Jan 31, 2010

Barcelona: city on display

2 min read

Barcelona is one of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas. Founded in the times of the Roman Empire, it is a popular destination for many tourists, in no small part because of its rich cultural heritage, thriving night life and pleasant climate.

landing at the airport

Arriving by plane at Barcelona immediately opens up a beautiful vista of the city’s coast line and parks. El Prat airport itself is a busy nerve center of comers and goers, and is the biggest on the Mediterranean seaboard. Its clean, modern architecture and open spaces belie the level of activity that goes on behind closed doors. The airport’s control centers each use 70” Barco video walls, while the central monitoring room houses four video walls that together display well over 120 sources.

Going shopping

While it is true that many familiar brands can be found all across Europe’s major shopping streets, the store layout and the buildings offer a fresh perspective each time. This is certainly true of the Portal de l’Angel, Barcelona’s undisputed shopaholics’ Walhalla. Its H&M store in particular is located in a 19th century building designed by the celebrated architect Domènech Estapà. My attention is drawn to the entrance hall. It features transparent Barco LED displays that show a variety of moving images.

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Temple of football - and music

Anyone remotely interested in football - soccer for our American friends - will know this city is synonymous with FC Barcelona. The club’s home base, Camp Nou, is a five-star rated stadium and the largest in Europe. Apart from football, it also offers music concerts. It boasts an impressive list of pop stars that have played at the stadium, including Michael Jackson, Madonna and Frank Sinatra. A more recent example was U2, who kicked off their 360° Tour at Camp Nou in 2009. The show premiered Barco’s flexible LED system in a full 360° setup - hence the Tour’s name.

Healthcare at a world heritage site

Hospitals usually evoke images of rectangular, distinctly sterile structures where functionality was the architect’s main concern. Not so with the Hospital de Sant Pau. Built in the early 20th century, it’s a prime example of the “modernisme català”, the Catalan variant of Jugendstil. It’s not hard to see why it’s on the UNESCO world heritage list. On the inside, the hospital is home to over 40 Barco medical displays for radiology as well as surgery.