05 мая 2020In TravelBy admin6 Minutes

Through the designer’s eyes: Le Havre, France

A little story about why a designer or any creative person should go to a small French town in search of inspiration and new ideas.

See the Normandy Bridge

I’ve already written that Normandy is famous for its bridges, but I’ll never tire of repeating that. Construction of the Normandy Bridge (designed by Michel Virlogeux) took 7 years and 465 million bucks. It was subsequently depicted on the 500€ banknote. I have two bridges on my list yet — the Normandy Bridge on the way linking Le Havre to Honfleur, and the second one leading directly to Le Havre. Unfortunately, I’m unfamiliar with the architect of the younger bridge, but how could you not fall in love with that asymmetric creation of architectural thought? If you are lucky enough to find another bridge in Normandy, then definitely let me know.

Explore the port

There is beautiful and laconic typography (for non-designers – lettering) on the lighthouse, which, in a duet with the organic design of the lighthouse, creates a harmonized and pleasing to eye object of the urban environment. The port has its own museum, and there’s Museum of modern art André Malraux (MuMa) in the opposite – you should visit both of them. One of my sources of inspiration is those very colorful containers. There is something in this union of simple color and shape that resonates in the designer’s soul. And finally, explore the port, maybe you’ll get lucky and find something else.

Find all the art objects

It’s not that easy as it may seem. I’ve spent the whole day walking around Le Havre and hadn’t located all that stuff I saw the next day. However, I’ll hold the cards close to keep things interesting for you.

Get inspired by the architecture

The bridge situated in the very center of the city, the «Volcano» cultural venue (designed by Oscar Niemeyer), the University of Le Havre, the Church of Saint Joseph looking more like a skyscraper than a church on UNESCO’s World Heritage List… Such a variety of good architecture samples is the last thing being expected from a small provincial city like Le Havre. But there’s still more to see.

Leave the center

This may seem strange, but I found all the “beauty for designer” away from the center. In my view, what stirs up designer’s sense of wonder is posters, signs, letterings, graffiti … Of course, this is not the limit, and many designers, including myself, draw inspiration from the most ordinary things that are not related to design.

It is curious when some surprising and good result is born as part of a seemingly ordinary task. Le Havre’s center turned out to be rather mediocre in terms of inspirational design, so I recommend that you probe a little farther into the town.

Visit artists’ studios

If you consider design more an art than a craft, it’s worth checking out Honfleur, especially if you will go there to watch the Norman Bridge anyway. Honfleur has many private art galleries and artists’ studios where you can watch the work of the masters.

While you are packing to rush off to Le Havre and Honfleur, I just remembered I’d recently told you what is more remarkable about Normandy. Not only designers and creative people are able to appreciate the stunning beauty of nature.