Barcelona is a city that feels and appears alive in every sense of the word. Entangled, connected, moving, energetic, in so many ways an uplifting gift. Streets leading from the port are gracefully lined with Middle Eastern date palms, their long fanning green fronds and tall rippled elephant feet-like trunks paint the city with an exotic air of sophistication.
Summer evenings for thousands of tourists are lit by the coloured high spraying waters of Font Màgica; and Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia with its glory façade displays spires so high and pointy, they might be in danger of stabbing and injuring the sky. In Barcelona there is endless human adventure, pockets of romance, and a bustling city heart. Celebration of nature is everywhere, perhaps a biological mechanism that’s bred into each Catalonian person.
This sense of life and creativity can also be found within its many examples of expressively-intertwining Art Nuevo architecture. Many of these form a subtle basis to the city’s design structure from which no matter where you turn, you might feel as though you’re exploring an giant organism similar in scale to an Amazonian rainforest. While the beautifully preserved labyrinth of the gothic quarter with its maze of streets, historic buildings and squares lead summer tourists winding their way north towards the main city thoroughfare, La Rumbal; it is here that so many grand scale elaborate architectural gems begin to further express their natural intentions. Sure Barcelona’s most celebrated son, Antonia Gaudí’ crafted many stand out contributions to the Art Nuevo movement with unmistakably famous organically flowing building designs, however there are also brilliant examples of near-hidden architectural subtlety at work here also.
Take a closer look, perhaps at sections of decoratively carved building stone works, or maybe just a wrought iron gate – an entrance to a quiet city block. Blink and you’ll miss it, peer again and you’ll see a pattern emerging. These structures resemble twisted vines and other living things, all twirling and moving, growing and clutching. If you feel connected to this city, don’t be surprised, examples of organic flow are everywhere and it eventually manages to connect you with its many historic layers.
For first time visitors, Barcelona’s fast-paced continuous complexity of design of movement, can, believe it or not become a little bit tiresome. To explore the city is a joy, but afterwards some rest and relaxation is a must. The solution to this rather perplexing holiday problem comes in the form of a clearing in the forest – a metaphorical oasis in huge sea of desert sands. With a swift whip of construction brilliance, in December 2013 architect Juli Capella and interior designers Sandra Tarruella and Isabel López completed work on one such place: take a step inside, and feel the free-flowing clean-lines and modern edge that is Hotel Omm. A uniquely modern boutique hotel boasting wide open spaces, bright natural light and fresh scandinavian inspired guest rooms. It’s ground level lobby, lounge, Bar Roca and Restaurant Roca Moo is seamlessly designed offering a clean depth of space. Here an open floor plan lightly connects the spaces and is lit by the restaurant floor to ceiling glass panels, young birch trees lining the panes growing within a Japanese-styled courtyard garden. More light is reflected in via a series of pearl-shell cutouts – a hanging mobile art-installation that sways and glimmers.
Omm is as the name suggest: a place for calm, and escapist uncomplicated body, a vessel that invites meditation for the soul. While there is light here, there is also pleasing use of inky blacks. When floating between guest rooms or into depths of the hotel’s lower-level ‘Spaciomm’ relaxation and personal care centre, Omm’s corridors are dark; so dark, secretive and quiet that one might feel hidden inside a underground cave. There is so much sense to this design, as safety is felt here; and just when it feels desired, surprise gifts of white-bright daylight filter in via skylights and strips of glass. the light beams in like fingers from above.
Spaciomm is a spa retreat, touched with a gentle sense of oriental beauty, yet retaining a form that is far more modern. Minimalism is the key, with functionality so cleverly hidden and perfected. This stripped-back, effortless presentation continues throughout all of the the hotel’s 91 harmonious rooms. And, if you’re still feeling the need to connect again with the city and its vibrant beat, simply head to the roof top terrance where you’ll have exclusive use of the swimming pool and bar/restaurant with nearby views to Gaudí’s Casa Milà, the Sagrada Familia and the lights of Montjuïc.
Carrer del Rosselló, 265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Tel. +34 934 45 40 00