Whether it’s on a plate, on canvas, or in a design studio, Spain’s creativity places it firmly on the international design arena. It’s no surprise then that this design ethos spills into the shopping streets with the kind of innovation that reminds us that we are in non-confimist Spain.
Madrid is the big city with a multitude of choice, from old boutiques to flashy shopping malls. Sunny Marbella represents exclusivity with luxury brands. Barcelona, the design city, is the stomping ground of the young and trendy. In each, the shopping experience fits the city’s rhythm; the architecture, the climate, the cuisine all influence the way of life including the places where people shop.
A glowing example is Spain’s foremost luxury brand, Loewe. The Galeria Loewe, in the heart of Madrid, is a fashion-meets-art, shop-cum-museum. Its exhibition area displays the art and craft of its luxury leather handbags. Upon entering, a large steel sculpture of the brand’s Amazona handbag illustrates the process of manufacture while placing the bag’s aesthetics within the context of Spain’s cultural heritage.
Galería Loewe, Madrid
In Marbella, exclusivity is the key. Elite is the go-to for Marbella’s fashion-loving crowd. At the entrance of Puerto Banus, with seriously elite yachts as a backdrop, this store is simple and elegant, keeping the clothes the statement.
Elite Marbella, source: instagram.com/elitemarbella
Barcelona offers a plethora of quirky, interesting and innovative stores. While it offers the same degree of international luxury brands found in Madrid (Galeria Loewe is on the Passeig de Gracia), there are many Spanish brands using innovative store design. Both the Etxart & Panno and Jean-Pierre Bua flagship stores are distinctive, glossy spaces.
Perhaps most notable is Dear Design’s Lurdes Bergada’s flagship store. Visually striking, the store design was inspired by the brand’s concept of simplicity, purity and industry, so only the clothes are on display; fitting rooms, storage and plant are all hidden behind a huge wooden ‘skin’ made from 1,000 pieces of wood, the natural beechwood contrasting with the concrete wall opposite.
Mini Munich, another of Dear Design’s portfolio, transports you and your children to a new imaginary world of a submarine or spacecraft. While you are cocooned in this sci-fi stage, images of space or the deep sea glide past the oval ‘windows.’
Store on Passeig de Gràcia 83, Barcelona, photo courtesy of Detlef Schobert/flickr.com
So, why is boutique innovation so present in Spain? Dear Design’s Ignasi Llauradó puts it down to the fact that “Spanish consumers are very open to new design and experiences. This allows us to imagine innovative propositions.” He continues, “In cities like Madrid, Marbella and Barcelona, brands need to offer a constantly changing image to keep their clients’ experience fresh and new.”
Indeed it is this creative license combined with a Spanish backdrop, be it a superyacht or a Gaudi wonder, that makes shopping in Spain truly unique.
Lurdes Bergada flagship store, part of the L’Illa Diagonal shopping centre in Barcelona