Branding, long associated as a marketing practice, has taken on issues of constructing individual and community identities. This workshop questions how space responds to and informs specific community and individual identities, utilizing strategies of branding to create meaning in their inhabitation of public environments.
WORKSHOP THE RAVAL: Commerce, Community and the City
The Raval, located in the medieval city quarter of Barcelona, has seen everything from the factories and tenements of the Industrial Revolution, the drug dealing and prostitution of the early 20th century, to the recent influx of immigrants, tourists and Airbnb. Today’s “Barrio Chino” is quickly becoming one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, with new shops, restaurants and nightlife to rival Gracia and the Born.
As gentrification transforms the Raval, how will the local people, new immigrants and visitors continue to make and perceive it as the authentic and vibrant place it has been for centuries? Local merchants will need to survive in this new environment; Muslim, Moroccan and Pakistani immigrants will need to raise their families, shop and create new lives for themselves: tourists will need access, expecting an authentic neighborhood experience.
How can architects, designers and artists address these issues and propose design solutions that will help to sustain the essence and vitality of the Raval? This workshop will strive to understand the commerce of the Raval, its new fashion sense, quality food shops, tourist shops, art galleries, and what is was and where it is going. It will document the specific qualities of the Raval that makes it different from other neighborhoods and districts, and ask how these unique qualities can be represented as a “brand” that can strengthen and direct future development related to commerce. Finally, it will investigate how artists and designers can create new forms, graphics/signage and displays based on this brand identity.
MAY 17, 2017 – DAY 1
Raval Workshop, day 2: Sherry and I started class yesterday with 14 graduate design students at the IED - Istituto Europeo di Design in Barcelona. We will be teaching a course entitled Raval Commerce Workshop, exploring the effect of brands and branding in a gentrifying neighborhood in Barcelona’s medieval quarter. Students took us on a tour of many local neighborhoods, ending in an old absinthe bar in the Raval.
MAY 18, 2017 – DAY 2
Raval Workshop, day 2: Today we met with students and reviewed their Talisman projects, meant to represent the essence the Raval neighborhood “brand”. We did a positioning map of the different neighborhoods of Barcelona relationships of local to global brands and tourist to local. The students preparing creative vision strategies to drive their upcoming design project.
MAY 19, 2017 – DAY 3
Raval Workshop, day 3: today we introduced the students to their site, a series of common shopfronts in El Raval Sud. After engaging the shopkeepers, and measuring/photographing the building, it was back to the studio to document and finalize design strategies...presentation to local residents and designers is Monday am!
MAY 20, 2017 – DAY 4
Raval Workshop, day 4: design work began in earnest with development of facade concepts, incorporating structure, furniture, display and graphics, led by Raval Vision and Project Objective/Strategies. Building elevations, audience experience renders and concept models due Monday!
MAY 24, 2017 – DAY 5
Raval Commerce Workshop, Day 5: four teams of students presented their work for revised shopfronts in the Raval to an invited jury including architects Bet Cantallops and Jorge Llácer and MBA Andreu Puig...great work and great discussion...afterwards we downloaded comments and plowed forward for round 2. Next review Friday!
MAY 25, 2017 – DAY 6
Raval Commerce Workshop, day 5-6: Deep dive into the CVS process, refining goals, objectives and strategies...finally making diagrams in anticipation of design and production Thursday and Friday...great, hardworking group of students. Take a look at the below link for an in depth look at the process....
MAY 27, 2017
Raval Commerce Workshop, final review: hard working morning for all the students, with finishing touches on models and presentations. Great comments from IED faculty reviewers, including Bet Cantallops. Looking forward to doing it again next year!