My new life in Barcelona. Coworking and more... by Irene Candido from Italy

It’s the forth time that I am in Barcelona, the first one not as a tourist. I love this city since the first time I saw it, but perhaps since the first time I heard talking about it. Compared to 2010, the last time I came here, for a post-baccalaureate interrail, Barcelona appears to me different. I don’t know if it’s the city to be changed or my point of view, 5 years later my last visit, which took place two months before the start of my university career, finished now two months ago. Surely, this time I am observing it with less superficiality than before, because, having to live in this city three months, my interest and my motivation to know it are much higher. I arrived here about two weeks ago, in a particular moment for Barcelona. The impression I had of Barcelona in these early days is of a city-airport. In a positive but also a negative way. Wandering around, along the streets of the Barrio Gotico, which I remembered, perhaps in a distorted way, as the most interesting district of Barcelona, ​​I felt as immersed in a huge duty free shop, and surrounded by the insignias of the anonymous franchising shops, one other writing flashed in my head: too many tourists. What I saw in the Barrio Gotico seems to me the effect of the presence for years, in every major European city of a Ryan air flight to Barcelona at 20 euros. Tourism can certainly be considered an asset, but in this case, it looks to have corroded a little the soul of the most central districts of the city, perhaps. But around Barcelona you can meet not only the stripping flip-flops tourist among the shops in the Barrio Gotico, the Rambla and the seafront. You can really meet characters of all kinds, of all nationalities, that chip in to give to the city that magical-carnivalesque allure.

 On some occasions I found myself speaking four languages at the same time, with a schizophrenic switch. The other night, in the franticness of a discussion of this kind with a group of people, a Finnish boy exclaimed: "That’s a Babylon!" Cosmopolitanism is added to the bilingualism, and, as a chemical reaction of the clash of these different crazy cultural particles, creativity seems to explode. Even the walls of the houses look to be affected by this explosion. I remembered only the mad and incredible Casa Battlò, with the rippling Pedrera, among the buildings that seem to rebel against the canonical straight line a wall is supposed to follow. Walking around, I got to see other examples of modernism in stunning Passeig St. Joan and Calle Valencia: looking at those houses that seem to melt and pour over our heads is difficult to believe that they aren’t fluid. Barcelona is anything but static nature and balance. It seems to me the more and more in those days that movement precisely is the real skeleton of this amazing city. The world of coworking that I just had access looks to reflect perfectly the spirit of Barcelona. Variety, cosmopolitanism, creativity are key words here. Before arriving to Gracia Work Center, I had never heard of coworking. The positivity of this work system is perceivable already by the pleasant sound of the word: the prefix co seems to ease the severity of the word working. Coworking means “working together”. These are spaces that can accommodate freelancers and startups that otherwise would work on their own and that can instead benefit from the synergies that are created in an environment of collaboration and sharing. Getting informed, exploring this subterranean universe, I could see that it’s really a new way of looking at work, a revolutionary way, which is gradually emerging in our cities. The impression I had the first time I set foot in this coworking center has been to a cheerful and relaxed place: with its green walls, writings on the walls, the friendliness of the coworkers, Gracia Work Center is far from the canonical grayness of an office. It's my first day of a training period that looks to be very promising and everything around me gives me even now, a great desire to do.


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