From the five terraces of its restaurants along Santa Creu, its knack for creating unique and stylish atmospheres has been evident from the get-go, to the point that the team behind the eatery has had to team up with its design master Ricardo and open a proper La Dispensa shop so as to satisfy customer demand. Directly across from its sushi restaurant, its idiosyncratic style can be purchased or commissioned, turning any idea into reality. Open since June 9, this hidden gem has a most creative and imaginative collection of items in various forms with multiple possibilities.
At the La Dispensa shop, everything is one of a kind. Distinctive and exceptional, every item in the store has been carefully selected from around the world or created and handmade by highly talented Ricardo with personally chosen materials acquired in specialised regions. Clothes, decorative objects, vases, pictures, furniture, jewellery, shoes, bathing suits and more—anything unusually beautiful and special finds a place in this charming little shop that could easily pass as a beautiful home compressed into a room. Here, one finds highly original items, at all prices, perfect for those looking for something particular and unique. Anything that is not in the shop can be ordered and custom-made by Ricardo, who has a gift for materialising clients’ ideas and desires creating them from scratch as well as restoring, customising or recreating special, even vintage, pieces. Clients can even make requests for Ricardo to seek out during his winter travels.
La Dispensa shop makes available the inimitable style of the inventive concept. Everything in the shop is selected, created, recreated, maintained, restored, or ‘deconstructed’, as Ricardo likes to think of what he does as giving new form to different objects. The possibilities are endless. We got curious about this further expansion of La Dispensa and went to have a chat with Ricardo about where and how he finds all this creativity…
La Dispensa started with a restaurant last year, opened a second one this year, and now the tienda / shop. How did it come about?
When we opened the restaurants, people loved the objects in the restaurant and many people started asking about buying the lamps, the frames, and such. I had done the interior design of the restaurant and Christian and Jose Louis would be calling me, saying “Ricardo, please come because someone is asking about the lamp and we don’t know what to say.” Then suddenly there was the opportunity to rent this space and we decided to create an atelier where you can buy a variety of different things. This year we started with a La Dispensa Collection that will increase next year, adding a mens collection.
What can be bought in the shop?
We sell clothes, decorations, projects, a little bit of everything and most importantly ideas. You can buy interior design projects for houses and shops, buy clothes, or have clothes made, often for special occasions. We are also building up a men’s and women’s collection.
Where do the items come from?
Many things come from our trips because we travel a lot during the winter. For the past two years I’ve been producing fabrics in India with my designs, embroideries and prints. I have a small place in Portugal where I produce, but I finish everything by hand here in Ibiza.
It’s a motley collection you have here. You make some of the items. How do you choose the other ones? Is there a unifying theme?
On my trips, I’m always looking to find things. When I feel that something can fit here, I will try to get it if I can. What I would like it to be is a place where the customer comes to find something special. It’s a young project, but I would like the shop to be something one remembers forever.
Ibiza boasts a very creative community. Is this aspect reflected in the shop and stock?
My whole life I have been involved with many different and very eclectic groups of creative people. I have been lucky to travel a lot, study in different countries and experience different cultures. My work came in the same way: different cultures, different projects, going from fashion to costume design to interior design.
Can you tell us a little more about your background?
I grew up full of ideas and from a very young age decided to try things even without knowing much about them, which was a great experience. I started to work seriously at 16 when I had the opportunity to go to Paris for three months during the summer, being lucky enough to work helping in the Paris opera, learning costume design. At the time I was in my second year of fashion design in Portugal, where I’d gotten a special permission to study a little bit early. In Paris I went from fashion to costume design, which I then studied in Paris for three years. I had a great opportunity to learn in a massive institution and alongside major professionals. All throughout my youth, my youngest colleagues were 40 years old or above. I then studied interior design in Madrid, as well as how to make hats, jewellery, and such. I like to deconstruct things and make them beautiful in another way.
It’s an unusual concept but in keeping with the originality of the La Dispensa experience. How important was that, considering it all started from people asking to buy objects in the restaurants?
That was the first spark. Then we started to think that it would be a good a opportunity to do something different, a restaurant that is not only a restaurant because every year we retouch the decorations, come up with new ideas, add something new and play a little bit. My theatre background helps a lot, but Christian is also very creative and always has great ideas, while Jose Louis is an amazing base for us because he’s the one who manages it all keeping it balanced, as this is also a business, not just a playground. The three of us complement one another nicely, and the result of the restaurant makes us very happy because people really love and are interested in things.
What do you like most about your business?
To have the opportunity to do what I love and see the eyes of the people when they see something that they like. What I really most like is when someone needs something and comes to me to find it. When I design for myself, some people may like it, others may not. The really big challenge is when clients need something and ask me to develop it, and I must figure out and provide what they really want, not what they tell me they want, but what they really want. There’s that moment in their eyes when they get it and that, for me, is the most amazing thing in the world, the moment you see that you touched them.
What do people come looking for here? Can clients commission something to be made?
People mainly come looking for clothes, decorations, or presents, for wedding, parties, or events. Many clients who go to really important events always find, but there’s something for everyone. We make everything with quality materials, travel a lot to get really good prices to sell at prices people can afford. I don’t like to make haute couture for it just to sit in the window. Everything is possible here. They can see an amazing dress in a magazine that’s too expensive, and we can make that dress. Clients can come with any idea, of course it will have my touch there but always respecting what they want. However, if they want a copy of a Valentino, they should go to Valentino, but if they love the kind of dress, for example, then we can develop something. The same goes with any idea.
This shop has such a beautiful dining table, would it be possible to organize a dinner here?
Yes, for private dinners that could be possible.
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