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Photo by Lee Woolcock
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Photo by Lee Woolcock
Barcelona apartments and houses can be so much more than spaces simply for living in and hosting guests. With people increasingly looking to get away from mass-production industry, as well as searching for unique spaces in which to work, businesses run from these ostensibly residential premises are on the rise.
Còrsega 204 is the address in question. It is here, on the first (or principal), floor that one arrives at the luxurious hair salon of Damien Ducorney. Originally from France, Damien lived and worked in New York for nearly a decade before returning to Europe.
He harboured the idea of opening his own salon for years, keeping his eyes open for the kind of apartment that would serve as the basis for his idea. It came rather unexpectedly, when he followed up an ad he saw on a bulletin board in his gym. “The first time I saw this place, I knew this was it. I didn’t even look at any more.”
It took Damien about three months to totally remodel the apartment. He has considered each tiny detail for his salon, from the door handles to the chairs. And it shows. The rich brown and bronze theme creates a warm and relaxed atmosphere, that is completed with fresh flower arrangements done by Damien himself, and soft background music.
While L’Adresse is an exclusive place with some high-profile clients among its regulars, it’s open to anyone and a haircut here will cost you around €40.
The Personal Trainer
Daniel Benites no longer goes to the gym—instead he’s brought it into his apartment, creating an alternative space for getting in shape. When you do your floor exercises here, there are no lights glaring in your face; rather you are surrounded by the beauty of a 19th-century Eixample apartment. The ceiling has a beautiful plaster border running along its perimeter, the sun shines into the room through the balcony doors and the space is steeped in the ambience of a centuries-old home that overlooks Ronda Sant Antoni.
Daniel had already been living in the apartment for a while when he got the idea to turn part of it into a gym. “I was sharing this apartment, and when my housemates moved out, I decided I wouldn’t look for anyone else, and instead use the space for a business. The house is conveniently divided into two parts—I live in one part with my girlfriend, the other part I use for my gym. It works perfectly.”
Although trained as a football player, Daniel had to halt his professional career following a knee injury. Instead he became a personal trainer and, as a result of his injury, he began to learn about physiotherapy as well.
His sessions, which cost €45 a session, last an hour and a quarter with the last 15 minutes being devoted to extensive stretching. His main goal is to help his clients be healthy. “Gyms are so impersonal, boring and, in a sense, artificial. Here I really have a chance to interact with my clients. It’s a more natural and relaxed atmosphere.”
Juan Calet has been in the haircutting business for decades, however, it’s been only a few years that he’s been working from an apartment. He rented a penthouse on Ronda Universitat and turned it into a hair salon called 5º 1ª. The dark-green soundproofed walls, the custom-made tables and mirrors, and the terrace catch one’s eye straight away, but even so the salon might not be much out of the ordinary, if it wasn’t for the music.
With his €3,000-sound system, Juan plays an eclectic mix, from ambient to rock. The quality of the sound is such that even when turned to a high volume you can still talk in a normal voice and hear the other person without straining. At the end of the day, 5º 1ª runs what they call ‘The Moment’, a time when a special song is played at full volume and, says Juan, the sound becomes so dense you can almost touch it.
“It isn’t customary to put the emphasis on the music in salons, but for me this is the way of making my place more personal. Making a visit to a salon relaxing and fun at the same time; like visiting a friend, having a drink and listening to music—all while you enjoy your hair cut. When people step into this space they are meant to step into an experience,” said Juan.
5º 1ª also has a bar, an outside terrace and a massage room, in case one needs an excuse to stay longer, and indeed it can be hard to leave the place once your hair is done. The space is invitingly unpretentious and relaxing to be in. Indeed, there is nowhere Juan likes to be better than in his penthouse salon, and this makes his clients (who are are from all backgrounds and of all ages: the youngest is six months old and the oldest, 92) return not only for a haircut, which costs from €40, but also to chill out on the terrace or enjoy the parties he regularly hosts there.
Many of the patients at Ana Lombard’s Enlace Clinic have previously tried traditional medicine, without success. “I network with a lot of doctors from traditional clinics, so sometimes they send me their difficult cases. When they see how much progress we’ve made, the doctors themselves make appointments here,” said Ana.
Ana has the ability to perceive and heal people’s physical and psychological problems through physical touch. She says she inherited the gift from her French grandmother, who was a healer in her home village. As she had always had this ability, she didn’t think of doing it for a living and started a career in property. However, her husband Rafael saw her gift as something extraordinary and encouraged Ana to pursue it as a vocation.
After completing studies in sophrology in France, Ana moved to Barcelona, where she has opened a small studio clinic, which she named Enlace (which means ‘link’ in Castilian) and where she offers her services in both French and Castilian. Located at the crossing of Muntaner and Diagonal, the clinic is housed in a beautiful Eixample apartment. “I used to rent part of a clinic, but the atmosphere there was very dry and office-like. I needed a space with a soul,” Ana explained. It took a lot of work to remodel it, soundproof the interior and build walls to create extra rooms. “It was particularly hard, because we had to preserve the delicate work of plaster and decorative wall designs in the apartment.”
As well as Ana’s treatments, massage, acupuncture and speech therapy, amongst others, are available; the average cost of a one-hour session is around €80.
Flora Muserachs i Vidal
Flora has come a long way to have her (appropriately) florist shop on a quiet street in Sarrià. She was the first woman in Spain to be admitted to study landscape design, in 1971, inspired by her desire to work with nature, rather than follow one of the traditional female roles of teacher, nurse or secretary, none of which appealed to Flora.
She eyed the shop premises for many years, from the house she still lives in just opposite it. When it finally became vacant, she bought, redesigned and remodelled it. On the ground floor is the reception area with a kitchen, fireplace and workshop, while the first floor has the storage area, where Flora keeps the decorations for weddings and receptions. She likes to keep the shop calm and quiet and only once a year, for Sant Jordi, does she receive a mass pilgrimage to her street, which she lines with 50 different kinds of roses.
Together with the back garden, Flora’s shop is a lovely space to wait while your flower arrangements are being prepared. You can listen to Mozart while drinking tea by the fireplace, or read a book from a little library in the garden. Flora works with chakra colours (which uses the seven-colour spectrum with each shade thought to relate to different parts of the body and emotions) and says she knows which flowers release the right kind of energy for each occasion.
Flora has been a pioneer all her life—from university to then getting a job as a landscaper and opening her own School of Floral Art, which she ran for nearly a decade. Flora says that her shop is her final destination, the place where she is the happiest and feels most fulfilled.
L’Adresse—Còrsega 204, ppal 3º, tel. 93 410 0329. www.ladresse-hair.com
Daniel Benites—Ronda Sant Antoni 45, tel. 647 295 535. www.personaltrainerbcn.com
5º 1ª—Ronda Universitat 20, ático 3ª, tel. 93 412 5162.www.quintoprimera.com
Enlace—Muntaner 231, 2º 2ª, tel. 93 209 6957. www.enlacebcn.com
Flora Muserachs i Vidal—Avió Plus Ultra 21, tel. 93 205 7678