Alternative street markets are a relatively new phenomenon in Barcelona
While Barcelona is famous for its food markets, alternative street markets are a relatively new phenomenon in Barcelona. Though Barcelona is catching up fast. Alternative street markets (where people in the weekend spent their leisure time in search of a bargain or vintage gem) are hot. The newly opened Palo Alto is one market that makes a difference: it is celebrating design in all its forms. On every first weekend of the month this two day market fuses original talent with local flavours, featuring art, music, design, vintage furniture, fashion, recycled crafts, street food, music and street performances.
The location of Palo Alto Market, near the seafront in the neighbourhood of Poble Nou, also helps. Already for decades this old industrial building site, surrounded by a garden and adorned by a huge bougainvillea that climbs up the walls, offers refuge to a plethora of artist’s and designer’s studios. Multi talent Javier Mariscal, a working resident of Palo Alto for years and president of the Foundation, took it upon him to transform this former factory into a lively public space, but it was his brother Pedrín, who put his feet down to give the market project its promising start.
The story begins with the old factory Gal i Puigsec
The story begins in 1987 when Palo Alto promoter Pierre Roca buys the old factory Gal i Puigsec and restores the industrial space into studios and workshops for artists and designers, or, as one would say nowadays, for creative professionals. Palo Alto became a center of creation inspired by Andy Warhol’s The Factory. It also spearheaded 22@, also known as Innovation District (Districte de la Innovación), one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration schemes. 22@ aims to convert Poblenou, a former industrial area of Barcelona, into Barcelona’s centre of technology and innovation, including leisure and residential spaces too. Originally launched in 2000 by the Barcelona City Council, 22@ encourages owners to update obsolete urban spaces and buildings from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, meanwhile maintaining economic activity. No surprise there, the Palo Alto market fitted the 22@ concept like a glove.
A sophisticated bit of everything
“It will be a street market, but a sophisticated one”, Pedrín Mariscal said in an interview, “there will be fashion, food, art, vintage items, but also records, furniture, accessories etc. In general, a bit of everything.” Of the 500 potential exhibitors, 150 were chosen according to criteria of quality and harmony fitting in with the concept and objectives of the market. Pedrín Marshal noted that changes in the market and methods of advertising, exhibiting and distributing (mainly Internet) there was a need for a platform for small producers, not only to make sales, but also to exhibit and stage their products. “During the selection process we have discovered that many people have talents and make original products”, explains Mariscal. “We wanted to show a good selection of their products, objects worth recovering or recycling, innovative ideas and other initiatives that seem worth wile. That’s why we decided to use a rotating system, though there will be some exhibitors who will show up several times.”
The market occupies four streets outside the enclosure (Principal Avenue, Food Street, Central Street and Bugambilia Street) and three interior buildings (Art Gallery, Black Space and White Space), in total approximately 3700 m2, distributed among 150 exhibitors. The first market opened on Saturday the 6th December 2014, and the coming ones will take place every first weekend of each month.
The gastronomic delights of Palo Alto
If food is more your thing, more than objects or art, just know that five renowned chefs serve different versions of ceviche and other delights at the market. Among the gastronomic delights on offer there will also the creations of star chef Jordi Vila, head of the Michelin-starred restaurant Alkimia. There will even be food master classes for just ten euros. There is also a bar and restaurant inside the complex of Palo Alto. They do a lunch menu and delicious and authentic breakfast served in a pleasant interior courtyard. In short a perfect place to go to with family or friends. At the moment you can see ‘Shoelaces’, a collection of lights designer Curro Claret has developed, in the Art Gallery. During market days the resident workshops and studios will open their doors to visitors as well.
Palo Alto Market will be open every first weekend of each month from 10:00 to 20:00 hours.
Carrer dels Pellaires, 30 08019 Barcelona
Underground line 4 stop Selva de Mar
Bus 141, 41 and 36