Barcelona, Day Two

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January 29, 2011

On our second day in Barcelona, fueled by café con leche and enough jamon to kill a horse, we excitedly settled into a breakneck tour of modern Catalan design and architecture. From Gaudi and Dali to Mariscal and Alvarez, our Barcelona education continues in earnest.

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  Our first stop of the day was El Palace Barcelona, a stately old structure built in 1919 as one of Spain's first Ritz hotels. We visited the Salvador Dali Suite, and where we were told he partied like a rock star for months at a time, even bringing a horse into the room at one point (don't ask).  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Our first stop of the day was El Palace Barcelona, a stately old structure built in 1919 as one of Spain's first Ritz hotels. We visited the Salvador Dali Suite, and where we were told he partied like a rock star for months at a time, even bringing a horse into the room at one point (don't ask).

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  Inside the Dali Suite, there's a Roman bath that's original to the building. I've never seen anything like it—you can fill it up with water and make a little mini swimming pool. The hotel director said that the bath alcove had been boarded up for several decades, and they weren't even aware that it was there. All of the tile was in excellent condition, even though it's over ninety years old.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Inside the Dali Suite, there's a Roman bath that's original to the building. I've never seen anything like it—you can fill it up with water and make a little mini swimming pool. The hotel director said that the bath alcove had been boarded up for several decades, and they weren't even aware that it was there. All of the tile was in excellent condition, even though it's over ninety years old.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  I guess the Roman bath was quite a hit with Dali—here's a photograph of the artist, enjoying the space with two young friends. Next time you're in Barcelona and you have $8,845 burning a hole in your pocket, feel free to book the two-bedroom suite and try to figure out how Dali got that horse up the hotel's main staircase.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    I guess the Roman bath was quite a hit with Dali—here's a photograph of the artist, enjoying the space with two young friends. Next time you're in Barcelona and you have $8,845 burning a hole in your pocket, feel free to book the two-bedroom suite and try to figure out how Dali got that horse up the hotel's main staircase.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  After our surreal walk down memory lane, we stopped at the Gastón y Daniela showroom, located in a lovely nineteenth-century building near the Palace hotel. The textile purveyor, established in 1876, has long represented Spain in the world of high quality fabrics, and has a huge archive of patterns that run the gamut from staunchly traditional to reinvigorated classics. One such example is Sidonia, left, an updated version of 14th-century decorative element found in a cathedral in Bilbao.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    After our surreal walk down memory lane, we stopped at the Gastón y Daniela showroom, located in a lovely nineteenth-century building near the Palace hotel. The textile purveyor, established in 1876, has long represented Spain in the world of high quality fabrics, and has a huge archive of patterns that run the gamut from staunchly traditional to reinvigorated classics. One such example is Sidonia, left, an updated version of 14th-century decorative element found in a cathedral in Bilbao.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  Jesús Garabieta, the company's head designer, points to another updated version of an old favorite—Telares. The original design came from an 18th century engraving that depicts the mechanics of weaving.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Jesús Garabieta, the company's head designer, points to another updated version of an old favorite—Telares. The original design came from an 18th century engraving that depicts the mechanics of weaving.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  Upon closer inspection, my fellow tour attendee, Metropolis editor Avinash Rajogapal, declared the work "very meta".  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Upon closer inspection, my fellow tour attendee, Metropolis editor Avinash Rajogapal, declared the work "very meta".

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  We watched as Garabieta unfurled a few of his favorite designs from the archives. The one featured here with the purple flowers in called Sintra, and it's inspired by Japanese kimono designs.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    We watched as Garabieta unfurled a few of his favorite designs from the archives. The one featured here with the purple flowers in called Sintra, and it's inspired by Japanese kimono designs.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  We stopped by Cubinya, a nearly 100-year-old company located within a meticulously restored Moderisme building by architect Domènech i Montenar. The structure, once the home of a printing press, is an impressive backdrop for the company's large stock of modern furniture and lighting pieces.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    We stopped by Cubinya, a nearly 100-year-old company located within a meticulously restored Moderisme building by architect Domènech i Montenar. The structure, once the home of a printing press, is an impressive backdrop for the company's large stock of modern furniture and lighting pieces.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  It's no secret that Spain has amazing tile. Case in point is Cubina's flooring, which was restored bit by bit back to its original vibrancy. The hues, which are much brighter than this photograph depicts, melds perfectly with the mellow pine walls and room dividers.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    It's no secret that Spain has amazing tile. Case in point is Cubina's flooring, which was restored bit by bit back to its original vibrancy. The hues, which are much brighter than this photograph depicts, melds perfectly with the mellow pine walls and room dividers.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  A shot of the ceiling showcases the room's original and restored decorative elements, from the hand-painted ceiling to the ornate columns that delineate space. Montenar, a contemporary of Antoni Gaudi, was actually the more popular architect for commercial commissions during their shared heyday.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    A shot of the ceiling showcases the room's original and restored decorative elements, from the hand-painted ceiling to the ornate columns that delineate space. Montenar, a contemporary of Antoni Gaudi, was actually the more popular architect for commercial commissions during their shared heyday.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  One of the highlights of the trip as been the opportunity to catch the last day of the exhibition Mariscal en la Pedrera, a retrospective of the Spanish designer's work over the last forty years. The only thing better than seeing an exhibit of work that you admire is seeing it accompanied by the artist himself. Here is Javier Mariscal at the entrance to the exhibition, surrounded by a hanging forest of sketches that date back to the 1960s.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    One of the highlights of the trip as been the opportunity to catch the last day of the exhibition Mariscal en la Pedrera, a retrospective of the Spanish designer's work over the last forty years. The only thing better than seeing an exhibit of work that you admire is seeing it accompanied by the artist himself. Here is Javier Mariscal at the entrance to the exhibition, surrounded by a hanging forest of sketches that date back to the 1960s.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  The exhibition is housed within Antoni Gaudi's famous building La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. These massive columns appear throughout the structure, and offer a weighty counterpoint to Mariscal's colorful works.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    The exhibition is housed within Antoni Gaudi's famous building La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. These massive columns appear throughout the structure, and offer a weighty counterpoint to Mariscal's colorful works.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  Mariscal's furniture designs for the postmodern Memphis design and architecture group, created in the early 1980s, convey his exuberant sensibilities. The Duplex Bar Stool, left, and the Hilton Trolley Serving Cart, right.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Mariscal's furniture designs for the postmodern Memphis design and architecture group, created in the early 1980s, convey his exuberant sensibilities. The Duplex Bar Stool, left, and the Hilton Trolley Serving Cart, right.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  Another Mariscal classic—the Alessandra armchair, designed for Moroso in 1995.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    Another Mariscal classic—the Alessandra armchair, designed for Moroso in 1995.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  A collection of the designer's illustrated magazine covers, from The New Yorker to Valencia's Diseño Gráfico, reinforces both his unabashed love of color as well as his staggering amount of creative output over the years.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    A collection of the designer's illustrated magazine covers, from The New Yorker to Valencia's Diseño Gráfico, reinforces both his unabashed love of color as well as his staggering amount of creative output over the years.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  One of my favorite pieces in the showroom was also one of the most recently introduced—the 2010 Scantling floor lamp by London designer Mathias Hahn. From the secret drawings of an upcoming collaboration with a young up-and-coming lighting design trio in Brooklyn to its just-opened Chelsea showroom, Marset is about to become a major player in the US market.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    One of my favorite pieces in the showroom was also one of the most recently introduced—the 2010 Scantling floor lamp by London designer Mathias Hahn. From the secret drawings of an upcoming collaboration with a young up-and-coming lighting design trio in Brooklyn to its just-opened Chelsea showroom, Marset is about to become a major player in the US market.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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  We capped our tour of the showroom with an impressive spread of Catalan specialties—Jamón ibérico, pan y tomate, Carxofes fregides (fried artichokes), croquetes, and of course the ubiquitous olive oil contained in a decanter by Rafael Marquina. We happily stuffed our faces, and then returned to our hotel to prepare for another day exploring Barcelona's modern design heritage. 
To read more about our Barcelona tour, click here.  Photo by: Amanda Dameron
    We capped our tour of the showroom with an impressive spread of Catalan specialties—Jamón ibérico, pan y tomate, Carxofes fregides (fried artichokes), croquetes, and of course the ubiquitous olive oil contained in a decanter by Rafael Marquina. We happily stuffed our faces, and then returned to our hotel to prepare for another day exploring Barcelona's modern design heritage. To read more about our Barcelona tour, click here.

    Photo by: Amanda Dameron

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