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Press release
Archit. & design.  Beijing,  27/09/2014

The Barcelona pavilion at Beijing Design Week opens its doors with a major exhibition

Barcelona, guest city at this year’s Beijing Design Week (BJDW), inaugurated its pavilion tonight at an event presided by the mayor of the city, Xavier Trias, and the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Àlex Susanna. Located at 79-Tank, an impressive circular precinct in district 751, which was once a gas tank, the Barcelona pavilion is the venue for the exhibition “Barcelona, a future inspired by design” which presents the city as a complete ecosystem of design and creativity. It includes a large format audiovisual and over a hundred information modules, which offer the visitors the experience of living in and discovering Barcelona from different perspectives. The show also has a selection of 30 objects which are representative of design today, as well as a tribute to the classics of 20th century Catalan design. The exhibition has been designed by Exitdesign.

The inauguration was attended by the mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias; the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Àlex Susanna; and the assistant director of the BJDW organising committee, Zang Zenghui.

The mayor welcomed the guests to the Barcelona Pavilion. Xavier Trias said that in other years Barcelona had already presented cultural and creative projects and he was pleased that this year the city had been invited to the BJDW, “a great opportunity to present the design, culture and creativity of Barcelona”. He added that a broad programme of exhibitions, lectures, workshops, conversations and audiovisual showings had been prepared for the occasion. They would all help to promote Barcelona as an international design capital in fields such as architecture, smart cities, mobile technology and gastronomy. He was sure that the BJDW would strengthen the ties of friendship  and cooperation between the cities.

For his part, the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Àlex Susanna, said that “when we speak of Catalonia or Catalan culture there is no doubt that both have Barcelona as one of their main assets. When the BJDW officially invited Barcelona through the IRL a year ago, we took the invitation as a great gift, or rather a great opportunity: Barcelona’s participation enables us to show the full wealth and diversity of our urban ecosystem in the showcase of a city which, in many aspects, is quite similar”. Susanna pointed out that “for the IRL, after having received an invitation to Catalonia to be guest country at the Frankfurt Fair, this is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious and complex projects we have ever handled. Not only that, one of the most strategic as it allows us to give the city of Barcelona a chance to tell about itself and present itself through one of its defining stories”.

The climax of the inauguration came with the arrival of 79 Tank of the Barcelona Horse, an gigantic street installation by the company Antigua i Barbuda which has become the distinguishing element of the city’s participation in the event. The Barcelona Horse has aroused enormous interest among the citizens of Beijing in the last few days and has been exhibited and toured different parts of the city. This giant mobile sculpture is linked to the Catalan tradition of cavalcades and the imaginary of the Chinese horoscope, which is currently celebrating the Year of the Horse.

79 Tank will also present BBMake, a project by the Catalan Institute of Advanced Architecture which, with students from Beijing design schools, will build a large structure with pieces manufactured with a 3D printer and cut with a laser, using traditional Chinese materials such as bamboo and rattan. 79 Tank also has an auditorium and a meeting point where other cultural and economic activities are carried out during the week.

Beijing Design Week is the most important event in Asia in design, architecture and town planning. This fair, regarded as one of the most strategic in terms of cultural and commercial exchange between East and West in those disciplines, is one of the finest showcases for presenting the design and architecture of the Catalan capital to the Asian market.

The project is an initiative of the Institut Ramon Llull –a consortium formed by the Catalan Government Culture Department and Barcelona City Council– which has carried out the coordination, and is the result of their cooperation with the Barcelona Culture Institute (ICUB), the Barcelona City Council Economy, Business and Labour and Urban Habitat Departments, as well as BCD Barcelona Centre de Disseny, the Catalan Government ACTION office in Beijing and other Catalan institutions and companies. The main sponsor of the project is Air China.

Exhibitions, lectures and participative activities

The programme of the guest city takes place in different parts of the Chinese capital and includes 5 exhibitions, 17 lectures, more than 20 activities and interventions of different kinds, the participation of design and architecture schools from the two cities and a business delegation.

The Barcelona Pavilion is in district 751, a neighbourhood that is a focus for the Beijing art scene, in one of the local landmark buildings, “79 tank”. The pavilion will house the exhibition.

The most alternative Barcelona creation is on show in the Dashilar district, a traditional neighbourhood of hutongs near Tiananmen Square. The interventions at Dashilar are a project curated by Gerard Altaió, a Catalan designer who lives in Beijing, in association with Oscar Guayabero. The aim of the programme is to establish a creative exchange and dialogue with the local community. The programme includes three projects: Casa de Barcelona, Allioli and Meet the Twin.

Casa de Barcelona” is a group of 15 small exhibitions that show the city’s creative DNA. “Allioli” is a set of interventions including interdisciplinary projects that explore the frontiers of design, with a mapping of Telenoika; the project “Map of culinary process”, fruit of the association of Ferran Adrià and the Bestiario group; and an open-air cinema programme which will be showing films most of which have Barcelona as a reference point. Meet the Twin is an exhibition, a workshop at Dashilar and a season of lectures that will take place at the UCCA (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art), district 798, one of the prescriptive centres of the city with international renown. At Meet the Twin five Barcelona design studios will be talking to five from Beijing; they share a common way of seeing design and the creative process. The project is curated by the OFFF – Let’s feed the future Festival.

Also in the Dashilar district are two exhibitions on architecture and town planning: one on the refurbishment of Santa Caterina Market and its surroundings by the EMBT studio and another on the ephemeral architecture project “Re.Set” by the Enric Miralles Foundation.

And on Wednesday, the opening at the Beijing Instituto Cervantes of the exhibition “Xi’an-Barcelona in Beijing: Paper Roads, Rivers of Ink by the Catalan artist Perico Pastor.

Design and creativity in the sphere of gastronomy are also to be found in this cultural journey to Beijing. The programme includes a food event at Restaurant Migas, which offers Catalan cuisine in Beijing, and which, on the occasion of Barcelona’s participation in BJDW has specially created the “Menú Barcelona” in association with chefs from the city.

Business mission

A delegation of Barcelona companies and design studios have travelled to Beijing to make contact with Chinese companies and professionals. The mission is coordinated by BCD Barcelona Centre de Disseny and has the support of ACTION, the Catalan Government business competitiveness agency, and Barcelona Activa, the Barcelona City Council local development agency.

More information:



The Barcelona horse seduces the Chinese public

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The Institut Ramon Llull is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.
Generalitat de Catalunya Govern de les Illes Balears Ajuntament de Barcelona
The IRL forms part of the Fundació Ramon Llull, which was established by the Government of Andorra, the Ramon Llull Institute, General Council of the Eastern Pyrenees, the city of Alghero, Balearic Islands Towns and Entities Network and the group of Valencian Cities, and has its central offices in Andorra.
Fundació Ramon Llull