Imagine landing at the airport and having you phone reminding you to pick up your pass for the Mobile World Congress before leaving or arriving at the Congress and having your digital badge popping up automatically. These are some of the features that this year’s MWC app has. You can plan the visit and set your own schedule (with maps, lists of exhibitors and conferences and the speakers that most interest you). You can connect your app to Linkedin, to see which of your top contacts are at the venue. Your device will remind you when lunch time it is getting close and it will allows you to order lunch and pick it up without waiting in queues. And finally, at the end of the day, it is automatically set up to tell you the fastest way of getting back to your hotel by public transport, with information on location and waiting times. This is GSMA’s My MWC Event App developed in collaboration with Fira de Barcelona for this edition of the event, a fully contextual app that will change according to the user, his/her location and the time of day, offering the optimal functionality for every moment, in order to receive the right message, at the right time, and in the right place.
That was the jury’s verdict at the European Yacht of the Year awards 2015, known as the Oscars of Water Sports, which took place as part of the German boat show boot Düsseldorf, which brings together the crème de la crème of European boat design and building.
Comprising 11 specialists, from 11 different European sailing magazines, this annual competition rewards the efforts of boatyards to improve production and quality, considering the added value of each yacht beyond price, design, manoeuvrability, technology, comfort and adaptation to its sailing programme.
According to journalist and jury member, Germán de Soler, ‘they’re the convertibles of the sea: sporty, innovative, ever lighter, faster and easier to handle’. For journalist Jan Briek, of Dutch magazine Waterkampioen, ‘this year’s winner is a very attractive yacht, with a lovely classic interior that’s very spacious’. Meanwhile, Italian Vanni Galgani, of FareVela says ‘This is perhaps the best Bavaria ever built; certainly the best of its generation.’
The European Yacht of the Year jury sail on each yacht nominated and put them through their paces in two sets of tests, in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, that end in October. They will be on display at major events worldwide, such as the Barcelona International Boat Show, one of the first where visitors can see them for themselves, easily identified by the European Yacht of the Year logo.
As the Mobile World Congress keeps growing in numbers (of both attendees and exhibitors) transportation means to access Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue become more and more vital. That’s why starting next year Barcelona, Fira and the Mobile World Congress will have a brand new infrastructure up and running for the Congress.
These are Cinema weeks featuring the delivery of many awards. The Gaudís, in Catalonia; the Goyas in Spain and the glamorous Oscars. The relationship between cinema and Fira de Barcelona is closer than it may seem. We already know that the Montjuïc and Gran Via venues of Fira de Barcelona, in addition to hosting trade shows and congresses, are often the stage of films and adverts. But Fira’s cinematographic tradition goes back a long way, actually to its very beginnings.
And is that the Palace of Metallurgy, Electricity and Locomotion at the International Exposition of 1929 became, in 1931, the headquarters of Trilla-La Riva Film Studios. Created by architects Amadeu Llompart and Alexandre Soler i March, the rectangular shape of the hall provided the ideal conditions for housing one of the biggest film sets in Spain.
Founded by showbiz businessman Abelardo Trilla and sound engineer and one of the ‘fathers’ of Spanish radio, Adolfo de la Riva, Trilla-La Riva Studios were used for the sound tests of the Rivatón sound recording equipment invented by La Riva, which were the first to be patented in Spain. This explains why Trilla-La Riva Studios initially operated as a sound and dubbing studio, where the first voiceover professionals in Spain worked. Just one year later, in 1932, they shot El Abuelo Tartamudo [The Stuttering Grandfather], the first silent film produced by Trilla-La Riva Studios, and in 1935 they made their first ‘talkie’, El Secreto de Ana María [Ana Maria’s Secret].
Following the Spanish Civil War, film-related activities at Trilla-La Riva Studios were taken over by CIFESA, the main film producer of the Franco era in Spain, which led to an increase in the number of films shot. From that time and through to the 1950s, the studio had a variety of different owners and names. In 1956 the first film to be recorded using the innovative CinemaScope widescreen system was shot, entitled No Estamos Solos [We Are Not Alone].
Years later, in the 1960s, the studio was closed down and the Metallurgy Palace became part of the Barcelona International Trade Fair, at which time the façade was renovated and still remains today.
Very often your own perception of yourself is quite different the one that other people have, and almost always the view of something changes when seen in perspective. Yet global reports are there to free us from clichés, allowing us to compare countries and cities across the globe in a cold and objective manner showing us as we really are.
This is the case of THE SAFE CITIES INDEX 2015, a report drawn up by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist which has indexed the 50 safest cities in the world, a list on which Barcelona holds fifth position in Europe and fifteenth in the world.
The report measures cities’ digital security, health security (lifespan, hospital beds to population ratio), infrastructures (road quality, number of deaths from natural disasters) and personal safety, a point which includes crime levels and the level of police engagement.
According to the survey, Asia – and above all, Japan – is very much ahead of the rest of the planet in this respect, although it is also the continent with the greatest inequalities between cities. Tokyo is the safest city in the world, followed by Singapore and Osaka. The safest city in Europe, and fourth in the world, is Stockholm, followed by Amsterdam and Sydney, which together with Melbourne (9th) completes the Aussie duet. Zurich makes it 7th followed by Toronto while New York slips in at number 10.
Five places below we find Barcelona. The strengths of our city, according to the four parameters measured by the report, are Health, where it comes in at number seven, and Personal Safety, boasting third place in Europe and eleventh in the world. The city comes fourteenth in terms of Infrastructures and twenty-ninth in the world for digital security.
‘The queue to get in and watch the television stretched right down Paral·lel, and everyone was asking when we would be getting it in Spain’. These are the words of Diego García, the cameraman at the first demonstration of the television in Spain, which was held at Barcelona’s Official International Trade Fair in 1948. Such were the numbers attracted by this new invention that the fair -originally planned to be held from 10 to 25 June- had to be extended by another five days.
Philips Ibérica SAE, the promoter of those first test broadcasts, had set up a 500-square-metre TV studio in a room near their stand in the main hall (now Hall 2 of Montjuïc Venue), lit with high-pressure mercury spotlights. This was where the music performances took place, broadcast by means of experimental equipment with 567 ‘lines’ and watched on the television sets that the Dutch firm had set up on its stand.
María de los Ángeles Morales, one of the most famous singers in Spain in the 1940s and 1950s, sang the madness aria from Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor to inaugurate this pioneering television experiment, bringing the fair to a standstill. The soprano’s live performance, watched on those early sets, marked the starting point of the history of commercial television in Spain. Eight years later, in 1956, regular TV broadcasts were officially launched in Spain with the creation of TVE. The cheapest TV set at that time cost around 16,500 pesetas, the equivalent of between six months and one year’s salary.
Barcelonans christened the 1948 edition of the Trade Fair as the ‘TV trade fair’. The success of this innovation reminded people that back in 1936, shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the very first TV set had been exhibited at the Montjuïc venue.
In spite of the economic, social and political context of the time, the Trade Fair provided an open door to the technical advances and innovations of various sectors. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the fair showcased the public launch of such innovations as Coca-Cola, the Seat 600, the supermarket concept and personal computers. But we’ll save those stories for subsequent posts.
No joysticks, no wires. Beyond Wi-Fi and your imagination, it’s now possible to drive Scalextric cars with the power of your mind.
This is the Audi Mind Race, an innovative electronic eight-track model circuit of 9 x 5 m which lets you drive scale replicas (1:24) of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the winner of Le Mans 24 Hours, with the energy generated by the brain, which is captured by a sensor fitted on the contestant’s head.
A technological device known as Mindwave gathers the information generated by the electrical activity of your grey matter and the software transforms it into the energy necessary to move the cars. The more you concentrate, the faster they go.
Up until now, the only people to test this new activity have been the players of FC Barcelona and some younger members of the football club, under the slogan “Drive with your head” which aims to highlight the importance of paying attention while you’re driving.
From 27 December until 4 January (except for 31 December and 1 January) any youngsters who want to see what it’s like can do so at the XD Young Fest, Fira de Barcelona’s new show which is being held in Hall 8 at the Montjuïc Exhibition Centre.
With only a handful of days before the end of 2014, at firablog we wanted to remember the story and last hours of an icon of Montjuïc and its fairgrounds: “La Pergola” restaurant.
Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1929, “La Pergola was certainly the largest catering establishment of the event. Located opposite the Magic Fountain of Carles Buïgas it was named after the outdoor terrace where there was a magnificent 18-column pergola with 6×3 layout where guests ate their meals.
After the exhibition it became municipal property and was active well into the Civil War. In 1957 it was back in business after a reform that meant the end of the structure that gave the restaurant its name. In this second stage, the Pérgola became a typical establishment for weddings, christenings and communions as well as a popular orchestra ballroom. Names like Jose Guardiola. Dodó Escolà, Renato Carosone, Mario Visconti and Ramón Calduch were some of the artists who sang there.
With the approach of a new century, the place began a gradual decline, which led inexorably to ts closure while the neighbouring old textile factory Casaramona built by the modernist architect Puig i Cadafalch, revived as a cultural center under the name of Caixafòrum.
Throughout December, the iconic restaurant has been demolished to make room for a new square and allow locals and tourists visiting Montjuïc to discover a neighbor that until now had been hidden in the shade of the pergola.
Futuristic vehicles that look like spaceships, Mom’s car being towed , a view of the family’s SUV from the inside, colorful landscapes during a road trip both in the city or the countryside. These are some of the drawings made by children that have been showcased during Ocasión 2014 for the first Children Drawing Contest organized by the Gremi del Motor which this year had the collaboration of illustrator Roser Capdevila, author of The Triplets, who designed the competition’s poster.
Kids fondness of cars -which lasts in many cases through their adulthood- allows them to transform their parents’ cars into submarines, rockets or Formula One vehicle through sheer imagination. Cars are part of their daily life from an early age, taking them to school every morning, on vacation, to the beach or to visit their grandparents… Their car also becomes a teleportation device where they can play where they play, sleep or even stare through its windows until they arrive to their destination.
The Awards and Diplomas ceremony will be held on Monday 8th of December at Hall 1 of Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuïc venue.
Fira de Barcelona is a place for doing business, but there’s room for a love story too. In fiction, of course. But rather than being twee, it’s politically incorrect. These last few days a film crew has been here shooting scenes for the film Ahora o nunca [Now or never], a romantic comedy, full of loutish humour, where clichés about love are taken to the extreme and gags in the purest style of The Hangover or Wedding Crashers.
Directed by María Ripoll (Tu vida en 65’, Tortilla Soup) and produced by Zeta Producciones and Atresmedia Cine, it stars two of Spain’s actor’s of the hour: Dani Rovira, of Spanish Affair fame, and María Valverde, of Three Steps Above Heaven and I Want You.
In the film they are Alex and Eva, a couple who, after dating for years, decide to get married in the place where they fell in love – a little English village. But an air traffic controllers strike puts paid to their plans. Thus our groom finds himself in a hellishly absurd predicament, with the guests trying to get to the bride and her party.
Many of the scenes take place in an airport. They were actually shot on the Gran Via site, which was turned into three different airports for filming. Places, amongst others, where there was action, adventure (a quest for a suitcase worthy of the Lost Ark), touches of road movie, western and, naturally, drama. But we’ll have to wait until its release on 19 June 2015 to find out whether the lovebirds will live, like in the fairy tales, happily ever after or not.