Fernando Amat

SPAIN (1921)

Fernando Amat is a Barcelona architect who owns and manages Vinçon, a visionary household goods, personal accessories and home furnishings store with two outlets, the original store in Barcelona and a newer shop in Madrid. What makes his store unique is that while the breadth of wares is great-ranging – from home furnishings to infant products and garden equipment – the items are carefully selected and inventively showcased. Vinçon has often been compared to the Terence Conran shop in New York City, which is similar in that the merchandise ranges from inexpensive to high-end goods, a shrewd business strategy that draws people into the store. Amat has fostered a casual environment where shoppers feel free to come in off the street and browse; food is welcome, as are dogs. Yet the store caters to an increasingly sophisticated clientele. Walking into Vinçon is akin to entering a showroom displaying Amat’s personal collection.

The Barcelona store Amat and his brother acquired from their father in 1968 houses La Sala Vinçon, a nonprofit exhibition and performance space for art and design. The original sala at Paseo de Gracia 96 sold the work of Catalan painters in the 1940s. The sons resurrected the former gallery and modeled it on Gres, one of the first design-led shops in Barcelona to sell simple, functional, craft-influenced pieces and exhibit them with paintings and sculpture. With Amat as curator, La Sala Vinçon has been instrumental in establishing and reinforcing the link between Vinçon and the Spanish avant-garde design community. Javier Mariscal got his start exhibiting there; the work of Jorge Pensi and Alberto Lievore of Grupo Berenguer, and of architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca of Studio Per (co-founder of b.d Ediciones de Diseno, a furniture manufacturer specializing in Modernist masters and contemporary local designers), can also be seen at Vinçon.

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