A Bolivian Hotel Doubles as a Platform for Local Artists, and Other News

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The Met Hotel. Photography by Valeria Dorado

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A Bolivian Hotel Doubles as a Platform for Local Artists

High in the Andes on the Altiplano plateau, an art-driven stay is presenting a modern vision of Bolivia. The 76-key Met Hotel recently debuted in the entertainment-rich Calacoto neighborhood of La Paz, known as the City in the Clouds for its staggering elevation of 11,975 feet above sea level. (It’s so high that cable cars, not subways, are the public transit system.)  From the jump, New York–based firm Los Designers and Bolivian architect Ivan Valdez, an alum of Zaha Hadid Architects, set out to create a place that uses local traditions as the foundation for new ideas. For instance, the bedroom pillows pay tribute to the surrealist geometric weavings of Jalq’a culture in southern Bolivia, while the rugs feature historic patterns from the textile hotbed of Tiwanaku in the west. In the lobby, layered concrete walls mimic the ruins of Pumapunku and provide a textured counterpoint to sleek emerald sofas. 

Reinforcing the link between heritage and the new wave, the Met also serves as a platform for emerging and mid-career Bolivian contemporary artists. Curated by Mariano Ugalde of Salar Art Gallery, the communal spaces display a diverse collection. Guests will discover neon pieces by Jose Ballivian, who represented the country at the 2017 Venice Biennale; a site-specific installation by Andres Pereira Paz, a rising star now based in Berlin; and a large-format piece by Cristian Laime, considered to be one of the most promising figures in painting, whose work often challenges post-colonial social structures. 

Any visit should include a taste of singani, a type of brandy made from high-altitude white Muscat of Alexandria grapes that is considered to be a cousin to pisco. Try it at the ground-floor Dominga Restaurant or the rooftop terrace where bartenders are, unsurprisingly, playing with the centuries-old spirit in newfangled ways.  

Borderino from Kartell Eyewear’s Main collection

Kartell Is Expanding Into Eyewear

Your next favorite Kartell piece may be a pair of glasses. The Milan-based furniture brand, renowned for its pioneering use of plastics, recently debuted an expansive collection of 100 eyewear styles designed by such bold-faced names as Rodolfo Dordoni, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, and Fabio Novembre. 

One model, Lamina, combines two distinct but harmonious silhouettes on the frame, creating an entirely new shape that generates multiple dimensions depending on the angles of light. Segmenti, meanwhile, employs injecting molding for an extremely lightweight finish that riffs on traditional eyewear styles. “Kartell has always looked to the future and has always followed developments in materials and production processes in all sectors,” says Lorenza Luti of Kartell. “This latest collection, developed by our own creative workshop, will allow us to explore new horizons while continuing to respect our established look and identity.”

Oyler Wu Collaborative’s winning proposal for the Cold War Veterans Memorial competition

Oyler Wu Collaborative will design the Cold War Veterans Memorial in Wisconsin.

“The Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML) has selected Oyler Wu Collaborative as the final winner of its April 2021 Cold War Veterans Memorial competition. The studio’s proposal, ‘Orbits’, will be built in Somers, Wisconsin, as part of a 10-year development project called the Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park Center. As its name suggests, the proposed design by Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu reveals a dynamic orbital shape rising from the ground and adapting to the land’s topography to welcome visitors into a timeless memorial that honors the fallen American soldiers from the Cold War era.” —[H/T Designboom]

Richemont sells its stake in the highly technical Swiss watchmaker Greubel Forsey. 

“Richemont sold a minority stake in Greubel Forsey SA, a maker of extremely intricate Swiss watches that start at $200,000, to its founders and chief executive officer. Founders Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, along with chief executive officer Antonio Calce, are now the shareholders of the brand, Greubel Forsey said Thursday. Financial terms were not disclosed.” —[H/T Business of Fashion]

Kuindzhi Art Museum

A Russian airstrike destroys a Ukraine museum dedicated to the artist Arkhip Kuindzhi. 

“A museum in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol dedicated to the 19th-century artist Arkhip Kuindzhi, whom both Russians and Ukrainians embrace as their own, was destroyed by an airstrike on Monday morning, Ukrainian media and the head of Ukraine’s artists union reported. Kuindzhi, who was of Greek descent, was born in Mariupol. He was initially a member of the 19th-century Russian Realist art movement known as The Wanderers, but broke with them and became famous for his ability to convey light and vivid color.” —[H/T The Art Newspaper]

Art Basel shares a name and leadership for its controversial upcoming Paris edition.

“After snagging the Grand Palais from Paris’s top modern and contemporary art fair, FIAC, Art Basel has announced the name and leadership for its competing event, whose first edition is set to open in October. Meet “Paris+, par Art Basel” (or Paris+, by Art Basel). Its name “celebrates the city’s premier standing as a cultural epicenter and reflects Art Basel’s ambition to create a flagship event that radiates throughout Paris, highlighting the dynamic dialogue between its cultural industries—from fashion and design to film and music,” according to the fair’s announcement.” —[H/T ARTnews]

To ease high fares, Uber reaches an agreement to list all New York City taxis on its app.

“Uber Technologies Inc. is becoming friends with a former foe. The company has reached an agreement to list all New York City taxis on its app, an alliance that could ease the ride-hailing giant’s driver shortage and temper high fares while directing more business to cab drivers, whose livelihoods were affected by the emergence of car-sharing apps and the pandemic.” —[H/T Wall Street Journal]

The Andy Warhol Diaries

Today’s attractive distractions:

Common rain frogs of each gender secret an ultra-sticky adhesive when they mate.

Scientists discover a new variety of ice not unlike in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle.

Elusive composer La Monte Young officially releases the 64-year-old Trio for Strings.

The New York art world has a thing or two to say about Netflix’s Warhol documentary.

All Stories