Design Trip to Portland

looking up in Portland


Last weekend my husband and I drove down from Seattle to check out Design Week Portland. I try to make it down at least once a year so Design Week was a perfect reason to go. We mostly checked out the design open houses as well as the Portland Art Museum, the night market, and a bunch of unique shops and restaurants. 

Design Open Houses

The first stop was the Scout Books factory tour. It was fascinating to see the machines at work printing, cutting, and folding the Scout Books. We also checked out Wild; a startup that makes collaborative design tools for VR and AR. The VR demo was impressive. I jumped from balcony to balcony and moved blocks around with my hands. 

Heidelberg at Scout Books

Portland Art Museum

On Saturday we checked out the Portland Art Museum. The biggest draw was the LAIKA animation exhibit. The best part was all the mood boards that showed the characters' color palettes and fabric swatches from movies such as Kubo. 

I was mostly interested in the prints however. There was an excellent display of animal etchings: some old and some new. My favorite was this grumpy cat etching by Beth Van Hoesen. 

There was also a display of modern Japanese woodblock prints. I'm familiar with the classic Japanese designs but these were modern designs using the ancient techniques. My favorites were the prints by Kurosaki Akira.

Portland Night Market

On Saturday night we hit the Portland Night Market. It was a crazy hustle of people, crafts, and food. It's the best night market I've been to and it's definitely worth checking out. I even got to meet Aaron Draplin and buy a pin from him. 

Portland Night Market

Portland Night Market

Stores worth checking out

I always like to check out the stores when I'm in a new town to see what's hot. The best of the bunch were: Tender Loving Empire, Beam & Anchor, Wildfang, Woonwinkle, Oblation Papers, and Powell's of course. We also hit Nob Hill but didn't find anything that interesting. That street is a lot more mainstream these days. 

Restaurants Worth Checking Out

Portland has some of the best restaurants in the world and there was no way we could hit them all in a weekend. We managed to eat at the wonderful Peruvian restaurant Andina (hint: go for lunch). The tasting menu at Navarre was a delicious Spanish-inspired meal followed by custom-made cocktails at Angel Face next door. PaaDee has some really excellent (but not your typical) Thai food. The biggest surprise was Shalom Y'all, which serves fantastic Israeli street food like lamb chops, hummus, and falafel.