Coolest Pop-up Company Ever? Better Really es Mejor…

Coolest Pop-up Company Ever? Better Really es Mejor…

Madrid’s narrow calles, a new generation of creative
entrepreneurs is transforming traditional concepts of retail and
hospitality. And nobody is doing it better than pop-up agency
Better es Mejor.
With a dose of Madrileño cool the ephemeral pop-ups act as a
springboard for lesser known Spanish brands and chefs. Based in
Madrid but with a vagabond mind-set, they have been creating
innovative pop-ups across Spain since 2011.

Better are expanding fast out of their quirky offices in Madrid
– a renovated garage filled with wood-panelled desks serves as
headquarters. Since 2012 founder Inés Sierra de la Guardia and her
team have grown from a Christmas pop-up in a wooden cart to a
restaurant hosting some of Spain’s Michelin-starred chefs.

At present, Better’s focus is on The Table By, a project that
brings to Madrid’s Urso Hotel the talent of six Spanish chefs from
different regions. Each chef has a six-week period in which they
design and cook two tasting menus, and with the help of the Better
aesthetic, transforms the hotel into an entirely new dining space
each time.

We sat down with Inés to find out where they’re popping-up

SUITCASE MAGAZINE: What was your first

INÉS SIERRA DE LA GUARDIA: Our first project
was in the patio of Frederica & Co. in Calle de Hermosilla
where we stayed for about a month and a half. There we assembled a
wooden cart (no more than one-by-two metres) constructed for the
occasion. We sold the French brand Atypyk that created small gifts
with a slight twist – for instance not your typical ruler or
doormat, but something a little different.

SM: What excites you about the concept of pop-up

ISG: You have to do a lot in a little time.
There are a lot of things to organise and there is a lot of
pressure driving your work. For instance, with our Christmas
pop-up, The
, we had a building of three floors in which we created
the whole shop in just a week and a half before it opened. You can
only rent the building for a short period – if you aren’t quick
enough the money, the budget, everything will go. So yeah – what
motivates me is the pressure to do a lot, to express your
creativity and ingenuity, but quickly.

SM: What is key to having a successful

ISG: A lot of hard work. And of course, making
things that are beautiful, unique and well-thought through. There
has to be a unity that brings everything together, there has to be
a communication right from the brand seller to the customer; a
general aesthetic and feeling that unites it all.

SM: Speaking of unity, your current project, The Table
By, unites six chefs together in Madrid. Although they are
showcasing very different menus is there something that they all
have in common?

ISG: We tried 30 restaurants in Spain of
different calibres – some with Michelin stars; some without – but
all of them were young restaurants, not ones that have been around
for decades. But above all it is about innovative gastronomy. There
are two tasting menus – one for €45 euros and one for €60 – and
chefs need to be able to adapt their menus (which are sometimes
more complex in their own restaurants) to our kitchen in the Urso

SM: Do you Imagine The Table By extending further?
Perhaps with chefs from around the world coming to

ISG: Yeah, in fact we just talked with a chef
from outside of Spain about this because he was interested in our
project. The problem is that it is complicated to work with chefs
from abroad, because here in Madrid you can spend just €45 for the
menu, but in Paris that would be unthinkable. So they would have to
comply with our economy and while the costs are the same the menu
is half the price.

SM: I have actually noticed that your current and past
projects have a strong focus on representing Spanish

ISG: Yes because not only are they unique, but
also I think that we have to support them – more than ever at the
moment because of the financial crisis! This is a way in which we
can help – there are a lot of artists who are missing out because
they don’t have the necessary infrastructure, so in this way we act
as a spokesperson for a chef or a brand.

Inés from Better es Mejor’s Quickfire Guide to

What is your favourite café or restaurant in

Olivia te Cuida or La Vinoteca de Moratin.

Your favourite bar or place to dance in

Bar Corazón.

Your favourite shop in Madrid?

Do Design and Yellow&Stone.

The best way to relax or escape?

To disconnect I go to my house in Madrid, or my family house in
the country, in Ávila. I always go there when I want to relax.

What advice would you give visitors as a

Do the Walk with
guides that have everything you need to know and where to go
in Madrid by barrios. Go through Madrid walking – you will discover
incredible places yourself.