We’re often asked about the history of the old items we sell, but it’s rare that bios come along with them. Believe me, we ask, but often it’s hearsay or speculation. Sometimes, we get lucky and we find something at the original source … a shut-down factory or grandpa’s old workshop … where provenance can be revealed. But most often it’s left to our imagination and sometimes more fun that way.
On a visit to a flea market in Buenos Aires 15 years ago, one of my vendors came across a family selling a collection of beautiful vintage seltzer bottles from the 1930’s. He bought all that he could carry, bonded with the family and promised to stay in touch. Back in the states, he showed them to designers and sold out of them immediately. Realizing the demand for these cool pieces, he contacted the family about getting more. On his next visit to Argentina, he decided to set the family up with their own business, collecting and restoring the bottles. He helped them learn to use the Internet, open a bank account, take orders by fax or email, etc., thus developing their own local enterprise. He then buys the finished products from the family and resells them to customers in the U.S. Since then, he’s worked with many families all over Argentina, fostering small business development and recycling classic pieces from the past.
For years, I’ve lusted over these amazing seltzer pendant lights and finally got to use them in a design project. Made from original metal-clad Argentine bottles, the nozzles removed, bottoms sheared off and fitted with UL approved electrical components, these lights create an industrial statement with a warm authenticity. Installed over the bar at Zel’s Del Mar, my favorite local café, I get to enjoy them regularly and love sharing the story behind them.
I currently have limited stock of the pendant lights available at my shop.