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January 26, 2011

When the plane's wheels touched ground this morning at 7am, it was still dark in Barcelona. We, a motley crew of design-website editors, had just spent a long eight hours flying over the Atlantic with—horrors!—no wifi. Even though the sun was just rising as we sped away from the airport, we resisted the siren song of hotel beds and Internet clicking, and immediately embarked upon a rousing tour of Catalan architecture, art and design.

Our first stop was <a href="http://www20.gencat.cat/portal/site/PalauRobert?newLang=en_GB">Palau Robert</a>, a landmark Neo-classical mansion owned by the Government of Catalonia. On view was Delta Awards: 50 Years with Design 1960-2010, a showcase highli
Our first stop was Palau Robert, a landmark Neo-classical mansion owned by the Government of Catalonia. On view was Delta Awards: 50 Years with Design 1960-2010, a showcase highlighting excellence in the design and production of industrial objects in Spain. Left: Sketches by Alberto Lievore of his Rothko chair, which won a Delta award in 1981.
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The exhibition was arranged in chronological order, with whole rooms dedicated to certain decades. An orange timeline ran the length of the show. Our group was lucky to be guided by Viviana Narotsky, president of the Industrial Design Assotiation-Promotio
The exhibition was arranged in chronological order, with whole rooms dedicated to certain decades. An orange timeline ran the length of the show. Our group was lucky to be guided by Viviana Narotsky, president of the Industrial Design Assotiation-Promotion of Arts and Design (ADI-FAD) and co-curator of the show.
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In addition to the actual silver pieces, the molds for architect Oscar Tusquets' award-winning Oronda tea service were on view. Created for Alessi, the set won the Delta in 1983.
In addition to the actual silver pieces, the molds for architect Oscar Tusquets' award-winning Oronda tea service were on view. Created for Alessi, the set won the Delta in 1983.
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Jose Antonio Coderch's suspension lamp, a frequently knocked-off piece, won the prize in 1957.
Jose Antonio Coderch's suspension lamp, a frequently knocked-off piece, won the prize in 1957.
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I had no idea that Barcelona–based designer  <a href="http://www.dwell.com/slideshows/little-field-of-flowers.html">Nani Marquina</a> is the daughter of Rafael Marquina, who created this simple and beautiful oil decanter set in 1961. This is why it pays t
I had no idea that Barcelona–based designer Nani Marquina is the daughter of Rafael Marquina, who created this simple and beautiful oil decanter set in 1961. This is why it pays to walk around with an exhibition's curator!
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<a href=http://www.emilianadesign.com/">Emiliana Design Studio</a> created this glass vitrine, and won the Delta, in 2005.
Emiliana Design Studio created this glass vitrine, and won the Delta, in 2005.
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After the show, it was time for lunch. We headed to <a href="http://mercatsantacaterina.net/">Mercat de Santa Caterina</a>, one of Barcelona's oldest markets. It was redesigned by the late architect Enric Miralles and his wife, fellow architect Benedetta
After the show, it was time for lunch. We headed to Mercat de Santa Caterina, one of Barcelona's oldest markets. It was redesigned by the late architect Enric Miralles and his wife, fellow architect Benedetta Tagliabue, in 1997.
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The interior of the restaurant at Mercat de Santa Caterina showcases the building's soaring roof line, massive beams, abundant natural light and near-floor-to-ceiling wood shelving.
The interior of the restaurant at Mercat de Santa Caterina showcases the building's soaring roof line, massive beams, abundant natural light and near-floor-to-ceiling wood shelving.
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One of my favorite touches inside the restaurant—a wall of flowering herbs and other greenery.
One of my favorite touches inside the restaurant—a wall of flowering herbs and other greenery.
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After lunch we marched a scant few steps to the residence of architect Benedetta Tagliabue, who along with her husband coaxed the building—which dates back hundreds of years—from a state of ruin into a magnificent and singular home. Her parrot serves as n
After lunch we marched a scant few steps to the residence of architect Benedetta Tagliabue, who along with her husband coaxed the building—which dates back hundreds of years—from a state of ruin into a magnificent and singular home. Her parrot serves as noisy watchman, surveying the entrance to the house. I caught this shot when he was in mid-lunge (I really thought he was going to peck my eyes out).
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The very welcoming Benedetta Tagliabue, inside her double-height living room. The space is filled with books, objet d'arte, colorful and comfortable furniture, silk Fortuny lamps, and really, all manner of wonderful things. I hope to feature her residence
The very welcoming Benedetta Tagliabue, inside her double-height living room. The space is filled with books, objet d'arte, colorful and comfortable furniture, silk Fortuny lamps, and really, all manner of wonderful things. I hope to feature her residence in some length at a later date, so I'll only be including a few shots of her home.
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By this time, after an amazing meal of fresh seafood and other Catalan delicacies, my sleep-deprived brain was begging for a nap. This cozy hammock space, underneath a graceful glass canopy, was beckoning to me. I resisted, but barely.
By this time, after an amazing meal of fresh seafood and other Catalan delicacies, my sleep-deprived brain was begging for a nap. This cozy hammock space, underneath a graceful glass canopy, was beckoning to me. I resisted, but barely.
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I loved the utter simplicity and rustic charm of Tagliabue's outdoor "kitchen".
I loved the utter simplicity and rustic charm of Tagliabue's outdoor "kitchen".
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After parting ways with Benedetta, we ventured into Barcelona's Gothic quarter to look for some wholesale fabrics and other finds. Along the way we passed this building, which had a delightful engraved-concrete facade that reminded me of <a href="http://w
After parting ways with Benedetta, we ventured into Barcelona's Gothic quarter to look for some wholesale fabrics and other finds. Along the way we passed this building, which had a delightful engraved-concrete facade that reminded me of this story. I didn't get a chance to find out any details on the building, but I plan to get more information tomorrow. Once I know more, I'll update this caption.
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Next we headed to <a href="http://www.fundacionad.com/">Fundación Alorda Derksen</a>, an impressive and compact gallery dedicated to 21st century art. Owned by Manuel Alorda and his wife, Hanneke Derksen, the gallery is just above the family's outdoor fur
Next we headed to Fundación Alorda Derksen, an impressive and compact gallery dedicated to 21st century art. Owned by Manuel Alorda and his wife, Hanneke Derksen, the gallery is just above the family's outdoor furniture showroom, Kettal and is open to the public three days a week. Shown here is Damien Hirst's 2007 work, Oxiolinic Acid.
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A Cesar Vallejo, 2007, by Barcelona sculptor Jaume Piensa.
A Cesar Vallejo, 2007, by Barcelona sculptor Jaume Piensa.
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The Bob armchair, designed by Hella Jongerius for Kettal, recently won Wallpaper's 2011 "armchair of the year" award.
The Bob armchair, designed by Hella Jongerius for Kettal, recently won Wallpaper's 2011 "armchair of the year" award.
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Another striking work—The Secret Life of Plants, 2001-02, by German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer.
Another striking work—The Secret Life of Plants, 2001-02, by German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer.
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This winsome collection of miniatures was handmade by Patricia Urquiola, who used them as a starting point for her 2007 <a href="http://www.kettal.es/kettal/phtml/colecciones2.php?COLID=81&IdiomaWeb=ING&PHPSESSID=accf96d8a6685/">Maia collection for Kettal
This winsome collection of miniatures was handmade by Patricia Urquiola, who used them as a starting point for her 2007 Maia collection for Kettal.
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Speaking of the <a href="http://www.kettal.es/kettal/phtml/colecciones2.php?COLID=81&IdiomaWeb=ING&PHPSESSID=accf96d8a6685/">Maia collection</a>, here's the real deal inside the Kettal showroom. It made quite the natural bedfellow for 3/3 Sacrificial Hear
Speaking of the Maia collection, here's the real deal inside the Kettal showroom. It made quite the natural bedfellow for 3/3 Sacrificial Heart, 2008, a huge and mesmerizing electric sculpture by Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
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Next we headed to a private tasting room at the wine bar <a href="http://www.monvinic.com/">Monvinic</a>, where architect Alfredo Arribas (at left, showing a drawing that he created with artist Gregori Saavedra) held court. Arribas uncorked several wines
Next we headed to a private tasting room at the wine bar Monvinic, where architect Alfredo Arribas (at left, showing a drawing that he created with artist Gregori Saavedra) held court. Arribas uncorked several wines from his own vineyard, Portal del Priorat.
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In addition to the delectable trio of wines we sampled, I loved the graphic style of his wine labels and accompanying literature. I will definitely be on the lookout for his wines upon my return to the States. <br /><br /><br /><br />After a long but abso
In addition to the delectable trio of wines we sampled, I loved the graphic style of his wine labels and accompanying literature. I will definitely be on the lookout for his wines upon my return to the States. After a long but absolutely amazing day touring Barcelona, we headed back to the hotel to rest up. Tomorrow we'll be visiting more architectural landmarks, beginning with Antoni Gaudi's La Perdrera, and dropping in on more architects, designers, artisans and other Barcelona design denizens. Until then.
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Our first stop was <a href="http://www20.gencat.cat/portal/site/PalauRobert?newLang=en_GB">Palau Robert</a>, a landmark Neo-classical mansion owned by the Government of Catalonia. On view was Delta Awards: 50 Years with Design 1960-2010, a showcase highli
Our first stop was Palau Robert, a landmark Neo-classical mansion owned by the Government of Catalonia. On view was Delta Awards: 50 Years with Design 1960-2010, a showcase highlighting excellence in the design and production of industrial objects in Spain. Left: Sketches by Alberto Lievore of his Rothko chair, which won a Delta award in 1981.

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