Globetrotter: Javier Robles

Portrait of architect Javier Robles

Interview: Haris Stavridis // Portrait: Michael McFadden Photography // Photos: Unsplash.com // Hyatt

Whether I travel to a city, a rural area or a beach, I like to improvise and wander around and even get lost sometimes. This enables me to find new places, like restaurants, and local or hidden spots. I love the feeling of discovering new or unexpected things. However, when it to comes to architecture and arts, I definitely organise my trip beforehand to make sure I get to visit and experience those places or events.

London

Globe-Trotter is one of my favourite brands of luggage. I like how spacious they are, and the leather “vintage/ chic” look. Also, Rimowa is great for the lightweight aluminium shells and spacious interiors. Both are very practical and have a strong identity with traveling, whether a more romantic, early century bygone era or a futuristic aircraft-inspired design.

I pack lightly as most of my trips don’t last more than a week, and with the changes in airport security and the aviation industry, I now travel with carry-on only. I also dislike to wait for my luggage. After many years dealing with all sort of issues related to checking luggage, I rarely check a bag. I like to travel with basic black and white T-shirts, a pair of jeans or sweat pants, my favourite walking sneakers, a warm cotton sweater, two watches (sport and classic) and few of my Cuttler & Gross spectacles. As a designer, my style reflects my appreciation and taste for uniqueness, so I always carry some pieces from my favourite brand, Berthold.

Rio de Janeiro

Most of my life I have been traveling alone, it is a form of meditation for me. I work a lot while traveling, whether it is sketching, writing, and so on and I really enjoy my solitude. However, when in a relationship, it is nice to travel with a partner and discover things together...

It took me few years to find what it works for me when it comes to jet lag, especially since I travel a lot between New York and London and to South America. Most of the time I go from the airport to job site, shop visit with clients or straight to my office after a long-haul flight. While travelling, I drink a lot of sparkling water and read or sketch. While in the air, on my way east to London I’ll have a gin and tonic, pop a pill, and voila! I land rested and ready to go! I also like to walk or move a lot in the plane and do some stretching. Noise cancelling headphones and a sleeping mask are mandatory!

The most overrated place is probably Times Square! I hate that area of town; it is such a tourist trap. Most underrated — the Amazon in Peru. It is a magical place and still unknown by most tourists.

Park Hyatt Milan

London and Paris have both great shops whether you’re looking for fashion, furniture or design, but it was Tokyo that really surprised me with the beauty and rare things you can find there. My favourite shops include the Comme des Garçons boutique in Tokyo, Dover Street Market in London, the Marché aux Puces and the small shops in the north Marais in Paris, Nolita in NYC, and Shoreditch or Soho in London.

I love going back to many cities as there are so many of them where I feel at home, but if I have to choose one, it would be Rio. I love the atmosphere, the weather, and the warmth and sexiness of the people. I love Rio, especially during the summer over there. I go running in Ipanema, relax by the beach, explore new bars and restaurants and drink coconut water all day long, flirting 24/7. Rio also has the most breath-taking scenery in the world. The abrupt change of scale from the landscape of the rain forest and mountains to the sea and the meandering city embracing the ocean, it is magical!

Park Hyatt Milan

My favourite hotels are the Fasano in Sao Paulo, Park Hyatt in Milano and Tokyo, and The Soho House in Miami.

Being an architect and a designer, I cannot disconnect from my surroundings, so I do pay attention to a space’s layouts, design, materials, details, furnishing, and so on. Lighting is key for me, so when I walk into a room I have to check all the lighting options, dimmers linens and a spotless bathroom of course. I tend to get very annoyed by over-designed places...

Park Hyatt Milan

My dream hotel would be set up in a dramatic context, for example on a cliff overlooking the ocean. A modernist inspired bunker-like structure with large terraces or niches from where one can look out the vast sea. Interiors would have warm touches such as curved walls or skylights to bring in natural light accentuated with natural materials. And each room should have unique details or minimal decorative elements to make them different but definitely filled with contemporary art.

When traveling, be kind and responsible, travel comfortably and in style but don’t forget to smile! Stay connected and open to your surroundings, explore the world and embrace the differences!

For Globetrotter, I'd like to recommend Peter Gladel.

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