Christmas Special-DIY

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This year I am going back home for Christmas, but still I decided to decorate my flat here in Barcelona. The thing is I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on decorations and also because I am staying here just for a couple of months there was no point for me buying stuff and than throwing it away (I think it’s obvious that I can’t really bring everything with me back to England).

I had a few free days, my flatmate was away so I decided to get creative. I used white paper, a few sticky ‘golden’ sheets of paper, some branches I collected from the streets (yes, people were looking at me weird while I was collecting them, but who cares) and I spent 1 euro on some little red christmas star stickers. And that was all. The result was pretty good. I managed to bring some coziness, Christmas joy and also surprised my flatmate.

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Talking about Christmas I also decided to make my own name tags, which turned out being something between a tag and a Christmas card.

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It’s that time of the year

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The sun is shining, seagulls are singing, people sunbathing on the beach and no, it’s not summer coming, but the contrary.  End of November and despite the wonderful weather Christmas mood is in the air in Barcelona. So far i’ve experienced the magic of Christmas in my home country and in England and honestly i can tell that the Christmas spirit is definitely stronger in England. Stores start selling decorations and treats in the early beginning of November, decorations and fancy lighting everywhere, children singing Christmas carol and all that festive feeling when you visit the local pub, wonderful, right? In spite of all that I prefer spending my Christmas in Bulgaria, simply because this is where my family and friends are. This year won’t be an exception, but it is nice to see and experience a new type of Christmas, warmer( talking about the weather) and more…, Spanish.

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The decoration of the city is mesmerising, lights everywhere and every street has it’s own unique decoration, which makes it so exciting and interesting to explore. But the thing I loved the most are some of the tiniest streets in the Gotic quarter. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to take good night pictures, but I hope that would make you, visit Barcelona and see everything i’m talking about.

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IMG_0983And like every big city in Europe, Barcelona has it’s own Christmas market and it’s not only one, there are three of them, although it’s not like the traditional German markets or the ones in England. Here they don’t really sell drinks and treats but mainly handmade christmas decorations, all locally made.

Exam Week and Designing a chair

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It is the least week before Christmas break and it is exam week. I am not used to having exams, because in Coventry we never do, but luckily I had only one-in Construction. Yes, it was tough. We were examined on different type of building structures, forces and different materials and their use.

Also after the winter break we are starting a new project, designing a chair, using minimal materials and applying the laws of physics we already learned. It’s a group project, but I decided to work alone on this one. I am sharing some of my initial sketches and ideas.

Boqueria Project

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La Boqueria is a market different from any other I’ve seen before. It is a main touristic attraction and now I see why. It’s busy, loud, humid, sticky, nerve-racking, but also colourful, lively, curious, exciting and so so international. I will not bore you with history, I would only say it’s been in Barcelona for quite a while. It has all the goods and products you can buy in every other market, but here the presentation is excellent. Everything is exposed as if for an exhibition. It is all tidy and clean and just begging you to take pictures and than show the rest of the world. It has all those pavilions for fruits and fruit juices, which are actually a saviour in the hot summer days, and tiny bars, that welcome you to try every traditional treat Spain and Catalonia have to offer.

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For me as a tourist this place is magnificent, and I feel lucky that I am living here for a hole studying year and that I have the chance to visit it almost every week and try something different. The things get a bit different from the local customer point of view. If you actually want to be a regular customer it might be a bit nerve-racking. Tourists everywhere, taking pictures, pushing people, yes it’s annoying. And of course when there are two different sides, two different opinions a conflict is born. Part of the merchants are happy with all the tourist attention, the other part not.

And here comes the question, why Boqueria project? Well, when there is a conflict someone has to find a solution for it and in this case there is a designer needed. So, this is my first project-research how other markets around the world deal with such problems, analyse all the aspects of the conflict and find a solution.

We started the project with group work, we were put in groups of four people, which actually helped me meet some of the students in my class and get to know them better. There were 3 different types of groups, the first one graphic analysis of the conflict, second one-analysis of the uses and third one-analysis of the users. I was put in the second group and our work consisted of observing the uses of a traditional market, uses of the specialised markets, uses of touristic attractions and use of all the services provided. We visited the market, talked to both merchants and customers-tourists and locals. We also investigated where the conflicts occur and which are the most affected areas.

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After finishing our group work and after presenting, we found out that there is more than one conflict. I was put in another group and we had to discuss all the problems, chose one and start thinking about solutions. It was really interesting for me, because all the other members of the group were local students and I was the tourist so we had the different opinions within the group which I think helped understand each side better. We counted more than 10 different conflicts.

I chose one which was one of the main ones for me. Everyone was complaining about the collision of people at the entrance of the market and the fact that local customers cannot reach the stalls at the bottom of the construction. Also the market is situated on a street called La Rambla (which by the way is one of the busiest streets in Barcelona) and there is no resting spot anywhere in this area. My solution was to rearrange a bit the stalls, saving the original layout, design a booth that would simplify the use of the bars and may be create a small resting area.

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To be continued…

Chapter 3 – Studies

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It’s about time I start talking about my actual studies here in Barcelona, after all I am an Erasmus STUDENT. In this blog post I am going to share information about the subjects I am taking and about the differences I’ve noticed in the teaching process in BAU and the one in Coventry University.

I am an Interior Design student and this is why I chose mainly Interior Design subjects, but I also wanted to try something different and may be enhance my knowledge in other design areas like Graphics and Fashion. Here in BAU the teaching process consists of different classes every day of the week, different subjects, different projects and would you believe it homework every single day. The classes start 9am every morning and finish around 2pm in the afternoon, after that you are allowed to stay as much as you want in the university, working on your projects.

The first week of the year I was given the opportunity to try all the subjects I am interested in and than chose the ones I like. I was so excited I took 8 different subjects and I was really hoping to do them all. Unfortunately after two weeks I realised that the teaching process is so different from the one I am used to in Coventry. I couldn’t manage my time properly, I had so much work to do, I didn’t sleep I didn’t eat and I hated every second of my time. That’s when I decided I am going to drop some of the classes I wasn’t that interested in and do the ones that are really beneficial for me. So, after one very tiring month I ended up doing the following classes:

Interior Design Projects

Spacial Workshop

Construction and Installations

Light Design

Product Design

Graphic Design Projects.

I can definitely say that the amount of work is tremendous. The difference with Coventry is that here we do all that classes at once, while in Coventry we have different modules that come one after another. I realised that in real life no one would wait for me to finish one project and start the another, in real life everything happens at once and I had to get used to really, like really work under pressure and learn to manage my time.

For now I am doing fine, although there’s not much time for ‘getting lost’ in Barcelona. But luckily the projects are interesting and would be a good addition to my portfolio.