Eastlakers Abroad


Each month we share a piece of ourselves with the rest of the studio in a salon-style presentation, complete with somebody’s favorite cocktail and everyone’s opinions.

We’ve heard tips on business communication, learned the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video (or at least, we tried to) and most recently, explored the globe together without leaving our studio. For this posting, we asked Eastlakers how travel provides inspiration and informs their design work.

Lorraine - Spectacular Street Art
On my trip to Portugal, I was surprised by the extensive use of tile as exterior art. Where Americans typically restrict the use of decorative tile to kitchens and bathrooms, the Portuguese celebrate tile on the exteriors of buildings and streets. We saw playful tile patterns in a variety of brilliant colors across entire facades of buildings. Streets and sidewalks were fully tiled with black and white geometric patterns - every street was defined by a different design. The labor that went into this art is mind-boggling, but the effect is stunning and memorable. My inspiration from this was twofold -  don’t be afraid to use materials in unconventional locations, and consider pattern to enliven even the most basic of paths.

Marissa - Steep Cliffs and Stacked Towns
Italy's Cinque Terre is composed of five small agricultural towns nestled among the almost uninhabitable sealine ridges. The people have taken land that looks uninhabitable and created terraces, an irrigation system, and even a small tram to ease navigation. This little community shows that with a little creativity and perseverance you can develop something truly ingenious even in the toughest situations.

Reyes - Postmodern Malls and Desert Art in California
For me, travel is about observation. We design for people and it is fascinating to watch how humans interact with their surroundings and each other when they are pulled out of their everyday environment.


Montgomery - The Coral Walls of Cartagena
During my travels,  I visited Cartagena, Colombia's oldest surviving colonial city. The old city, founded in 1533, was built within a massive wall that took over 200 years to construct. Working with the resources available, the wall is mainly constructed with brilliantly-colored intricate pieces of coral. Though it has many positive and negative connotations, the endeavor to design and construct such a massive project proves inspirational. It shows that even with limited resources, patience and determination can make any project possible.

Gabe - The Far Western Edge of the Far East
Travel is about adventure and exploring the stories hidden in every corner of the world. It gives me a heightened sense of perspective. Even after living in Shanghai for over two years, visiting China's most western province, Xinjiang, was a completely different experience for me. Xinjiang borders eight countries, so religions, cultural traditions, and design are meshed. Walking along the ancient silk road, I found the influence of several great civilizations etched into the architecture, musical instruments, jewelry and people.

Tom - The Bamboo Forests of Korea and Japan
I am inspired by travel in so many ways. A picture like this reminds me that I enjoyed the experience of a calming natural environment with my family. Bamboo forests are not just visually stimulating. The smells and sounds of this adventure will live with me for so many years.

Eastlake Studio