Next door to Gaudí’s famous apartment building La Pedrera, in what was once the painter Ramon Casa’s family house and studio, is a store and exhibition hall worth spending hours in: Vincon. Describing Vincon is a difficult task, perhaps because calling it a mere ‘design’ store seems insultingly reductive. Vincon is an experience in itself—a destination—and each department reveals a perfectly curated set of objects for the home that makes Ikea, the Swedish giant, look like a garage sale. Vincon could almost achieve Grand Magasin status (not to be confused with the Americanized ‘department store’—think Macy’s) if it wasn’t deprived of the required fashion and apparel sections which, given the insane amount of fashion flooding the world’s retail spaces, actually feels like a plus. These stores, France’s Galeries Lafayette, Spain’s El Corte Inglés, Berlin’s KaDeWe, or Copenhagen’s Magasin du Nord , to name a few, were the original curators of cool, finding goods from around the world, merchandizing them to perfection and allowing customers to embark on an exciting shopping adventure. That is exactly what Vincon does and perhaps there is an even greater role for such retail generalists and masters of customer service at a time when more products are made by more people, and real-world merchandizing seems like a lost art. When you go, don’t forget to spend some time on the superb terrace where you can admire the Pedrera building in great detail from the back.
Passeig De Gracia, 96, Barcelona