Pictures do not make justice to the Mercat dels Encants project as they often concentrate on the spectacular gilded roof over it. Though it is a wonderful feature, what happens below it is even more remarkable. The new structure, close to the Glories huge roundabout, substitutes a previous run-down facility, to host an open-air flea-market, informal and transient in nature, and several more stable stalls. The project is composed of oblique planes that go up and down, defying the natural slope of the site so that one wanders among the merchandise losing any sense of position. It is raw and rough, using prefabricated and industrial materials, concrete and tin-sheets and it is one of the liveliest places in the city, because it is real. It is a marvellous concoction of Soviet constructivist visions, machinic cunningness à la Cedric Price or early Norman Foster, Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech, Turin’s Balon and kitschy gilded dreams from a ‘80s discotheque in Ibiza. It shows how the best architecture should be: practical and efficient while also completely gratuitous and illogical.
Authors: b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos
Place: Barcelona, Spain
Photographs: Rafael Vargas
Fabrizio Gallanti is a curator and architect with experience in architectural design, education, publication and exhibitions. He holds a PhD in architectural design from the Politecnico di Torino (2001) and a M.Arch from the University of Genoa (1995). Gallanti currently teaches at the School of Architecture of McGill University and Université de Montréal, and the Architectural Association, London. From 2011 to 2014, he was the associate director of programs at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. Gallanti served as the architecture editor at Abitare Magazine and as editor-in-chief of the Abitare website (2007-2011). Together with Francisca Insulza, Gallanti is the founding partner of the Montréal-based architectural research studio FIG Projects (2003-present).