By: ISABELLA CANELE
Born and raised in California, designer Kelli Ellis feels right at home in the Catalan capital. As the SVP of Global Industry Relations for Ronati and a licensed artist known by many for her TV career that included shows like Design Network, Design Therapy and Extravagant Spaces, Ellis has been basking in the Spanish world of architecture, design, and antiques for the past four years. With a new multi-family project just getting underway in the south of Spain, plus a new show in Europe to begin filming next year, Ellis is a creator extraordinaire with a finger on the pulse of the city.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR INSPIRATION
Inspiration is everywhere – on every street, passage, rooftop, fence, or even the tiled ground has designs and patterns unique to the city. The Flor de Barcelona is imprinted in the iconic sidewalk tiles that line the streets. Antoni Gaudi created street tiles, especially for Passeig de Gracia, reminiscent of his style. There isn’t a neighborhood that doesn’t have something beautiful to inspire your creativity.
WHERE TO STAY
Whenever I visit a city, I want to be near the iconic buildings and areas that make that city a destination. I want to look out the window at the architecture that says Barcelona. Hotel Majestic’s neo-classical facade has been a fixture of Passeig de Gracia for over 100 years. Opened in 1918, on the most famous passage near the city’s most famous architecture, it’s my first choice. I have come for sunset drinks at the Dolce Vitae rooftop bar many times and it never disappoints. Nicknamed the Hotel of the Arts, for its expensive art collection, the still family owned and run hotel is pure class.
WHERE TO EAT
On a small passage between Passeig de Gracia and Rambla Catalunya, is a small restaurant with big flavor called Boca Grande (Big Mouth) Boca Grande is one of the nightlife hotspots in Barcelona whose spectacular design, the work of Lázaro Rosa-Violán, makes it a unique place in the city. Have a superb spanish meal in the restaurant then a stroll upstairs to Boca Chica (Big Girl), the bar in the center or the terrace on top, and you cannot go wrong.
WHERE TO SEE GREAT DESIGN
Antoni Gaudi is the most famous architect from Barcelona. Deemed crazy in his time, he became synonymous with cutting-edge innovation in building practices to this day. He was influenced by neo-gothic styles, art nouveau, and modernisme, also known as Catalan modernism. Gaudí’s architectural style was ahead of its time. A visit to Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gracia is one of the finest examples of his work. Gaudí turned all his imagination into the creation of this magnificent work and turned it into a magical enclave. But most come to see his yet-to-be-finished Sagrada Familia, the crown jewel of the city and my favorite building on the planet. Awe inspiring and moving in its grandeur and beauty, I visit the cathedral as much as I can and watch its final touches being built from my balconies. You cannot visit Barcelona without seeing Sagrada Familia!
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