WHEN I MOVED back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005 after eight years in New York City, I landed an editing job at a magazine called ReadyMade. Dubbed “an irreverent indie-rock Martha Stewart Living” by the New York Times, ReadyMade covered the intersection of DIY design, art, and culture.
ReadyMade brought me into the orbit of a small but tight-knit community of artists and designers who were committed to craft and the handmade during the decade between the first dot-com bubble and the current tech boom. Over the last few years, this community has grown exponentially and, in turn, has helped to change the face of San Francisco. So, for AFAR’s third annual Culture & Design Issue, we turned our attention to our own backyard. Bay Area native Jennifer Kahn reported on the next wave of makers running successful businesses devoted to their passions: letterpress printing, sign painting, furniture design, jewelry making, and other crafts.
Despite—or perhaps because of—the latest influx of tech money in the city, Kahn argues that a distinctly San Francisco aesthetic has taken root. Of course, renewed interest in the handmade extends to destinations the world over (and not just Portland and Brooklyn). In Mallorca, Spain, contributing writer Tom Downey went beyond the beach resorts and into the small villages where custom shoemaking is staging a comeback. In Hong Kong, the latest darling of the art world, the changing city informs the work of many local mixed-media artists and painters (read Tony Perrottet’s story here).
Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis, the founders of the fashion brand Suno profiled here, pull design inspiration from places and techniques all over the globe: East African prints, Japanese indigo patterns, and Indian embroidery.
Since creative places make the best destinations, we reveal 11 hotels where art is front and center—a trend we see growing across the travel industry as a whole.
This appeared in the October 2014 issue.