Melissa Losada and Marcela Velez

Designers, M2Malletier

| Barcelona

When your signature design hits the pages of Vogue just days after its debut, where can you really go from there? Well, if you’re Melissa Losada and Marcela Velez, straight into the arms of T. Swift, Suki Waterhouse and Solange Knowles, of course. The Colombian-born duo launched their accessories brand M2Malletier in 2012 and it didn’t take long—err, ever— for the greatest glossies and style gals to take note. What sets the brand apart is its manifestation of modern art: whereas many designers cite studies like surrealism, minimalism and architecture as inspiration, Losada and Velez actually manipulated metal to create a sculpture of their own— M2Malletier’s inimitable linear bag handle. See, the ladies didn’t just want to create bags, but collectibles—tiny works of art that the savviest could tote outside their homes (that whole right-out-of-the-gate success makes a lot more sense now, no?). Thanks to one of their biggest influences, celebrated Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, Losada and Velez set up shop in Barcelona where they call his old home—a renovated 19th century cement factory— the “office.” Somehow we’re not surprised… Here, the pair sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal their little black books on Barcelona.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: MV: The Green Spot (MAP IT) for black pizza (Thai-style pizza with roasted peppers, sweet chili sauce and activated charcoal)— completely vegan, but absolutely tasty.
ML: Flax & Kale (MAP IT). Their black rice bowl is healthy, but made with different tastes and unexpected ingredients.

COFFEE OR TEA: MV: Satan’s Coffee at Casa Bonay Hotel (MAP IT) because it has an amazing environment and the quality of the coffee is to die for! It has a balcony where you can sit and enjoy your morning coffee.
ML: Tea from Le Cinq (MAP IT) because the Rooibos tea has an amazing, fruity taste and it gives me energy.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: MV: Terraza Martínez (MAP IT). It has nice local Spanish food and the location is beautiful with great views of the city during both summer and winter. I am obsessed with the fideuà and patatas bravas.
ML: Il Giardinetto (MAP IT)— delicious Italian food in a unique and cozy environment with a live piano player. I always get the Sophia Loren spaghetti.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: MV: A Moscow mule at La Dama (MAP IT), a gorgeous modernist space where the cocktails are great.
ML: An Aperol spritz at Caribbean Club in El Raval (MAP IT).

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: MV: The Sunday Book Market in Sant Antoni.
ML: Mercat de Santa Caterina (MAP IT).

TO STAY: MV: Cotton House (MAP IT, BOOK IT). I’ve never stayed there, but I have been many times and it is beautiful with great food and a great environment.
ML: The Alma (MAP IT, BOOK IT) has a beautiful interior garden and an amazing spa and rooftop.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: MV: El Raval.
ML: Rambla Catalunya.

HEALTHY STAPLE: MV: Auto Rosellon (MAP IT) for the goat cheese and beet salad— it’s amazing.
ML: La Cuina d’en Garriga (MAP IT).

GUILTY PLEASURE: MV: Pizza from Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha (MAP IT).
ML: Chocolate churros from El Velódromo (MAP IT).

BARCELONA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: MV: Getting lost in the streets of neighborhoods El Raval and Gotio.
ML: The Montjuïc neighborhood.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: MV: The terrace of SoHo House (MAP IT)— it has beautiful views and a nice atmosphere.
ML: Servicio Continuo (MAP IT)— it’s small, but fun.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: MV: SoHo House.
ML: Casa Bonay.

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: MV: The coastal town Sitges in winter.
ML: 
Cadaqués.

DAY-TO-NIGHT: MV: I would start with a morning coffee at La Federal in Sant Antoni (MAP IT), then visit the small shops before heading towards Gran Via. From there, I would rent a bicycle and head up Enric Granados street— it is one of my favorite streets in Barcelona, full of coffee and flower shops. I’d drop my bicycle and have a light lunch at Auto Rosellon. Next, I’d head towards Passeig de Gràcia and visit Casa Batlló and La Pedrera (both by Gaudí) before grabbing a drink at the rooftop of Hotel Casa Fuster (MAP IT); shop at our favorite store, Santa Eulalia (MAP IT); walk downtown past the Cathedral (MAP IT) and end up near the beach for a delicious and fun dinner at El Gallito (MAP IT).
ML: My first stop would be brunch at Flax & Kale. Afterwards, I’d stroll around in El Raval and go to the latest expo at CCCB (MAP IT); visit the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (MAP IT) and the Basílica Santa Maria del Mar (MAP IT); and to finish, I’d go for some delicious sushi at Nakashita (MAP IT) before catching an independent film at Filmin (MAP IT).

CLOSET CHECK: MV: My style is very comfortable and minimal with key pieces and accessories. I like Santa Eulalia for the best designer selections. Local designer Lydia Delgado (MAP IT) also has amazing and unique pieces.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: ML: My interior style is relaxed and chic. There is an amazing furniture store called Casamitjana (MAP IT) and it has the best selection!

BEST GIFTS: MV: Natura Casa (MAP IT).
ML: Torrons Vicens (MAP IT) for the most exclusive and traditional Catalan sweets.

ULTIMATE BARCA MOMENT: MV: One thing that amazes me is the amount of festivities that happen in the streets of Barcelona. Every year from June to September, each district has its own celebration. People from the neighborhood get together and make decorations, cook together and organize music concerts; restaurants place tables outside so that everybody can sit down to enjoy their food and the good weather. Cars aren’t even permitted to circulate within the district celebrating. It is fantastic that people make the time to enjoy themselves here— living in Barcelona is all about a good quality of life and this definitely portrays the city’s enthusiasm to savor the “here and now.”
ML: Architecture is a cardinal component to Barcelona. You can be shopping around Passeig de Gràcia and be next to Gaudí’s Casa Batlló or La Pedrera; you do not need to travel far to witness works of art by great architects— they are all around you! Also, I have always found Barcelona’s urban planning quite interesting. Did you know that in 1860, the civil engineer/urban planner Cerdà designed the city using a grid-like structure that’s rotated at a 45 degree angle from North? The reason for this was to make sure that every apartment could get the same amount of sunlight during the day. Not only do we have delicious food and amazing artists, but we have great living conditions that all of us can benefit from every day! CP

Marcela & Melissa’s Barcelona

From L to R: First Row: Satan’s Coffee; View from the SoHo House terrace; Natura Casa; The Green Spot. Second Row: Flowers in Sitges; Clothing by Lydia Delgado; Mies van der Rohe Pavilion; Auto Rosellon.

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