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The Sánchez Vizcaíno family’s interest in organic agriculture was piqued after the emergence of family health problems brought about by the chemicals used in standard farming practices. They went on to establish the Cortijo El Cura winery in 1998 with the stated intention of developing and offering organic wines. The winery, which has since gained popularity, lies within the Sierra Nevada National Park, close to the Mediterranean city of Almería in Andalusia, Spain’s southernmost region.
Nearly 3,400 km north of the Cortijo El Cura winery, the Norwegian capital Oslo and its restaurant scene now host Vino Veritas, an eco-gastrobar that combines the two distinct cultures of Norway and Spain. As part of Cortijo El Cura, Vino Veritas specialises in sustainable organic wines and foodstuffs (think tapas) provided by the Sánchez winery, farm and allied small businesses. Although at first, Spanish tapas in Oslo might seem a somewhat unexpected venture, the combination of styles provides a welcoming contrast for visiting patrons.
Vino Veritas combines the clean, understated and honest virtues of Norwegian interiors with the more traditional, vibrant and colourful materials found in Andalusia. After being tasked with designing the branding and interiors for the restaurant, the Spanish creative consultancy Masquespacio, concentrated on highlighting the key qualities of both cultures (Masquespacio, whose work has received acclaim around the world, was set up in 2010 by Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse). In creating the concept for Vino Veritas, Palacios observes how: ''It was important for us to highlight characteristics like the ecology and craftsmanship of Andalusia … [to take into account] the beauty of the Norwegian architecture [and to think about] designing an elegant, warm [and] inviting space.'
With its soft, bright and uplifting interiors, Masquespacio’s design showcases natural wooden walls and ceilings painted in white, and beautiful solid oak flooring and furnishings, all quintessential components of a Norwegian aesthetic. These features are then juxtaposed against various Andalusian elements including old balcony railings, esparto grass lamps, baskets and blinds, clay tiles, plants and the bright-coloured green fabric adorning the chairs. The cushions, designed by Masquespacio, add an almost Moorish element to the space.
The overall appearance of Vino Veritas is modern and enticing in a space where Norwegian style meets southern Spanish charm and gastronomy with aplomb. On one hand, the setting is informal, almost verging on the carefree; on the other, one witnesses a design that has been curated with diligence and a keen attention to detail in a balanced and harmonious space, replete with eco credentials and style.