Vinçon on the shelf

Vinçon lowered the blind in 2015, seven years ago now. This closure generated a feeling of loss and an immediate wave of nostalgia. Because Vinçon was not just another business that was dying of old age. It was a singular brand, a focus for disseminating quality design and the latest art, a renewing agent of Barcelona’s collective sensibility and, in short, a much-appreciated citizen emblem.

Nothing remains of that Vinçon. Its premises are now occupied by a franchise, yet another of the dozen rosary of global brands that have disfigured Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, ​​after replacing shops with their own personality for others with foreign tinsel. That’s the bad new. The good news is that a book has just been published that documents Vinçon’s commercial and creative adventure, with all its polyhedral wealth.

Disappeared in 2015, it was a unique brand, a focus for disseminating quality design and the latest art

In addition to an essay with an academic tone by Oriol Pibernat, and another more historical one by María José Balcells, who has delved into the archive bequeathed by Vinçon to the Museu del Disseny, the book approaches from different angles the seven decades long history of the signature. Born in a shop on Carrer Rosselló, this company dedicated to the sale of crockery and glassware moved to Passeig de Gràcia in the 1930s, where it was consolidated as Hugo Vinçon Gifts after the Civil War. That was –1940– a crucial date, because the City Council gave him permission to sell “major hardware”. (Hardware, according to the RAE, is a set of objects, usually metallic, of little value. Perhaps the adjective “major” will raise it this time to another dimension). And there was another decisive date, in 1967, when the brothers Fernando and Sergio Amat took over the family business and turned it into something else.

The day that Fernando, Sergi, Yolanda and Joan Enric Amat definitively lowered the blinds of the Vinçon store, in June 2015

Mane Espinosa

From that relay, Vinçon began to cast the sparkles that would make it a commercial beacon ahead of its time, creator of trends. His art gallery – La Sala Vinçon – began to exhibit the work of a wide range of creators, from those of the land art up to those of underground . The work of industrial designers from Barcelona who are classics today – André Ricard, Miguel Milá, Rafael Marquina, etc. – entered his catalogue. The graphic designers who were going to mark an era –América Sánchez, Pati Núñez, Mariscal– began to draw it on their bags. And, acting as conductor, F ernando Amat flew to European, American or Asian fairs to gather a selection of products that would shape the Vinçon label.

Closing day of Vinçon in Passeig de Gràcia

Closing day of Vinçon in Passeig de Gràcia

Mark Arias

Leafing through this book, despite its countless images, is not the same as entering Vinçon with the intention of flâneur, with no other purpose than to browse and be surprised by some of their products. The 2,345 square meters that Vinçon once had were one thing and the format –21 x 26.5 cm– of this 324-page book is another. But it has a special virtue. Or, rather, two. The first is to reveal in all its variety the extraordinary contribution of Vinçon to Barcelona culture. The second, dismantled the Passeig de Gràcia headquarters, is to reserve for Vinçon, forever, a small bookstore branch on our shelf.

Oriol Pibernat and Maria José Balcells


Vinçon 1929-2015Barcelona City Council and Editorial Tenov. 324 pages. 35 euros