The 2017 EU Mies Award winners praise Barcelona's “incredible richness” in architecture

May 26, 2017 03:37 PM | ACN

The Dutch architecture studios NL architects and XVW architectuur, received the EU Mies Award 2017 (Contemporary Architecture prize of the European Union – Mies van der Rohe) on Friday in Barcelona for the rehabilitation of a big apartment building in Amsterdam. According to the jury, this year’s edition communicates two important messages: First, modern architecture has to fulfill citizens’ needs, and second, citizens participation in urban projects is essential for solving urban challenges. In an interview with the CNA, representatives from both of the prizewinning studios, Kamiel Klaassen (NL) and Xander Vermeulen Windsant (XVW), commented about the “incredible richness and variety” of Barcelona’s architecture and praised the potential of the city’s structure for future urban development.

Catalan firm RCR wins Pritzker Prize, considered architecture’s highest honour

March 2, 2017 05:22 PM | ACN

'RCR' Arquitectes, a studio based in the small village of Olot, 100 kilometres north of Barcelona, has been awarded the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The three locally-based architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta are the first to share the prize, which is known internationally as architecture’s highest honour. “This is a dream we would have never dared to dream of”, stated Pigem. During its 30-year history, 'RCR Arquitectes' has carried out more than 60 singular projects, mainly in Catalonia but also in France and Belgium. Tom Pritzker, Chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, considered the winners’ work to have “had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area” with projects ranging from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions. “They’ve demonstrated that unity of material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” said Glenn Murcutt, Jury Chair.

Catalan film 'Estiu 1993', Best First Feature Award at Berlinale

February 20, 2017 11:52 AM | ACN

Catalan director Carla Simón’s opera prima ‘Estiu 1993’ has won Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale Film Festival. Moreover, the International Jury awarded the film with the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus, ‘ex aequo’ with Chinese film ‘Become who I was’, by Chang-Yong Moon. ‘Estiu 1993’ tells the story of Frida, a 6-year-old girl who faces the first summer with her new adoptive family, after her mum died from AIDS. The film, whose main character played by young actress Laia Artigas captivated the jury, is based on the director’s own childhood. Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama “On Body and Soul” won the Golden Bear for best film at the 67th Berlinale. The international jury, headed by Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, handed out prizes far and wide, awarding a broad range of international works. 

‘A Monster Calls’ wins eight Gaudí Awards

January 30, 2017 02:54 PM | ACN

New success for Barcelona-born film director J.A. Bayona on the night for Catalan cinema. His film ‘A Monster Calls’ won on Sunday eight Gaudí Awards, including Best Film in non-Catalan language, Best Director, Best Production Management, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction and Best Sound. ‘La Propera Pell’ (in English, ‘The Next Skin’), directed by Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo, won three Gaudí Awards, including Best Movie, Best Leading Actress for Emma Suárez and Best Screenplay. The Best Leading Actor Award went to Eduard Fernández for his role in ‘El hombre de las mil caras’ (‘The Man with a thousand faces). The movie ‘100 metros’ (‘100 metres’) got two statuettes, including Best Supporting Actress for Alexandra Jiménez and Best Supporting Actor for Karra Elejalde.

‘Lasarte’ becomes first restaurant in Barcelona with three Michelin stars

November 24, 2016 11:06 AM | ACN

Catalan gastronomy got reinforced and gained even more prestige in the presentation of the Spain and Portugal Michelin Guide 2017, one of the most important events on the world’s gastronomic calendar. There are now 67 restaurants awarded with a Michelin star in Catalonia. The most important ‘star’ went to ‘Lasarte’ Barcelona, which joins the select group of those outlets which have three ‘macarons’ in Catalonia, together with ‘El Celler de Can Roca’, which was named best restaurant in the world in 2013 and 2015, and ‘Sant Pau’, by Carme Ruscalleda. Moreover, ‘Lasarte’, led by Italian chef Paolo Casagrande, who was a disciple of renowned Basque chef Martín Berasategui, is not only the first three-Michelin star restaurant located in the Catalan capital but the only restaurant on the Iberian Peninsula which this year obtained its third ‘star’. 

Puigdemont praises Catalonia’s economic strength despite Spain’s “negligence”

November 18, 2016 02:20 PM | ACN

“For the last few years, especially since Catalonia passed the new Statute of Autonomy in 2010, Spain has neglected its duties towards Catalonia”, stated on Thursday Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont. In front of an auditorium full of businessmen and with Spain’s King, Philip VI and Spanish Vice President and Minister for Territorial Administrations, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, also present, Puigdemont emphasised Catalonia’s leading role in terms of business and praised its economic strength. During the ‘Ferrer Salat’ awards, given by Catalonia’s largest employers’ associations in recognition of the most outstanding businesses, Puigdemont lamented the Spanish Government’s attitude and accused it of refusing to listen to the citizens’ demands, which is an “indispensable condition” for having “the productive dialogue we all hope for” and which is the legal basis of a democracy. 

Pro-independence activist Muriel Casals posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of the Generalitat

September 9, 2016 02:50 PM | ACN

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, posthumously handed over the Gold Medal of the Government to pro-independence Muriel Casals, who died on the 14th of February this year. The prize is the highest recognition of those individuals or institutions whose work in the political, social, economic, cultural or scientific field has been outstanding. Casals presided at the head of the civil association promoting Catalan language and culture Òmnium Cultural andwas one of the main figures responsible for the massive pro-independence rallies which have taken to the streets of Barcelona for the past six years. In 2015, she joined pro-independence cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' and ran for the 27-S Catalan Elections. “Muriel leaves a space which will be really difficult to fill” stated Puigdemont during the ceremony held this Thursday.

‘El Celler de Can Roca’ ranked world’s second-best restaurant, down from first place in 2015

June 14, 2016 02:33 PM | ACN

Girona’s ‘El Celler de Can Roca’ is considered the world’s second-best restaurant by ‘Restaurant’ magazine. Thus, the establishment run by the three Roca brothers has ceded its crown, which it obtained in 2015 and 2013, to the Italian restaurant ‘Osteria Franciscana’. The gala event, moved from London to New York for the first time, also awarded chef Joan Roca as best chef. “This is very important, because it represents mutual understanding and recognition from chefs that I truly admire” stated Roca. Catalan restaurant ‘Tickets’, by Albert Adrià climbed from the 42nd position it occupied last year to 29th this year. Adrià was dessert chef at El Bulli, which was run by his brother Ferran Adrià and was recognised as the best restaurant in the world on five occasions.


Beaches and ports in Catalonia receive 122 Blue Flag distinctions

June 7, 2016 05:23 PM | Xavier Vallbona / Pampa Mektoubdjian

 The quality of Catalan beaches and ports has increased. This year the International Jury awarded Catalonia 9 more flags than last year and the area now has 98 distinctions for beaches and 24 for ports. The province with the most awards is Tarragona with over 40 flags, followed by Girona with 30 and Barcelona with 28. Barcelona has recorded the biggest increase and has won 8 more flags for its beaches than last year. The President of the Environmental Education Association (ADEAC), José Ramón Sánchez, praised the increase of Blue Flags, assuring that in Catalonia there is "an excellent situation regarding education and environmental information". Indeed, Spain is at the forefront of the world rankings with eight more blue flags than in 2015.