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Barcelona = Mario Eskenazi

Designers in Barcelona joke that Barcelona IS Mario Eskenazi. Wherever you turn it seems there is a design by Mario. Of course it helps that he did the identity for Banc Sabadell, and the city garbage, recycling & cleaning services with big and little trucks and containers all over the city. 

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But also, through his long-standing relationship with Grupo Tragaluz, he's created the design work for many of Barcelona's best hotels and restaurants. I was in Barcelona in June and just walking down the street I took the opportunity to photograph Mario in front of some of his designs.

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Here he is in front of the wonderful Hotel OMM.

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And his fantastic work for the restaurant Mordisco.

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Another restaurant La Xina.

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and Bar Lobo. Had we gone one street over I could have got him in front of a few more. And of course in October 2011, we will be surrounded by more of the work that he did for the AGI Congress.

 Mario is originally from Argentina, but has lived and worked in Barcelona since 1974. He is a self-described hippie, who does some of the biggest and best commercial work in Barcelona, with a restrained, modernist sensibility. He has a weakness for stencil fonts, but always used with a crispness and order that belies their radical origins. A bit like Mario.

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He's got a wonderful studio in the heart of Barcelona, with a staff of four. To reach it, you go up a beautiful, old, rumbling elevator. Whenever I've been, Mario is waiting at the door to his high-ceilinged studio, usually with light streaming in across the warm wooden floors. The walls are lined with books and ephemera, and he's got the most wicked-looking paper cutter I've ever seen. 

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And this is the view from his window and balcony: of the Barcelona Cathedral! The glow of computer light shines down onto mediaeval walls.

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This is where Mario sits.

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And here's his collection of "caganers". Ask him about them when you see him in Barcelona.

I met Mario at my first AGI Congress, 2 years ago in Istanbul, and we've been great friends ever since. When you come to Barcelona, keep an eye out for his work, and of course for Mario himself.

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Mario Eskenazi & Marian Bantjes.