30 August, 2010

New Worlds of Inspiration

By Lauren Setum, LiLu Interiors Intern

This past February, I boarded a flight to New Zealand where I would spend the next four months studying abroad. As I settled into what would be my seat for the next twelve hours, the couple next to me, who I learned was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, asked why I was traveling to the other side of the globe. When I explained that I was an interior design student from the University of Minnesota, they asked why I chose to study in New Zealand. Why not Italy or another European country with a more extensive architectural history? Wouldn’t I be better suited as an aspiring designer elsewhere?
Having been to Italy a few years ago, their question was understandable. From what I’ve seen, it is truly a beautiful region, both architecturally and geographically. When it comes to inspiration, however, there is not one right place to find it. Architecture and design span the globe, and each culture offers a unique aesthetic and approach.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
--Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s quote regarding the impact of travel may be a little on the blunt side, but it encompasses the benefit of taking the time to appreciate the work of a new designer, practices of an unfamiliar culture, or beauty of a new landscape. I like to interpret it to mean that, local or abroad, there are new sights to see and experiences to be had!
I chose New Zealand because I did not know very much about it, and I felt that I could be inspired by this tiny country that was rumored to be quite breathtaking. As it turned out, the rumors were true, and I found the culture, land, and people of New Zealand to be a wonderful source of inspiration. Below are some photos from the first week of my trip.
Looking out over Auckland, New Zealand

Rafting down a waterfall

Maori village architecture

This native Maori village is thermal, and food is cooked in these boxes in the ground.

Traditional Maori ceremony

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