So you’re in Madrid for a few days and between all the tapas and traversing the city you still want to pick up a worthy souvenir. The trouble is, all the tourist shops seem to be selling cheaply made plastic trinkets that you’d be embarrassed to stick on your fridge. Thankfully, Madrid is in the midst of a resurgence of the handmade and there’s no shortage of locally crafted goods up for grabs. What better way to remember this city than a keepsake that was designed, made, and found in Madrid?
For the second volume of this series you’ll find an eccentric ceramics store, some beautifully designed jewellery, a luxury leather brand, a combined art gallery and gift shop and, to satisfy your appetite, a delicious food brand that celebrates traditional Spanish gastronomy. Bring a backpack (or buy one at one of these stores), because you won’t be returning home empty handed…
Guille García-Hoz, Ceramics
The always affable Guille García-Hoz opened this ceramics repository in the Las Salesas district several years ago and it continues to be neatly packed with painted tiles, plates, porcelain accessories and ornaments. His own creations sit alongside other prominent artisans such as Abe the Ape and Bussoga, and the majority are handmade in the ceramics stronghold of Talavera de la Reina; a town in the neighbouring province of Castilla La Mancha. If he’s not out on an interior design assignment (his other passion), Guille is usually on hand to enthusiastically convey the story of each piece. If you’re interested, he’ll be happy to walk you through the eccentric designs of Spain’s new generation of ceramics maestros that are marrying age-old traditions with modern designs.
Address: Calle Pelayo 43
Metro: Chueca & Alonso Martínez
Helena Rohner, Jewellery and Homeware
Helena Rohner has been creating exquisite pieces for her eponymous jewellery brand for many years and her collection can be found in some of Madrid’s best boutique retail locations. However, if you’re looking for a real feel for the brand, pay a visit to her cosy showroom and workshop in La Latina. Located on the picturesque Calle Almendro, you can peruse her latest wearable creations but also discover some of her high-profile collaborations with fellow designers David Delfín, Bodum, and Georg Jensen that include lamps, candle holders and other unique items for the home.
Calle del Almendro 4 BD
Metro: La Latina
La Portegna, Leather Goods
Spain has a long heritage of fine leather craftsmanship and the financial crisis has prompted a new generation of entrepreneurs to rediscover their artisanal roots. Among them are José Urrutia and Leticia de la Cuesta Ruíz-Larrea who created the beautiful brand La Portegna. If you’ve strolled along London’s Marylebone high street you may have noticed their beautiful boutique shop singing the praises of Spanish luxury wares, but they also have a flagship store back on home turf in Madrid. You’ll find it in the high-end district of Barrio Salamanca on Calle Núñez de Balboa and the collection of classically designed handbags, tote bags, shoes and travel accessories make for the perfect Spanish souvenir. A selection of card-holders, iPad cases, toiletry bags, luggage tags and some very popular leather slippers round out the collection. Manufactured in the Andalusian town of Ubrique – Spain’s centuries-old heartland of leather artisans – La Portegna is a well-deserved success story; a fusion of quality made, traditionally designed products tailored to a younger, well-travelled audience.
Address: Calle Núñez de Balboa 62
Metro: Velázque & Núñez de Balboa
La Fiambrera, Art, Books, and Artisanal Gifts
Canary Island native Ruth López-Diéguez and Colombian Maite Valderrama channeled their past experience as museographers into creating this delightful art gallery, shop, and café on Malasaña’s eclectic Calle Pez. The brightly coloured space opened last year and has quickly established itself as a popular exhibition space for young up-and-coming artists from Spain and Latin America. On the shelves you’ll find a collection of design-related books that span the vanguard of illustration and popular culture as well as illustrated district maps by Walk With Me, wooden houses by MadLab and other quirks such as the Virgen de Chueca and Virgen de Malasaña statuettes by Props Malasaña. While you’re there, make sure you head down to the surprisingly large, cavernous basement gallery to check out the latest exhibition and then order a hot drink and some home-baked cake before you start scanning the shelves for the ideal gift.
Address: Calle del Pez 7
Metro: Noviciado & Callao
Step inside this well-stocked Spanish pantry in the affluent Salamanca district and your mouth will instantly start watering. The shop is packed to the brim with sumptuous Spanish food sourced from all over the Iberian Peninsula and given a colourful makeover with bright and playfully designed packaging. If you’re looking to take home some Spanish tastes, Petra Mora has you covered; from finely cut Jamón to canned delicacies such as navajas (razor clams) and mejillones (mussels). You can also choose from a range of rice, pasta, biscuits, wine, and a wholesome selection of traditional staples that you’ve probably never even heard of. You can even arrange a gift-pack; making this the ideal place to stop by and do some last minute shopping for those hungry friends and family waiting for you at home.
Address: Calle de Ayala 21