At Souvenir you can expect to find anything from spices and candles to home made artwork or finely decorated notebooks, however you can only expect to find this particular shop between 2nd-24th December. This temporary shop of oddities, art and antiques is only coming home for the holidays.
The concept of a temporary store is novel to Buenos Aires, but commonly practised in the United States and around Europe. Eloise Alemany hopes to bring a little bit of a new tradition to the city of tango. Pop-up shops and temporary stores, popular during the holidays, provide Christmas shoppers with unique or seasonal goods. Souvenir in particular aims to not only helping shoppers find that perfect Christmas gift, but maybe a small something to treat yourself to as well.
Whether you find yourself scouring the city for a piece of art to lighten your living spaces, or hand-made décor, Eloise and her partners Ana Armendariz and Caro Urresti have already assembled a group of their favorite Argentine artists and designers. “What we’re doing is celebrating the creativity in Argentina, we’ve selected a lot of things from different designers who work here independently,” she explains.
By illuminating the scene on local art, crafts and designs, Souvenir has opened the door to many otherwise hidden finds. “We have a small series of handmade Robot figures by Padré y Hijo,” said Eloise, before a small robot figurine made of recycled computer parts, “the story behind these is really nice— they are made by a father and his 11 year-old son. They’ve never shown them before!”
At home in Souvenir with the tiny robot family, the shop also offers new, whimsically printed notebooks from Mono, candles, and a collection of books from a participating antique bookstore. A couple of things you can expect to see range anywhere from hand-woven palm cactuses, vintage necklaces, scented soaps from Pesqueira in Palermo and ceramics all made by various Argentine craft-makers and designers.
“There’s a bit of everything – there’s art which I’ve noticed becoming more and more common in a store setting,” said Eloise. “And we have one of a kind objects that we find in antique shops and other places — little treasures from around the city.”
When coming up with the idea of a “pop-up” the girls decided to keep the talent local, and the flavor exotic. “We also know French chef, Elsa Manlephe, who makes special blends of spices which we sell here in the shop,” elaborates Eloise on the Miss Pepper spice blends. “She can also make your own blend if you fill out a questionnaire so she can learn more about you.”
The Souvenir shop, a small corner of personalized presents, forgotten-vintage spoils and inspired knick-knacks. Along with the customized spice service, they have a local artist specializing in colorful pet portraits — whether it is a gift for yourself, a family member, or your furry friend. “We hope to have enough of a range of things so that everyone can go home with something.”
The girls of Souvenir have their hands full with the temporary gift shop’s steadily growing popularity, and are delighted by the results even after only a couple days into the project. “This is a little bit of a test but we love the experience so far,” Eloise said. “I think the idea is to do this more than once a year and to think of different ideas and concepts that would suit other occasions.”
Souvenir’s short seasonal lifespan seems to draw in new faces every day who know that these rare finds will come but once a year, like Christmas. Despite minimal advertising, they have traveled by word-of-mouth, newsletters, their blog and more, and the semi-secret store doesn’t believe they will remain so secluded for long. The plan is to hopefully go broader long after the holiday season ends — changing locations, discovering new artists and featuring small things that aren’t found everywhere in Buenos Aires.