Design Getaway: Sweltering Hot Designs from Spain


From the bizarrely beautiful architectural works of Antoni Gaudí that douse Barcelona to the maniacal works of Salvador Dalí, there’s no shortage of dramatic décor in Spain. While we love the fanciful flare of Gaudí (Casa Batlló pictured), it’s some of the not-so-sought after scenes that steal the show.

We know California wine country bursts with chic design but it turns out Rioja rivals with a swanky scene of its own. We love the combustion of old world blending with new at Bodegas López de Heredia Viña Tondonia in the capital city of Haro. The Venetian-style tasting stand, erected in 1910 for the Brussels World Expo, grounds the space while the outer shell, designed by Zaha Hadid, zips the look forward to space-age times with stark white seating and slanted shelves. The modernist structure was built for the Barcelona Food Faire in 2002 to protect the historic tasting stand, which prior to the faire, had been dismantled and stored for nearly 90 years. The bodega’s smooth Spanish wines almost rival the design.

The ever quaint, ever catchy Merci Begur (named after Costa Brava’s swanky town) is not only a play on words but a playful haunt that serves up a snap of something for everyone. Hip bar with locally inspired women’s accessories, they’ve got it. Sushi by night, tapas by late- late night, you betcha. You can even service your AM wakeup call with bagels while abroad. Co-owner Julie and her beau fell into the biz during a late night stroll that ended at an abandoned house and courtyard. Months later the once dire space turned edgy and eclectic in the hands of its owners who custom create each one of the quirky designs out of found materials.

A would-be chest started out as a couch and later morphed into this coffee table, just one of many creative concoctions. Julie’s design mantra: “Sometimes stuff just happens.” And happen it does with wine glass chandeliers, Rubik’s Cubes and dangling bird cages in one room while disco balls, vintage Levis jeans throw pillows and a bowling pin lamp jive in another.

Sink in and sip up as you chillax to grooving tunes with urban sprawl videos dancing on the back wall. All we can say is Merci, for bringing us this snazzy hideaway.

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