Fashion, design and art go hand in hand in this project, bringing together the main interests of its initiator, the artist Rafael García Forcada, who began this adventure almost 20 years ago.
La Importadora is a diaphanous and elegant space where an industrial flair is very present in the architecture, always in dialogue with a careful selection of items from international brands such as perfumes and furniture pieces, as well as the artworks and other creations made by the project’s founder.
We talked to the creator of this unique space about La Importadora and his upcoming exhibition, which will be on view very soon at Placido and Grata Boutique Hotel.
La Importadora is a shop with a lot of character. How would you describe this project yourself?
La Importadora is an ever-changing space; it never looks the same every time you go. The music we play in our shop is important, the fragrance emanating from the space is very distinctive, and all the elements can be disassembled, making this a living and changing space
What can we find in your store?
We have national and international designs for men and women, an extensive range of French and Spanish niche and household perfumery, as well as our own collection produced in-house, which allows our clients to create their own pieces by picking the color and size of their choice from our very own collection, which is continuously growing.
In addition to that, there are artworks made by me, selected décor from Spain, imported carpets, accessories, and many more.
In essence, La Importadora is all that I have in my head and I want to show to the public.
What led you to start a space like this in Seville, and now also in A Coruña?
La Importadora started out in 2003 as a store for interior design. Since I grew up surrounded by fashion design, I decided to introduce this aspect after one year. For the first 5 years, I focused on bringing in exclusive décor pieces from all over the world and introducing brands created by young designers such as Ion Fiz, Eduard Ballester or Jon Otaola that were unknown in Seville by then.
After 6 years I moved downtown, where we still are today, in a space with an architecture that reminds me of the places in New York’s Soho. It was in this space where La Importadora began to take shape in its fullest expression.
I’m a very active person and always feel the desire to keep searching to make my clientele happy. That’s the reason why 11 years ago I created Gaarciaforcada, my own women’s fashion brand.
The idea was to design a basic wardrobe for events; a slow fashion line inspired by the styles from the 20’s to the 50’s, thus creating a series of models that never go out of fashion.
La Importadora is much more than a store, it’s a space for creativity and an experience in itself. Can you tell us a bit about the activities that take place there?
La Importadora has hosted very successful exhibitions, book presentations, small concerts and even microtheater pieces for years, thus becoming one of the most cutting-edge spaces in the city.
This is a spacious industrial place with high ceilings, where everything is connected, from fashion to décor, and it has also served as an art gallery, since I got a degree in painting.
Speaking of your career as an artist, we heard that you will be having an exhibition at Plácido y Grata very soon. Could you give us some details about that? How does your work interact with the setting?
I have chosen this space because Plácido y Grata is much more than a hotel; it is a place where experiences happen: from having breakfast, to a coffee break, enjoying their patio and quiet environment. And this is all available for their guests but also for passersby.
This is an exhibition focused on still lifes and I thought it would mingle very well with the spaces of the hotel.
This is a special place that exudes calmness, good taste, and is quite different from the hotels in Seville. The architecture is very neat, with just a few and very well selected elements.
I think my work is very refreshing; it’s abstract naturalism painted with a very loose brushstroke that will resonate with the space.
Just like the song goes, “Seville has a special color…”, or does it have many?. What are the colors in your very own “Sevillian palette”?
My palette is quite personal and neutral. I always start from a grisaille, so black and white are always very present, and from there, I will continue adding color in different shades.
I use white a lot, but not as in the paint color. I’d rather save the blank space from the background of the canvas. Hence, my work is very recognizable by its palette.
This also adds lots of light to the painting, resulting in a work that is half finished so the beholder can complete the image and the work themselves.
Which places in Seville inspire your work?
Seville not only has a special color, but also a special light. It is a monumental city, full of inspiring places. Just a walk around the city; downtown or along the river, around the Santa Cruz neighborhood, visiting an antique market, parks full of trees… It’s all really inspiring. This is where I was raised and studied Fine Arts, specializing in painting, but I’ve been living between Seville and A Coruña for 4 years now.
How did your work evolve with the time?
This new series that I’m presenting started right when we came out from the lockdown. I was in A Coruña and placed a lot of importance on the idea of food, self-care and respect for the essentials.
I invested plenty of time feeling quiet and calm. In spite of the situation being weird and tense, it allowed me to stop and wind down.
This is how I went back to that rhythm that I used to have as a painter, and it was quite good for me to create, concentrate, feel calm and give shape to a series that, as many others, I may start and continue over the time or will resume after some years.
I usually paint figures, landscapes or still lifes. This time, I’ve been focused on the latter, and I feel that it has enabled me to discover certain aspects about painting after 20 years.
La Importadora Shop & Gallery
C/ Perez Galdos, 2