December 2007


I spent four days in Barcelona with Lotte, who was having a jewelry exhibition there and competing for a jewelry design award. I came along as a cheerleader and took the chance to explore Barcelona again. I'd been there once before in 2002 and have considered it my favourite city ever since. Meanwhile I've been to 23 new countries and seen many other great cities, but Barcelona impressed me just as much as it did the first time and is still the most beautiful and interesting city I've been to.

I lost all my pictures of my first visit at the end of that trip, so I was glad to have the chance to make new ones. I'll show some of those first, and then tell you all about Lotte's award and jewelry exhibition.


The old town

Some pictures from the picturesque pedestrian streets in the old city center

Santa Maria del Mar

The Santa Maria del Mar is a 14th century Gothic church with a very beautiful interior.


Barcelona's gothic cathedral dates from the 13th-15th century. Behind and around it are wonderfully lit little streets.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

This apartment building is one of the most famous works of Antoni Gaudi. It was built 1905-1907.

Sagrada Familia

This church was the life work of Antoni Gaudi, but at his death in 1926 only one façade with four towers was nearly finished. Work has continued since then, especially since the 70s, and now there are four more towers and a central building.

Gaudi envisioned 12 towers like the current ones in total, each 120m high, plus three more towers of about 140m and a central tower of 170m, which would make the Sagrada Familia the tallest church in the world. The plan is to complete the whole thing according to Gaudi's plan by 2026, but that seems impossible.

They should have just left it as it was anyway; the new façade contrasts so hideously with the part built by Gaudi that it looks more like vandalism than like finishing his project. Still if they actually do finish it, it'll be mighty impressive.
The Nativity façade is the one built by Gaudi and is entirely ornamented with statues and organic shapes. It's an incredibly sight, but unfortunately it only gets sunlight in the early morning. As the name suggest this façade tells the story of Jesus' birth.
The Passion façade lies opposite the Nativity one and was built in the 1970s. This façade tells the story of Jesus' death. The style could hardly contrast more with Gaudi's style: plain, austere and with lots of sharp edges. What on earth were they thinking? Unfortunately this is the side that gets all the sunlight.

The interior of the church itself is still being built. Most notable are the tree-like shapes of the pillars.


Some pictures taken around Barcelona.

Enjoia't 2007

My girlfriend Lotte is a jewelry designer and in 2006 she won the Enjoia't award (in the student category) for jewelry design in Barcelona, where she lived for a while. As a result she had a solo exhibition in a gallery there during November 2007, and closing that exhibition was one reason to go to Barcelona again. The other was to compete for the same award again, but this time in the category for professionals.

Award ceremony

The competition was on Friday, our first full day in Barcelona. Lotte and more than 50 other jewelry designers had to go to the building of organisers FAD (Fostering Arts and Design) in the old city center and present a piece of jewelry to a jury, and then to groups of journalists and gallery owners. This all happened in the early evening and took hours.

I waited with Lotte until it was her turn (she was number 44) and when she came back to the waiting hall she was in high spirits. We quickly ate something (patatas flamencas!) and then went straight to the award ceremony which was to take place the same evening in a night club called "City Hall". Since we understood the address wrong we were quite late but luckily not too late.
All the participating designers had to wear their jewel and were given a clipable mini spotlight to shine on it, so they all stood out. When we came in Lotte immediately drew a lot of attention from people who wanted to give her jewel - a necklace piece - a closer look. So there I was in the strange position of having total strangers stare at my girlfriend's cleavage right in front of me and feeling pleased about it - taking pictures even :)
While waiting for the actual award ceremony, photographs of all the designers and their jewels were being projected on a screen on the stage. Lotte looked very tired on these pics but I think they're great.
Finally the award ceremony began. Now I should say that Lotte was very optimistic about winning a prize. In fact, when she had just finished this particular piece weeks earlier while I was at her place, she held it up to me with a satisfied grin and said "I'm going to win again" - how's that for self-confidence! Personally I was of the opinion that no matter how good a piece is, art is so subjective that in a field of 50 participants you can never have more than 20% chance. I told her so, but still she was very optimistic.

The presenter of the award was talking Catalan and we didn't understand anything she was saying. There were three prizes to be won - the student award, the technical award and the main design award - and within minutes the presenter had announced three names and three designers had come on stage collecting a prize and looking very happy.

Disappointment was beginning to sink in because Lotte didn't win, but strangely the presenter started announcing more winners and although we were getting more and more frustrated that we couldn't understand what was going on, we had some hope again. But then there were six winners on stage and we figured the first three had been the runner-ups, and now it looked even worse than before because Lotte hadn't even made runner-up.

But then the presenter announced more names, this time more slowly and with a louder voice. We gave up trying to understand what was going on and just felt annoyed by now, but then the presenter said something that ended with "El premio muy importante!" and then "quaranta quarta" or however you say 44 in Catalan, and then "Lottéh déh Méy!" so at the end of it all it turned out Lotte had won the big prize!
It turned out those first six people had all been runner-ups, not winners, but we had had no clue that such honours were being awarded. Here's a little movie I made while Lotte was on stage - see if you understand what's being said :)
After the first assault of congratulations and people who wanted to get in touch with the winner, Lotte went outside to call her friends and family in Belgium while I continued taking pictures.
Needless to say I am a mighty proud boyfriend now. Because of this award, Lotte will get another solo exhibition of her work in Barcelona next year, this time in its most important jewelry gallery (called Hipotesi). Read all about it in this article which appeared in the Catalan newspaper El Punt.

Exhibition in Amaranto Joies

On Saturday, the day after the award, we went to the Amaranto Joies gallery to close the exhibition that was the result of winning the student award last year. Lotte was to give a little presentation about her work. FAD (Fostering Arts and Design, the organisers of the Enjoia't awards) sent a live translator and a cameraman to film it all. We assume the footage will be shown in the FAD headquarters.

Here's a movie of Lotte explaining that the recurring shape in her jewelry is NOT supposed to look like sperm :)

And that concludes this report. To see Lotte's work you should visit the Hipotesi gallery in Barcelona in May 2008, or wait until it gets exhibited in Belgium (something's coming up in Antwerp in a few months).


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