I’m back in Barcelona for this spring’s Forge Accelerator. It’s been an interesting week: I arrived on Tuesday morning – having missed the first day in an attempt to shave a little time off my June travel craziness – and arrived to find a number of attendees working on projects related to (and inspired by) the work we’ve done in Dasher 360. This is really encouraging… I’m thrilled to see others using Forge to tackle the kind of problems Dasher was always intended to help address. Onwards!
The weather on Tuesday wasn’t great – a little windy and grey – but since then it’s been lovely. Yesterday I had lunch down by the beach, and people are already in full summer mode.
We’ve been eating well, here, too. That hasn’t always been the case for me in Barcelona, but staying a little out of the centre definitely helps.
On Wednesday evening we all went on a trip organised by my friend Philipp Mueller. I love the architecture in this city, so just being out of the office is fantastic.
The trip Philipp organised was to the Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia (IaaC) at 22@ in Poblenou.
It started with an introductory presentation by Mathilde Marengo, the Head of Studies at IaaC.
It was interesting to see the projects IaaC has been involved in. It was fun to see another 3D-printed bridge on the project list, too.
I’ve seen a few “first 3D-printed bridge” claims over the last year or so… of course MX3D’s is the first 3D-printed steel bridge, but I’ve since seen a presentation about the first 3D-printed concrete cycling bridge, and now IaaC & Acciona’s first 3D-printed concrete pedestrian bridge. But let’s not worry too much about the specific timing of these projects… the main thing is that progress is happening.
Alex Dubor presented the IaaC facility to us, which was really interesting.
After the tour, half the group headed to the restaurant while the others stayed a little longer to see a couple of presentations by Masters students from IaaC.
The first was by David Andres Leon, who talked about WeaveWave, a project around the design of interlocking lattice structures.
Then Marco Zaccara talked about his projects related to recycling and enabling “super-use” of materials. I really liked the Moes bar project where they “ate the full pig” and used absolutely everything found in a number of cable reels to furnish a bar in Amsterdam. (It reminded me of a coffee table I made with my housemates back at University – it was basically a sawn-down cable reel.)
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the 3rd presentation, as we had to get to the restaurant for our group dinner. Here’s our table (there were two others).
On Thursday I had the chance to have lunch with David Thomasson – an old friend and former Autodesker who ran the robotics lab on Pier 9 – as he’s now living in Barcelona and working on innovation projects for Alpha. I looked at the best way to get across to meet David in Poble Sec – he’s working at Sonar this week – and decided (probably influenced by my time in Delft) to use a bicycle. I asked a local Accelerator attendee for advice, and he lent me his Bicing card (thanks, Angelos!). I found the nearest Bicing stand and picked up a heavy, but functional shared bike.
I plugged “Poble Sec” into Google Maps and headed on over. All was going very well until the road started heading uphill in a serious way. It turns out that the centre of Poble Sec is up on the side of Montjuic, Barcelona’s mountain. I only had offline maps, so was following driving directions for cars: the driving directions for bikes would have gone around the mountain, logically enough. So it was that I ended up sweating my way up onto Montjuic on my heavy rent-a-bike. Ah well, you live and learn.
David and I had a nice lunch and I biked back across to the Autodesk office. It was great catching up!
It was fun on the roads in Barcelona. I remember hearing that the person who planned Barcelona designed such wide roads as he had a vision of everyone having their own, personal traction engine. At least that means there’s space for bike lanes in all kinds of places, nowadays:
The Thursday evening event was on the Big Magic Cat catamaran, which we took down at the Olympic Port.
It was lovely, out on the water.
The wind had been strong in two directions over the last few days, so the sea was really choppy. More than a few people turned a little green during the 2-hour trip. Luckily medication was thoughtfully provided.
Despite the choppiness, people had a great time. It was a really nice way to wrap up the social side of the Accelerator.
A colleague from the Barcelona office, Jonathan, offered me a ride on an electric scooter. These are parked all over Barcelona: you (of course) use an app to find and reserve them, and pay just 20 cents a minute to use them. There are Scoot employees going around constantly swapping out batteries with a low charge, saving the need for the scooters themselves to be recharged. I’m constantly impressed by the innovation happening in the shared vehicle space, and Barcelona has stacks going on, on that front.
This accelerator is Philippe Leefsma’s last with the company. He’s moving to another company in Switzerland in the coming weeks: we’ll really miss him.
I’d like to thank Philippe on behalf of the ADN and Forge communities (both inside and outside of Autodesk) for all the help and inspiration he’s provided to people, over the years, as well as all the fantastic samples he’s developed. We’ve relied on several of Philippe’s samples during the creation of Dasher 360, for instance, as I’m sure many others have for their own products. All the best for whatever’s next, Philippe!