Trencadís  – What is it and where can I find it in Barcelona?

Trencadís may not be a word that you’re not familiar with, but if you’ve visited Barcelona before, you will certainly have seen it around you in the streets, in buildings, in parks, in souvenir shops… These mosaics are an explosion of colour, each little piece uniquely different in shape, pattern and colour scheme, yet when pieced together they come and form one cohesive and magnificent artwork. Not to mention, Trencadís is absolutely captivating when glittering under the Barcelona sun, as the light bounces off the tiles and brings the vibrant colours to life. It is no wonder that this technique has become synonymous with Mediterranean culture and design.

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What is Trencadís?

Trencadís is a Catalan term that literally means “chopped” and is the name for this artistic method that was popularised in 20th century Catalan modernism by artists like Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, Trencadís is a mosaic-like effect, achieved by cementing together random shards and pieces of broken chinaware, piece by piece like a jigsaw. Sometimes other materials are used, like glass, buttons or shells. In French, this technique is known as “pique assiette”, which translates to “plate thief”, perhaps referring to the use of recycled or “scrounged” materials – in other words, materials that ceramic factories often discarded.

What is the origin of the Trencadís?

Well, legend has it that Gaudí was visiting the ceramics workshop of Lluis Bru, and when he saw how tediously slow he was putting the pieces together, the impatient Gaudí simply grabbed a tile, shattered it into a hundred pieces on the ground, and stuck them on by the fistful, exclaiming “We must do it like this or we’ll never finish!”. Whether or not the story is true, it is true that the Catalan architect certainly used the innovative craft extensively and transformed it into one of his most signature techniques, which he applied in many of his architectural creations in Barcelona.

Where can I find Trencadís in Barcelona?

One of the most famous examples of Trencadís is brought to life, in the form of the world-famous mosaic, affectionately known as “El Drac” that majestically lazes on the steps in Park Güell. Also, the pavilion seating area in Park Güell, where you can get a panoramic view of Barcelona, is adorned in multi-coloured mosaic tiles, and is a popular photography point for visitors of Barcelona. Throughout the park you’ll find the distinctive artform of Trencadís-covered spheres, columns, and buildings too. The colors that predominate in the work are blue, green and yellow, which for Gaudí symbolized Faith, Hope and Charity.

trencadís

One of Gaudí’s other Trencadís masterpieces is Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gràcia, which when illuminated during the nighttime almost comes alive with magic, glowing and shimmering in the dark. Even the stone benches that line the luxurious shops on Passeig de Gràcia are covered in the signature mosaic tiles.

In Sant Pau, mosaics were used everywhere to introduce floral motives into the hospital, and can be found in murals, on the ceilings, floors and walls. On the floor of Parròquia de Sant Pacià, a geometric design of marble mosaic lies on the floor, created by a young Gaudí.

With Trencadís found on many different architectural creations in Barcelona, just keep your eyes peeled while wandering around, and you’re sure to stumble upon another mosaic-covered beauty. Did you find any that we missed out? Let us know!

English Cinemas in Barcelona – Barcelona Travel Guide

Visiting an English cinemas in Barcelona may just be the perfect downtime activity during your trip. As much as we love exploring the city, between sightseeing, tapas bar-hopping, or  running all around Barcelona, it can be nice to rest your feet, sit back and relax while watching a film. Or perhaps there just so happens to be a rainy day during your trip (whilst it is rare in Barcelona but believe it or not, it does happen!!), you may be looking to stay dry indoors while still being semi-productive with your time. Or perhaps you so happen to be here in town while your favourite blockbuster film is about to be released.

You may be surprised to hear that we have English cinemas in Barcelona! Indeed most Western films, whether shown on television or on the silver screen, are dubbed over with Spanish or Catalan voiceovers – which could perhaps explain why generally speaking our English isn’t the best, as we never really get exposed to the language.  But for those looking to hunt down the ‘V.O.’ ‘versión original’ of Western films, there are a handful of places you can check out. Keep reading for our recommended list of English cinemas in Barcelona!

English cinemas in Barcelona

Verdi HD & Verdi Park HD

These two sister cinemas are located right next to each other on the ever-popular Carrer Verdi in Gràcia, with many restaurants and cafes nearby, perfect for a post-cinema film discussion over a glass of wine and some tapas. They show many independent “art house” films in the language they were originally produced sobra   including English and other languages.

Carrer de Verdi, 32, 08012 Barcelona
Carrer de Torrijos, 49, 08012 Barcelona

Yelmo Cines Icaria

This cinema is located right near the beach on La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou, in El Centre de la Vila shopping mall. It’s well equipped with over 15 screens and it is perfect for having dinner on the beach after a film.

Carrer de Salvador Espriu, 61, 08005 Barcelona

Cinema Maldà

Calling all the cinephiles! If you’ve got a whole day to spare, why not head to watch films back-to-back at this cinema? You’ll definitely be getting the most bang for your buck with its unique pricing method, which charges by the day.

Carrer del Pi, 5, 08002 Barcelona

Balmes Multicines

This modern and comfortable cinema is located in the upper part of the city and shows all the most popular films in their original language, with a full food bar for the essential snacks and drinks during the film.

Carrer de Balmes, 422-424, 08022 Barcelona

Renoir Floridablanca

A quick walk from Plaça Catalunya, this cinema is perfect for those in the city center, looking to watch a V.O. film.

Carrer de Floridablanca, 135, 08011 Barcelona



Phenomena

This retro style cinema takes you back in time, with its royal red carpets and red curtains. Their wide-ranging selection even includes some retro Japanese anime films like “Akira”.

C/ Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 168, 08025 Barcelona

 

English Cinemas in Barcelona - Phenomena

 

Cinemes Girona

Located in Gràcia, this cinema frequently participates in film festival screenings, such as the Asian Film Festival or the American Film Festival.

Carrer de Girona, 175, 08037 Barcelona

Filmoteca de Catalunya

In Raval neighbourhood, this cinema is dedicated to screening educational documentaries on a wide range of topics, and even have regular exhibitions.

Plaça de Salvador Seguí, 1-9, 08001 Barcelona

Have you visited any of these English cinemas in Barcelona before? What are the latest V.O. films that you want to watch? Leave you comments below and help us to learn more!

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

Fans of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly guises wishing to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona are in for a treat. We´ve scoured Catalonia´s capital for the best spooky celebrations on offer and have scouted out some great fancy dress shops to ensure that you are dressed to impress.

Whilst not traditionally a Catalan tradition, Halloween is now celebrated in Barcelona in the days leading up to 31st October. The celebrations also extend to 1st November for All Saint´s Day where you can also enjoy La Castanyada (chestnut festival) which sees people gather together to remember the deceased and eat seasonal fruits, such as chestnuts.

With so much on offer, choosing where to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona can present quite a challenge. Read on for our selection of the best events on offer.

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

  • Phenomena Cinema

Film fans wanting to spook themselves on the creepiest night of the year should head to cinema Phenomena for a Halloween-themed movie marathon on October 31st. Films such as Child’s Play and Pet Sematary will be shown in original version with Spanish subtitles.

Phenomena Cinema Barcelona

  • Halloween in Port Aventura

For a more action-packed Halloween, visit Port Aventura theme park for the usual thrill-seeking rides as well as special Halloween-themed parades, performances, a haunted lake and creepy forest.

Halloween Port Aventura

  • Enigmatium Experience

From 29-31 October, Enigmatium restaurant offers a truly spooky dining experience with mysterious cocktails and Halloween-themed dishes. Diners will also experience live, interactive theatre shows.  Visitors with children should visit the family-friendly events on 30th October and 1st November. Booking is recommended.

Enigmatiu Halloween

  • Poble Espanyol for grown ups and for kids:

Dance the night away in Poble Espanyol on 29th October at “Un Brunch terrorifico”. The attraction, which comprises architectural styles from across Spain, will play host to DJs and musicians for a night of Halloween-themed fun from 16:00-04:00.

On Saturday it’s time for families to celebrate Halloween. There will be workshops, activities outfit contests and much more.

halloween_poble_espanyol_2016

  • Razzloween:

Party fans could visit Razzmatazz, a very famous disco in the city, for Razzlloween on 31st October from 1am onwards.

Halloween Razzmatazz

  • Where to hire/buy your outfits in Barcelona:

No Halloween celebration would be complete without a creepy costume. Famous costume hire store Menkes (Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 642) has a brilliant range of costumes to hire to get you in the party mood. Atuendo for Fun (Roger de Llúria,25) is similarly equipped with a variety of hire costumes to suit your party needs.

For those wishing to purchase an outfit, we recommend visiting La Bolsera (Xuclà,15)  but if you are simply looking to accessorise, head to one of the Claire’s stores at various locations across the city.

Once you’ve got your hands on the perfect outfit and picked your party destination, we are sure that Halloween in Barcelona won’t disappoint!

 

 

 

 

 

Avinguda Diagonal – Barcelona Diagonal Avenue… Take a Walk on the Wild Side

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On this last weekend of August in Barcelona… today, a unique sun is my ally, my best spotlight… a great part of Avinguda Diagonal is closed to traffic, so I get my phone and a pair of sneakers and invite you to join me in the adventure of finding unique buildings, hidden places and relaxing corners.  So sew your shadow to my feet Peter, and up we go “second to the right and straight on till morning”.

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Let’s start our journey at Plaça Francesc Macià.  I follow the characteristic pavement pattern, onto this urban catwalk.  I have to be careful not to miss a thing… sleek modern buildings next to old classics and Gaudi’s trademarks, make for beautiful patchwork.  The awesome Casa Sayrach (Avinguda Diagonal corner with Enric Granados), stands so elegant, as one of the last buildings of Barcelona modernism. Curved shapes characterize its façade.

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Back to the avenue, amongst luxury shops and nice cafés and restaurants, I get to the terrace, of José Luis, a classic in Barcelona, the restaurant with posssibly the best “tortilla de patata” in town.  Next to it, “Ajo Blanco” (Carrer de Tusset), the other side of the coin, a cool new designer restaurant.  Diagonal-Tusset-Granados… the most interesting edge, an explosion of architecture … La Casa Mas de Miquel, La Casa Sayrach, and the stunning Metro 3 building, where the Habitat store (designer furniture) is located.

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Now I run into the “Barcelona Equestrian circle” (Diagonal corner with Balmes) – SPOTTED:  I’ve heard that you can belong to this select club for a small fee of 12,000 euros, plus the endorsement of four partners and, of course, you must pass a test prior to admission.  Then the doors of the Barcelona Equestrian Circle will never be closed to you.  You can get together with the economic and social elite of Barcelona, enjoy an exquisite coffee or a drink until the wee hours of the morning… but yes, YOU HAVE to wear a tie [at least of you’re a gentleman]. The Circle completely renovated the interior in 1992, including a full gym, a rooftop pool & café and 16 rooms for members and guests.

The club is hosted in the palace “Casa Perez Samanillo” built in 1910, and what catches the eye is one of the most striking elements of the building, a huge oval window overlooking Diagonal… locals call it the “fishbowl of Barcelona”.

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This is amazing!!! No traffic and I’m walking in the middle of the street!!!  I’m arriving at Pilma, one of my favourites deco shops. Not far in distance, now I can see the obelisk marking the cross between Diagonal and Passeig the Gràcia.  To my right, the building of the Barcelona Provincial Council, advising the beginning of another great promenade, the boulevard of Rambla de Catalunya.

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A little further along are the Jardins del Palau Robert and in front of it, on the other side of the avenue, between two glass monsters, the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Deutsche Bank respectively, the Pompeya Church, a jewel of Neo Gothic contemplates the passage of time, unperturbed by it’s big neighbours.

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Those deck chairs are so inviting… I’m done, hope you found it so appealing that you are eager to get your ass away from La Rambla, and discover an atractive brand new world!

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To MWC or not to MWC

Mobile World Congress. Em. Double u. Cee. I finally find myself using the official abbreviation, after holding out for a long time still calling it 3GSM, like an old timer. Back when it started in Barcelona five years ago, it was a different beast. Back then, all the buzz was about highly technical network stuff I didn’t really understand. But there was a promise that it would make mobile internet fast, really fast. Well, I’m not so sure that we have a fast – really, really fast – mobile internet connection anywhere near Barcelona, or that I could afford it if it did.

So fast forward to 2011, and one more MWC – this time around it’s tablets, tablets, tablets… I am writing this on my ipad, finally cutting edge technology even I can understand. Used to be a time when 3GSM MWC week was the only time of the year I didn’t feel completely awkward about carrying two blackberrys, speaking into one, while writing messages on the other… at the same time!

A chance encounter with cool blogger Rob Kerr on Sunday night – his light light up while he tells me and a friend about the new Xperia Play game phone he just saw at the SonyEricsson presentation, and I’m hooked. There might be something in it for me, after all.

As anyone who’s ever innocently tried to book a Valentine’s day getaway to Barcelona on the expectation that it is the middle of February, so low season, and couldn’t find an apartment in Barcelona or anywhere nearby knows, this is the highest week of the year in the city. It is an incredibly busy week, everyone is in a rush to set up their booths, go to meetings, tweetups, more meetings… and did I mention the parties?

We often get requests from clients ranging from recommending a catering supplier, delivering a package to our office or getting a hair dryer. All in a day’s work. But what in the world do you tell someone who asks you for a submarine??

Monday 17:00 I walk through the gates of mobile nirvana, only a couple of hours to get my fix. Good. Don’t wanna overdo it, there’s still three more action-filled days to go.

Jaume birra
Free as in free beer, courtesy of Miyowa

Special thanks to Markus Lonka and his great crew at Mixem Solutions for generously providing a pass to MWC.

YOU’D LOVE TO BE IN BARCELONA ON DECEMBER THE 2ND!!

shop, shop, shop… shop til you drop!

At last Barcelona takes the train of the FASHION NIGHT OUT.

New York was the pioneer of the idea three years ago, in a bid to support the fashion industry.

Its original pretense was so simple – extending store hours along with additional incentives, all as remedies to shore up the weakening retail sector in New York City.  However a season later, the idea first facilitated by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, the legendary Anna Wintour, is now a global event, with 16 countries participating.

This is now a young classic,

and therefore Barcelona City Council is launching an initiative similar to that done by Vogue in major cities worldwide where it achieved major success, becoming a classic in a very short time period. One of its latest editions was in Madrid.

It is not only shopping, it is fun, shows, famous dj’s, parties and cocktails in all shops, bars, restaurants and hotels participating in the event. Gifts and all sorts of surprises and promotions in bars and participating stores. Barcelona, unable to ally with Vogue Spain because the magazine can only choose one city per country, has teamed up with Harper’s Bazaar which will host a big tent at one of the side roads of Passeig de Gràcia.

The key is buying flowers,

Passeig de Gràcia is the stage where the show is performed and the city will look gorgeous because that precise night the Christmas lighting will be switched on for the first night this year. Get your Shopping Passport and enjoy the shopping night. The passport is the accreditation that allows you the access for shopping at any of the stores that participates in the project -from 8 pm to 12 am-… and even to participate in 5 draws, with 5 fabulous prizes!

You can register during The Shopping Night at one of the two accreditation booths that you will find along the Passeig de Gràcia to get your Shopping Passport. (Rosselló street with Passeig de Gràcia and Gran Via with Passeig de Gràcia. From 10 am)…  Then all stores will open up to the big party.  Each time you buy for a value of 20 EUROS, a flower will be stamped on your Passport. The more flowers you have stamped on it, the more opportunities you have to win at the numerous draws that will take place during the night.

Happy Shopping!

Why Design Loves Barcelona

Barcelona is world famous as a city that emanates culture, creativity, art, trends and design, elements that combine and interact to trace the particular style of an international brand.

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Pic from last edition of BCN Design Week

In the last 25 years, the city has become one of the favourite bases of operation for architects, designers, photographers, illustrators and creative professionals from all over the world.  These artistic professionals have turned design into one of Barcelona’s signs of identity, adding to the talent already in place, an building on the legacy of universal artists such as Gaudí, Miró, Tàpies or Brossa to name but a few.

After putting on one of the most impressive Olympic Games ever, Barcelona confirmed itself as Read more

Homage to Banesto

Only a few days ago, a group of protesters broke into the Banesto building on Barcelona’s Plaça Catalunya and set up a squatters’ camp to be the headquarters for acts of protest which would culminate in clashes with riot police coinciding with the 29 September general strike.
The Banesto building has sat empty for many years; now was our chance to see it on the inside, so risking life and limb, Albert and I grabbed a camera and shot some footage of the interior.

Flash back to 1937, and read the words by George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia.

Up at our end of the Ramblas, round the Plaza de Cataluña, the position was so complicated that it would have been quite unintelligible if every building had not flown Read more