23 November, 2015
Whoever lands in Barcelona for the first time is well aware of its fame as a design hub. For decades the city has been known for its openness to new trends and its links to modernity. It is precisely that flair for the modern that has led dozens of stores specialised in vintage objects and furniture to be opened in the Catalonian capital.
From a Scandinavian teak sideboard to Formica worktops, all manner of lamps, French garden chairs and furniture by anonymous craftsmen, veritable gems are to be had in these shops, which you should not miss during your stay in Barcelona.
You’re Sure to Find it in Gràcia
One of the highest concentrations of retro furniture stores is in the district of Gràcia. What with its array of long-standing establishments, neighbourhood cinemas, artists’ studios and designers’ workshops, the district has become one of Barcelona’s main leisure and shopping areas. Strolling through its picturesque squares and narrow streets, Gràcia oozes charm throughout and is one of the best spots to experience the city’s genuine ethos. It was here that Alzira (C/ Verdi, 42) opened over ten years ago. Mónica, its owner, personally restores all the pieces of furniture on sale and the store has become a landmark in the sector, with a selection ranging from industrial trolleys to dining-room tables with tapered legs, psychedelic lamps and French crockery. Make sure you also see her collection of brooches from the 20s through the 70s. A short distance away, hard by the celebrated Plaça del Diamant, is La Mueblerí (C/ Topazi, 17), a veritable temple of furniture, where Aurora and her son import select pieces from various countries to merge them with traditional Spanish furniture. On sale in this former workshop converted into a store is a wealth of vintage school maps, sun wall mirrors, chairs of all kinds, doctor’s glass cabinets from the fifties and mid-century furniture. They also restore furniture and have an online sales website. Coco, their Jack Russell, would love you to stop by.
And, before leaving Gràcia, make sure you drop in on Topitos Furniture (C/ Torrent de l’Olla, 30), featuring one of the best selection of lamps in town, on display in a small space. David is a lighting lover and the treasures he has on offer include Lumica designs, mushroom lamps in sixties colours, opalines from the forties and lamps from Manises. Additionally, perched atop the garden tables and other furniture you will find a careful selection of bronze and ceramic animal figures, crockery and glasses in many colours and all kinds of decorative objects.
Vintage Stores in El Raval and El Born
And, from one tasteful quarter to another. El Born is one of the liveliest districts in Barcelona. Wending your way among restaurants, ebullient terrace cafés, historic buildings and droves of tourists you will come to Gidlööf (Passatge Mercantil, 1), a must-see for enthusiasts of things Scandinavian. Here, the Swedish textile designer, Sofia Gidlööf, and the Barcelona architect, Gium Costa, have crafted a space where 20th-century furniture and other items from northern Europe are on display alongside their own designs.
Still in the city centre is a charming lane near La Rambla which reveals a hidden gem in the form of El Changuito (Passatge de la Pau, 13), a shop specialising in retro garden furniture, vintage mirrors and lighting. The premises are spacious and the displays well curated; indeed, you can easily get lost inside it for a while. From El Changuito you can head into El Raval, one of Barcelona’s most multifarious districts. After a short walk you will come to Fusta’m (C/ Joaquim Costa, 62), a priceless store owned by Lidia and Oriol where original furniture and objects rub shoulders with vintage remakes. Oriol, a carpenter by trade, also makes super, customised furniture.
Now, all that’s left is to find the piece you were looking for. Why wait to seek it out in Barcelona? Check out our flights here.
Text and images by Aleix Palau for ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
23 November, 2015