When an abandoned modernista textile warehouse is turned into an unparalleled interior design and fashion space with beautifully curated mens- and womenswear and home goods, we all win. Oh and did we mention it’s also a bookstore and a restaurant that serves up a market-driven menu with vegan options and natural wines?
There are some excellent reasons to take a stroll around the Arc de Triomf area of Barcelona, not the least of which is the cosy café and brunch scene developing along the Passieg de Sant Joan. Another is the proliferation of Chinese joints, where you can treat the family to giant bowls of steaming noodles and dumplings for a mere five euros. Now there is a new one – Darial – a luxury concept store that blows all other fashion destinations in the city (or nearly anywhere else) out of the water.
The Space + Design
Darial is spread over a massive 1,500 square metres in what was an abandoned textile warehouse on the ground floor of the Casa Tomàs Roger, just one of the outstanding modernista buildings along this stretch of the Carrer d’ Ausiàs Marc. Five years in the making, it is the baby of founder and creative director Djabe Diassamidze, a Georgia-born, Paris-based fashion designer and aesthete, whose personal style exudes the same sense of elevated chic he has instilled in Darial.
Perhaps as a backlash to Scandi minimalism, art deco glamour has been hailed as the new décor trend, and Darial will no doubt feature in future design tomes as a case in point. Original supporting pillars have been converted into golden palm trees, their fronds cleverly crafted using 3D printing, a technique also used for the racks, which appear to have strands of ivy curling around their posts. Walls and floors are bathed in white, setting off black velvet banquettes and early 18th century salon chairs Diassamidze picked up in a French flea market, along with a giant Soviet-era wall painting that once belonged to a theatre. Stiff shantung silk curtains and plush carpet, both in ivory, form the dressing rooms, strategically located next to a standalone display of Diassamidze’s Dynasty-inspired evening wear. With such a seductive mise-en-scène, you half expect screen siren Greta Garbo to emerge from the floor-to ceiling mirror-lined bathrooms ready for her close-up.
This is no mere clothing store for confirmed fashionistas though, as Diassamidze explains. Darial, which means ‘gateway’ in Old Persian, also targets “anybody who wants to pop in and just hang out.” “This is why I chose Barcelona over Paris,” he continues,
“Here people have more time to enjoy themselves, to spend afternoons browsing and looking at beautiful things.
The Fashion + Browseabout
And there are so many, many beautiful things here to peruse. Racks and racks of clothing by such sartorial heavyweights as Raf Simons, Haider Ackerman and Jil Sander; lacquered tables displaying crystal baubles, designer phone cases and cult cosmetics; everything here is edited and it all complements each other, forming a thousand dream ensembles for those whose lifestyles and incomes warrant spending 100 euros on a t-shirt or over 6,000 on a stunning Yoji Yamamoto coat with gold regalia.
But there are more affordable items too. A return visit to Darial a few weeks before Christmas reveals the fashionable-but-friendly staff merrily prancing around to carol music and a delightful selection of decorations and knick-knacks, such as a pair of glitter encrusted candles (7 euros), or snowball featuring Darial’s signature gold palm tree (13 euros) – certainly worth snapping up for the carry bag alone.
The Food + Wine
After taking in this feast for your eyes, nip into Le Léopard, Darial’s in-house brassiere named after Visconti’s cult film that mostly saw Burt Lancaster as the Prince of Salina wandering in existential agony from chamber to chamber in his magnificent Sicilian palace. Channeling a much more upbeat kind of decadence, Le Léopard is open from morning coffee to late suppers, with an appealing selection of dishes such eggs benedict, risottos and pastas. The bread is served with proper butter pats (hurrah!) and the menu del día (20 euros) is particularly good value. Perhaps not as much as the Chinese joints, but worth it to revel in Darial’s sheer exquisiteness, even for an hour or two.
Carrer d’ Ausiàs Marc 37. 08010. Tel. 934 17 73 37
Darial open: Monday to Friday 11am-9pm. Sunday noon-8pm.
Le Léopard open: 9am-1pm daily.
Guest Author: Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Suzanne Wales landed in Barcelona in 1992, that pivotal Olympic year when the city changed forever. Since then, she has worked as a writer mainly covering the creative scene, for magazines such as Dwell, Frame, Metropolis and Wallpaper. She lives in Horta, with her daughter, dog and cat, while trying to finally cultivate a vegetable garden.