This is how much you can pack into 24 hours in Barcelona if Montse is in charge:
Marset showroom to see the lights, and an introduction by Javier to the the business heritage and philosophy over lunch. Soon becomes clear that food and stories will be an important part of the trip. Loved the skinny Miro-like Copérnica floor lamps, surprised by the range of materials – veneer and resin, ceramic (see below) – and impressed by the versatility of these designs which go anywhere, which is not to say that they are bland, far from it.
Pick up bags, jump into cab and off to the beautiful huge white-dusted box that is the Apparatu workshop for a speed-demo by designer-ceramicist-proprietor Xavier Mañosa of the process from clay in bags through casting, polishing, firing, glazing, firing again, a labour of love indeed.
In a couple of hours I have met 2 family businesses that have survived by evolving, successive generations adding different layers of skill and sensibility and finding new markets - a nice way to work. Interesting also that Barcelona has a thriving manufacturing culture fuelled by centrally located viable production space plus locally-sourced materials and people to design, make and support. As usual I'm wondering why we don't seem very good at this in the UK, and I'd be interested to know to what extent Spanish central and local government and maybe EU policy drives this.