The best concept stores in Madrid

The best concept stores in Madrid

Jessica Benavides Canepa

Concept stores in Madrid have evolved from one-stop shopping breaks to a favoured adventure for those possessing a particular sensibility; unique item seekers inspired by a creative lifestyle. Indeed, from artisan housewares to edgy duds to curated treasures, these designer spaces are not your typical mom and pop convenience stores. In the Spanish capital, these fashionable shops are found in droves, in all themes and sizes, perfect for the stylish gent looking for that rare objet d’art or inventive image metamorphosis.

El Moderno | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

El Moderno | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

El Moderno

The secret to the style-centric Malasaña district’s undeniable charm is the winning combo of modern shops and venues alongside long-standing hipster hangouts. Enter one of the newest concept stores in Madrid, El Moderno; a white-bricked home décor space uniting the two worlds in an ah-ha moment of kismet. The ample space, featuring concrete floors, original columns and natural wood display stands, pays a homage to its grocery store origins by displaying original, centuries-old item menus on the exposed front door rafters. The airy store sells everything from artisan knick-knacks to jewellery, but specialises in unique decorations and details that compliment your home or at the very least, provide offbeat conversation pieces for your next soiree. Standout designers include lamps by Nordic co. Schneid, paper décor from the Japanese Traveler’s Company and handmade ceramics from Barcelona’s Working in the Woods.

El Paracaidista

One of Malasaña’s newest concept heroes is the multi-tiered El Paracaidista. Located in a former palace, this vast, groovy space embodies the true spirit of lifestyle shopping – including a stress-free buying App that can send purchases directly to your home. The ground floor features a welcoming Nordic-style café cleverly supplying a nifty collection of art design mags – a visual nudge possibly designed to get you in the right shopping mood. The next two floors offer an endless supply of anything a creative chap could ever want; clothing, home décor, books, music, furniture and so on. The remaining floors are for respite; Cubanismo is a cocktail bar with a decidedly Caribbean vibe while the Parq restaurant serves an informal menu with a terrace view, and if the mood strikes, take a load off at Movie Club, a tiny theatre in the attic.

Do Design | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Do Design | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Rughara

Another Malasaña notable, this time at its beating heart, is one of the most popular concept stores in Madrid, Rughara, which specialises in truly unique fashions, accessories, furnishings, decorations and vinyl records – all showcasing local talent in a mishmash of aesthetics from minimalist to vintage punk. On Wednesday eves and Saturday mornings the space, with items haphazardly displayed on vintage tables, racks and on the stark walls, transforms into a music venue for underground artists or less frequently, an art gallery featuring the work of scouted painters, photographers and illustrators. Fashion brands include offbeat garbs from Revolution, Batabasta and Bow Hand Made, bizarre baubles from Blancharme, Komono and Kuraga and wacky décor created by Arte Marakame, Dooc and Marre Moerel among many others.

Do Design

Located on the chic shopping street Fernando VI in the hip Las Salesas district, Do Design is one of the most stylish concept stores in Madrid, and feels more like an inviting home than the artisan goods concept store it is. All of the products on offer are handmade; often limited editions carefully curated by the crafty owner, local fashion designer Lucia Ruiz Rivas. Visitors will find inspiration through a fine selection of items ranging from quirky clothing from Danish designer Henrik Vibskov to the industrial furnishings of Madrid-born Juan Ruiz Rivas to minimalist tea sets from Japanese company, Kinto. The space also features an art gallery with a line-up of works from contempo photographers and mixed media artists adjacent a casual café beckoning you with chill music and an unspoken invitation to linger.

Contigo alla fine del mondo | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Contigo alla fine del mondo | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Contigo alla fine del mondo

For visitors with a penchant for nostalgia, swing by the curiously-named Contigo alla fine del mondo (With you until the end of the world) bordering Malasaña and the classic Chamberi district. This modern, high-ceilinged space features whimsical décor, clothing, furnishings and housewares often adorned with storybook-inspired motifs and designs. Independent designers routinely showcased in one of the quirkiest concept stores in Madrid include textile companies La Casita de Wendy and Emes as well as dishware by Donna Wilson. Art mags like Kinfolk, Cereal and Milk are readily available as are a generous selection of inventive gifts. And for those enamoured with the colourfully cheery setting, several workshops run by Madrid-based locals, (including illustration, watercolours and sewing) are available every afternoon to duplicate the look and feel chez vous.

Despacio

Situated in Chueca, Despacio is a clean-lined, family-owned concept store inaugurated in 2014. Items on sale include the usual lot, clothing and décor, but also a fine selection of fashion-forward trainers and gadgets mostly created by a string of local designers. The space itself mimics a modern art gallery with its aged, natural walls and speckled floors, which provides the perfect backdrop for the eye-catching offerings. Best buys include featured supplier Freitag unisex bags and accessories, ODS Wesc trainers, Loreak Mendian quality jumpers and the shop’s very own namesake illustrated tees. If you can’t make it to the shop, don’t sweat it, most of the merchandise is available for purchase online.

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