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Design duo Melissa Losada and Marcela Velez met at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Both hailing from Colombia, the pair wanted to design handbags which would transform traditional leather goods into covetable, contemporary design items while paying homage to their Colombian roots. M2Malletier – with its distinctive metal bar detailing – was born.
Adding a third locale to the mix, Barcelona, with its blend of gothic and modern design, seemed a natural fit for manufacturing their “wearable architecture”. Setting up in a renovated 19th-century cement factory home (designed by acclaimed Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill – Melissa’s father-in-law) Barcelona remains a constant point of return for the pair. Here they share some of their favourite Barca haunts.
Where’s the best place to wake up?
Soho Little Beach House in Garraf Beach, which is about 30 minutes from Barcelona.
How should we spend 24 hours in the city?
Start at Casa Vicens, the first house completed by Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí,which has recently been renovated and reopened to the public. Head downtown and walk to Palau de la Musica and get lost in the tiny puzzle streets of El Born – a great spot for shopping. Continue walking towards La Catedral del Gotico and check out the vintage and antique stores en route. Head even further south towards the beach and finish the day watching the sunset.
Where’s best spot for brunch?
Cecconi’s on Sundays.
Where should we go for a low-key lunch?
Auto Rosellon – it’s healthy and easygoing.
Other food spots we should try…
Terraza Martinez is the best spot for a long lunch. Amazing food, atmosphere and a view of the entire city.
Where should we go for a big night out?
La Terrrazza has the best DJs.
Where is good for dancing?
El Bombón is a fun Latin bar in Barrio Gotico.
Where should we head post-party?
El Velódromo to eat delicious food – and indulge in a couple more jugs of sangria.
Where’s good for a pre-bedtime tipple?
La Dama – this bar/restaurant serves the best cocktails in town.
What’s the dress code in Barcelona?
Very easy and relaxed. No heels.
Best day trips beyond the city…
Monasterio Monserrate, Tibidabo, Sitges, Girona and Ripoll.
Top five galleries and museums we need to visit while in town…
Museo Picasso, Fundacion Joan Miro, Fundacion Tapies, Macba and Side Gallery.
Up-and-coming areas to note now?
Barrio Sant Antoni is inundated with small, laid-back restaurants. It has a great vibe, especially during the weekends. Visit on Sundays if you’re a literary lover – the book fair there is great.
Which are you favourite shops in Barcelona?
Casamitjana for furniture, while La Sombrereria in Barrio Gotico is a great little hat shop. Darial is a new concept store which stocks a mismatch of fantastical items. Natura Casa is a must for homeware lovers.
How should we spend the final day of our trip?
Go for a three-hour lunch and munch on typical and traditional food and wine. After, divert to Barrio Sant Antoni for some walk by Vermouth tasting.
A book to read before we go?
La Catedral del Mar by Idelfonso Falcones.
The best souvenirs to bring back home…
Some amazing hats.
And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE for a weekend in Barcelona?
It’s always good to pack a pair of comfortable trainers that can be worn day to night – from pavement stomping past Gaudí exteriors to sauntering home just before sunrise. And sunglasses – because it is almost always sunny.
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