Barcelona, ciutat de fàbriques. Gelats, joguines, perfums… els productes quotidians
[Barcelona, city of factories. Ice creams, toys, perfumes… everyday products]
Author: Mercè Tatjer
Albertí Editor and Barcelona City Council
Centres of artistic creation, design studios and craft workshops are just some of the different uses that are currently being made of spaces previously dedicated to the mass manufacturing of the most varied of products. This book brings to life the activity of these manufacturing centres and recognises the contributions of their workers.
Centres of artistic creation, design studios and craft workshops are just some of the different uses that are currently being made of spaces previously dedicated to the mass manufacturing of the most varied of products. In most cases, the architecture is the only surviving feature of the intense industrial activity that shaped the urban landscape and development from the late 18th century through to the end of the millennium. Barcelona, ciutat de fàbriques takes a look at this heritage, not only from a structural perspective, but also through comprehensive analysis of the historical, economic and social aspects.
For many years, the Doctor of Geography and urban geography and history expert Mercè Tatjer has been carrying out not only academic research, but also fieldwork in contact with people. It therefore comes as no surprise that sensibility pervades the pages of a book that, albeit only on paper, brings to life the activity of these manufacturing centres and recognises the contributions of their workers. It also puts the reader in the shoes of Barcelonians who took part in the transformations brought about by these processes.
The book invites us to enter, as our forbearers did, one of the first establishments to sell umbrellas and parasols, whose façade, known for its emblematic dragon, is still in place overlooking the Pla de la Boqueria. Or to try the first systems for manufacturing artificial ice, which people bought in the city’s bars. Or to smile at the excitement of children as they play with toys that have since become commonplace in households of all classes, or as they discover the cards hidden in bars of chocolate, cards which became an effective learning tool in a world where not everyone had access to education. To smell the aromas of the soaps and perfumes on ladies’ dressing tables. To recognise the essential value of the textile sector and the contributions of the graphic arts and of Barcelona’s international publishing houses. Or to visit the dairies that sold fresh milk or one of the breweries that reflected the popularity of beer.
Furthermore, the author made a wise choice in letting the products guide the reader as they discover the nature of the different sectors that existed in Barcelona and made it grow. This all came with the help of advertising, which appeared alongside the explosion of new businesses and was a key factor in consolidating many brands. In fact, experimentation and high-quality work by prestigious artists were constant features of posters and newspaper advertisements, as shown by the images contained in the book.
The publishing house Albertí Editor maintains its commitment to recovering and disseminating our city’s past. In this case, with a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers, one that contextualises and vindicates the significant weight of our industrial heritage. The book helps us not only to interpret this heritage in the present, but also to follow its trail by way of the recommendations at the end of each chapter, which encourage readers to taste the products and visit the spaces that are the remainders of this tradition.