EDITORIAL BY Alexandra Meleán Anzoleaga
On a grey, windy morning in La Paz, I’m walking over to the local café in Sopocachi, thinking about coffee, art and
aesthetics. Do I order an espresso, a latte or a cappuccino? Like identity and self-expression, the choices you make
tend to reflect your own design aesthetic. I ordered the cappuccino.
‘Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Everything is design. Everything!’ said the late American graphic designer Paul
Rand. Can graphic design embrace art and aesthetics, too? You decide. Walk to la plaza del estudiante and take a look at the giant Photoshopped billboard of the Pope, Evo Morales and el Illimani. Everywhere you walk, you see design, sometimes hidden in the form of efficient visual communication (and, sometimes, contamination).
Rand’s claim that ‘everything is design’ may seem like a bit of hyperbole, but there is significant truth in those words. Design goes deeper than the visual and the aesthetic. Design is procedural, it is experiential. It is much more than the final visual result.
An idea becomes a reality through actionable tasks and processes designed for optimal experiences. Here in the cities of Bolivia, centuries of urban and architectural design have created unique experiences and processes for those of us who inhabit this place.
Good design can be sustainable and solve problems for communities. Fast-paced urban development in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra led city planners to prepare for exponential growth by designing four concentric ‘rings’. Designer and architect Cameron Sinclair reminds us, ‘When you design, you either improve or you create a detriment to the community in which you’re designing.’ What will urban planners implement next? The Bolivian Express will continue to report on and investigate the thriving future of Bolivia’s economic capital and fastest-growing city.
American graphic designer Paula Scher warns, ‘Be culturally literate, because if you don’t have any understanding of the world you live in and the culture you live in, you’re not going to express anything to anybody else.’ This month our journalists are taking Scher’s advice and experiencing Bolivia under the visual umbrella of design. If experience can be created, exactly how embedded is design within our collective Bolivian experiences? To what extent do we interact with design, art and aesthetics in our daily lives in Bolivia? Our team explores the creativity of textiles and masks worn at festivals; the visual significance of the wiphala flag; the architectural future of Santa Cruz; alternative material for musical acoustics; the artisanal flavours of craft beer; recycled and cultural street fashion; moveable parks; winding roads; historical architecture; and the printing process of magazines like the Bolivian Express.
If you ask Austrian designer and art directors Stefan Sagmeister, ‘You can have an art experience in front of a Rembrandt… or in front of a piece of graphic design.’ This issue is dedicated to all of the Bolivian designers who create these experiences for us to participate in, share and enjoy on a daily basis.
ARTICLES FROM THIS ISSUE
29 Oct, 2015 | Anna Bellettato
ZEF is a Bolivian fashion house that upcycles donated second-hand clothes. The items that aren’t selected to be redesigned are given to local charities.ZEF aims to produce high-quality, creative and e...
The Flag of the People
28 Oct, 2015 | Rafael Bertoli-Mitchell
As I sat in the teléferico for the first time, slowly rolling up the valley to El Alto, a friend pointed out what we thought to be a multicoloured LGBTQ flag. Even the Bolivians that I spoke to were u...
Our Brand Is Bolivia
28 Oct, 2015 | Anna Grace
Branding the Plurinational StateThere's no doubt about it: we live in a brand-oriented world. Think fizzy drinks, sports shoes or mobile phones and it’s certain a particular brand, logo or catchphrase...
Sounds of Paper
28 Oct, 2015 | Hazel Browne
Local luthier making recycled instruments‘I don’t like the felling of trees,’ Adrián Villanueva says, as he shows me a selection of his creations: charangos made from recycled paper. Traditionally fas...
Long Road to the Interior
28 Oct, 2015 | J.Q.Cooley
My Journey with a Taxista through La Paz‘The secret to driving in Bolivia,’ Edgar says, streetlights illuminating his smile, ‘is thinking ahead.’ At that moment, his eyes catch sight of a family of to...
28 Oct, 2015 | J.Q. Cooley
The Miniparques of El AltoIt's field trip day. The rare occasion when you and all your classmates get to leave the classroom and explore the world outside to learn from everything other than books and...
The Design of Flavour
28 Oct, 2015 | Rafael Bertoli-Mitchell
Bolivia’s Artisanal Beer Scene is Brewing‘I want drinking beer to be an experience.’—Jaime Andres Sánchez, founder of Abbey Road pub‘You mess around with recipes and different ingredients, and you can...
Haute Couture in the Andes
28 Oct, 2015 | Valeria Salinas Maceda
Creating the Chukuta Fashion DistrictFashion lovers flock to Paris and Milan every day, and most are sure not to miss a visit to Montaige Avenue and the Quadrilatero D’oro to see the boutiques on the...