Golden palm trees embedded in snow-white rooms and black furniture elements that contrast with the rest–designer Djaba Diassamidze has fulfilled a dream of his own with Darial. The designer does not see Darial as a concept store but as a creative space that brings together fashion, food, music and luxury goods. Last month, he opened his 1,500-sq.-meter shopping palace in the heart of Barcelona. We asked Diassamidze what makes Darial so special, why in Barcelona, of all places, and what his favorite dish in Le Leopard is–because that's what Darial also has to offer, its own restaurant.
Darial is an impressive concept store. What awaits the customer in this sales palace?
I’m not sure it’s a concept store. The concept changes every time a creative mind enters the space. It changes with every project or every collaboration we do. The customer comes here to have the luxury of beauty and to have the time to see that beauty. I hope that’s the experience we give to any customer entering our palace.
You are the founder and creative director of your own brand. Where did the desire to open a concept store come from?
It comes from a fantasy of my childhood. I always wanted a creative space where all the creative minds I admire could come and eat together, drink together, paint together, exhibit together, do group shows, collaborations, etc. It’s my tribute to my own profession and then to all other ones that inspire me to create.
Can you tell us a little about the architecture, the interior design and what influences and inspirations you find at Darial?
The architecture of the building itself inspired a lot of things at Darial. I created it as if I was creating my own maison de couture. As if I was inviting people to my own house. You will find some objects from a Parisian apartment–empire-style sofas from the 19th century, a Chinese screen, rock crystals… Little touches of cinematographic inspiration in the restaurant and the shop come from small mise-en-scène that I took from operas, ballets or places I’ve been, apartments I stayed in when I was a child. It’s a moodboard dedicated to all the interior design and architecture that I admire and that live in myself. This all translated in a more contemporary modern way.
What distinguishes Darial from other stores?
What makes it different is that it’s not a concept store. It’s a space, a gate–it might sound very romantic but it’s really the idea of creating a new era not just on my own but with all my contemporaries.
The retail trade is under enormous pressure these days. Online competition doesn't sleep and many retailers can't stand the competition. How do you have to be positioned as a retailer today to stand up to online retailing?
We will very soon launch our online store, which will also be a platform where people can express themselves. We have treated this part as a very important component of Darial. Our physical store is a key part of the project–you can come and touch the materials, admire the palm trees, rest on the sofas, wear the clothes, have a drink or eat dinner at Le Léopard. It’s all part of the same story.
Why did you choose Barcelona? What do you think makes it so attractive?
The first thing that makes this city so attractive is its light. It makes you happy all the time. The Mediterranean Sea and the architecture add even more to what makes Barcelona a beautiful, inspiring place.
What feedback have you received on the store so far?
I’m very happy to say that we have had great feedback from our clients and friends and from neighbors and passersby.
Le Leopard is the restaurant in the store. Which dish on the menu is your favorite?
Normally I would have said my favorite is Djaba’s Club Sandwich. However, as I’ve recently become vegan I’m now working on Djaba’s Salad, which will become my new favorite–it will be a great dish with a family-recipe vinaigrette.
Carrer d'Ausiàs Marc, 37,
08010 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 663 83 37 67
Monday - Saturday 11am - 9pm
Sunday 12am - 8pm