Guest Post: Discovering the World of Design in Barcelona
by: Harriet Freeman of Things to do in Barcelona
Perhaps it's the presence of Guadí's works of art that are scattered around the city, maybe it could all be due to the huge transformation that took place in anticipation of the 1992 Olympics, or maybe it all just happened by chance, regardless of what triggered it; Barcelona is recognized internationally as an artistic city that lives and breathes culture and creativity. The aim of this article is to help immerse you in this world of Barcelona design, and will cover topics like the accommodation you stay in, the shops you visit, the attractions that you tour, and the restaurants you eat in.
Staying in style
This isn't the most essential part of getting the most out of your design visit to Barcelona, but it helps to return to a nice place at night where you can appreciate the interior design efforts of your host. Normally the most stylishly designed accommodation for the best price can be found in apartments rather than hotels. If you wish to stay in an apartment you just use a rental agency that specialize in Barcelona apartments a quick search here found a nice and cheap apartment in Arc Triomf. If you'd rather stay in a hotel, it'll cost a lot more but you can easily find some here
Shopping! Perhaps the most well-known design store in Barcelona is Vincon. Here you can find a number of quirky designer products from lots of famous European design brands like Joseph & Joseph, and Alessi. On Gran de Gràcia there is a new shop called “Culinarium" that specialize in design products for the kitchen. In terms of clothes, practically all of the famous Spanish designer labels are located along Passieg de Gràcia; Zara, Mango, Bershka, Adolfo Dominguez, and Sfera (well it's in Plaza Catalunya but it's close enough). The Born district of the city is widely known for being a center for fashion boutiques, while you're there, check out “La Comercial", a boutique which stocks men and womens-wear from designers like Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, and Givenchy.
Okay, visiting the works of Guadí is practically mandatory for visitors to Barcelona, but when you're not admiring Parc Güell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, or Casa Mila, then what more is there to see for the design-inclined sightseer? Well there is a whole network of design attractions to see in Barcelona called Disseny Hub which includes the Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària (Fashion and Textiles), Museu de les Artes Decoratives (Interior Design), Ceramics Museum, and Gabinet de les Arts Gràfiques (Graphic design and typography museum), they all take a look at the history of design in their respective fields allowing visitors to get a better idea of how design has evolved. There is also the lesser known MIBA museum which is a museum of inventions, from the most fascinating to the most absurd (like a mop with a microphone at the end so you can pretend to be a rock star while keeping the house clean). Finally, between the 1st and 5th October, BCN Design Week 2012 will bring design professionals and enthusiasts alike to the city in order to promote and debate design, as well as key speakers talking about innovation. It's great if you want to improve your design knowledge or make contacts within the world of design.
Finally we reach restaurants. Javier Mariscal is a famous designer who lives in Barcelona and created the mascot Cobi for the 1992 Olympics, he has also had his work shown in an exhibition at the Design Museum in London. One of his design projects was the Restaurant Tragaluz which can be found in the city center of Barcelona on Pasaje de Concepción if you're willing to pay the rather expensive prices to eat there. If that's not enough to satisfy your design urges then you can make a visit to Citrus with its interior designed by Antoni Arola (winner of the National Design Award 2003) and decorated with paintings by Lluis Lleó, a contemporary artist who was born in Barcelona and grew up in New York. There are many well designed and contemporary restaurants in Barcelona so it only takes a little bit of a search to find the right one for you.
So whether you're planning to add a touch of design to your trip, or to immerse yourself in it completely, here's hoping that this guide proves useful for you. However, if you have any doubts or would simply like to know a bit more; drop me a comment and I'll do my best to help you out!
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