Sunday, November 19, 2006

website with(out) boundary

just a quick moving notice: although we are all in the same world wide web, i'd like to keep this little journal dedicated to my great year in barcelona. therefore, i'll be moving the blog with me to my new (and original) home at "home is around the world". the "physical" location is in Hong Kong but the mind is around the world. thanks for enjoying and sharing my barcelona day, now move on to see this city that i love/hate - HKG.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

La Sombra del viento - the grand finale

spending three days to finish reading this novel setting in my favorite city, barcelona, on the way of my departure to that life and that relationship...

i still remeber that day of in april 2006. el dia de Sant Jorge, the festival when books were given by girls to their lover in exchange for a rose (and love). certainly to me a book is a much better gift than a red rose, and it was this day we followed the tradition in our own way and we gave each other this book.

Through the story that happens in those streets and cafes which i got to know and fell in love with, remebering the good days, i thank you for painting it with brilliant color.

of course, the relationship as well as the reading of a 300-page novel in spanish couldn't move forward much.

until today when i am leaving the city that i picked up again the novel - in english translation. reading it with much ease in a familiar language, i was hoping to find the missing pieces where i couldn't understand in the foreign environment.

and this will be the conclusion of the "catalonian detail" blog which has docuemented my life in barcelona in 2006. thank you if you have been reading it and to the city and everyone that i've met in this wonderful place.

-- THE END --

la sombra del viento by Carlos Ruis Zafon

Friday, September 15, 2006

the last cup of coffee in barcelona

Cáfe Shiling, c/ ferran, bcn

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Returning, and leaving...

this will always be one of my favorite places.

Monday, September 04, 2006

cafe with a view

Cáfe Centric, c/taller, bcn

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

leaving barcelona

after a good ten months, tomorrow will be my departure from this city - for a month -
the schedule for this summer until october will be pretty occupied, from HK to Hangzhou to Shanghai to London to Venice to Dallas, of course by way of barcelona whenever i can. at this point i still do not know where i will be living in the near future, but with enough advanturous mind that i have, i assume i can live well as it comes...

for the things in barcelona, being so busy in the last couple months, i'll sure try to use the time i have this summer to fill up the gap and put back the docuementation of "catalonian details"

un beso y un abrazo para todo...

and the website might be moved to "home is around the world" as this page is dedicated to barcelona.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

(good) exhibition ... good party

haven't been doing much writing these days, all my time was here...
there might be many regrets, but in the same time it reflected quite accurately how this year of our master was... ... afterall, it's a good party. and that's the most important part.
thank you guys


Saturday, July 15, 2006


living here for one year and still i have not really have the chance to get a feeling of the live music scene in europe. on this very last day of my bcn-mba life, although physically exhausted with all the work from the master and the exhibition, i decided to go still to the summercase festival. and very glad that i did... not exactly that i'm a fan of those on stage (although i do like their music), but the atmosphere and energy, the surrounding and setup, it made a wonderful conclusion for this wonderful city...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

building up...

in this 'site', the foundation has been layed for a long time, and finally we can the first few floors up now...
welcome to it is indeed a process of building up, so bookmark and visit again soon. =)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

one great night

just the simple joy of having a good friend visiting and having a good dinner together after watching a good worldcup match in a good bar with good weather.

thank you.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

starbucks invasion

i am really a little mad at starbucks now... taking over our little neighborhood cafe...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

mi barrio

to be or not to be - an architect

Winy Maas from MVRDV

so i finally understand what is the spirit of this 'new wave' in the practice. this nitch market thing. at least in terms of winy maas' idea.

we just have to do it and make it fesible. and keep doing it until the end. not through one period or one projecct but continuity is the key.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the importance of image

so many times the desire or visiting a place comes from ONE image. not remembering from where or when, we have one image in our mind and would do whatever to go seek it. i guess that is the magic of travel. or the desire to travel. finding that "image" there in the end become less important. one thing leads to another, that's what i always believe in. maybe it's just the smart marketing by the city, but it's beautiful enough to be attracted to a particular place by an image, whatever you'll find afterwards, better or worse, it's another wonderful advantage.

now i have this "image" of murcia in my mind. and it is decided to be the next destination. =)

photo credit

Friday, June 09, 2006


still in the stage of putting my head together, sorry there isn't much new things produced. instead. i've been looking back at the 2000 snap shots in the last few months and found some interesting juxaposition

Thursday, June 01, 2006


living in this city has also clear up my mind again about how life (or more precisely, how my life) could be. with a thousand doors opened and thus a million things waiting to be done, the formula i've discovered lately is like the website i've started to build. build up: chipping it away bit by bit, building up brick by brick...

of course there is not even the form of the building you can see there, but you're welcome to take a look at this building process. and check back often, as the process is going on...

thanks. :)

Monday, May 22, 2006

thank you friend

as much as i'm so disoriented these days, that 3 days when i can enjoy this city i love with a great friend of mine was wonderful. it helped to put all the trouble behind...

wingo en barcelona

Saturday, May 13, 2006

placa filipe neri

sitting in the plaza for 3 hours... starting with a group of little girls sitting under the portal doing their large artwork, without knowing what a romantic setting they're at in. looking at the plaza at 4 pm when there was nobody, just a table of ladies lunching. a couple sipping coffee and chatting with very soft voice. and us.

slowly, people started passing by, various tourist came through the courtyard from under the archway towards the opposite alley. an old couple that has time to stroll through very slowly. another group of bicycle tourist came from the other side street, filling this little courtyard with almost 20 bicycles.

another family came taking another table at the cafe; this little boy is on a wheelchair but has a happy smile on his face, he must be loved. three backpackers saat at the doorwa of a closed church resting, eating their sandwich and taking-in the sun (tomar el sol - sunbathing) at this pretty little place. the bicycle tourist went on to their next destination and the lunching ladies left after chatting with the young "camerero" (waiter)...

the bell from the cathedral behind stroke five, echoing a smaller one in the chapel of filipe neri in front of us.

suddenly all the little kids from school are running out for their liberty, chasing each other, kicking the football hard onto these hundred-years old stone wall. a coupe quiet girls sat under a tree whispering about the boy-next-door. the grandma who came pick up her grandson let the kid run wild and keep catching up with the other grannies.

this old delicate plaza under spring sun doesn't mean anything as such to them, they are just enjoying their life as is. it is only to us these "多愁善感的人" who would think, it is such a beautiful scene of kids shouting in a medieval courtyard under shadows of large trees. (verses the suburban child who play in their large concrete playground with no setting or shading...)

if we close our eyes, the sound of these happy children are exactly the same.

the bell rang again and it's now a quarter past five. peace arrives again. boys and girls went different ways back home with their mom or grandparents. curiously the tourist left at the same time. two little boy who doesn't have anyone to pick them up stay chatting and kicking aimlessly. another lone tourist passed by. a flashy couple of a young girl with an older guy came sit down to our next table, talking loud in their own language.

now we hear again the sound of water from the fountain. we are still here. me next to him.

this is just another descriptive excerise. description of another beautiful afternoon that we've shared.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

collection of plazas

Base on the principal of "getting lost on purpose", i went out on these 'walks' again this afternoon. By chance and by luck i arrived at this courtyard off calle hospital. actually i've been here before, just never passed this point thus never discover this courtyard. i know if i spend the time here doing this i'll lose the hours to go to the bookstore. but then, as always, going to l'central is just the mean/ the excuse to go take a walk. since there are so many unknowns waiting to be discovered, getting there or not, in the end, become less important.

i have forgotten all the things that i've studied about classical architecture. but somehow it seems to give a comfortaing effect to the general public. perhaps it is the assurance of history and time. opening up one of these courtyard to the public must be the merit of this city government.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

more on sant jordi

two days in a row i was on La Ramblas. still full of people, even more, in fact. the rose sale still goes on, plus today with rows of book stalls. it is said that today is the day when book sales in barcelona is the highest. obviously, where the only store open on this sunday is bookstore, and it goes to till late night.

suddenly this seems to be such a literal city.

thank you for "la sombra del viento".

Saturday, April 22, 2006

la fiesta de sant jordi

like any saturday afternoon, La Ramblas is full of people (and tourist in this season).

today it's even more packed, with rose-vendors, who sell roses in the name of love, for one of the big festival here in barcelona, sant jordi. who is the charming patron saint of Cataluña. this is also the "day of lover", when lovers exchange roses and books...

Friday, April 21, 2006

a critical eye for bookmaking

after a few months since i took on this job of making the publication of our master, it's not until this day, after presenting the half-finished proposal to my fellow students and professor, i have felt the weight on my shoulder. it isn't really a burden in any sense (yet), i'm more than happy to have the opportunity to take on this job. However, for all the books that i've liked and bought and read, it is not until today i try to look at them in a critical and technical way.

being one feet into the graphic design profession for many years now, to make somethin visually plesant no longer seems a challenge to me. i probably will not be the actual graphic designer of the book but in that sense i do have the confidence of keeping it on track.

however, today when i look at a book, a leisure quick read has become analytical. i was trying to see how a book is organized, how and why the experience of reading this book is better than the other... if we're trying to do something more than just a catalogue of our projects, it will be important to make a book that is interesting enough to read and to keep. i know well enough with our names and our project it is not appealing enough for any random book shopper to even pick it up and flip through it, haven't even got to the 'selling' part...

about an interesting and appealling book, so i've a vague idea of how some pages would have to be full bleed photographs; how some pages would be fillers with concise and focused text of 60pt. fonts. all these i realized were already inside my head from the many books that i've looked at. (mind you the differents between "reading a book" and "looking at a book") in this sense if we are doing a book, an architecture book of unknowm master students about a no-where site, it'll have to be somewhat attractive to "look" at. average 15-30 mins time for the whole book. or the 1 min flip-through in a bookstore...

i cannot say anything more concrete than that at this point. with the very blurry image of the book in mind and the help and suggestion from colleague and professors, i will try to tell you more about this journey of making a book. soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

terminal patient

although i have been living in this Barrio (neighborhood) for almost 6 months now, still i do not know my streets that well. so i have to start a collection of spaces. since now my life in city seems to be timed, suddenly there is a feeling of a terminal patient. (in a positive sense, don't worry, i'm not dying yet) that of having to do the things i've always wanted, and docuement them if i don't get it see it again. and to let other people to see it in an objective way but through my lens and my pen. so i get to leave a mark in the world in the most subtle way. and i like it this way. with the spirit of "my life without me".

everyday plaza

i will have do some research and find out more to tell you about it's history and so on, it is the point where the three "st pere" streets (s.p. más baix, s.p.miataj and s.p. mas alt) merges and end. personally, Plaça St.Pere is a neighborhood plaza that is closest to my home and one that i enjoy. (seems to me it is ancient plaza, ha, but you never know in this city, intervention is at every corner)

we learn from ARCH2553 that a "plaza" is a well definied space usually with one prominent façade and four corners. but this seem not to be the case here in barcelona. a plaça could take any form, as "public space" would be a better tag for them. usually in front of one of these many churches the façade becomes the backdrop of life that is happening, thus the "public" part of the space.

perhaps it is true that density creates energy. that when you cannot have a huge front or backyard then the kids will run onto the street to play football, and these spaces become the "communal living room" (i need to credit the person who coin this term but i don't remember where did i hear it from...) different activities take on at different time. at nights and weekends, people from the bar surrounding will spill into the plaza; during the day there are people passing, appearing and disappering through the many streets that open into the plaza. there are always old ladies with the food trolleys (carrito) around 11am-2pm & 5-7pm. on a quiet sunday afternoon like this one there would be children playing football.

ocassionally the church bell rings. i never understand the schedule and rythmn of these bells, nevertheless they are as pleasant as ever. oh, and the dog bark, yes, dogs do bark a lot here. there are usually fountains in these plazas, still some people would take drinking water from there, but mostly it has become the foundtains for thristy dogs during their daily walk...

a little descriptive excerise
@ Plaça de St. Pere, bcn

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

music month - soundtrack #3

with a little more energy and little less melancholy, it's moby's hotel. with those extra beats, it's in accord to the 1pm pedestrian traffic amount the office towers of paseig de gracia. :)

label addict

finally, i live in a city with a Muji

i don't know if this is a kind of blind following or am i a victim of their successful marketing. however, although i've been living in cities without them for years, everytime when i travel to a place with a muji store i have to go in and get a thing or two... mind you shopping is not a big agenda in my travel planning...

seems to be the most successful brand that sells pure simplicity. there is a lot of learn from them, from product design to marketing, or simply their philosophy...

now there is finally a muji store in barcelona... will this place become a destination for my daily accessories or will my passion fade when it so easy to get hold of?...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

c/ beates 4, baxio

this is "my" version of my front door and my street... actaully quite far from reality. :P but i'd rather it be remembered this way...

american cinema

Icaria - Lowes
in an american style movie theatre, even the reaction of the audiences are more "american style". normally there is a good cultural habit that as audiences we'll stay seated as long as the house light is off (which is usually until the end of rolling credits). perhaps it has to do with the theatre policy and how the regard this subject of 'film'.

in verde, the more "art house" cinema, light is out until the very last bit of rolling credits, in the case of renoir, lights were dim during the credits. here at Lowes light weres up as soon as the last scene finish, and people stood up and leave right away... we see how a piece of american culture is fitted in this meditarrian harbor...


沒有心情做正經事的時候,就只好任性的不停地記錄情緒. 抱歉了. =P

Friday, April 14, 2006

(not) a plaza

plaça de la llana, bcn

Monday, April 10, 2006

overpowered by the nature

the legitiment reason of this trip is to visit Olot because of the architecture of RCR. but it is almost understandable how the nature has distracted us from our "mission". all these different villages of a couple thousand inhabitants are so attractive, contemporary architecture suddenly seem to be of no importance. of course, in our time we shouldn't just repeat the existing need new architecture... but in the same time i cannot deny this strong force that i cannot resist...

country air can heal illness

the journey starts with two bodies with flu. however, we feel better than ever after a great night of sleep, a good hot shower and fresh air with sun at the altitude of +500m. no wonder the 19th century city-dwellers always escape to the country-side for their "health". perhaps it's true.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

the right theatre

as much as i would like to visit different venue to watch different type of performance, sometimes my instinct on finding venue and happening to my liking is quite accurate. therefore, after i have found the "right" place and the right shows, due to the little time i have and the laziness i that cannot shake, i usually take the conservative method and go back to the place i've already known.

Mercat de les Flores is one of thsoe places. After watching res de res, i get to know this venue and learnt that they carry performances to my interest. so, without much further research done, i trusted them (brand-building worked here) and we went to see Akram Khan tonight.

Comparing to the previous piece i saw, this performance is a little more philosophical and less "entertaining". with a hindu root it feels almost spiritual. When the dancers' bodies are rolling and stretching and bending as such, you can almost see their mind and soul in another world in order for them to perform with such spirit...

"ma" by Akram Khan.
Photo: Colin Hattersley

orange tree

it is almost unbelievable to say this is the first time in my life to see an orange - on a tree.
the courtyard of Museu Frederic Mares - bcn

Friday, April 07, 2006

la alegria de las 18h

the joy of living in Ciutat Vella (the old town) is that one can always encounter a new street with stores and cafe even after months of living here. and the joy of 6pm, when residences in the neighbourhood go shop for dinner, when kids just got off school and play on the street, when all the activities is going on at this prime time. especially when spring comes, the sun is not down yet at 7:32pm...

by a short run to the tobac nearby, i went on one of this "being lost on purpose" stroll again around my very own neighbourhood and found this new streets. now i understand why i need a camera with me all the time, because i might not be able to find that cafe, that curry restaurant or that botique with the cute dress again... unfortunately this is the day when i did not bring the camera, but i'm optimistic enough to believe i would be happily lost around these areas again... ...

*the part of town that is always developing. c/st.pere més baix, ciutat vella - bcn

annual painting - in progress

as much as i would like to "paint", i realize only do one painting every two years... ... still the similar lines and colors, i wonder as an "artist" did i grow any better any without the works in between...

it'd be interesting one day to put all these drawings together and see how this has progressed.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

once a cat person, always a cat person

my new friend gordo.

i miss you guys too, mr.sui and gummo...