Our expedition in Barcelona

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By Marine Dagorn & Albane Grandazzi


During the 3rd RGCS symposium in Barcelona, we spent the secound day in the Sant Marti district. After the morning spent at Cal l’Alier, we had lunch. The way back did not go as we first planned… Our walk led us by chance to two very different collaborative workspaces : wework and the Palo Alto market.


Waiting to discover the area : from virtual to real !

The 15th of january, on my way to the 2nd day of the 3rd RGCS Symposium, when I was looking for Cal l’Alier meeting point, google map showed me « Palo Alto Market ».


I was quite interested and I looked on google what looks that space. I found a very exciting place on the pictures.


So nice ! I wanted to visit this  creative market  after our seminar, but I read it was opened just during the first week end of each month. Unfortunately, it was not possible for today. At lunch time, the organizor adviced to visit instead « els encants », a concept with a flea market and design.

So, with a group of 10 or 12, we decided to discover that place. We walked 30 minutes and such a disappointment when we saw so that that one also was cloded ! I thought « maybe that is making an OWEE : to encounter unexpected situations, which can open new doors, even the ones we didn’t planned ». Too hungry to wait more, we had lunch in the nearest restaurant on that place, while sun was shining outside…

After lunch, 5 of us wanted to come back to « Ca l’Alier » passing by « Palo Alto Market », just to have a look of that place. Photos on the way…

How we stumbled upon we work quite by chance !

On our way, we came across « WeWork », an American firm of coworking. Albane and I decided to go inside and ask to visit the space. We had to wait and 3 of us decided to come back to Ca l’Alier without visiting, to arrive on time for the next part of the seminar ! After 10 minutes, Albane and I met Maria, she was the one for the visit. She kissed us warmly, with a big smile and invited us in the main common floor. « You are really welcome ! How are you ? Which language do you want to speak ? » She was really nice and she seemed enthusiastic to see us. We learned that all the « WeWork » in Barcelone were full. So apparently it was not for short terms benefits. We explained that we helped compagnies about new ways of working in France.

We entered in that charming and inspiring space with clear wood and soft and warm colors. Maria offered us a coffee. She began the visit. We discovered a hudge terrace with a wonderful view on Barcelona … We learned that Wework has been in this neighborhood for only a few months, at the same time that Facebook, Amazon, HP had also settled here. « Everyone wants to work in this district ! » explained Maria.

How we stumbled upon we work quite by chance !

Maria didn’t stop to ask us questions about our jobs, our stay in Barcelona, what we saw, what we liked etc… She was smiling a lot and very welcoming. We saw a family with a child in one of the common space, close to a room where a meeting was taking place. There were more people between 30 and 40 years old in the common area.

After 15 minutes visiting she explained us that we could not visit the other floors which were private. She gave us her card, in case we need it, a brochure and a sticker. We thanks her, said good bye and we left the building to keep on going to Palo Alto Market.

From a stantardized global worklplace to a local one : wework vs. Palo Alto market

We arrived at that nice and welcoming place full of greenery. We couldn’t guess from the door that there was all that life inside. In fact, there were lot of hidden businesses there. Until this moment we thought it was a simple market ! The work spaces were both inside and outside, in a former industrial site visibly.

The entrance to Palo Alto’s « market »

A continuity between indoor and outdoor workspaces

There were nature, artistic compagnies, a restaurant, a little pond… this space seemed to metamorphose the first week end of each month in a creative market place with life, lights, among that compagnies areas.  One space where work and life seem to mingle. Tow moods which appeared as in pefect harmony ? Like if working in a living area or living in a workig space could slot ?

Palo alto seems to be a cultural and artistic creation center, with a fondation. We felt good inside. We went out happy of that finding with a part of us feeling that the intuition to come here first would have been cool !

As if chance had led us voluntarily from « wework » to « Palo Alto ». To show us that alternatives existed to renew our work practices ?