RELEASE DATE: 28 Oct, 2015

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.



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...

Designing an Eco-friendly Mindset

30 Oct, 2015 | Anna Bellettato

Putting recycling on the school desk ‘La basura mata’ – litter kills – is one of the most frequent slogans plastered on the walls of La Paz. For a city that is rapidly expanding, management of wast...

Bolivian Express: Printed

30 Oct, 2015 | Anna Bellettato & Rafael Bertoli-Mitchell

Artes Gráficas Sagitario is a factory in La Paz that prints Bolivian Express. From pre-print design and blueprinting to UV-varnishing, we took a look at what goes on inside Bolivia's biggest printing...

Building the Houses of God

28 Oct, 2015 | Hazel Browne

It seems almost every corner of La Paz is home to a church. An interview with Gastón A. Gallardo, Dean of Architecture at Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, opens my eyes to the history and design behin...

Máscaras y Tejidos

28 Oct, 2015 | Anna Grace

A Visual Introduction to The Indigenous Craft Art of BoliviaThe smell of freshly baked salteñas drifting through the plazas in the morning, the taste of the impressively spicy llawja drizzled over lun...

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...

Pop-up Community

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 City of the Rings

28 Oct, 2015 | Lila Andrea Monasterios Esteves

Building  the Future of Santa Cruz de la SierraThe city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in eastern Bolivia, is home to well over 1 million people, and is widely known as the economic center of the countr...

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...

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...