- Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Handmade and sustainable rugs, blankets and home accessories.
Price Range: ($$) Mid-Range - ($$$) High-End
- Website: elementosargentinos.com
- Founded: 2005
- Founded by: Fernando Bach and Pablo Mendívil
- Headquarters: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Elementos Argentinos first opened its doors, and speaking to him today, I know he'd do it again in a heartbeat. These days, Fernando Bach and Pablo Mendívil of Elementos Argentinos work directly with over 120 weavers located all over the northern provinces of Argentina. They provide direction about design and color, while the artisans use their deep knowledge of traditional weaving methods to a fantastic ends. This partnership is unique. It is based on trust, respect for the craft and fair wages. The weavers are independent craftspeople, and often the whole family is afforded the chance to make a sustainable living where once that opportunity just didn't exist. While speaking with Fernando, the word 'community' kept popping into my mind. Fernando and Pablo spend much of their time building a community of weavers and artisans all around the northern half of Argentina, providing opportunities to turn traditional crafts into careers. On the other end, the brick and mortar Elementos Argentinos is more than just a well-styled shop in a hip neighborhood, it is also a community hub focused on design, home, local culture and social responsibility. For me, Elementos Argentinos acted as my welcome wagon to Buenos Aires. Located on a shady, tree lined street in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood, the store is about much more than just shopping. The colorful wares and the clean design lend a richness to the space, making it feel like a home. But what really sets the shop apart are the people you'll meet inside. Armed with maps, directions and genuine smiles, everyone here is ready to tell you all about their favorite neighborhood watering hole, cultural activity or where to find the best art and design in the city. Fernando and his team are equally focused on community building than sales, something that can be tough for a North American consumer to fully grasp at first. Although, in many ways there's no need for sales pressure because the store is so amazing. Wishing I had a home to fill with pillows, throws and rugs, I'm still seriously considering buying a rug in the hopes that one day I'll find the right home to match it! The next time you're in Buenos Aires, definitely add Elementos Argentinos to your list of necessary activities. It's impossible to leave empty-handed, even if you don't spend a penny. Images: Smith Schwartz