Though Palermo Viejo is hardly lacking retail destinations, the encroachment of excess can be felt in the presence of mainstream brands that have pushed out most of the true independents.
Oli Martínez, entrepreneur co-director of Ensayo General, a hip hidden gallery in the area, is aiming to buck that trend with Tokonoma, located on the edge of this buzzy neighbourhood. The two level store, accessed through a metal bridge, is a soothing minimal oasis designed by architect Clara Ortega. Inside, a simple palette of materials including natural woods, micro cement flooring and arty wallpapers, lend the space a soft elegance that allows customers to stumble serendipitously upon Martínez’s thoughtfully curated selection of handmade items including pottery, jewellery, glass and tableware by 22 of the top local artists and designers.
‘The foremost criterion is quality of design, with a clear preference for form over colour or textures,’ says Martínez. ‘I am interested in everyday objects such as tableware designs.’ We were particularly taken by the ornate coffee sets from Carolina Antoniadis and hand painted dining table by Silvana Lacarra.