Living Gently, Living Well

New city, new life? 5 creatives explain why they relocated

There are many reasons for leaving your hometown and starting afresh. New opportunities, more inspiration, more me-space…. These professionals explain why they moved to new cities and the positive impact on their creative processes, personal space and social life.

Cynthia Torrez, freelance illustrator, Milan

“Why would an Argentine choose Milan? Well, I have Italian roots, so I wanted to experience life in this city and learn about Italy. This is a vibrant place with countless opportunities to connect with creatives and collaborate on new projects. So that’s why we [with fellow-illustrator boyfriend] moved here.

I work across multiple disciplines, especially typography, illustrations and brand identities.

My illustrations are inspired by astrology, tarot cards, nature and female figures. While I mainly work on Spanish-language projects, I’m also learning Italian. I’m really happy to immerse myself in discovering a new country, meeting new people and embracing challenging projects.”

Brini Fetz, co-founder of Sweet Sneak Studio, Copenhagen

“I initially moved to Denmark in 2012 to study at Copenhagen Business School. Having studied graphic design and business in Vienna,  I sought a Master’s programme that combined both of these rather different subjects. The Management of Creative Business Processes course was the perfect combo for me.

I moved here with an open mind, and I was soon delighted to find it fertile ground for creative projects. Within just 12 months of moving here, me and four other girls had founded the pop-up café Sweet Sneak Pop-Up Bakery, which rapidly evolved into Sweet Sneak Studio – a full-service branding and communication agency for food, lifestyle and gastronomy.

Copenhagen is a really good place for our business. The locals are very open to new things, and have a strong reach-out and cooperation mindset – characteristics that I think you need in the design and food sectors. I find the city and its residents a constant inspiration: I get new ideas every day, and fellow creatives are just so happy to work together.”

Zuzana Kvetková, editor of Backstage Talks magazine, Vienna

“When I was 18, I moved from my parent’s house next to a forest straight to busy London in order to study at the University of the Arts London. After four years of enjoying what London has to offer, I was ready for a change of pace. My freelance contract was ending at the same time as the one for my flat, my sister was starting uni in Vienna, and Milk Studio (with which I had been making Backstage Talks magazine for a couple of years) had just opened a new office in Vienna – it seemed to be the perfect moment to go.

After London, Vienna offers an even more incredible quality of life. The rent is affordable, the galleries and museums are amazing, you can swim in the Danube river in the summer, and it actually feels safe to cycle everywhere! I really enjoy my annual gallery passes, which let me skip the ticket queues and pop in anytime, even if just for a few minutes. I also appreciate how easy it is for me to visit my family and friends in Bratislava, which is only about an hour away by train. And a two-hour flight to catch up with everyone in London isn’t too bad either. I might not stay here forever, but right now it’s pretty great!”

Wojtek Błaszczyk, industrial designer, Stockholm

“Right after graduation I had an opportunity to work in Normann Copenhagen, which is a contemporary furniture brand. I always considered Scandinavia a good place to start my design career.

I wanted to stay in Scandinavia to gain more experience and learn from various designers, so later I moved to Stockholm to work in Claesson Koivisto Rune. It’s a multi-disciplinary office with equal emphasis on architecture and design. The studio is designing for many international manufacturing companies, including Arflex, Cappellini, Modus, Muuto, Offecct, Paola Lenti, Swedese, and many more. We are working as a team to develop new designs for different clients. Recently I’ve been working on a few furniture pieces such as chairs, sofas and tables.

I really appreciate working and living in Stockholm. I have met many interesting people working in design. The city is very open to design, and you can see its presence everywhere. Stockholm is a beautiful city and I definitely believe that this environment is boosting my creativity. Being here gives me the opportunity to not only improve my design skills but also get to know a different culture.”

Marek Minor, designer at Bakken & Bæck, Amsterdam

“A few years ago I left behind my life in Bratislava and moved to Amsterdam with my girlfriend and our cat. We felt we had become too comfortable in our positions and had reached our local growth ceiling – we sought something more from life. We wanted to find a new home where we’d feel comfortable and have lots of experiences to develop into fully rounded individuals.

We also felt it was now or never: why put off for tomorrow what you can do today? Relocating was a challenge and it took time to adjust, but it’s a learning curve. If we did it again we’d be better prepared.  

Joining Bakken & Bæck gave me the opportunity to work on large-scale projects as a designer. I have also expanded my skill-set and boosted my confidence by passionately pursuing side-projects. I’ve become more decisive in knowing what I want. Amsterdam is a great place to live because the locals are naturally friendly and open – this creates a positive vibe and has made us very happy with our decision to relocate.”