DISPATCH: Paris, Around Every Corner

I returned home this weekend from my residency in Paris. It’s always nice to come home, to see your friends, return to familiar haunts and settle back into normal life, and after almost two months away I’ve had a great week catching back up with Buffalo. I left when the trees were barely budding and returned to full canopy, lush summer foliage and I’m amazed once again by how green it is here. But of course, I already miss Paris.

I’ve had only a few days to reflect on my residency and all of the takeaways, immediate and long-term, of such an experience. I learned how to navigate one of the densest cities in the world, how to work with my teammates from a great distance and across time zones, how to adjust my deeply ingrained routine for an entirely new work schedule, how to drink coffee slowly and not to-go, the correct order to eat a planche of cheese, how to effectively communicate with my hands in a way that is still polite, and how to speak a little bit of French a little bit better. Most importantly, I met many incredibly creative people from all over the spectrum of design who are passionate about their work and were happy to share their passion, approach and philosophy with me, a total stranger from upstate New York.

I could write a novel here about my time in Paris, but I feel the best way I can sum it up is that I left expecting to find new visual stimulation, which I did, of course, in abundance and around every corner, but the more surprising impact for me was the exercise in overall mental agility and flexibility in both work and life. I think I worked out parts of my brain I haven’t flexed in a long time and I came home feeling strong and inspired, above and beyond a design perspective. Paris is a gorgeous city, an ornate Rube Goldberg machine of people, streets, architecture, heritage, wine, art and romance and like all cities, jour après jour: It just keeps churning.

What a big world full of little neighborhoods.