White Summer, Barcelona
Weekend just past, we snuck in a cheeky trip to Barcelona, quite simply because we had a yearning to take in some bright colours and new perspectives, and fresh inspiration is so important to what we do. Between a morning inhaling health by way of fresh Kiwi and Melon juice at La Boqueria, and an evening sharing sophisticated seafood at Barceloneta, we headed up east of Sagrada Familia in search of the White Summer mini-festival.
We hold a special place in our hearts for events which create new territory by blending experiences, and an even more special place for ones featuring our personal passions of food and design. White Summer is a month-long August festival set in the Spanish countryside which fuses food, design, music and performance. It holds a two-day prelude in the centre of Barcelona to tempt the urbanistos on to a pilgrimage to rural relaxation in the hottest, sleepiest month in Spain. This year's mini-festival was set in the fabulous Antica Fabrica Estrella Damm, the old brewery of the much-loved Mediterranean beer, now a multi-level events venue made up of interesting interior and exterior spaces.
The delicate touch of this event's design infused the experience with tiny flowers and planting details slipped into every crevice, and the labyrinthic industrial setting served to set out surprises galore. The lively front entrance space was filled with innovative streetfood vendors, all of whom had characterful, identity-driven stands and trucks, all with a strong design flavour using interesting colours and materials communicating their brand values. Offerings included everything from kronuts, gelados, crepes and cakes to noodles, oysters, pizza and paella.
On entering the fábrica we were greeted by the striking, highly-polished copper fermenters, their classic heritage enhanced by a ceiling of white balloons, released at the event opening. The industrial staircase with its beer bottle chandelier led to an indoor market of sorts, made up of local designer-makers spanning fashion, interiors, jewellery and graphic design, all set within a mellow, low-lit forest scene, richly decorated with abundant aromatic plants in hessian-wrapped pots. Further stairs opened on to a sunny roof terrace of deckchairs and musicians alongside yet more designers, and we emerged from it into a huge space behind the building where festival-goers meandered, sampled, drank, ate, explored and gathered together.
Chilled-out jazz permeated the whole venue, in between live music on the mini-stages and impromptu performances of awe-inspiring expertise, from bike skills to aerial silks. These unexpected acts created layer upon layer of life and reactions to an already vibrant scene - with them, the event experience felt so highly considered and complete.
The mini-event cost just 5 euros to attend - just 5 euros, for this memory! - and immersed us in a world of light-hearted, relaxed creativity in food, design and life. Mellow magic. We're thoroughly entranced.