Barcelona: the city as a playground
Students from the Undergraduate Degree in Product Design and the Undergraduate Degree in Interior Design at the IED Barcelona Design University have presented Barcelona City Council’s Barcelona Sports Institute (IBE) with a list of projects created under an agreement signed by the School and the IBE in an effort to foster exercise as a driving force for innovation, social cohesion and well-being.
Faced with the challenge of turning Barcelona into a playground, the students have come up with 14 ideas to encourage sensory experiences for the body and mind, active training areas in various locations across the city and extreme sports such as freediving (also known as apnoea).
The outcome has been achieved thanks to a fresh, creative and professional approach, backed by thorough research and inspired by concepts such as community building, social integration, environmental awareness and mind-body well-being, all revolving around exercise as the core element. Careful consideration was given to the real needs of Barcelona’s citizens in order to come up with solutions that will allow them to do exercise in a completely free and safe context inside the urban environment, ultimately leading to greater physical, mental and overall well-being.
The projects have been conceived for specific locations across the city: the Les Aigües road, La Barceloneta beach, the facilities of the old Montjuïc swimming pool, the docks at Port de Barcelona, and a variety of public parks and gardens.
The students’ ideas include a sports centre designed to be a pollution-free urban oasis, a landscaping project intended to provide a place for runners to rest, work out and socialise, or a 40 m deep glass pool to freedive in whilst overlooking the city of Barcelona. Others involve urban sculptures blending culture and sport inspired by skateboarding, sea water swimming pools that connect the body and mind through sound frequencies, and an ephemeral sculpture that creates melodies according to the user’s exercise.
With every possible audience in mind and with design and exercise at the core, IED Barcelona’s students have unveiled a whole array of innovative ideas which, in the words of General Director Alessandro Manetti “turn the city of Barcelona into futuristic laboratory in terms of connectivity, community, body-mind balance and sustainability.” Following the presentation of the projects, Marta Carranza, Councillor for Sports on Barcelona’s City Council, said that: “This collaboration will build a bridge between the academic world and the city’s real needs – two areas which can sometimes drift too far apart.”
Redefining the paradigm
The creative process covered three stages and students were in touch with the IBE throughout, as well as receiving constant support from the teaching team headed up by Oriol Guimerà, Director of Development, and Raffaella Perrone, Operating Director of the IED Barcelona Design Department, and guided by tutors Sergi Carulla, Óscar Blasco and Harry Paul.
The first stage of the project was dedicated to assessing the current situation of the city’s public areas and services, as well as defining what Barcelona’s people actually need. During stage two, students turned their ideas into original and alternative solutions based on the criteria of usability, environmental care, lighting and/or functionality. Last but not least, they brought their ideas to fruition in the form of projects that drive innovation, social cohesion and well‑being, which were presented at the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum on 15 June in front of an expert jury.