Hip and happening

You are energized by what’s new and now, and best inspired by uber-cool spaces where style, design and fashion rules. Latin America adds the additional dimension of uniqueness in style and design that comes from its relative isolation as a continent combined with its diverse and deep cultural roots. And where there is cool design, there is the hip and happening. It is no surprise that most of the design in and from Latin America strike you as refreshingly original and trendsetting; free of clichés and the mundane. You just have to see all the distinctive architectural style of the late Oscar Niemeyer. You will notice the distinctive style of Peruvian born architect, Bernardo Fort-Brescia, in the brilliant design of several Libertador and Starwood properties in Peru like the Westin Lima, Tambo del Inka in the Sacred Valley and Hotel Paracas Luxury Collection. The W hotel in Santiago is one of the most interesting W hotels in the world with its amazing interiors (using copper and native tapestries to create a layered, eclectic feel) by Tony Chi, a New Yorker (responsible also for Westin Lima’s interiors), and Sergio Echeverria, a Chilean. And there is the award winning design of Tierra Patagonia and its sister hotel, Tierra Atacama using Chilean architects to create unique masterpieces in remote Chile. A recent newcomer, Refugia in Chiloe Island, Chile continues the trend of architectural excellence in remote luxury properties, which probably started back in 1993 with explora Patagonia’s Hotel Salto Chico, by Chilean architect German del Oro. Buenos Aires has visually stunning modern retail spaces and restaurants so it is no surprise that it was appointed as the first UNESCO City of Design in August 2005. Brazilian architecture, represented by the works of Niemeyer, Bardi, Mendes da Rocha and others, is amongst the world’s most progressive and most intercultural. For something more contemporary, check out Fasano Rio and Fasano Sao Paulo hotels by Philippe Starck, whose name is synonymous with what is uber-chick and cutting-edge in hotel design. In Mexico city, you have to look no further than the St Regis Mexico City Hotel designed by world-renowned Argentinean-born architect Cesar Pelli. The Habita Group there also has a number of trendsetting boutiques such as Condesa DF. Now, more than ever, Latin America led by a new wave of talented individuals inspires, provokes, challenges and showcases its design talents and traditions.