24. Go where the art is - Issue 140 - Magazine | Monocle

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This is a good year to rethink your career and for those in the creative industries, sharpening your skillset need not be a chore. Taking a hiatus from the day job to add a new feather to your creative hat in a far-flung location, while soaking up a new culture on a relaxed student schedule, sounds pretty alluring. We’ve selected some design-minded courses in enticing locales to get you motivated.

interior architecture

Camondo Méditerranée

Toulon, France

Overlooking Toulon harbour on France’s sunny Côte d’Azur is as good as spot as any to enjoy a sea change. The prestigious École Camondo, established 77 years ago in Paris, has opened its second campus in architect Christian Devillers’s Maison de la Créativité in the small city’s new creative district. Learning areas are less classrooms, more sprawling workshops, where modular furniture can be wheeled around and large projects can be crafted on campus.

Hanging out
René Jacques Mayer, director, Camondo Méditerranée


The focus is on interior architecture and design, paying close attention to the importance of place and the effects of climate change. Students work on live briefs, busying themselves on the development of the nearby Châteauvallon outdoor theatre and adding interiors improvements to the art centre Villa Tamaris. “It’s easier to work on sustainable developments because we are in direct connection with nature,” says student Coralie Démoulin, who has recently worked on the renovation of an old seaside fort. “Here we have a much greater connection with the outdoors and especially with the sea.”


Student body


Margaret Iragui of Camondo Méditerranée 

Inspiring exterior

From Med to Pacific

marble sculpture

School of Fine Arts

Pyrgos, Tinos, Greece

A sabbatical to the island of Tinos sounds to monocle like a terrific way to expand creative horizons. On an island known for its crafts and marble quarries, the school’s director Leonidas Chalepas has injected his understanding of sculpture into a world-class curriculum. The only difficulty is leaving; graduates are known to stay to found studios on the idyllic island.


Suikoushya International Craft School

Kyoto, Japan

For a shorter back-to-school experience we would point designers, architects and anyone else with a penchant for craft to take a month-long carpentry course with Japanese master Takami Kawai. Even after a glorious day with Japanese woodworking tools, students continue the immersion in the craft as they admire the ancient timber architecture of the city.

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