The dust has settled after our lucky students have returned from their jam-packed designer tour of New York and LA, life returning to normal. Back studying, the students are far from suffering post-holiday blues, but more energised and inspired, ready to implement the ideas and knowledge they gained from the trip. Under the careful curation of Diane Bergeron, the trip was thoroughly enjoyed, as she imparted her unique knowledge of the cities and the design secrets they hold. It was like the guide book you wish would be written, all the while being admitted into the best design studios and homes you never thought possible.
Kimberly, one of our students who attended noted the trip was one she would certainly recommend. “The experiences I had on the tour were incredible and something I could never experience here. The design culture in the US felt very much like a community and very supportive of each other and the visits on the tour opened up my world of Interior Design.” The favourite part of the trip for her was something she was not anticipating. “My highlight for the trip would have to be visiting John Derian in New York. It was something vastly different from other visits throughout the trip. For me, it was an unexpected surprise because I didn't know much about John Derian and what he does prior to the visit.” Derian’s New York showroom is a place of decoupage, antiquities and curiosities- something which is not always the norm in a trend-saturated design world.
The trip was designed to balance studio visits, showrooms, suppliers and other places of interest. Diane drew on her knowledge of the cities, her experiences there as a designer and the invaluable contacts she has within both places. Even the hotels and restaurants were hand-selected, resting their weary travel heads in hotels such as the hip Chamberlaine Hotel in West Hollywood. These are dynamic and creative cities, large and ever-changing. The tour cuts out the stuff in the middle, meaning you only experience the most important and distinctive places and people.
The students were immersed in this creative world for over a week, each day finding something new and different. Alicia, an Online Mercer student told us all about her favourite moments. “A highlight for me was visiting the Kelly Wearstler studio We saw current vibe trays for projects they were working on as well as all the drawers of gemstones Kelly buys, that eventually end up on her homewares. We later walked down to her LA showroom which was great to see the furniture and homewares up close. She really is an inspiration to me so that would be my main highlight. If I could say one more though, it would be getting a tour by Cortney and Robert Novogratz of their beautiful family home in the LA hills. It was a stunning house and they were so lovely they even gave us lunch there... Seeing a finished space was great!”
Travel is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for creatives. It opens the mind to different aesthetics, experiences, geography and cultures. The US has provided much of this inspiration to the Mercer students who traveled on the enviable tour. Alicia mentioned for her personally, the trip was beneficial to her as a designer in the making. “It opened up my eyes to other design ideas, travel does that in general but it also gave us options of sourcing unique pieces from the USA and new suppliers. I found the trip incredibly inspiring with an overload of ideas but also to be sharing it with other inspired students. There was such a great energy of ideas between everyone. It felt like a once in a lifetime experience.”