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Barcelona with Maike Lüdenbach

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – SHOP LÖV Rediscover our story with Maike – Photos by Berta Pfirsich for The Style Line

“Traveling has made me a person whose priorities are simple when it comes to design and clothing,”

Maike Lüdenbach expressed in our follow-up interview below. “It has to be practical comfortable, simple, classy and stand out.”

As you may remember in our initial Studio Visit with our featured interviewee – and Vienna-based designer of sustainable intimates brand LÖV – Maike’s professional mission is centered around the idea of empowering women everywhere, and as a result, LÖV has taken her all around the globe.

Both Maike’s collaborative spirit and natural curiosity for the world around her have inspired long-standing relationships with fellow creatives – resulting in a solid foundation for LÖV’s growing global community. Take today’s Neighborhood Story for instance, as it features exclusive photos by Maike’s cherished collaborator Berta Pfirsich who kindly contributed her talents for this story.

The below interview touches more on Maike’s love for the magical city of Barcelona (where she is based for a good portion of the year) along with her thoughts on how the city has shaped her quality of life (for the better). Without giving too much away, discover the full story below and take a virtual tour of three of Maike’s favorite local destinations that are sure to inspire in life and style.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION

My name is Maike Lüdenbach

and I am the CEO and owner of LÖV a brand for sustainable underwear made by women for women. Since our initial chat, I have learned a lot of new things and LÖV has been receiving some great feedback which I am very happy about. We are slowly expanding an getting into the market and things are going so well we had to increase new production to be able to cater to the demand. Last month I was in Vienna and now I have been enjoying the Spanish summer sun for some weeks here now.

Between Vienna and Barcelona what role has travel come to play in your approach to design and what does each city provide you with in terms of inspiration, resources, materials?

Travel has a very important role for I guess anybody who experiences it. I was lucky enough to grow up with adventurous parents who took me on many travels. My first trip was a month after my birth from Germany to Spain. And after that, I started working as a musician that included touring, then I worked as a model which meant I would visit five countries in seven days. And now especially with flights being so affordable (at least in Europe) it is such a great way to expand the mind and have profound experiences.
Traveling has made me a person whose priorities are simple when it comes to design and clothing. It has to be practical comfortable, simple, classy and stand out. It is obvious that growing up in a Mediterranean country has influenced me enormously. The ocean, the sand, the sun. There is a special light in Barcelona, all photographers agree. The salt in the air, the sound of seagulls close to the ocean. And than just 30 minutes away you can get high up on to the mountain and enjoy the view over the city while soaking up a spectacular sunset. I consider myself very lucky to have been brought up here.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often about life in Barcelona?

I don’t think there is anything people don’t ask me about Barcelona, but I feel so many people have visited this city and have such good memories attached to their experience here that they get it. What I have come to appreciate most about my life in Spain is the quality of life. Even though this might affect the working speed capacity it forces you to slow down and take things in with a sense of calm.
When I was younger and very ambitious it was very hard for me to enjoy a two-hour business lunch but by now I have just accepted the way things are done here. This is not to say that things have changed a lot with the crisis and globalization there has definitely been a growing community of young entrepreneurs that are willing to take risks, work hard and with passion.

You mentioned in our initial chat that your partner said you have a very Spanish side to you. With this in mind, what have you come to appreciate the most about your life in Spain?

I feel people are very open here to participate, support and encourage each other’s projects and work. Since it has been through some rough economic times, and unemployment, especially between young people, is extremely high, you can see people reaching out and taking each other by the hand which is very beautiful to watch and experience.

How would you describe the collective personal style of Barcelona residents and how has it influenced your own approach to dressing?

The collective personal style of Barcelona residents is very influenced by the climate conditions because they influence your everyday behavior! Because the city is small and streets are uneven you usually take a bicycle or more commonly walk everywhere so a high heel is something you see very rarely for example. Natural earthy tones are common, loads of basket bags and also the classic shoe that appear every summer the espadrilles shoe – which originated in the Pyrenees. You go to work dressed in something comfortable that you can wear for an after work “clara” (beer mixed with lemon soda) with your friends so you need something delicate you can wear if decide to go to the beach in the spur of the moment. The look is relaxed, the atmosphere is relaxed, the clothes fit in a relaxed matter. It’s quite beautiful.

What other cities could you see yourself in and why?

Recently we went to Berlin for a press showroom which was amazing (thank you Bold Berlin!) and rediscovering the city was a great experience. I hadn’t been back since 2007 and even though I could sense a certain commercialization of the city there was still this independent charm everywhere. I reconnected with my German roots in a very unexpected way.
On the other hand, I think since a big part of our work is done through the computer and there are only shoring moments when I have to be at a certain time in a certain place I can see myself traveling quite a bit. I find New Zealand extremely intriguing and Australia too also in terms of fashion and art. Canada, a place like Toronto specifically, seems to have an attractive community of craftsmanship and art that I feel could inspire me. The world is a magical place and there are just endless places I could see myself exploring.

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Espai Joliu

Address: Carrer de Badajoz, 95, 08005 Barcelona, Spain

“For a relaxing coffee place we chose the multipurpose space Joliu which is a plant concept store, selling beautiful plants, succulents as well as slow life magazines like Kinfolk, Cereal or specialized plant magazines like The Plant Journal. It serves delicious coffee with vegan milk options, displays beautiful pictures and drawings that are plant-themed and offers free wifi to enjoy whilst treating yourself to organic food. The owner Lucia came back from Berlin and with her experiences came back to Barcelona to create this magical oasis in between the industrial warehouses of poble nou.”

Shop Maike’s Look: ACNE Raya Mohair Cardigan $430, APC T-Shirt $180, Datura pants $290, Common Project sneakers $410

“I not only consider myself a designer put especially an entrepreneur, I really want to build a beautiful brand that has meaning with LÖV. I feel the fact that Barcelona allows you to enjoy life in itself.”

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Martinez

Address: Ctra. de Miramar, 38, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

“Martinez is a fancy restaurant that has a very relaxing and charming ambiance. The food is classical Spanish with a modern twist in presentation without compromising quality or taste. Everything is delicious and deliciously Spanish. The tapas and starters are very selected and it is a place to enjoy a truly accomplished Paella. The terrasse is the main attraction and while you are sitting covered gently under the sun you have the view all over the harbor of Barcelona. You can even spot a fisherman’s boat pulling in a fresh catch from the seagulls following his trail into the port (we actually saw this, amazingly enough!). It is situated at the beginning of Montjuic Mountain but coming from the seaside which limits the road to one lane which gives it a feeling of exclusivity. There is not much surrounding it and even though it is pretty city-centered, it gives you this feeling of a short break a little escape.”

Shop Maike’s Look: Other Stories Tunic shirt (Similar, $85) and pants $95, Margiela mmm6 shoes (Similar, $575)

As a fashion designer, what would you say are some of the benefits of living and working in a city like Barcelona and how would you describe the city’s creative community?

I not only consider myself a designer put especially an entrepreneur, I really want to build a beautiful brand that has meaning. I feel the fact that Barcelona allows you to enjoy life in itself through details like sunshine, good food and soulful people it directly connects to the energy you are capable of putting into your work.

How do you celebrate personal style? 

I celebrate personal style in that what I wear reflects who I am, how I live my life and what I am about.

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Cactus Park

Address: Ctra. de Miramar, 50-58, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

“Mossèn Costa i Llobera is a curious botanical garden in the center of Barcelona. It is situated at the foot of Montjuïc facing the sea. The park owes its name to the renowned Mallorcan poet Miguel Costa i Llobrera. Despite of the gardens taking up around 6 hectares of the Montjuïc hillside, they are some of the least known and visited gardens in the city. The gardens display all kinds of plant and tree species from the desert, subdesert, tropical areas, and highlands. Worth mentioning is the huge collection of cacti (about 800 different types) originating in many different continents and countries. As well as the great collection of species of cacti and succulent plants, the gardens offer stunning panoramic views over the city’s coastline and port. You can access it from the Martinez restaurant. This place is so special and unique. Some Cactus leafs have Initials engraved from lover who where decisive to make it last (even if just as a scar on a plant). The sunsets are stunning and it’s a great place to walk around, calm down, relax or take your lover for an adventure.”

Shop Maike’s Look: Achro wide leg pants $125, Other Stories turtleneck tunic $55, LÖV body suit 

“What I have come to appreciate most about my life in Spain is the quality of life. Even though this might affect the working speed capacity it forces you to slow down and take things in with a sense of calm.”