Tag Archives: urban furniture

Plaza Lesseps – a dizzying prospect

Pza. Lesseps, Barcelona. Under construction.

Pza. Lesseps, Barcelona. Under construction.

Will it ever look any better than this?

Update 23 November 2008:

An interview with Plaza Lesseps’ architect Albert Viaplana in EL PAIS of 18.11.08 (in Spanish).

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La Vanguardia offers open online access to its archives

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Instances of the word 'diseño' in La Vanguardia, 1881-2008

Barcelona’s major broadsheet newspaper, La Vanguardia, has opened up its archives (Hemeroteca) and now offers free online access. The full content ranges from 1881 onwards, can be searched by keyword, topic or date and downloaded as .pdf files.

As an interesting feature to note, the results interface offers a detailed interactive visual timeline of the number of occurences of the search word throughout La Vanguardia’s archives. A search for ‘diseño’ (design), for instance, reveals a striking development in the use of the word.

Its first noticeable appearances coincide with the 1920s / 1930s and the rise of Spanish modernism, and diseappear by 1936, at the start of the Civil War. The 1950s see a very slow, small but steady return of the word, whit its use growing noticeably from the mid 1960s. Between 1976, the start of the Spanish political transition, and 1989, the surge in the appearance of ‘design’ in the newspaper is extraordinary, from 1,194 instances in 1976, to 4,670 in 1989. After a short trough, usage peaks by the late 1990s, with 5,597 appearances in 1999.  Perhaps most surprisingly, there is a very sharp drop from 2000, and current levels of usage in 2008 are only equivalent to those of 1986, the height of the Barcelona design boom.

As I’ve suggested in La Barcelona del diseño, design and the city had a special relationship between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, which seems to have now lost some of its historical relevance.

And here is some eye candy from the archives:

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Advertisement for clothes and underwear manufactured with synthetic fibers. May 1952.

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Advertisement for Muebles Malda, one of Barcelona's furniture retailers. June 1966.

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'We can't all use the same furniture'. Advertisement for Muebles La Favorita, one of Barcelona's furniture retailers. October 1973.

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The FAD Industrial Design Delta Prizes of 1976. Images of designs by Miguel Mila, Jose Bonet and Studio Per.

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January 1977. Barcelona Design Centre (BCD) moves to larger premises.

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Colour supplement, July 1992: ‘The Games of the imagination. The Olympic project becomes the inspiration for the design of hundreds of objects’. In the main picture, Andre Ricard, designer of the olympic torch.