The last thing I expected to find in the tiny village of Garzón was a design store worthy of NYC. Big, brightly colored statues of penguins wearing water bottles strapped to their backs lured me to the door of Alium Design Studio. The owners, textile designer Carolyn Prevett and industrial designer Mariano Piñeyrúa, are graduates of Montevideo’s Center of Industrial Design and their funky little studio promotes the work of Uruguay designers and artists. Inside you’ll find a mix of vintage gaucho pants, merino wool throws and chunky sweaters, and funky leather necklaces and earrings. The couple also sells some of their own designs (Mariano is responsible for the cool, geometric leather lamps).
Out back, a garden acts as an art exhibition space shaded by big palms. When I wandered out I discovered more giant red penguin statues as well as huge statues of multi-colored dogs, cats, and frogs created by eco-conscious artist William Sweetlove.
Pueblo Garzon Garzon, Maldonado, 598-4410-2717, alium.com.uy