Barcelona has premiered this Wednesday, with a brief truce from the rain, its greater display of Christmas ornamentation. Not only because of the new design lighting that has reached Plaça de Catalunya, Aragó and Gran Via, signed by Antoni Arola’s studio, after winning a public competition. Also for opening the door to a new conception of the entire city assembly, with a more modern spirit, which will find its way into other areas in the coming years. And for taking heart for the new festive and cultural programming that aims to make Barcelona a benchmark in southern Europe in terms of tourism and shopping trips.
After several changes of plans dictated by the meteorology, the city council has finally decided to postpone the inaugural show in Plaça de Catalunya until 8:00 p.m., as well as the lighting of the local epicenter (the square, Portal de l’Àngel, Passeig de Gràcia …), but activate the LEDs from the rest of the city at 6.30 pm. The city has greeted Christmas in stages and looking up at the sky.
Finally, the 26 artists of Ponten Pie They have been able to take the stage (soaked two hours before) and develop a very conceptual show, based on music and circus, ‘Ombrana’, in which a girl discovered the city under its lights. Among them, “the light of memory”, as illustrated by a narrator. Finally, a large luminous crown has made the start of the Christmas campaign official, placing for the first time thePlaza de Catalunya in the focus of the celebration, before a thousand citizens as a live audience. A maneuver that this year is intended to revive the ill-fated Gòtic trade.
Boost to celebration
The 100.5 km. linear of public roads with the light of this 2021 they mark an almost symbolic record, because they represent 700 meters more than last year, but well above 62 km. from a decade ago. For commerce and restaurants they mark an advance towards a Christmas that it is a true claim for economic activity and tourism, as in other European metropolises.
The business days the streets will shine from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., while the Fridays and Saturdays It will last until midnight, and for New Year’s Eve and Twelfth Night, until 2.00 am.
The festivities that are now beginning are marked by an increase in municipal investment, which increases by 32,46%, going from 1,622,000 to 2.148.500 euros. It has not only benefited the city center, but also areas linked by the Neighborhood Plan (from 88,330 to 102,850 euros, 16.44% more) and some 40 streets and squares affected by long-term works
In the center, Arola himself explained during his recent presentation that the new proposals are based on a Christmas “universal” iconography in which anyone can reflect. With sustainability criteria, they only use led tubes, which after three years of their hiring may be reused. An inspiration underlies each design site: in the Plaza de Catalonia a pulsating crown is recreated that symbolizes the energy that flows towards the center of the city; on Aragon, the perspective of the one who moves through it has been used to represent stars, while at the Gran Via It has been given a somewhat more stately treatment, almost recreating the warmth of being at home, he advanced. It is expected that in the coming years, the new formula will be extended to other streets.
Once turned on, it has been missed that they covered more sections. The Gran Via, for example, remains very soulless in much of its route through the Eixample.
Year in transition
The radiography of the rest of the city offers different situations this year. Phe first time the Ronda de Sant Pere has been illuminated (from Paseo Sant Joan to Urquinaona), in addition to expanding the decorated section of Balmes, from Diagonal to Ronda Universitat. And they consolidate their Christmas ornamentation Via Laietana, Plaza de Urquinaona and Avenida del Paral·lel, started in recent years. These roads, together with Plaça de Catalunya, Aragó and Gran Via –without organized commercial fabric– are financed by 100% by the municipality, compared to the rest of the commercial axes of the city, where 50% are usually paid between associate vendors and the city council. Nevertheless, the council subsidizes this year 75% of the costs (882,561) to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. And for the second year it has redecorated the 39 municipal market buildings.
In parallel, a total of 17 axles they have left the management of the lights in the hands of the council (paying their corresponding part) in search of a more homogeneous model. In these cases they incorporate traditional lighting although with new figures, in general. By cons, in the rest of the axes that are still processing and organizing their own montages, there will be some premieres and a part of repetitions compared to recent years. This is the case, for example, of Passeig de Gràcia, which is decorated again with colorful butterflies, given that its contract for this design was for three years, which this Christmas comes to an end. Axes such as Cor Eixample, have once again decorated only the participating establishments.