Shopping malls and markets of any kind make me uneasy and I cringe at the thought of buying nik naks, trinkets, accessories, etc.
In short, I’m just happy with what I have and don’t want any more stuff. Believe me, it just makes life surprisingly easy once you decide you don’t want any more things to clutter up your environment.
However, all of that went completely out of the window during my recent visit to Casa Decor. In fact, after wandering around this event for hours, I found myself with a big case of the “wants”. Afterwards I came home completely inspired and told the husband that we have to buy stuff.
He simply sighed knowing that as soon as I enter any store, I last about five minutes before I make a bee line out the door.
If you’re not familiar, Casa Decor is one of the year’s biggest design events in Europe. Alternating between Barcelona and Madrid twice a year, Casa Decor is a multi-faceted design event with not only diverse displays showing the latest in design trends, but the six-week expo is also filled with all kinds of activities and workshops like sushi making, cocktail recipes, flower arranging, etc.
Even though I’m not much of a consumer and interior design isn’t really my thing, I was really excited about attending Casa Decor. First, the word on the street was that there was a feather chandelier in one of the displays. Second, I really wanted to check out the building, which was a complete mystery to me.
Have you ever seen the former British embassy in Madrid? I had no idea this building even existed and now I’m kind of obsessed with it. Built in 1966, the circular building is all kinds of nostalgic and quirky and above all, it rocks a super British seventies vibe that you just don’t see these days. It reminded me of a more subdued, British version of the Spanish Heritage Institute.
Casa Decor transformed the 90 offices spread out over three floors into individual design displays. And as funky as the building is on the outside, the eclectic designs on the inside were, … um … interesting. Among my favorites were the feather chandelier, a trumpet light fixture, chain link “walls” and of course, a blue bathtub for the “elegant and fragile woman”.
My first stop at the expo was the outdoor garden area where I was met with “Instant Future” by MARISA:
Inside, the displays ranged from minimalistic, classic, funky, retro, and then, there were some designs that were simply uncategorizable.
“Open Living” by Beatriz Silveira was one of the few displays I could see myself living in. A lot of the designs this year focused on space efficiency for compact living areas and hers was one of the best examples. Her use of light and space conveys an open, comfortable living area.
By far one of the most strategic use of design for space efficiency was “Perímetro” by Miguel Crespo Picot, Javier Guzmán Benito and Sixto Martín Martínez. By using unique design features like mirrored ceilings, light colors, chain linked “walls” and textured wall coverings, they managed to turn a studio apartment into a bright and spacious area.
“Artist Cafe” by Marie Magnol and François Magnol showed us that recycled materials really do have a place in modern design. The use of old instruments, repurposed leather and abandoned appliances was the most original use of materials at the expo.
“Un lugar para la sorpresa” by Francisco Cabezuela, Silvia Cabezuela and Alberto Cabezuela. Unfortunately, this photo really doesn’t do this display justice. Although dark and kind of kitsch, in person it was one of the most striking displays in the expo.
“Tree House” by Laura García Santos, Armando H. González and Luis Henares López left me feeling a little confused. I like the whimsy of this design, but didn’t know if that was a tree house to lounge in or a wooden cage for a small child. I’m hoping its the former.
Did you know that the French word, boudoir means a room where a lady goes to sulk? “Para una mujer muy especial” by Javier Muñoz described his room as a place for a “elegant and fragile woman”. I imagined myself elegantly sulking in this room as I cried due to my fragility.
All in all, I had a fascinating time wandering through the designs at Casa Decor and am already looking forward to next year’s event. The event ends on June 23rd so try to go up there if you can. Even for someone who might not be into fancy smancy interiors or refurbished furniture or feather chandeliers*, it’s an incredibly fun and vibrant expo.
*Actually, if you’re not into feather chandeliers there might be something wrong with you.