Alimentaria’s solidarity

Alimentaria means food. Radically innovative food, trendy, showcased and tasted, but most of all it means food not wasted. Fira de Barcelona and Alimentaria Exhibitions are particularly sensitive in terms of surplus products that are prepared for their events and the fate of the food that exhibitors showcase on their stands.

To make to most of every ounce of food, during the celebration of the last edition of Alimentaria the organization worked hand in hand with various NGOs dedicated to the collection and distribution of food among disadvantaged groups, to recover as much food as possible.

In total, nearly 22.4 tons of food were recovered and managed by Nutrició Sense Fronteres and the Banc dels Aliments who took good care of recovered food and made sure it reached its destiny.

Mediterranean Diet and 和食

alimentaria JapMediterrani Mediterranean Diet and 和食What do the Mediterranean diet and traditional Japanese cuisine or 和食 washoku have in common? The ancestral cuisine of Mediterranean countries is based on fresh, seasonal food with an abundance of oil, wheat, wine, fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts and spices and dairy products, from cheese to yoghurt; but also rice and pasta that came from the Arabs.

Since over 2,000 years ago, the basis and central nucleus of Japanese cuisine is rice, cooked and used in very diverse ways. More coincidences are: wheat noodles, fish and shellfish, vegetables, seasonal products, mushrooms, nuts…

However, there are more common traits: tasty, healthy cuisines and their basic foods are capable of reducing the risk of suffering conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer, among others. It is, therefore, no wonder that they have been declared intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Despite the pressures of fast food, they resist the passage of time and are subject to combinations and fusions. They are doing so within the setting of Alimentaria commemorating 400 years of trade relations between Spain and Japan. One of the main events is the open meeting between the Catalan chef Carme Ruscalleda, the only woman to hold six Michelin stars, and Keisuke Matsushima, one of the two Japanese chefs with a Michelin star in France…

In Europe and throughout the western world, Japanese restaurants are very successful, but they know how to adapt to the local market and tastes. The famous California roll is not actually of Japanese origin but was created in the establishments of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Japanese cuisine has evolved with the arrival of foreigners in a society that had been closed traditionally: the bread and the famous tempura, for example, were introduced by the Portuguese and curry, originally from India, was imported from Great Britain. Globalisation avant la lettre

In Japan today, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish influences are evident and the interest in the Mediterranean diet has grown –especially olive oil-which proposes interesting fusions such as those prepared by Carme Ruscalleda in Santa Pau Restaurant in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district. It is, in fact, one of the 50 Michelin stars that are converging this year in The Alimentaria Experience; from Joan Roca to Juan Mari Arzak.

The tunnels of mystery

TunelsMJ The tunnels of mystery Standing 191 metres high, Montjuïc Mountain is formed by sedimentary rocks such as clays and sandstones combined with layers of marlstone deposited in a delta that flowed into the Mediterranean 15 million years ago. Due to this configuration, the mountain has a numerous naturally-formed tunnels, grottos and underground passages, through which abundant water currents pass. For this reason, lovers of esotericism see Montjuïc Mountain as a magical place with an aura of mystery.

Contributing to this mystery are the tunnels, constructed in 1640 to connect the Castle to other parts of the mountain, and the refuges built to shelter the population during the bombing of Barcelona by Franco’s troops during the Civil War.

Montjuïc’s tunnels are complemented by those in Fira de Barcelona.

On occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1929, the lower part of the mountain, which goes from Plaza Espanya to the Olympic Stadium Area, was developed.

Avenida de Maria Cristina was created to be an entrance portico to the exhibition centre, with ornamental water fountains on both sides that flowed into the Magic Fountain, designed by Carles Bohigas. In order to make this masterpiece of engineering possible, a tunnel was built on each side of the avenue, passing under the current borders at a depth of 5 metres.

270 metres long, only 1.70 metres high and 70 centimetres wide, these two vestiges of the 20s start at the Venetian Towers and are still in use as a service passage. In the 80s, when the avenue was reformed, two new tunnels were built parallel to the old ones underneath the new fountains.

In the enormous Plaza de l’Univers, there is a ring-shaped underground passage, housing all types of service installations, which reaches the centre of the plaza underneath the statue and has branches that go inside the halls around it.

Under the Big Tree

DOha Under the Big TreeOnly a few days ago, the fourth Qatar Motor Show and the seventh Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition closed in Doha – the Big tree in Qatari. The news would undoubtedly seem distant if it were not for the fact that they represented Fira de Barcelona’s first experience in organising trade fairs in the Persian Gulf.

Our colleagues José Miguel García, Miquel Serrano and Ildefonso Marín, commanded by Ricard Zapatero, travelled there and discovered a different country in which to develop new projects. Beyond the success reaped in both shows, the experience led to the discovery of a very different culture with very diverse ways of doing things.

To begin with, the stability of the climate was for some a test of memory since, for over two weeks, the weather was exactly the same:  sunny with clear skies. The climate together with the long working days made more than one forget what day it was.

Qatar is a deeply religious country despite being a secular state. Miquel Serrano ascertained this in person when his office in the Qatar National Convention Centre unexpectedly became a prayer room for many of the Muslim members of the team. Without interrupting Miquel’s work, they obediently proceeded to face Mecca for a few minutes while our colleague continued typing on his laptop.

Given the results and the relationships forged during the time, the main conclusion of Fira de Barcelona’s first Qatari experience is that, despite the intense sun that lights up the Persian Gulf, Fira found the best shelter under the shade of the Big Tree.

Going the (MWC) distance

It’s nowadays common knowledge that the GSMA Mobile World Congress is biggest and best mobile industry event in the world. Some even say that you can walk miles and miles to discover new things every day. Well now we have proof.

During the 2014 edition held last week, GSMA organized the brand new Fitbit Challenge to offer all Mobile World Congress attendees the chance to experience first-hand the potential of wearable technology but also to find out if the Congress was an opportunity to stay active, track your exercise and live better.

We at firablog, decided to keep an eye on one of the Congress’ communities that usually walks the most during large events: communicators. We tracked a group of journalists, analysts and PR representatives to find out who really goes the distance

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Bringing light to the MWC2014

On February 24 a new edition of the Mobile World Congress will kick off, the largest yet with over 1,800 exhibitors and over 72,000 visitors. Without the essential task of one of the great unknown in the industry, events like this would not be possible…

Try on some technology!

Adam Try on some technology!

Last year the coolest toy at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was a 5-inch screen smartphone closer to a tablet that a traditional feature phone. This year the latest trend in the mobile industry is to put on some technology before you leave home. The so called wearables are beginning to make themselves a space as the new battlefield for innovation and customer luring.

The scope of wearables ranges from t-shirts and boots to wristbands, watches and glasses and their uses go from battery charging to internet access, fitness tracking and health monitoring. That means that were facing a potentially huge market. A recent report by ABI Research stated that by 2016 wearable wireless medical device sales per year will top 100 million units while sports and fitness-related monitoring devices might reach 80 million device sales annually by 2016.

Among the most famous examples of wearables are the still in development Google Glass that allow the user to access information in a smartphone -like hands-free format and communicate with the device through voice command; an already wide range of smartwatches that allow you to control your handset from wrist; and an even bigger number of wristbands that monitor your activity through motions sensors and geolocalization allowing you to track your exercise and how many calories you’ve burnt, and chart your sleep patterns.

The very same MWC has embraced the wearable trend and has set a competition among delegates coming to Barcelona to see who walks the most through Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. Each participant can monitor their activity, share their statistics and challenge their colleagues and Congress attendees all via their mobile device and also have the opportunity to win daily prizes.

Not, without my dress

Post Nuvies Not, without my dress

Spanish couples are still getting married despite the crisis and brides want to wear their best dresses. The wedding industry is one of sectors that has best dodged the crisis in recent years. According to data from the INE (National Statistics Institute), after having recorded decreases since 2005, the number of marriages started to recover in 2012 when 168,835 couples got hitched (3.4% more than in 2011), marking an upward trend that still continues. Even though the costs of a wedding have dropped over 40% since the crisis began, it would appear that Spanish brides are not prepared to give up elegance and choose, above all, models designed by national firms in order to say “I do” with total glamour.

According to the Federación de Usuarios y Consumidores Independientes (Federation of Independent Users and Consumers), a wedding dress costs at least 500 Euros added to which are the shoes, accessories, make up, hair style and bouquet, which all mount up to a minimum of 1,500 Euros. However, the amount spent on the reception, honeymoon and some nuptial details has decreased the most.

The domestic nuptial fashion sector enjoys in good health together with the strong export market: one out of every 10 brides worldwide wears an outfit a “made in Spain”. This figure makes Spain the world’s second biggest exporter of wedding dresses after China. Part of the merit goes to firms, such as Grupo Pronovias and Rosa Clará: the former heads the international ranking with 200 shops and 3,800 points of purchase in 90 countries, and the second has 105 shops and 2,200 points of purchase in 60 states. Other firms such as Jesús Peiró, Franc Sarabia, Patricia Avendaño, Villais and Ramon Bundó also enjoy great success abroad.

All these brands will meet up in Barcelona Bridal Week, the sector’s leading show that, from May 6th to 11th 2014, will host the Noviaespaña show and the Pasarela Gaudí Novias, featuring over 230 companies, half of which are international. It will be the 24th edition of the event that, for the first time, will be organised directly by Fira de Barcelona, which will promote the expansion of the event and Spanish fashion worldwide.

Mountain of museums and creativity

PostMuseus Mountain of museums and creativity

There are few mountains and few parks –depending on how you look at it- that offer so many museums and so much culture as Montjuïc. The recent constitution of the Montjuïc Muntanya dels Museus Association formed by the Fundación la Caixa, the Museu Nacional de Arte de Cataluña/National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) and Fira de Barcelona highlights this exceptional fact.

The MNAC can be found in the Palacio Nacional, centrepiece of the International Exhibition of 1929, and houses the most important collection of Romanic art and one of the most complete collections of gothic art. The building, which stands imposing among the fountains, Avenida Maria Cristina and the trade fair halls, has become a major Barcelona icon.

The architect Puig i Cadafalch could not design the Palacio Nacional as he wanted; however he created two relevant projects to increase Montjuïc’s museum-related options, today and in the future. On the one hand, the textile factory Casarramona, which currently houses Caixaforum, one of the major centres for the dissemination of art, especially modern and contemporary; and, on the other hand, the Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia Halls, situated opposite the Magic Fountain. The staging of the majority of trade shows in the Gran Via Exhibition Centre augurs these traditional Fira spaces a new future linked to art and the MNAC.

Another treasure is “hidden” close to Montjuïc: the reconstructed German pavilion of the International Exhibition of 1929, work of Mies van der Rohe, a good example of architectural rationalism, recovered in 1983. The “Barcelona chair”, designed for the pavilion by Mies, gave the city worldwide recognition long before it became the international brand it is today.

The mountain has another fundamental piece for art lovers: Fundación Miró with a high quality collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, graphic art and drawings by the artist. The building is a real delight, designed by Josep Lluís Sert, dean at Harvard for over 13 years.

(ES) Jujol y Calzada, arquitectos del Palau del Vestit

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