though the city is best known for its connection to the Titanic, it’s got loads of attractions besides the Titanic Museum. The events will kick off on November 4 with a series of talks and workshops, and continue all week long. Belfast doesn’t exactly have a hotel scene worth writing home about, but the AC Hotel Belfast by Marriott is a sleek, modern option on the riverside.
Australia’s national capital may not be as glamorous as Sydney and Melbourne, but for the month of November, it will be transformed into a must-visit design hub. The sixth annual Design Canberra Festival will take place from November 4–24 with more than 150 exhibitions, talks, tours, markets, open studios, and more. Last year’s event attracted more than 112,000 people, and this year it’s expected to be even bigger. Book a room at QT Canberra and request the “vroom service” to gain access to the hotel’s Mini Cooper free of charge.
It’s no secret that Austin is a creative city, so you can bet that this year’s Austin Design Week will be one for the books. Taking place November 4–8, it will feature 120 events, including workshops, panel discussions, studio tours, talks, installations, and more. Highlights include “Re-Thinking Design: Designing Out Waste” and “Design a Tiny Home for ‘Community First! Village.’” Check in to the LINE Austin, which opened last year with an Instagrammable design and four buzzy restaurants and bars.