Published 19/02/2012 by Carrie Frais

Fashionista’s Guide to Barcelona

Antiques & Boutiques offers an insider's guide to Barcelona, and will help you find some of the city's hidden gems including their favourite eateries, exciting fashion boutiques and antique furniture stores. They can also help you deck out your new home with some of Barcelona's latest designs.

Antiques & Boutiques are collaborating with Lucas Fox, in particular with property investors new to the city who need a bit of orientation. We caught up with founders Lisa & Niki recently to ask them what the business is all about.

What is Antiques & Boutiques and when & why was it set up?

Antiques and Boutiques is a bespoke tour and style consultancy service which we set up over 3 years ago now . Initially we began doing the tours for friends in the design industry looking for inspiration, from there the idea grew from our own experiences of travelling to other countries and cities we were always looking to find something inspiring and unique to the places we visited.   We created Antiques and Boutiques with the aim to offer a stylish, personal and insider guide to like-minded people visiting the city. Connecting visitors to the best of Barcelona’s fashion and design scene, introducing clients to local designers , ateliers and bespoke products unique to Barcelona. It’s also a really lovely day out and a great way to meet with and feel like a local.

Who are the people behind it?

We are Lisa Richardson and Niki Robinson, two fashion designers that moved here from Milan and London over 6 years ago. We met through mutual designer friends and soon discovered that we had a lot of shared interests, in art and design, a love of vintage  and a shared passion for travel.

In broad terms, where would you place Barcelona in the world of design and fashion?

Barcelona is fast becoming  one of the most interesting design cities in Europe rivaling London and Paris, it has the right mixture of high end design, independent boutiques, showrooms, concept stores and ateliers. It is a creative city with a strong heritage of craft that is being nurtured. Shopping trends are focusing towards quality in well designed products and Barcelona is becoming an important platform in offering this. When we visit a city we want to find things that are unique to that place and that is what Barcelona can offer.

In what specific creative areas do you think the city excels in?

For us it is that craftmanship as well as bespoke high-end products that makes Barcelona excel, this helps us offer our customers a truly unique shopping experience

Vintage fashion seems to be becoming increasingly popular in Barcelona, why do you think that is and which areas, shops or markets would you suggest lovers of vintage clothes  should head to?

Barcelona has a lot of vintage stores all around the city, from Born, to Raval , Eixample and Gracia. You can find everything from fun retro boutiques and amazing costumiers to private showrooms or beautiful lifestyle boutiques. One of our favourites is Magnolia Antic,  a very beautiful and atmospheric store showcasing a hand picked collection of high end accessories, objects and homewares.

For those looking for a more upmarket/designer look, where are the main hotspots?

The main hotspots for upmarket designer shopping are the Eixample área and around Turó park.  You can find a great selection of international luxury brands around the upper end of Passeig de Gracia and the streets  leading off it are scattered with high end local designers and specialist boutiques.

And for high street fashion?

For high Street shopping head to Portal del Angel and Carrer Portaferrissa. You’ll find all of the Spanish and international high street brands and younger fashion outlets. It’s also a good area for Street style, sportswear and urban fashion.

As well as offering personalized shopping tours of Barcelona, you can also help those new to the city design and furnish their new home, how do you go about this?

We offer a consultancy and interior styling service which helps people to source, style and select fantastic  pieces for their home. This is aimed at people who have their own design ideas and like to be involved in the decorating process.

We start with an initial consultation in the client’s home then make appointments to introduce them to the best interior design stores for their taste. We have a great directory of all the city’s best interior design and decoration stores, private galleries and showrooms.

We also offer a bespoke introduction to Barcelona, for people who are moving here. When you’re new to a city finding your way around can be a daunting experience so we are here to give you the inside local knowledge and make the experience fun and easy.

For those interested in purchasing Antique furniture, in which areas of the city should people be looking?

Our favorite Antique shops are scattered all around the city , but there are a good selection in Eixample and in the Gotico. Some of the small shops are showcases for huge almacens, so there’s a lot more on offer behind the scenes. There is also great Antique shopping outside of Barcelona and you can find monthly Antique markets in some small towns and villages.

What types of antique furniture can be found in the shops and markets?

You can find just about anything at the markets and auction houses in Barcelona and beyond. There are great antique and restoration studios specializing in everything from British Colonial furniture, to art nouveau lighting or mid century Italian Design .

What do you think the most common mistakes are when people embark on a decorating project?

Not thinking it through. Having a good idea about the space and how you see the finished project is important, so planning is vital. For us the feeling and atmosphere is very important so we like to créate mood and concept boards as a good starting point.

We offer help with this as part of our service.

What would you advise people to before  embarking on a decorating project?

Research, start collecting images and inspiration from interior magazines, books, travels, textiles and exhibitions.  Pinterest  is also  great inspiration resource for creating quick and easy mood boards. This will let you see how everything works together and what direction you want to head in.  Alongside that start creating a colour palette that works for you, and always try them out before comitting. We love Farrow and Ball for paint and wallpaper, every colour and design comes in a sample pot or strip so you can try it out at home.

Many properties in parts of the Old Town lack natural daylight, what advice would you give to a homeowner looking to brighten up their home?

We would suggest keeping floors and surfaces light to reflect any light you may have as well as accessorising the walls with mirrors, you could consider using large mirrors or a wall of picture sized mirrors to reflect light whilst making it into a feature for the wall.

The right lighting is essential for dark apartments, try  adding  back lights behind plants that will bounce off the walls and invest in some great lamps, we love Biosca and Botey  for all the latest in lighting trends.

Where do you think the most exciting up-and-coming properties are located in the city? What are the stand-out features?

The San Antoni area is becoming the new trendy area of the city, with  cool bars and cafes such as Federal  opening up it is attracting a new younger crowd. We love the tree-lined avenues and you can find beautiful Modernista apartments in this area, it is within easy access to Montjuic and charming San Antoni market which is now under renovation.

For us it is a choice between the Modernista buildings in the eixample, with their high ceilings and patterned tiled floors to re-working an old industrial space in the Poble Nou area to create an ultimate urban open-plan home.

For space and grandeur we’d head uptown towards the Tibidabo to one of the beautiful old Masias or Palaces with majestic views over the city.

If people are interested in your services how should they contact you?

You can get in touch with us via our website www.antiquesandboutiques.com or send an email to Lisa or Niki at info@antiquesandboutiques.com and we will get back to you!

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