Visitors to Barcelona, more often than not, come for the city’s historic Catalan architecture. But a new building on the horizon aims to usher the Spanish city into a new creative age. Surrounded by large gardens, Design Hub Barcelona rises as a structure of metal plates and glass. Located in the Glòries square in the business district—a necessary passageway for pedestrians hopping off the metro—it combines three of the city’s major galleries: the Decorative Arts Museum, the Textile and Clothing Museum and the Graphic Arts Cabinet, a typography museum.
Any significant holding related to product, fashion, information and interior design that ever existed in Barcelona now lies within the cold, almost-clinical walls of its library, the Documentation Center. Here, gloved archivists help guests to gorgeous design books, vintage magazines and industrial and craft materials, some accessible only by appointment. Design Hub also houses the offices of non-profit organizations like FAD (Fostering Arts and Design) and BCD (Barcelona Centre de Disseny).
Fostering Arts and Design (FAD) promotes design and architecture as both cultural and economic streams of the country. Their Materials Center is a library where professionals, entrepreneurs and students can access the latest material technologies (read: everything from animal musk to 3d-lasered acrylics).
BCD Founded in the seventies, Barcelona Centre de Disseny (BCD) aims to help businesses innovate through design. Every year, they organize Barcelona Design Week, which gathers professionals, companies and individuals for conferences, exhibitions, workshops and networking activities, in an attempt to position Barcelona as an international design capital. www.bcd.es
Spending a day there, we totally lost track of time between checking out futuristic materials and getting lost in archives of Vogue and Erté. Suffice to say, it has definitely made our list of must-see design destinations in Europe. Apart from being a museum-slash-laboratory, the modernist exterior by Oriol Bohigas stands as a beacon of the city’s constantly reinventing creative spirit and truly puts on display the forward-thinking of the Catalan people as a whole.