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Posts tagged ‘Santa Lucia’

Santa Lucia and the Joy of Rialto Living

To be honest, it didn’t take me much to make up my mind to move from London to Mallorca. After a sustained period of dissatisfaction with the big city in the smoke, the comparative paradise of Palma de Mallorca took little persuasion. And yet I think I can pinpoint the exact moment when my mind was made up as being the moment when my partner and I discovered Rialto Living.

Situated in the Carrer Sant Feliu, a dark cobbled street in the heart of Palma’s old town and lined with the very best of Palma’s old palaces, Rialto Living is a lifestyle concept store which sells the very best in interior design, art, and fashion. Happily for us it also contains one of the cafe hot spots in Mallorca, a blue and white symphony of open space and high couture eating, all set within a stunning renovated palace. In short, Rialto Living is a sumptuous, stunning shop. The kind of place where you could happily while away the hours as though it were your own home (I should be so lucky), and it was upon finding this place that we knew Palma had the kind of mentality which meant that we could make the city our new home.

A paradise of interior design

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Harking from Scandinavia, and founded by one of the three founders of Gant, Klas Kall, along with grafic designer Barbara Bergman, it is no wonder that Rialto Living is such a temple of interior chic. Here you will find a magazine shot in every corner, furniture to die for, and quality which bounces and glides and glitters in one’s hands. Its many sections are a delight for the eyes. Its clothes section is so chic and welcoming that it makes you want to discard your old clothes there and then for something delightfully fluffy and new. Its home section is like a paradise of design; my favourite section has to be the Alhambra recreation within whose moorish arches roll after roll of colourful material unfold; I also adore the dining area, where sun floods through the south facing windows to illuminate the multicoloured glassware.

Rialto Living’s fresh blue café

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Yet despite its inherent sophistication, Rialto Living is utterly welcoming, as demonstrated last weekend when customers were welcomed to the store on Saturday lunchtime to join in carols and glogg (mulled wine) in a celebration of Santa Lucia’s day. They even had an angelic choir fitted with all of the regalia of Santa Lucia festivities, the likes of which inspired both my Norm sketch yesterday, and brought tears to my eyes.

Rialto’s celebration of Santa Lucia

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So this long overdue post on Rialto Living is both a dedication to the sumptuously sophisticated palacial surrounds of my favourite shop, and a record of last weekend’s very Christmassy affair. Rialto Living: you truly are an inspiration. As long as you are in Palma, I too will remain.

Norms: The Saints Collection | Santa Lucia

At this festive and, for some, religious time of year, the calendar is awash with Saint’s days and festivals which make the whole Christmas period sparkle with something rather magical. Last week, I noted the passing of St Nicholas’ day, a Saint’s day of the utmost import because it is that rotund smiling fellow who will pass out the presents this December 24th, and of course because he happens to share my name. Last Saturday, another festive favourite was celebrated: St Lucy or Santa Lucia as she is perhaps more widely known, and as the bringer of light and patron saint of sight, this Saint is equally important at this sparkling, light infused time of the year.

In fact such is Santa Lucia’s renown as the bringer of light, that her Saint’s day is celebrated with gusto in the Scandinavian lands, where darkness reigns for much of the day at this time of the year, and where locals therefore gather in reverence to the Saint in the hope that St. Lucy will bring them more light to get through the winter. Apparently her connection with light stems from the fact that at the time of her death at the hands of Emperor Diocletian, her eyes were gouged out, either by order of the Emperor, or by herself in order to disuade a potential suitor from pursuing her. Either way, the story has been taken up in popular iconography, and in more recent times, Santa Lucia has been depicted holding her eyes on a platter.

Santa Lucia Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and gold paint on paper)

Santa Lucia Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and gold paint on paper)

And so, here is Santa Lucia Norm, depicted in all her glory with eyes upon a platter. No gruesome gouging here (it is Christmas after all), but just the suggestion of it. My Santa Lucia is wearing the crown of candles which is worn by celebrants of her festival in the Scandinavian celebrations which are the basis of my depiction. Those celebrations also include choirs of children wearing white gowns, conical hats and carrying candles in homage to the Saint’s light-giving powers – celebrations which are depicted here against a snowy, Christmassy Scandinavian landscape. More about those celebrations tomorrow, but in the meantime – a Merry Christmas to all!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at