Fullup. Circle
Meet 5 creatives show how beautiful the world can be
From Argentina to Estonia, see the world from the perspectives of these inspiring artists and curators.
Ries furniture shines in this Buenos Aires office and showroom.
By Carla Thomas
September 12, 2022


As the world reopens, we’re dreaming of new places to explore, people to meet, and cultures to experience. Before the pandemic, we often popped into indie design boutiques and art galleries while traveling to get a feel for a place’s creative undertow and, ideally, pick up a few pieces along the way.

Whether you’re interested in fine art photography or partaking in a public installation, art can expand our horizons and leave a profound impression. Next time you are looking for new inspiration, check out these impressive artists and curators in all corners of the world:

Mariana Laan, Estonia

Left: The Nuud "Vase Simple" features a muted palette and elegant lines; Right: Mariana Laan, an Estonian ceramicist who melds the modern and medieval.

Set on the Baltic Sea, Tallinn might not be on your travel bucket list, but perhaps it should be. The capital city of Estonia brings together medieval and modern elements alongside an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit. A perfect example is designer Mariana Laan, who founded the prize-winning Nüüd ceramic studio in 2014 after graduating from Estonia’s prestigious Academy of Fine Arts.

Specializing in chic tableware, sculptures and installations, Mariana’s style reflects classic Nordic sensibilities – clean lines and minimalism – with a penchant for striking geometric shapes and touch-me textures. From a simple yet elegant latte set to striking black ceramic bowls, every piece of tableware is a work of art.

Marcos Altgelt and Tasio Picollo, Argentina

Marcos Altgelt and Tasio Picollo founded Ries in 2016, bringing minimalist furniture to Buenos Aires and beyond.

After meeting in architecture school, Marcos Altgelt and Tasio Picollo joined forces in 2016 to create Ries, a Buenos Aires-based design studio dedicated to bringing simple yet sophisticated furniture, objects, and spaces to life. Their very first collection, Alpina, featured minimalist furniture built around simple steel frames. With a stark, line drawing-inspired aesthetic, the collection caught the eye of prominent blogs and magazines, elevating Ries’ profile in the design world seemingly overnight.

Since then, Altgelt and Picollo have continued making waves. Their aesthetic bucks the heavy European influences of past generations in favor of bold experimentation that feels more reflective of a new, modern Argentina. In 2018, the pair also co-founded Quick Tiny Shows, an independent initiative to elevate and promote progressive art, design and architecture ideas within Buenos Aires.

Alexander White, England

Left: The MONROE chair features 83 matching components around a central axis; Right: Alexander White, who specializes in handcrafting wood furniture in his London studio.

Raised in the countryside of southwestern France, award-winning luxury carpenter Alexander White learned to appreciate the beauty of handmade goods from a young age. Instead of playing with toys, he recalls making wooden objects in his father’s workshop as a child. When it came time to choose a career path, he enrolled at Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK, where he could learn new technologies like 3D design to enhance his traditional woodworking skills.

In 2013, White opened his studio, A.White Workshop, in the diverse and vibrant artistic borough of Hackney on London’s inner east side. Pairing high-quality wood with unexpected materials like glass, metal, and even Perspex, White’s furniture pieces celebrate simple geometries and contrasts between the new and familiar, innovative and traditional.

Madelon La Grave, Hong Kong

Left: Viewers take in photographer Kevin Mak's Hong Kong shots at the Affordable Art Fair; Right: Madelon LaGrave, founder of Bamboo Scenes fine arts photography gallery.

Though it may be a while yet until Hong Kong opens up due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city is home to a thriving contemporary art community that’s taken root over the last decade. One of the city’s brightest lights on the creative scene is Madelon de Grace, a Dutch native with Indonesian roots who is passionate about fine art photography. 

After moving to Hong Kong in 2015, she started working with local photographers, such as award-winning Elaine Li and Kelvin Yuen, to launch Bamboo Scenes in 2017. Today, the gallery showcases exclusive photography art prints that celebrate different aspects of the city, from the cloud-piercing skyscrapers to busy street corners, quiet coastlines and undulating mountain ranges.

Arrin Sutliff, US

Also known as “TikTok’s favorite ikebana influencer”, Arrin Sutliff (aka Tint Floral) has mastered the practice of Japanese flower arrangements. This Washington DC-based floral artist breathes new life into the ancient tradition while making it more accessible to English speakers with helpful videos and an array of classes, some of which are held at the US National Arboretum and the Smithsonian. 

Part sculptor, part floral designer, Arrin strives to tell stories through her arrangements, craft intentional negative space and celebrate the seasons at every opportunity. And while her artworks are a tad too ephemeral to take home with you, a meditative ikebana class at the arboretum could fill you with inspiration and renew your perspective.


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