Culture, Art & Design: Valparaiso & Vintage Labels

Simply wandering through the eclectic, cobblestone streets of Valparaiso, Chile is enough to bring you back in time. Peddlers hawk their wares on street corners; the rickety ascencores, or cable cars, will still carry you up the hill for a hundred pesos; and the sound of guitar often fills the air.
On my favorite walk through “Valpo” I stumbled upon an antique shop – and for anyone that knows me, you can imagine my delight at finding these vintage wine and liquor labels. Instantaneously I’m envisioning the port town in its glory years (in the last half of the 1800s), when ships from Europe stopped here on their way from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan. This brought upon a gathering of various cultures – from the British to the Spaniards to the Germans as well as Chilean natives – and fostered a growth in the arts. Pablo Neruda, diplomat and the country’s most famous poet, built a house teetering in the hills here, as well as painter Camilo Mori Serrano, the son of an Italian immigrant. The designs of these labels reveal a combination of cultural influences. For instance, in the Arak label, the typography is decidedly German – erect and concise. Whereas the grape graphics and color sensibility are most likely influenced by the European cultures bordering the Mediterranean.  

Today Valparaiso, Chile remains a vibrant center of Chilean culture housing universities, galleries, and boasting many barrios, or neighborhoods as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

un beso, tara