Returning to Vejer after a stay in London, I was happy to catch two Vejer events on my first day back, the re-opening of La Palomita delicatessen and Kath Hockey’s new show at Chokolata. Beauty needs no adornment and you might think that adding art to history and natural beauty is gilding the lily, but these two artists have contributed to the town's attractions in very different ways.
|Gaspar Sobrino with his latest project.|
La Palomita (Los Remedios), a popular delicatessen and supermarket for many years, closed last autumn, causing speculation that the business had been abandoned or sold, a disappointing prospect for those who relied on it as a convenient source of wine and gourmet foods in the centre of the old town. The news that it was not only to re-open, but to be reborn with a new design and layout by decorator Gaspar Sobrino, was very welcome.
Sobrino, whose long career as a interior designer includes contracts with fashion chains Zara and Massimo Dutti, has already made his mark on Vejer with his gloriously inventive designs for the restaurant Las Delicias and the remodelled Mercado de Abastos. His own Vejer house was featured on this blog a few months ago. Now he turns his attention to a retail space where he has created a practical design which nevertheless bears the unmistakable Sobrino stamp, a welcoming blend of fantasy and organized clutter where every inch of space is utilized and every glance reveals some
La Palomita has morphed from a small supermarket with a wine shop and a good choice of local hams and cheeses into a stylish delicatessen where shoppers can sit at window tables to sample the produce and watch the world go by on Los Remedios outside. Gone are the yoghurts and the frozen foods – the shop now focuses on the best of local and regional produce, served by attendants in smart new kit, complete with bow ties, and the meat-slicer is a focal point of the design. The shop will delight visitors and residents and adds yet another feature to Vejer’s unique profile.
The owners of Chokolata, which opened its new tea-house earlier this year, are well aware of the importance of good design, and the space is currently hosting a new exhibition by local artist Kath Hockey. Kath is a largely self-taught artist who also trained at Chelmsford College. Her calm townscapes, some of which are available as picture postcards, are now part of Vejer’s iconography, but Kath works in a variety of styles, often featuring animals or everyday objects in vibrant designs, notably the ubiquitous orange butano canister. Her strutting cockerels have been stencilled onto several Vejer walls. The work is well-priced, with prints from 20 Euros, and Kath’s designs are also available on cushions in two sizes.
Kath’s work will be on display for the next few weeks and visitors who visit Chokolata to see it will have the benefit not only of seeing some interesting art, but of ordering from a wide range of specialist teas and coffees and enjoying them in beautiful surroundings.