The COOL HUNTING Instagram offers our editorial team (and a few contributors) an opportunity to share moments of inspiration. In previous years, our posts were taken during in-person experiences and adventures. This year, however, meant looking into our archive of original imagery quite a bit and sharing what continues to move us. As with the site, the word design—and its flexible definition—guides all that we post on social media. Thus, the subject matter encompasses decor, drinking and dining, exhibitions and automobiles, as well as the themes we outline below. We’re proud of these scenes that we’ve captured and the lessons we learned in process—about form, color and movement, especially as mobile phone camera technology—continued to evolve. It’s worth mentioning, once again, that we were surprised by what does and doesn’t perform well on the platform.
For a team of frequent flyers, 2020 meant dreaming of travel instead of participating in it. As such, our photo rolls informed a lot of the nostalgia we dove into. In particular, we looked to destinations that COOL HUNTING has guided trips for select travelers, including Morocco and Japan. From Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech to Tokyo’s midcentury masterpiece, the Okura, unparalleled shapes and colors continue to inspire us.
In a year spent at home, decor—and its potential to transform a space—took on new meaning. Of course, Jonathan Adler’s humorous “druggist” jars caught our eye—not only for their references to LSD, mushrooms and weed but also because they nod to a particular type of pottery from the Netherlands. In a serene palette, the legendary (and typically off-limits) Villa Borsani in Italy offers pools of inspiration.
The Power of NYC
We’re proud to be headquartered in New York City. With that in mind, we are among the first group of visitors onto the Edge NY viewing platform, pre-COVID. Further, we were among the first to reenter museums, when they were deemed safe. Our first museum of choice was The Met—though we’d soon swing through many more.
From science-fiction debuts to retro releases, 2020 didn’t pause the design advancements of the automotive industry. One of the first milestones of the year, Ola Källenius presented the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept car—created in collaboration with the team behind the Avatar films—at CES. Later in the year, we carved our way through the Vermont wilderness in the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender. We didn’t just document this on Instagram, but lived it through our numerous test drives and road trips too.
Beyond museums, creative art spaces became increasingly important areas of appreciation this year. From Nicolas Party’s Rococo Pastel exhibit at Chelsea’s FLAG Art Foundation to the hybrid gallery-library space at Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, we cherished areas that embraced the arts in immersive ways.
Design so often looks toward the success of nature. Whether that’s Pittsburgh, PA’s Synthesis understanding the power of plants and working to enhance spaces with them—or Lora DiCarlo’s Osé pleasure toy at CES this year, where it was one of the 2020 Robotics Innovation Award honorees.
Hero image of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum by David Graver