Many of us know Lafede as the most visible face of Studiostore, but some are not aware of the experience stored beneath her inspiring blond hair. A Barcelona-based architect, she began her career in Interior Design in early 2000, while working as a design teacher. After six years working regularly with Custo Barcelona, ??she became the firm’s project director. She is also considered an expert in lighting design. In fact, until 2010, she collaborated with IGuzzini as an interior design consultant. Today she is a professor at the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Barcelona and at the Technical University of Madrid. She has also been deputy director of the post-graduate coures ‘Design, Image and Architecture’ at Elisava and project tutor at the Universita di Architecture of Alghero. In 2012 she established Studiostore to develop a more personal career and concepts for retail companies, as well as projects based on the ‘slow-budget’ philosophy. An example? The store, a space that has become a city essential with lots of creativity. Among her latest projects are furniture for Desigual, a lighting project for Barcelona’s Kling store or the display for sunglasses firm Sheriff & Cherry. We interviewed her?
Why did you decided to open the first concept store in Barcelona?
I’ve been involved in Retail Design for ten years, designing shops and spaces devoted to selling and presenting products?interior design, the lighting or the product display and visual merchandising. At the beginning, the study was at home because I used to work as a freelance for different brands. But I decided to go a step further and show my work to people in a store open to the public, with two distinct areas: the store showing the furniture and the displays I design, and my studio. As for the design, I wanted objects that showed the same attention and care I invest on my designs and that also were related to Barcelona, a city that has supported design a lot and where there’re lots of talented people, although at first sight one just sees Pakistani shops selling Mexican hats. All objects, often unique, are chosen following the guidelines of my team and myself. That’s what makes of Studiostore a Concept Store.
What’s necessary to stay afloat during an economic crisis?
In my opinion the keyword is ‘flexibility’. It was before the crisis and continues being so, perhaps even harder. In my projects, the focus on the design phase and on the flexibility in manipulating the concepts allows for quality, aesthetics, customization, reuse, optimization and prices to go together to always reach a special and functional outcome at prices customers can afford. This has allowed me to continue working during these hard years. My clients now understand that working with an architect doesn’t have to be expensive: What’s more, it can save you a lot of money and many headaches.
What is the king discipline now?
I really hope not to bore you, but the key discipline for the future, in my opinion, is design. Economic and construction resources are new reduced to the minimum. Only a good initial planning, that is, a conscious design process that takes into account all the variables and needs can have an optimized functional outcome and, above all, beautiful! Design will rescue us!
Now let’s talk about Studiostore. What is happening in the studio and in the store?
You already know the origins of the studio and the store. As for the future, the study is active in Barcelona, ??but we’re looking for new customers outside Barcelona. In addition, we are preparing a very interesting series of workshops for winter, relying on the talents surrounding Studiostore … As for the store, we’ll continue bringing the most special designs and widening the corner devoted to unisex and one size fits all, which is a real motivation. There’re also several collaborations coming and, above all, our own product line, starting with a collection of shirts and leather objects for travellers and explorers, which is the second vocation of many of us!
Tell us about a project you specially like.
For example, my long collaboration designing spaces for Custo Barcelona, it has certainly shaped my experience in the retail world. Another cool project was our favourite sunglasses, Sheriff&Cherry, a brand that is always proposing new challenges and very advanced aesthetics. But Studiostore is being one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in and it still is because I’m always thinking about how to change things and stiff. There’ll be some novelties in Christmas, so stay tuned!
Now tell us what should an object have to be sold in the store?
It has to be able to surprise us, to be that kind of object you’ve been looking for a while, capable of reminding you you’re not alone in this world and that beauty and happiness are everywhere.
You’re favourite store in Barcelona?
Juanjo and the bookshop-galler MUTT, Juanito and Salón 5º 1ª , Max and Ste and the Xemei restaurant (Paseo de la Exposición, 85), Renier and his vintage boutique Le Swing, and Pep and his cocktail bar Ginger (C/Palma de Sant Just, 1). I also love Gaudí, Mies van der Rohe, Miralles y Ferrater. And, above all, the beach? For me Barcelona is the European Rio de Janeiro!
You can’t stop listening to?
?Perfect Morning’ by Danish band Vinnie Who.
Flip flops for men outside the beach. I’m sorry, guys, but it’s not sexy at all!
You never thought you’d end up?
Not being an architect. For me, architecture is an incredible opportunity to understand and participate in the life. Despite the crisis, Studiostore is being a great way to find a fitting alternative.
I don’t know what to say? I think everything happens for a reason, although it’s hard to understand at first. We must let our eyes see the horizon and understand how we got there and know where we want to go.
*Pic by Leila Méndez.