Ballen Pellettiere's Ricardo & Carina insider's guide to Bogotá, Colombia
Ballen Pellettiere was founded by Ricardo Ballen back in 2013 straight after he graduated from the IED in Milan. His muse and inspiration is his wife, Carina Ospina, whom he met while they were both studying in Italy. Although their Instagram overflows with pictures from various trips around the world, it’s Bogotá the place they call home. We asked Carina & Ricardo about their favourite places and secret spots.
Tell me a bit about you. Where you're from and how you met.
Both of us are in the creative industry. Ricardo is a product designer specialised in handbags and leather goods, just 4 years ago he founded Ballen Pellettiere. Carina is an interior designer specialised in visual merchandising. She is currently working at Crate and Barrel, but she is also a fundamental part of BP. We work in other projects too; branding, interior design and creative direction at Some Friends, which we co-founded with a group of very talented friends.
What made you move to Bogotá?
After being away from home for so long, we decided to leave Italy and come back to Colombia to try and make some dreams come true. Because neither one of us were from the capital, Bogotá, we thought we should give it a try. It was also halfway from both of our hometowns, so it felt right.
If you didn't live here and came to visit, where would you rather stay?
We would stay at Click-Clack hotel, Bog Hotel, or the W. Neighbourhoods we love: Cabrera, which is where we live, is one of the coolest areas because you can find tons of amazing restaurants, cafés, and shops. Rosales is also good if you're looking for good restaurants. Lastly, the bohemian neighbourhood, La Macarena, is full of art galleries and beautiful places to eat.
Best food in Bogotá?
We love the brunch at Club Colombia, they offer a typical Colombian breakfast, so delicious. At Abasto, you should have the Torta de Almojábana which is SO , SO tasty and unique. CO is owned by Klaas de Meulder, a Belgian chef who offers the best food styling in the city. Madre is an unexpected place in the center of Bogotá, they offer live music and exquisite pizzas... However, if we're talking about good music, Bandido has the best live shows in the city, it is the perfect bistró to grab a bite and then some drinks. If you are in a romantic mood, head to El Patio, great Italian food, it's the perfect setting for a date. Osaka has one of the best sea food. Worth a mention is Frank, the best corn in the streets.
Where would you take out-of-towners for a meal?
Andrés Carne de Res is so unique and special, it is a must during your first visit to Bogotá. It is located outside of the city, in Chía, but it's really worth it!
A place to indulge?
A HEALTHY LUNCH?
Where do you go when you want to treat yourself?
The spa at the W Hotel.
Where would you go celebrate with friends?
Lateral is a new beer bar with good music and, of course, amazing craft beer.
Most amazing discovery you've stumbled upon since you moved to Bogotá?
Hiking to Montaña La Vieja.
Where would you go for a romantic evening?
We prefer to have a romantic evening at home! Drinks and dinner courtesy of Ricardo.
What would you say are the definite must-see's for creative TRAVELLERS visiting Bogotá?
In October, Bogotá presents Colombia's biggest art fair. For us, two of the fairs you cannot miss are ArtBo and Odeón, but there are also plenty of galleries and circuits to visit, like Barcú. At any other time of the year, we have amazing museums like the Museo del Oro , which you cannot miss, and Museo de Fernando Botero. A gallery we really like is La Cometa.
How about interior designers, where could they go shopping?
We love shopping vintage furniture at Calle de los Anticuarios. If you are looking for up and coming designers you should shop at Diamantina y La Perla, and Folies.
And for fashion lovers?
Our store for sure!
What makes your store unique?
Honestly, what makes the Ballen store unique is the experience. It's not just about falling in love with the bags... once you get into our store, you enter our world. Our atelier is open and you can see the artisans working on each bag, so you can truly experience and see the craftsmanship behind every single piece we design.
Bogotá's best kept secret?
Paloquemao market, is the best market place in Colombia, you can shop for food, plants and crafts.