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.
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.
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.
To be continued…