The power of the incredible and absurd in the museum of Ideas and Inventions MIBA
Ever heard of a museum of Ideas and Inventions? It does exist, not in some futuristic designed structure, but in a renovated building in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona. It’s called MIBA and is the first museum of its kind in the world. The building not surprisingly incorporates all kinds of modern, high-tech and avant-garde elements showing a smart simplicity and a sense of humour (not always found in other museums).
The museum of Ideas and Inventions has 3 main sections: Limitless Society, dedicated to ideas conceived by brand names, technological centres and people like you and me; Reflectionarium, to find the solution to a problem you sometimes only have to change your perspective to have your Eureka moment, that moment of insight anybody can have; and the Corner of the Absurd, my favourite titled room is about leaving common sense behind to enter the crazy world of inventions, a world that almost always evokes a smile or laugh.
The Museum is the result of the efforts and enthusiasm of one entrepreneur Pep Torres, who’s quite a character himself to say the least. Pep Torres calls himself a renaissance man, though his real vocation is still invention. Pep was granted the first of his 25 patents at the age of 17 and is the mind behind more than 200 objects. He is also the founder of Stereo-Noise, a creative studio in Barcelona. In the Wall Street Journal he says: “I’ve always liked the world of invention; or rather, the world of creativity. Ever since I left home at the age of 21, I’ve had millions of jobs. That has given me a very rare education that I apply today. The studio and the people I manage, we do something very strange: We sell ideas.”
Just to give you an example of his creative spirit: the Human-Powered Vending Machine, named one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2009 by Time Magazine. Pep Torres attached a stationary bicycle to a vending machine. A customer who wants a product from the machine has to pedal a certain distance to get the product. Torres had high hopes for the device. “We’d like to see it in subway stations and schools, that way people can eat their potato chips and still get in shape.” His radical idea provoked a lot of internet traffic among nutritionists, but unfortunately found only one buyer.
That creativity and ideas are important is clearly visible in Mini MIBA, a section in the museum where kids are encouraged to make drawings of new ideas that come to their minds. Every month MIBA picks the three best ideas and have them prototyped and patented in the kid’s own name. Part of this is the sponsored mini-MIBA competition, 30 of the most brilliant ideas (from the 5000 participating children) were showcased in the museum and the Barbican Exhibition Centre in London.
MIBA is inspiring and good fun for all, especially for the young, the young at heart and (aspiring) entrepreneurs. If you want to take home some of the products you saw in the museum check out the MIBA shop. The shop offers a selection of the museum’s top inventions as well as unique items and limited pieces from all over the world.
Tel. (+34) 93 332 79 30