Encants I – La Fira de Bellcaire

Torre Agbar, seen from the Encants Market

A short set of images from the Encants market at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, Barcelona.

Somewhat ironically, the “square of the Catalan glories” was originally redeveloped as a multi-level motorway junction, as can be seen under construction on this wonderful poster for a recent exhibition.

Today, the area is being extensively modernised, and the roads being replaced by parkland and new constructions such as the Diseny Hub and the new I  dels Encants. The market is in an amazing building with mirrored ceilings (there must be a joke there, but I can not quite think of it…) and combines permanent stalls with an open air flea-market.

Encants Market, Barcelona

The market is built on several levels and is a nice example of architecture that was both relatively cost effective while also creating an interesting and practical space (leaking roof structures not withstanding).

The stalls are very mixed, covering everything from old clothes to antiques, as well as stalls selling new goods – usually at excellent prices. It is usually very busy and quite chaotic:

Unfortunately, much of the second hand material (outside of the dedicated – and pricy – antique shops) is in extremely poor condition, and this is in many cases down to the lack of care that the traders employ in storing and unloading the piles of goods that are literally dumped in piles on the floors and tables. You can find bargains in good condition (our Fed 5b came from here), but you arrive early, look carefully and bargain down the price.

We use the market quite frequently, but mainly for things such as hardware (which can be 25 to 30% cheaper for an identical item in a ferretería) and kitchen utensils/chinaware.

All images in this post were shot with the Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic 25mm f1.4. It is a bit of a shock how much easier it is to use the auto-focussing Olympus after the Leica (which is unfortunately now away for repair after it tried and failed at an alternative career as an air-bag).


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