Graphic Europe

"We are designers. We notice things in a different way to other people." That's roughly the ethos that defines the Detour section of Dwell, and the expressed driving force behind the new travel guide, Graphic Europe: An Alternative Guide to 31 European Cities. As its name suggests, the book gives a design-driven account of 31 European cities—heavy hitters like London, Berlin, and Stockholm are accounted for, though lesser-traveled destinations like Valletta, Malta, Porto, Portugal, and Sofia, Bulgaria also make the cut. What to eat, where to go, what to see, and where to stay are the subjects taken up by 31 different graphic designers, and the result is an utterly idiosyncratic view on a panoply of cities.

I've very much enjoyed thumbing through this new book, both to see if what I saw in Oslo and Zurich matches up with what Annafragusdal and Meret Aebersold respectively recommend, and to get what Joana Niemayer thinks of London, where I'm heading for the first time next month. On top of getting a sense of what appeals to a number of designers, we also get a look at their work: Each designer furnished drawings to go along with their text. All told, the book reads as a highly accessible niche guide to Europe's cultural capitals, as if Rick Steves knew the difference between Gill Sans and Futura and wanted to make sure that everyone who visits Vilnius makes it to the hippest architectural bookstore.

Check out the slideshow for a full preview of the entries on London and Zurich. Travel safe!

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