Art you can walk on
May 16, 2008
This must have been what Paul Gauguin hungered for when he left France to live on fish and fruit in the tropics: strange shapes and colors, simplicity, flights of imagination.
World Bazaar Outlet combines exotic colors and styles with replicas of 100-year-old chairs, mahogany desks and Dutch vanities. The store has a colonial feel, part National Geographic, part National Historic Society.
"What makes something unique?" asks Mauricio Albornoz. "When you see it, it knocks you dead."
The vases, chairs, mirrors, candelabras and rugs in World Bazaar Market certainly qualify as shocking, heretical and beautiful. There’s the red bowl with baby octopus tentacles, the lion-headed serving dish. But it’s the exotic colors that really sell it.
World Bazaar, which opened in March, sells rugs with the pinks of China, reds of India, the flash of Pakistan.
"For results on anything, we need massive action," Albornoz said, standing in front of an intricate rug with foxes prancing about.
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"People like R.C. Willey because they walk in and everything is the same. My goal is to be different, to be unique. People are afraid of color. It can change your whole room. You can buy a set of things or a single thing and it will be eye-catching."
Albornoz was born in Chile. He studied commercial art at Inacap University in Temuco and moved to Los Angeles in 1993. He has French and Italian ancestors and customers can feel the feuding blood roiling inside him. "This is not a museum," he said. "It’s a place where you know you’re going to get something."
The mahogany desks from Bulgaria and faux antique mirrors are made to resemble the real thing and priced to sell. But rugs are the retailer’s real specialty. "I want to put old stuff with new stuff," he said, "contemporary with traditional, expensive with inexpensive."
World Market’s rugs are handmade and come from seven different countries. Customers often design a whole room around a rug. "They’re art you can walk on," he said. Often times, customers hang the rugs like longitudinal tapestries to have them on full display in their homes. "It’s like the sheep is still here," he said, feeling a plush Indian rug.
If Albornoz has a flair for interior decorating, he said his most prized skill is as a negotiator. When he moved to California 15 years ago, he worked as the manager of a Toyota dealership. "When you enter a room you want to be attracted by something. You can do that with light or color. You don’t sell the price or the payment," he said. "You sell the value."
The retailer said that he is willing to negotiate listed prices and many of the stores yellow tags bear red X’s. "If you like something in the store, don’t be afraid to ask," Albornoz said. "If you like it, I want to sell it to you. It’s easy to sell you something after you fall in love."
Albornoz thumbed through a catalog Wednesday showing off porcelain products the store will soon carry. The bowls, cups and pitchers are rainforest baroque with monarch butterflies forming the lips and handles of utensils, gardenia clinging to their bases. "Look at the curves and colors," he said. "It’s sexy. Super sexy. That’s the fun thing about the store. You get shocked every second. No mountain theme. No antlers. No mountains."
World Bazaar Outlet
3126 Quarry Rd #4-A
Park City, Utah