Courtesy of André Balazs

Design and architecture shape every aspect of the travel experience, from airports and museums to hotels and luggage. For T+L’s fifth annual competition, our esteemed jury chose the very best in 15 categories.

Travel + Leisure
May 19, 2009

See our T+L Design Awards 2009 slideshow.

Meet the Jury

Architect Adam D. Tihany founded New York City–based Tihany Design in 1978. His multidisciplinary studio has designed restaurant interiors for Jean-Georges Vongerichten and hotels for the Mandarin Oriental Group, among many other projects.

Lisa Phillips is the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. She was formerly the curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Before cofounding the consulting firm Beckelman+Capalino in 2005, preservationist and urbanist Laurie Beckelman worked for New York’s Museum of Arts & Design and served as chair and commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Calvin Klein is recognized globally as a master of minimalism. During his groundbreaking career, he has been recognized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America seven times.

Graphic designer Michael Bierut has been a partner at the firm Pentagram since 1990, where his clients have included Harley-Davidson, the Morgan Library, and the Atlantic magazine. A cofounder of designobserver.com, he is also a senior critic at the Yale School of Art.

Ewina Von Gal is a landscape designer based in East Hampton, New York. She worked with architect Frank Gehry on the botanical park for the Panama Bridge of Life museum, and is developing sustainable landscape planning for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Jury moderated by Chee Pearlman; Text by Luke Barr; Reported by Stirling Kelso with Christine Ajudua, Adam Baer, Catherine Crate, Mimi Lombardo, Mario R. Mercado, Suzanne Mozes, and Shira Nanus

Best Travel Fashion

The Final Home Jacket

Designed by Kosuke Tsumura $795; finalhome.com

Best Luggage

Y’s Mandarina

Designed by Yohji Yamamoto in collaboration with Mandarina Duck $70–$700; ysmandarina.com

Best Museum

Docks de Paris, La Cité de la Mode et du Design

Paris, France. Designed by Jakob + MacFarlane 36 Quai Austerlitz; no phone.

Delicatessen

At Michael Ferraro’s Soho restaurant Delicatessen, comfort food is the house specialty. Drawing on his own Italian heritage and French culinary training, Ferraro has created a menu of international comfort food items, including bouillabaisse, spaghetti and meatballs, and lamb shank shepherd’s pie. The restaurant has a unique aesthetic, including wood-paneled walls and retractable glass and steel garage doors. The bar and lounge area has plush green seating, a glass ceiling, and a mural by New York artist José Heredia.

TKTS Booth

Theatergoers in the know head under the red steps at Broadway and 47th Street to find big savings on tickets to New York City’s hottest shows. The Times Square TKTS booth sells day of performance tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows for up to 50% off. Tickets are available to nearly every show imaginable, and recent titles on sale have included Anything Goes, Mamma Mia!, and The Phantom of the Opera. Available shows change constantly, and tickets can go quickly, so it is best to arrive early and be prepared to wait in line.

National Opera House

With its sloping white-marble roof and delicate glass façade, Oslo’s National Opera House is a grand architectural statement—planting a flag for high culture on the Oslo waterfront—but more essentially it also creates a dramatic new public space in the heart of the city. The stone terraces run from the shore to the building, where they’re integrated into the roof of much of the complex, a series of steep, angled planes for adventurous pedestrians and pre-theater crowds.

CaixaForum Madrid

Opened in February 2008, the long-awaited Caixa Forum cultural center is an architectural tour de force, created by Swiss Pritzker Prize–winning firm Herzog & de Meuron. The shell, an 1899 power station building, was lifted off its base and two futuristic spaces were built above and below, leaving the historic, peaked-roof structure sandwiched in between. A living, vertical garden perpendicular to the building mimics its design at full height. Inside, a trippy five-story stairwell winds down and down. Though the center is meant to be a gallery space, the building itself has garnered much more interest than the preliminary exhibitions.

Hotel Aire de Bardenas

Single-story cubical structures set against an austere, windswept landscape in northeastern Spain: the Hotel Aire de Bardenas has the feel at first glance of a lunar encampment. But there is a familiar elegance here, a kind of recycled, modular minimalism that recalls the traditional buildings of this rural area, a semidesert environment next to a nature preserve. The serene, white-walled rooms are oriented to the outside—large windows offer spectacular views.

Six Senses Zighy Bay

The pure exotic escapism of this Six Senses resort is amplified by its sensitive local design—the buildings are low stone structures with flat, woven roofs, and are arranged in the manner of an Omani village. Set beneath mountains overlooking a long beach on the Gulf of Oman, the spa has nine treatment rooms and two Arabian hammams, all done in rustic, eco-chic style; 79 villas, meanwhile, offer private pools and terraces: architecture at one with its surroundings.

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