Lima, Peru with Monica
Caracas-born jewelry designer Monica Sordo grew up a citizen of the world. After studying in Milan and working in Madrid, she chose New York as her home, and currently splits her time between Manhattan and Miami. Yet with her heart and creativity always tied to Latin America, for the past five years, Sordo has forged a special bond with Lima, the city where she set up her jewellery workshops. Working alongside a team of artisans from San Juan Lurigancho, here Sordo crafts timeless collectibles for her eponymous label. Ever the experienced traveller, Sordo knows how to dig up local gems anywhere she roams, which is why we turned to her for insider tips and inspiration while visiting the Peruvian capital.
Where do you go in the city to find inspiration?
I love going to the center, which is halfway between Miraflores (where I stay) and San Juan de Lurigancho (where my workshops are located). It is so vibrant and full of that day-to-day productive energy and color. I’ve been so many times, but always discover a new corner. One of my favorite spots is Casa Aliada, the oldest colonial mansion in Lima- and probably in South America- still owned and inhabited by the same family for 17 generations. Its quiet, central patio is a vision in contrast with the surroundings. I can travel in time just by sitting there. I love visiting while I’m in Lima for new developments just to reset and continue designing. Other spots in the center that I visit constantly are the Museo de Minerales, Convento de Santo Domingo and the flower market.
What are your go-to pieces for daily life in Lima? And for a night on the town?
When in Lima I spend a lot of time in the car traveling from workshops, visiting and researching vendors, then work lunches and aperitivos with friends, so I love a comfy, flowy midi dresses that I can wear with a chunky sweater and sneakers to go to the workshop, and a blazer and kitten heels for a night out. Also, always a good pair of vintage denim.
Get a room at…. Hotel B
I need coffee… Colonia & Co.
Perfect place for sobremesa… Siete
Fancy a drink? The bar at Central, Rafael or Tragaluz
Take me dancing… I don’t go dancing that much in Lima, but I love a jazz night at La noche de Barranco. Very low-key and informal.
Off the beaten path… Book a visit to Miguel Andrade Valdez, Ishmael Randall Weeks Studio or Dos Rios Ceramic Studio.
Looking for a cultural fix… Treasures of ancient Peru: El Museo de Oro (highly underrated!) and, of course, a must is the Larco Museum (not-so-secret tip).
Souvenir? A textile for sure! A poncho or hat by Poncho Chalán or a piece from my favorite local brand Escvdo.
Local’s secret… The weekend “BioFerias” which changes location from Saturday to Sunday. Here you can find the best farm-to-table products from the rich Peruvian lands.
Best place for a leisure stroll… Calle Cajamarca in Barranco. You can start your stroll at Plaza San Francisco. Some of the most beautiful colonial houses of Lima are in this square and just down the street. On your way you will run into the best craftsmanship store in Lima called Las Pallas and a small concept store where you can have a coffee. You could also book a visit at architect Rafael Freyre’s studio and get one of his small objects made of Peruvian stones. Walk a few more blocks and you can have lunch at my new favorite spot Merito. With a raw, minimal space and food by Venezuelan chef duo, it mixes the best of Peruvian and Venezuelan traditions.
Always pack… Lima is so humid so get your hair products game on!
Additional tips we should know?
The art and design scenes in Lima are emerging quickly and beautifully. To get the best, visit 80m2 Livia Benavides or Revolver galleries. If you are more into garments with history and tradition, check out Escvdo, Mozh Mozh, Poncho Chalán or Meche Correa.