The Best Shops In Rio De Janeiro: An Insiders' Guide

rio de janeiroMark C. O'Flaherty, The Daily Telegraph, December 17, 2013

Four Cariocas renowned in their respective fields – art, design, food and style – present their specialist guides to the best shops in Rio.

Culinary and food shops: Claude Troisgrois
Renowned chef Claude Troisgrois is famed for his creative and contemporary cooking, using indigenous Brazilian ingredients, at his Rio restaurant Olympe . He runs four other restaurants with his son Thomas, and has hosted the hit culinary TV show Que Marravilha! for the last seven years.

The Aquim family’s new boutique in Ipanema takes chocolate enthusiasts on a journey through a tropical universe, using Brazilian cocoa. With no artificial flavouring or essence, their Q bars contain only cocoa mass, cocoa butter and a small amount of sugar. It’s truly unique - the late architect Oscar Niemeyer designed the shape of the chocolate.

Aquim ; Rua Garcia D’Ávila, 149 - Loja B, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2523 5090

Denise Stewart Ceramicas
Stewart’s atelier is walking distance from my house. It’s a lovely store selling pottery in myriad shapes, sizes and colours to make your dinner table a work of art. The artist offers courses by appointment and dedicates her time to help AMICCA, a children’s cancer charity. I highly recommend spending the whole morning in the area visiting the neighbouring ateliers.

Denise Stewart Ceramicas ; Rua Inglês de Souza, 274 - Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2294 4698

Arkana Arte e Decoração
This store is in the district of Humaita, not far from my restaurant Olympe. It sells contemporary Brazilian arts and crafts, and if you want to create an original table setting, this is the place to go. Many original pieces from here have gone into decorating my kitchen at home.

Arkana Arte e Decoração; R. Humaitá, 63 - Humaitá Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2226 7187

When I need something special for my table at home, I usually visit my friend and artist Mucki Stowronski. Her amazing hand-painted patterns bring tablecloths, napkins, futons and many other products to life. Her colourful tropical imagery is unique. She creates her work at her studio in Gavea, where she personally welcomes her clients.

Mucki; Sto Avito 15, Gavea, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 3322 1672

Fashion, clothes and accessories shops: Leo Neves
Fashion stylist Leo Neves shoots for L’Officiel Brazil, Vogue Brazil, RG Magazine, O Globo and a variety of Brazilian fashion brands and musicians including Marisa Monte, Caetano Veloso and Preta Gil.

This is my go-to menswear store for linen shirts and swimming shirts – the stock is perfect for the weather in Rio. It’s the coolest store in Ipanema. Order an organic fruit juice and enjoy it while you shop their new collection.

Foxton ; Brasil 55, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 3202 2692

Isabela Capeto
Capeto is known for her unique handwork, using natural fabrics, embroidery and dying techniques – each item is like a piece of art. Her womenswear is an interpretation of modern, bohemian Rio. Isabela recently launched a children's line and an amazing home collection. Her shop is located in the Botanic Garden neighborhood, a lovely place to walk around, lunch and shop.

Isabela Capeto ; Rua Alberto Ribeiro 17, Horto, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2537 3331

Blue Man
This brand first appeared in 1972, was a big success in the 1980s, and is still responsible for making what all the Carioca boys and girls wear at the beach. They have a good sense of humour, beautiful prints and the best bikini shape. Last year, when Lady Gaga performed in Rio, she bought a banana print swimsuit from Blue Man. The brand’s slogan is "faça bonito na praia” (be beautiful at the beach), which reflects the true spirit of Rio.

Blue Man ; Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 351 Lojas C e D, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2247 4905

Glorinha Paranaguá
When you want your look to pack a punch, this is the place to go. The designer Glorinha Paranguá makes clutch bags from a variety of natural Brazilian materials and fancy fabrics, with a flawless finish. She has lived all over the world, with her diplomat husband, and her granddaughter studies fashion in Paris, which has inspired a younger, more international mood in her work. The bags are on sale at Barneys, Colette and Browns, but its great to see the whole collection at her magical store.

Glorinha Paranaguà ; Rua Visconde de Pirajá 365 Shop 2, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2267 4295

Design and homeware shops: Hugo Schwartz
Schwartz is co-director of InTown, the award-winning architecture firm he founded with Alexandre Gedeon in 2006. The duo has created some of the most spectacular private homes and lavish seafront penthouses in the city, as well as luxury retail spaces at the Loja Fashion Mall and Cassino Atlantico.

This is a design store that sells modern furniture from around the world, including work from Fornasetti and Established & Sons, as well Poeira’s own brand of furniture, carpets and lamps. If you’re looking for something really different, you’ll find it here. It’s located in Leblon, surrounded by the best restaurants in Rio. Go shopping, and then go for lunch or dinner.

Poeira ; Rua Dias Ferreira 480, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2580 0513

This is a shop for kids, but parents will love it. It sells furniture and objects for children’s bedrooms, and it’s all very colourful and creative – like the coat hangers in the shape of pool balls. The team here design furniture and whole interiors.

Oba!, Rua Visconde de Pirajá 111, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro +55 21 2529 8194

Olhar o Brasil
This is a great place to find Brazilian design – from ceramics to upholstered furniture. One of the owners, Chicô Gouvêa, is a very known architect in Brazil and spends a lot of his time searching for new pieces. The store also invests in cultural activities and hosts exhibitions. You might find a celebrity chef staging a cooking class in the middle of the day.

Olhar o Brasil ; Avenida Garcia d'Ávila 196, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2523 90 70

This is what I’d call a “fun-design store”. It was founded by an architect and a doctor in the 1990s, and now they have 160 stores all around Brazil. They create their own objects and sell pieces from other Brazilian designers – all great for original gifts. You’ll find door-stoppers in the shape of upturned ice cream cones and graphic laptop cases.

Imaginarium, Rua Visconde de Pirajá 221, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro +55 21 2267 16 90

Arts and culture shops: Brenda Valansi
Valansis is the founder and director of ArtRio, the annual international contemporary art fair. An artist in her own right, she founded CRANIO, an innovative arts space, in 2008.

Dona Coisa
This shop sells the collections of some very exclusive Brazilian fashion designers, but also has special collections of home supplies designed by artists such as Nelson Leiner. It’s located at Jardim Botânico, where there are lots of ateliers and galleries to explore.

Dona Coisa ; Rua Lopes Quintas 153, Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro; +55 21 2249-2336

If you are looking for a specific art book, or you just want to check out what’s new in art and design publishing, this is the best place to go. You can also find great CDs and DVDs and other small surprises. We particularly love the art toys. Blooks has been our partner at ArtRio since we launched.

Blooks ; Praia de Botafogo 316, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro; +55 2 .2559 8776

Novoe Desenho
This is the shop at the Museu de Art do Rio – it’s a really nice venue that sells a lot of objects linked to the exhibits, and from emerging designers. The museum itself has an incredible collection of modern and contemporary art – the space with the Jean Boghici´s collection will leave you breathless – and the view of Guanabara Bay from the rooftop is amazing.

Museu de Art do Rio, Museu Praça Mauá 5, Centro, Rio de Janeiro +55 21 3031 2741

Feira do Rio Antigo
This happens every first Saturday of the month: antiquaries and art and craft dealers open up stalls around the old houses in the area, using the street fair to show their best pieces. There are nice local restaurants, and you will usually encounter small groups of musicians playing samba and chorinho – traditional Brazilian music.

Feira do Rio Antigo, between Avenue Mem de Sá and Avenue Visconde de Rio Branco