You’re doing vintage wrong – let the Spaniards show you the way

Barcelona – If you follow Netflix viewership numbers, you’ll have already realized one thing: nobody does vintage like the Spaniards. A slew of period dramas such as Grand Hotel, Velvet and Cable Girls have been veritable hits for the streaming service, and have cemented Spain’s position as the prime purveyor of retro romance.

So, when a Spanish design brand tells you they’re going to show you the proper way to do vintage, you listen. That’s where Roca and its Carmen line come in.

In the 1940s, the sanitary ware company had a series of vitreous-china washbasins named after women – Cristina, Raquel and Silvia made it on the list. To celebrate the bussiness' first century, Roca has reissued a refreshed version of one of its biggest classics: the Carmen. When it came out in 1946, the wall-hung sink featured a Grecian silhouette and an elegant podium, equally soft and robust. ‘We believe a good way to look into the future is to remember those great designs for which there is still a demand, and this has been the case with the Carmen basin,’ explained Josep Congost, Roca’s design and innovation director.

They’ve adjusted the basin for current demand, though: the standalone Carmen has now evolved into a line of 15 products, from basins and furnishings to WCs, a bidet and faucets. The design team has preserved the visual essence of the original 1940s character while applying technological advances in materials, performance and water conservation. In other words: they’re doing vintage the right way.

And just like they extended Carmen from a single piece to a range of bathroom solutions, their vintage-the-right-way vision is expanding and permeating other areas of their customers’ lives: namely, how to express themselves through fashion and frolic. ‘We’d like to bring back a time when people mastered dance moves, when dressing fancy was a good idea, when everyday objects were extraordinary and good design lasted for decades,’ said corporate marketing director Carlos Velázquez.

So the company is doing just that with a series of tutorials that teach the current generation how to live again some of the delightful everyday actions that contemporary life brushed away. For example, instead of the current penchant to fall victim to whatever is going to replace the In My Feelings challenge, they’re asking: Why not take dancing seriously and go all out with some swing?

Instead of following the decadent streetwear trend of the current times, they’re nudging consumers towards the elegance of grandfathers, with a bow tie tutorial – you'll see no amorphous white trainers here –.

But they’re also referencing the impeccable headwear of many a grandmother, by showing present-day Carmen consumers the proper way to tie a headband.

That gloomy George Santayana quote says that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Thanks to Roca, though, a new generation of consumers who cannot remember the past will instead be more than delighted to repeat it.

uk.roca.com/carmen

Billboard: Vescom
Billboard: Vescom

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