With spring just around the corner, Paula Wallace, cofounder and president of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), is gearing up for the annual SCAD Style, an ambitious art, design, and fashion series that takes over the Southern city from April through May. This year’s highlights: a fashion show with up-and-coming designers and a discussion with New York City–based interior designer Bunny Williams. T+L asked Wallace about her passion for travel and her tips on where to stay and eat in her hometown.
Q: What makes a design-driven destination appealing?
A: It’s not interesting to go to a city that looks like other cities—the place needs to have distinctive qualities, buildings, and events. Dallas, for example, is full of works by Pritzker Prize–winning architects, including the Nasher Sculpture Center by Renzo Piano (nashersculpturecenter.org); Miami used to be known for its beaches and fashion, but now people visit for Art Basel; and New Orleans has some incredible sustainable-building projects, such as the Katrina Cottages (katrinacottagehousing.org) and the revamp of the Lower Ninth Ward (lower9thwardvillage.org).
Q: Where should travelers stay in Savannah?
A: Many of the city’s former private residences are now inns. A great one is the Mansion on Forsyth Park. The Grand Bohemian (grandbohemianhotel.com) is also a wonderful new hotel that overlooks the Savannah River.
Q: Any restaurant recommendations?
A: For dinner, try Elizabeth on 37th (912/236-5547)—the blackeye pea patty is a must. There’s also the Gryphon Tea Room (912/525-5880), housed in an early-20th-century pharmacy. Go for afternoon tea and pastries.
Q: What’s next on your travel hit list?
A:I’m anxious to see David Tang’s China Club, in Hong Kong, which has a great collection of contemporary Asian art. And a lot of my students have recently traveled to Cartagena and Bogotá and tell me the cities have great energy, so Colombia is definitely on my radar.