“Looking over the images produced throughout these years goes above and beyond a possible analysis of their graphic values to become a statement of the small daily history of Barcelona.”
Pilar Villuendas set up her studio in the mid 1970s. Looking through the designs compiled in this recently published book “Barcelona, Urban Iconography in Transition”, or some of the images on this post, represents a two-way discovery: on one side, they adhere to the fight against the latter period of the Franco Regime in Spain and the early years of the transition to democracy, while on the other, they portray the meeting of formal expression and resources that can be deemed as a strictly – genuinely – Catalan design style. For years there was relatively superficial speculation about whether “Mediterranean” design existed, a style upheld in the end by a few graphic spasms allowing this hope to be kept alive. Nevertheless, to me the work from Pilar Villuendas’s studio – later ““Villuendas + Gómez” with the inclusion of Josep Ramon Gómez – did exhale a Catalan identity that, although difficult to express, was, at the same time, paradoxically profound.
The images on this blog speak about modest business projects and also collective excitement, they speak about a new generation of designers that put themselves forward to community associations, unions and left-wing political parties that “used,” as it reads in the introductory text to the aforementioned book – “highly limited mediums and great immediacy of action, with an absolute lack of economic resources”. In short, activist design.