Today we’re in Barcelona visiting Chandal, a concept store specialising in Polaroid cameras and independent magazines just a stone’s throw away from the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. We catch up with shop-owners Isabel and Ivan to find out about which publications are doing well in sunny Spain.
When and why did you set up Chandal?
We opened the store seven years ago (it was first called Impossible), because we couldn’t buy to stuff in Barcelona that we wanted. We decided to open a space where people could get hard to find objects, different music, books, and childhood memorabilia. We also had local fanzines, but it’s only been in the last three years that we started selling international, independent magazines. At first we sold a small number, now we stock more than 60 titles.
How do you lay out the magazines around the shop and how did you decide on that set up?
There are so many magazines now; they occupy quite an important place in the store. We have a big wall for the publications, with an area where people can sit and read them. We want our customers to feel comfortable and decide without any pressure. You can see the magazines when you’re walking down the street – we’ve pointed the covers towards passer-byers.
Who are your customers?
Very different people. We have a lot of tourists in this area of Barcelona, so many of them are people on holiday (a great time to enjoy a magazine). Lots of locals come too of course! We have a lot of titles that you can only find here. We also share the space with the Impossible store, so lots of photographers come in as we stock a lot of photography publications.
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
Woooouu that’s really difficult to choose! As you know Barcelona has a swarm of magazines! Apartamento is the one of the best, but we also love Morena, Fuet, Open House, Kink….
What has the biggest challenge been?
For us? Sourcing the best international publications. Some of them you can’t get in any other place in Barcelona.
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
So many many many! There are new publications that are challenging the concept of what a magazine is, and they are becoming a lot more visual.