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Last tango…in Houston

One of Hines’ highest-profile projects, The Residences at La Colombe d’Or in the Houston Museum District, interweaves important architecture and interiors with smart public art. Now street art is in the mix, with a bold 46-foot mural becoming the calling card for the building’s exterior. Paris-based Blek Le Rat’s newly completed Last Tango graces the Montrose-facing façade of the 34-story modernist tower, setting up a dialogue with its namesake 1920s-era hotel and restaurant adjoining the luxury for-lease residential high-rise. How was graffitist Blek Le Rat — not a household name like Banksy or Shepard Fairey — selected for the project by the developer whose signature Houston commissions include artworks by Joan Miró (JP Morgan Chase Tower) and Jean Dubuffet (1100 Louisiana, now at Discovery Green).

Credit goes to Hines’ partner in this venture, the Zimmerman family’s Dan Zimmerman, an avid collector of street art who owns a work by Blek Le Rat. Zimmerman says of Last Tango, which now holds the distinction of being Blek’s most epic mural to date: “The image itself says so many things. The ultimate representation is to live with joie de vivre, have fun and dance, and spend life with the people you love.” Hines senior managing director Kevin Batchelor says about the artwork’s imagery, a tangoing couple circled by a pair of doves: “This piece blends the old with the new, just like the residential tower sitting next to the mansion.” Weingarten Art Group served as consultant. More on this story at

Paper City: Story by Catherine D. Anspon, Image from Houston Chronicle