This spring, the recently renovated Bourdelle Museum in Paris’s Montparnasse district opened a luminous new cafe-restaurant, Le Rhodia, named after the French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle’s daughter. The spare, daffodil yellow dining room occupies the second story of a 19th-century artist’s studio where Rhodia Bourdelle and her husband, the Art Deco interior designer Michel Dufet, once lived. “We wanted it to feel like entering someone’s apartment,” says Marc-Antoine Servella, the co-founder of the Parisian architecture studio SAME, who oversaw the cafe’s design. He furnished Le Rhodia with a mix of midcentury flea market finds and custom pieces commissioned from French artisans in materials ranging from travertine to oak, while preserving a few original details like a wood-burning stove and a large oculus window (designed by Dufet in the spirit of the ocean liner cabin décor for which he was best known). Museumgoers can also dine outside on the mezzanine terrace next to a colonnade of watchful bronze busts. The menu offers refreshing fare, with culinary references to Bourdelle’s hometown in the southwest of France and a Latin American influence — a homage, says the French chef Jean-René Chassignol, to the dozens of students from Peru, Chile and Argentina who apprenticed with Bourdelle in these ateliers. Dishes, which skew on the lighter side, include a black-bean purée with pickled beets and corn nuts, and seasonal vegetable empanadas. Pastries, like the Rhodia brioche with orange-blossom cream or the honey-and-thyme-infused Madeleine d’Antoine, are served all day. instagram.com/lerhodia_bourdelle/.
Juan Pablo Echeverri’s Self-Deprecating Portraits
When the artist Juan Pablo Echeverri died at the age of 43 last year, he left behind more than 8,000 self-portraits taken in passport photo booths around the world. What had started as a diary of hair styles and piercings grew into a conceptual art project as Echeverri evolved as an artist. This summer, a grid assembled from about 400 of those photos will hang at James Fuentes Gallery in Manhattan; another has been on view at Between Bridges, the nonprofit in Berlin run by Echeverri’s former employer, the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, who helped curate both shows.
Echeverri’s sudden death from malaria came just as his career was zooming up, with a show in León, Mexico, and work in the collection of the former president of his native Colombia. But it would be a mistake to see the portraits as a somber memento mori. “I don’t want to overburden the work,” says Tillmans, who prefers to see it as Echeverri was: sly, cerebral and self-deprecating. The title of the passport series, “Miss Fotojapón,” yokes together a joke about Colombia’s past failure to win the Miss Universe pageant with the name of a photo processing chain. The exhibit in New York also includes “Identidad Payasa” (2017), a series of double portraits where the artist shared the lens with street clowns in Mexico City. First, Echeverri would take their photos in full costume, then ask the clowns to recreate the look on him, a way of embodying their position. Tillmans says the photos show how much Echeverri empathized with the clowns — they were both artists, putting on a visual performance and wearing masks. “Are they to be taken seriously? Obviously, they’re being laughed at. It’s deep, but he played it light,” he says. “Identidad Perdida” is on view from June 7 to July 29, jamesfuentes.com.
The Texas-based hotel group Bunkhouse — known for its intimate, community-oriented properties like Hotel Saint Cecilia and Hotel San José in Austin — has lately expanded with openings in Salado, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky, and, most recently, Mexico City. Hotel San Fernando is in Condesa, the neighborhood known for its Art Deco architecture and sprawling, jacaranda-lined parks. Nineteen guest rooms now occupy the Edificio San Fernando, a 1940s apartment building whose jade-hued ceramic-tile floors and stained-glass windows were retained in a renovation by Bunkhouse and the Mexico City architecture firm Reurbano. Plum-colored archways border a sage green lobby, from which guests ascend a spiral stairwell to reach the rooms. The furnishings were mostly made in Mexico, including plywood furniture from the design studio La Metropolitana, red lamps with handblown, opaque glass shades by the Oaxaca studio Oaxifornia and works by local artists such as Pedro Friedeberg and Ricardo Guevara. Guests can enjoy meals on the rooftop, with pastries like vanilla conchas for breakfast and small plates including tostadas and aguachile from midday on. Hotel San Fernando opens June 1; rooms from $215, bunkhousehotels.com.
Cartier Revives Its Coffee-Inspired Collection
Cartier’s designers have a habit of creating precious jewelry based on everyday objects. The Juste Un Clou collection transforms a construction nail into diamond-crusted cuffs and collars, while the Cactus de Cartier, a set of spiky domes, imagines the desert plant as a cocktail ring. The Grain de Café collection continues this trend, using coffee beans as inspiration for bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces and brooches. Originated by the house’s longtime director Jeanne Toussaint, the java-themed charms first appeared in the house’s designs in 1938. Prince Rainier III gifted Grace Kelly a cafe set for their 1956 wedding, and her necklace, studded with small gold bean pendants, served as one reference for the new designs. This June, the company introduces six new pieces to the collection, from a rope-style chain strung with five clustered beans to a two-toned ring set with dangling diamond-dotted beans. They’re all designed to move slightly, emitting an energizing jingle. From $7,250, cartier.com.
The French ceramist Ludmilla Balkis first began shaping clay into thrown pots, bottles and bowls as a way to let go of her former life in fashion — inspired by the delicate work of the British sculptor Lucie Rie, she wanted to find a natural creative rhythm free from the directive to produce on a fixed schedule. Balkis had trained as a fashion designer and worked under Phoebe Philo at Celine in London; she began making ceramics in 2015. Her paper-thin structures, sculpted from the reddish-brown clay she collects from the French seaside and mixes with sand to achieve a rougher texture, challenge gravity’s pull, threatening to collapse. Items she finds on long walks through nature in France’s Basque Country, where she keeps a studio, are often incorporated into the pieces. In her latest exhibition, “Stasis,” on view beginning next week at Roman and Williams’s Guild Gallery in New York, one white sanded stoneware basin is imprinted with twigs, while a trio of lanternlike vessels have raw edges flecked with dry wood ash. “In a way, the movements and techniques [between ceramics and fashion] are similar,” Balkis says. “Draping fabric around a mannequin consists of pulling and pinning material to create a three-dimensional design. In ceramics, I intuitively repeat that process — I’m creating around empty space, but I work on it like it’s an imaginary body.” “Stasis” will be on view from June 9 through July 15, rwguildgalleryny.com.
Floral Jewelry From Danielle Frankel
The bridal designer Danielle Frankel Hirsch has previously designed collections of pearl jewelry to accompany the silk halter-neck tops and tulle gowns she creates for her label, Danielle Frankel. But as part of her mission to shift wedding traditions in new directions, Frankel Hirsch chose a less expected medium for her latest accessories. “I began with the question ‘If we could cast flowers [in clay], what would that look like?’” she says. She began searching for references and found images of wilting flowers that were originally printed on cigarette cards and had been digitized as part of the George Arents Collection at the New York Public Library. Then she discovered an artisan based in Ukraine whose specialty is creating realistic floral sculpture, using clay molded over a wire frame. Frankel Hirsch is now selling an array of blooms, including lavender anemone and pink magnolia earrings, and lily and rose brooches. She expects brides will appreciate that every design is slightly different from the others and, unlike a bouquet, they can be kept forever. From $1,250, daniellefrankelstudio.com.
From T’s Instagram