Most of what you’ve probably heard is about all the food and drink destinations that will be there, like Colombian chef Juan Manuel “Juanma” Barrientos’ high-end restaurant El Cielo and the juice bar-meets-cocktail spot Serenata+Zumo from Daniella Senior of Colada Shop.
But there will also be two Latin American retail stores opening in the new space: Nova Bossa, a fashion and design brand by Brazilian-born Carolina Furukrona, and Zona E Home, a furniture and home goods store founded in Colombia by Paula Sierra.
Washingtonian got the early details on both stores, which you can check out during the soft-opening celebration.
“The word Bossa means style [in Portuguese],” says Furukrona, the owner of the store named as a nod to the Brazilian music genre Bossa nova. “I love that word. You’ll be like, ‘Wow, this has Bossa. Like, this place literally is Bossa. This has flair, this style that’s very effortless.”
It’s the same vibe she’s aiming for in her store. Nova Bossa will feature a curated collection of clothes, jewelry, accessories, and home goods from Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Guatemala.
All the items are either made by women or come from women-owned brands, says Furukrona, and she wants to put a specific emphasis on the designs of Latin American indigenous cultures.
“What we’re trying to do is find those artisans’ techniques that are dying,” she says. “That kind of craft is going to go away, and we’re trying to invest in that.”
Handpicking design treasures from around the world is a job that’s long been in the making for Furukrona. She moved to Northern Virginia from Brazil with her family when she was 13. She eventually became a fundraiser for the European Institute, after which she was the development director for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian.
But it was during her days at the language software company Rosetta Stone, where she opened the Latin America branch, that she reconnected with her love of introducing people to other cultures’ designs.
“I would always bring our [Rosetta Stone] executives to markets and started learning about the crafts,” she says. “All the people were saying, ‘Oh my god, these things are amazing. This craftsmanship—this is really, really good.'”
After taking a course at Harvard in women and leadership, she decided to combine an emphasis on female entrepreneurs with her burgeoning plans for a design company.
“So I said, okay, I’m going to combine all those passions—cultural diplomacy, the fundraising, social justice, the women, and then obviously the design and art—to make this company that is a lifestyle brand that focuses on Latin America and invests primarily in women designers and artisans.”
The result is part-anthropology, part-fashion—think chairs handmade in the same style as ancient Mayans or bikinis from Brazil.
And Furukrona has more plans down the road. Starting next year, Nova Bossa will begin hosting events in-store such as trunk shows or poetry readings, and she eventually wants to open a spot that’s a combination guest house-coffee shop-and-design store.
“There’s this big revolution happening [that] we’re calling the emancipation of the Southern Hemisphere,” says Furukrona. “We think that [it’s] going to dictate trends for the next generation.”
Zona E Home
Paula Sierra started her home design store out of her own home in Medellín, Colombia. She’d have guests over for coffee or snacks, and she’d show them her curated collection of coffee tables, candles, vases, and other home items. Eventually, she opened a brick-and-mortar store that also houses her events business.
But, despite her own impressive sense of style (seriously—check out some of these weddings she’s planned), Sierra credits the La Cosecha store to her daughter Lusiana Arango.
The current George Washington University sophomore was an intern at Edens, the development company behind Union Market and La Cosecha, when she heard they were looking for Latin American designers. She showed them her mom’s Instagram, and the rest is history.
But it doesn’t hurt that Sierra feels DC is just the right environment for the first US location of her brand.
“[A lot of the home stores in DC] are either too big or too small,” she says. “Too big that you don’t feel charisma or help from the people, or too small that you don’t have big things.”
She thinks Zona E is the perfect in-between. “We have a mix.”
Although she carries items from all over the world (think India, Thailand, Brazil), she says the curatorship is “100-percent Colombian.”
She’ll also offer interior design services on-site for all types of clients, she says. Zona E’s services are set into tiers: “Be” focuses on someone moving into a home by themselves, “Two” is for a newly-living together couple, “Together” is for a family home, “Light” is geared toward a quick refresh, and “Do” targets workspaces.
And, if things go well, she plans to open more stores in the US—like, a lot more. “I plan to have 10 stores. It’s just beginning,” she says. “I love to work.”
Luckily for her, while she’s commuting back-and-forth between Colombia and DC, she has Arango to hold down the fort. “All my [GW] friend are like, ‘Can I work there?,'” she says. “I’m going to be there like, 24-7 helping.'”
La Cosecha will celebrate its grand opening September 7 from 11 am to 7 PM.
La Cosecha; 1280 4th St. NE