Barcelona’s great bountiful retail
If you manage to peel your eyes away from the popular ‘photo spots’ you’ll be treated to a retail scene that’s worthy of more recognition than it often receives.
Just off Avenue Diagonal, that splits the city in half, I stumbled upon Carmina Shoemaker. Here, the retail experience feels just as personal as the made to measure shoes that are produced for customers by its fine cobblers. The focus here is purely on the product – handmade with passion and expertise. Though far from modern, the store holds a certain warmth and comfort. Wood fixturing combines with paired shoes showcased on illuminated podiums to bring together old and new – the perfect metaphor for today’s resurgent interest in traditional craftsmanship. The counter area features a display of deconstructed shoes, demonstrating the care and precision that goes into each and every section of the shoemaking process.
Just a short walk away is Raimon Bundó, a wedding dress retailer run by the Bundó family for over 45 years. What caught my eye here was the window display of wooden mannequins showcasing the latest collection. While some are stylishly posed, others are suspended from the ceiling by soft rope, which offers a rather enchanting, fairytale vibe – reinforced further with birdcages containing matching shoes. The perfect theme and product marriage is what allows Raimon Bundó to stand out despite the surrounding plethora of other retailers.
The highlight of my trip was without a doubt, the La Boqueria Market. An instant assault on the senses, the market pulls you in through some fantastic VM . Exotic fruit is piled high against a monochrome backdrop, allowing the vibrant colours to truly ‘pop’. It’s an impressive sight, and irresistible to touch, smell and taste. The atmosphere is fresh, from the hanging pineapples to the perfectly ripe grapes, giving the reassuring feeling that everything is ‘freshly picked’ and for the most part, it is. Wine is displayed in a very similar manner. While it should look cluttered, it’s not. It is a lot to take in, but that’s its charm – offering a sense of true discovery and excitement that comes from never knowing what you might find.
In many ways, that sums up the joy of Barcelona. Whether you take to the streets for its fantastic scenery, a market trawl, or to hunt for small, family-run shops with fine retail traditions, you’ll find a city that has chosen not to throw off the shackles of tradition – and it’s all the better for it.
To see more images from our VM Travels to Amsterdam, click here.