04 Dec The Influence of Travel on Design with Gary Inman

In need of some major design inspiration? Pack your bags because there’s no better way to spark your creativity than exploring new cultures and ways of life. We spoke to Gary Inman, an award-winning designer, author, and professional speaker, who explains the impact travel has on design. Here’s what he had to say!

The Influence of Travel and Cultural Exploration on Design

Wanderlust, or a fascination for travel, is a passion shared by many designers. We have all felt the enchantment of the exotic and the tremendous power a new place has to forge new perceptions and to redirect and broaden our worldview. The best designers, in my opinion, are storytellers. It is travel and the immersion in other cultures that revitalizes our vision and inspires us in terms of colors, patterns, fragrances, and lifestyles. The more multifaceted our cultural vocabulary is, the more rich and vital our design language becomes.

I have spent decades traveling for my own passions and as a scholar. For me, Europe and England have held the greatest fascination and have exerted the greatest influence over my work in fashion and in the design of fine homes and luxury hotels. In years past I have led carefully curated tours of English Country Estates and London museums. I have spent the last four years carefully curating a “Design Secrets of Tuscany” tour for designers, antiques dealers, collectors, and other kindred spirits in November of 2019.


Expressing Culture

I have always found that I am fascinated by the differences in the cultures I visit, but also reminded that we all share a common desire for community, family, nurture, and love. I’ve found this to be even more essential in my design of hotels and resorts with Baskervill. The contemporary hotel paradigm argues for the local and authentic, a robust celebration of place that enriches the guest experience by immersing them in the culture they’re visiting.

Evoke a Feeling

Greg Natale, my Australian colleague writes that after he returns from the road, he translates the new perspectives gained from other cultures into his work. “New places can do more than just introduce us to a new color, or pattern, or method of making something. They give us a feeling. I love to draw on that feeling….and draw it into my designs.”

Endless Inspiration

For Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Madcap Cottage, all encounters are opportunities for inspiration. “We keep our eyes open at all times,” says Jason, “whether we’re on a far-flung trip to the English countryside, the remotest parts of Rajasthan in India, or a visit to the local mall. You never know where you might spot great design inspiration.”

Attention to Detail

“Travel is an essential component of inspiration for our brand.” Timothy Corrigan, the celebrated AD 100 designer, echoes this sentiment, writing, “Wherever I go I make it a point of visiting museums and galleries, or just walking the streets. A simple or elaborate detail will eventually find its way into one of my projects.

About Gary Inman

Nationally recognized for his erudite designs that embody innovation and the best of the past, Gary Inman has successfully merged his lifelong appreciation of beauty with his scholarly understanding of architecture and antiquities. He is an award-winning designer, author, and professional speaker whose work has been published in Verandah, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Home & Design and many others. Inman serves as a national spokesperson for ASID; is a board member of Southern Innkeepers, America’s oldest lodging association; and has contributed to several books, most recently writing the introduction for, Bespoke: Furniture from 101 International Artists. He is a pioneer of the narrative design movement with a prolific portfolio of projects richly imbued with stories.

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