The MUHBA Museum in Poble Nou

The old Oliva Artés factory on Pere IV Street in Poble Nou has become a point of interest since its renovation into a new museum-cum-laboratory (MUHBA) with the aim of examining contemporary society as well as reflecting on the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the factory was one of the most prolific in the district, producing metalwork, initially in the form of machine parts and later the manufacture of arms during the Civil War.

As MUHBA director Joan Roca and Albert explains “at the time, Poblenou was a highly diversified industrial district and at the centre of Barcelones and Spanish Industry, as such it was the most important industrial hub in the western Mediterranean”.

Layers of reflection

This new Museum of Barcelona has been conceived like an onion skin with different layers. The permanent exhibition contains 12 themed areas where contemporary society is explained through some very diverse objects.

For example, a SEAT car and an unopened bottle of Xibeca Damm represent industrialisation, and a luxury toilet which the Guell family bought in London for Pedralbes Palace is used to talk about changes in waste management.

In other sections, early television adverts for a Land rover are used to show various aspects of society; and a stand from the modernist Mercat de Sant Antoni expresses the creative atmosphere of the 21st century.

The aim according to Albert Roca is to “explain contemporary society, the part Barcelona has played in its growth and its own growth into a great metropolis, major European city and the capital of Catalonia”.

“From Barcelona, you can see how the contemporary world is which is rooted in Poble Nou, due to its manufacturing history,” he concludes.

Rethinking Pere IV

A temporary exhibition called “Interrogate Pere IV Axis” includes initiatives to rethink the identity of Poble Nou. Participating universities, architecture studios and local residents join here to ask questions and provide answers on how together to shape the future of the area.

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Turo de la Rovira – los bunkers

Turó de la Rovira is the official name for ‘Los Bunkers’, as they are know by locals. Los Bunkers are a former anti aircraft battery built to defend Barcelona from fascist bombing raids during the Spanish Civil War. Perched high above the city, they attract visitors not only for their historical interest but also for the birds-eye view of Barcelona they offer.

The recently renovated bunkers allow visitors to delve into the history of the Spanish Civil War and the pivotal role Barcelona played in the war against fascism, on guided group tour organised by the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The tour begins in the museum, starting with its collection of paintings, sculptures and engravings from the Civil War. It then moves onto the museum’s dramatic rooftop where anti-aircraft guns were once utilised against the Italian air force in the 1938 bombing of Barcelona, a tragic attack resulting in more than a thousand civilian casualties. Finally, the tour heads up to the Turó de la Rovira to learn more about the location’s role within the attacks.

See more information on the tours here. Tours are presently only available in Catalan.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjüic, 08038 Barcelona
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm Sunday: 10am – 2.30pm

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Barcelona Duo de Guitarra

Barcelona Duo de Guitarra made their debut in Barcelona’s Palau de la Música in 2001 performing Concierto Madrigal de J. Rodrigo. The duo will return to their roots for 11 nights at the Esglèsia de Santa Ana, just a stone’s throw from Plaça Catalunya, between the 1st of October and 28th of November, where they will be performing Carmen.

Otherwise known as Ksenia Axelroud & Joan Benejam, the duo present a new approach to traditional Spanish guitar music and are famous for their dedication to its study, investigation and performance.

The Esglèsia de Santa Ana dates from the 12th Century and with its breathtaking Gothic architecture exudes intimacy and atmosphere. This is the perfect setting to enjoy some traditional Spanish music from Barcelona Duo de Guitarra, some good company and a glass of wine.

For dates and prices click here.

Parroquia de Santa Anna Santa Anna 29, 08002 Barcelona

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Nits d’estui 2015

Nits d’estiu, or Summer Nights, takes place at the Caixa Forum. Events are subsidised and therefore affordable, ranging in price from free to 6 euros. An original and eclectic array of shows and performances from all around the world are on offer, as well as workshops and guided tours.
For instance check out Nube (Cloud). La Nube is an installation designed by Arcadi Poch with the intention of creating a play area that will make you feel like a child, even though you are not aware of it! Nube comprises of a pure white space that lends itself to reflection as well as play, a place where boundaries between art and life are blurred!

Events at Nits d’estiu take place every Wednesday evening in July and August at the Caixa Forum next to Montjuic. The full programme can be found here.

Posted in Activities - Summer, Areas - The Eixample, design in barcelona, Exhibitions in Barcelona, Montjuic | Leave a comment

Casa Vicens de Gràcia

The painstaking restoration of Casa Vicens de Gràcia is under way. The first house Gaudi designed is being converted into a museum. Andorran banking corporation MoraBanc acquired the property in March 2014 with the intention of restoring it and opening it to the public.

Gaudí was commissioned by industrialist Manuel Vicens i Montaner to design a summer cottage. With a remarkable Arabic influence, the architect integrated the garden, external gates, the facade and the interior into a single coherent work of art. From 1899 to 2014 the house belonged to the Jover Herero-family and it was recently placed on the market.

Last week Mercedes Mora, executive manager of the Casa Vicens announced that the Casa Vicens museum with open in late 2016 and will be help to increase our understanding of Gaudi’s architectural language and the development of Catalan modernism in Barcelona. The intention is to restore the house to its original state, just as it was handed over by Gaudi to his client in 1888.

This will be a remarkable achievement given that some elements of the original decor were deleted or irreversibly altered during a long century of domestic use as well as the subsequent sale of most of the original gardens.

La Casa Vicens is set to become a new cultural attraction in the city, akin to La Pedrera, La Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia, which attract millions of tourists every year. Therefore, high quantities of visitors are expected, and this can place a strain on the building and its location in a narrow residential street. However today’s technology offers the possibility to plan your visit in advance to make sure you have instant admission to the house when you go to avoid the frustration of waiting in line, or not get in.

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Summer House Music in Barcelona

This August in Barcelona there is plenty happening for house music lovers.

Down in Barceloneta until the 2nd of September, WEDJ’s festival brings top DJs to the dancefloors of Opium Mar beach club.
On Thursday August the 12th Axwell will be playing, and a week later on the 19th of August Otto Knows will be gracing the turntables. Other confirmed names include Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano, among others.

The WEDJ’s festival is now in its sixth edition this year. As always it combines guest spots with the club’s two resident DJ’s Frank Caro and Danny Cardenas.

The other big house music event this August is at the nightclub Pacha Barcelona which recently reopened next to the beach in the basement of the Hotel Arts and will be packing in several famous international DJs at the Roots festival.

The schedule at Pacha this month this month includes the Shapeshifters (August the 13th), Bob Sinclair (August the 20th), Dennis Ferrer and Andre Hommen (August the 27th).

So if you want to dance into the small hours and beyond, head on down to Barceloneta!

Posted in Activities - Summer, Areas - The Beach, Barcelona Marina, Barcelona nightlife, Concerts in Barcelona, Dance in Barcelona | Leave a comment

Vilabirra 2015

Barcelona gets pretty hot at this time of year, as you probably have heard. So what better than a nice cold beer? Spain is famous for its love of a cerveza and we are happy to inform you that this weekend Barcelona is in for a treat in the form of the Vilabirra festival, which returns to Gracia for the third year in a row.

From August the 14th to the 19th beer will be flowing freely, with over thirty draft beers on offer. Live music will be on offer as well as activities such as a brewing workshop where you can learn how to perfect your home brew skills. Needless to say there will also be plenty of tasting sessions where you can sample some new craft beers.

Prices range from €5 to €15. Un brindis! Cheers!

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IBStage Barcelona

IBStage was begun in Italy seven years ago as a result of the idea of joining young students of classical dance with major ballet stars on the stage. IBStage is now a worldwide event.

This year Barcelona again hosts this un-missable classical dance event, held on the 10th and 29th of August, with a totally new performance.

Gran Gala Liceu

As a novelty this year, IBStage 2015 will hold its closing night gala at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, where young dancers will perform alongside dancers of international renown such as Julie Kent- lead dancer of the American Ballet, Marianela Nuñez – lead dancer of the Royal Ballet, Daniil Simkin – another lead dancer at the American Ballet, Timur Askerov – lead dancer at the Mariinsky Theater, Rodkin Denis – first Soloist at the Bolshoi Theatre, and Natalia Osipova – a lead dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

The IBStage Dance Galas are theatrical productions of high quality artistic excellence. Up until now these have usually only graced the stages of cities such as London, New York or St. Petersburg, and now Barcelona.

This August a splendid program, which the public can enjoy a series of ‘passos a dos’ as well as excerpts from classical dance repertoires, two things rarely seen in the same program in theatres in Barcelona.

The performance will take place on the 28th and 29th of August at the Gran Teatre del Liceu at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased on the Liceu’s website.

IBStage classes 2015

This seventh edition of the IBStage course brings together more than 120 young dancers in training from the best schools in Catalonia, Spain, Japan, USA, Germany, England, Italy, France and Portugal among other countries.

The course will be held on the premises of the Institute of Theatre and will feature more than 20 internationally renowned dance teachers belonging to prestigious dance companies such as American Ballet Theatre, the English National Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and the Bolshoi.
Classes and rehearsals will be open free of charge to professionals (registration required) between the 11th and 22nd of August, and to the general public at the Ovid Montllor theatre of the Theatre between the 22nd and 26th of August.

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The Roca brothers will open an ice cream parlour in the Liceu

The Celler Can Roca in Girona is one of the world’s most famous restaurants. After the legendary EL Bulli closed its doors a few years ago, the Roca brothers slipped from second into first place in the San Pellegrino restaurant rankings.

Not content with running the finest restaurant in the world, the Roca brothers will launch their first venture in Barcelona, an ice cream shop in the Gran Teatre del Liceu. This is a recent announcement and full details are being kept firmly under wraps.

But this much we do know. Josep, Joan and Jordi Roca have come up with a gastronomic journey in ice cream, Rocambolesc. The concept is an exploration of Catalunya’s gastronomy through ice cream flavours. So probably no raspberry ripple on the menu. But this will be no mere ice cream parlour. Artisitic direction from Franc Aleu also will add a visual dimension to the flavour experience. This all sounds rather intriguing so far.

The main Rocambolesc outlet is in the Roca brother’s hometown of Girona, to the north of Barcelona, though last September a similar Rocambolesc concession was launched in El Corte Ingles in Madrid. Pop up events have taken place on Barceloneta beach at the gourmet snack bar in the Guinagueta, and in Platja d’Aro in the Costa Brava.

One more reason to visit Barcelona’s legendary Liceu theatre!

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Xavier Coll

Listen to classical guitarist Xavier Coll play during the ‘Masters of Spanish Guitar’ series this August. The concert takes place in a landmark historical monument in Barcelona’s old town, Santa Maria del Pi, on Placa del Pi. Its distinctive octagonal tower reminds us of Barcelona’s medieval past, as does the atmosphere inside.

Xavier Coll was born and raised in Barcelona and has studied historical instruments such as the tiorba, vihuela and baroque guitar.

In 1989 Coll formed a renowned classical flute-guitar duo with Monserrat Gascón. Later he played in a group with Pedro Javier González, Yoshimi Otani and Alex Garrobé and more recently with the Barcelona Guitar Trio, along with Luis Robisco and Manuel Gonzalez.

Coll has released albums both as a soloist and in collaboration with other artists, including the aforementioned flutist Montserrat Gascón, as well as mezzo-soprano Margarida Lladó.

Barcelona is rightly proud of Xavier Coll and the multiple awards he has won throughout his career. Catch him in Barcelona on various dates throughout August and September.


Aug 25, 2015 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Sep 1, 2015 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Sep 14, 2015 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Sep 24, 2015 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM

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