Alexander Grots, a master of innovation, specializes in the “design thinking” methodology, a problem-solving approach that injects human perspective into practical concrete resolution. He has spearheaded and taught the technique during his time at IDEO, an internationally-acclaimed global innovation company, and has continued to blaze a trail in design through his own firm: gravity-europe. Today, Alexander is an independent consultant who travels to wherever his projects lead him. Allow us to take you on a worldwide journey for a peek into the design drifter’s favorite spots—places that inspire creativity, provide one-of-a-kind experiences and give a more in-depth perspective into the local scene.
Alexander’s most inspiring experiences happen at Burning Man, a week-long event that gathers 70,000 people to create Black Rock City—a makeshift metropolis devoted to the creation of a community of artists. The annual festival is held at Black Rock Desert, a plain field of absolute nothingness that becomes a canvas for insane outbursts of creativity! Witness amazing art installations, express yourself in outrageous costumes, and join the confluence of kindred spirits as you brave the intense landscape.
Quinn River Sink, Nevada, USA
Africa has left Alexander totally smitten! Let the continent work its charms on you too as you head to the off-the-tourist-track country of Mozambique. Travel to Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, a protected area near the border towards South Africa that stretches five and a half kilometers into the Indian Ocean. Alexander’s activity of choice in the area is free diving on the coast with dolphins, sharks, and whale sharks—a phenomenal experience, especially for aquaphiles, animal-lovers, and adrenaline-junkies.
Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique
The Finnish sauna experience is one of Alexander’s favorite local exploits! Saunas are places to relax in solitude in most countries, but in Finland, Alexander says that they are venues for socializing. Visit Cafe Kuusijärvi, a public sauna in Helsinki, to lay on some heat while conversing with locals over vodka! After warming yourself up, jump into Lake Kuusijärvi—which, according to Alexander, would be great to do in the winter to cool down before another round. Cafe Kuusijärvi has the only public smoke sauna in metropolitan Helsinki, and since its unisex, swimsuits are required. They also have electric saunas in the main building for those who’d rather do without the steam.
Kuusijärventie 3, Vantaa, Finland
In Alexander’s home country of Germany, you’ll find Englischer Garten (German for “English Garden”), one of the largest urban parks in the world! As the green lung of Munich, the sprawling land boasts of lush greenery that features a well-manicured lawn one side, and an untouched wild plot on the other—a contrast that breathes so much life into the park. Spend your afternoons sunbathing (in the nude!) in the expanse of Schönfeldwiese, having tea in a Japanese teahouse, admiring Greek architecture at the Monopteros temple, or engaging in water sports on Kleinhesseloher See. That’s right, you’ll find all of that at Englischer Garten!
80538, Munich, Germany
Walking along New York City’s big avenues is an experience in itself—one that many people, including Alexander, will always enjoy. Fifth Avenue, one of the most famous streets in the world, is a major thoroughfare in The Big Apple that’s famous for its lines of luxury shops and prime real estate, making it a popular playground for high society. Home to the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue hosts a multitude of tourists every day who come to appreciate its contribution to the state’s history, economic progress, and culture. Alexander loves seeing these streets brimming with energy, especially at night when bright lights dominate the scene.
Fifth Avenue, New York, New York City, USA
Alexander praises The Grocery for its ultra-organic vibe which transcends from its fresh produce into its barn-like interiors that comes complete with old wooden crates. Savor the seasonal ingredients on display as you order breakfast at the adjoining cafe. During Alexander’s time in London, Alexander would start his mornings at the Kingsland Road establishment for a delectable helping of avocado toast and scrambled eggs. Alexander recommends The Grocery for its laid-back atmosphere—it’s the perfect place to hang out on a lazy Sunday morning!
52-56 Kingsland Road, London, United Kingdom
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