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People profile
Anton Vidal

Director general, Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol, a 90-year-old theme park in Barcelona, Spain, is admired by Michael Eisner, Disney chair and chief executive of 21 years.

“Eisner did an interview with a Barcelona newspaper and said that he always visits Poble Espanyol when he’s in Barcelona,” says Anton Vidal, director general of the Catalan attraction. “For him, it’s the first theme park in the world and it inspired Disney and the theme park concept. Now, theme parks of course are very different, but the concept was born here.”

Poble Espanyol was established for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo to show the world the Spanish way of living. The idea was to build a town using different architectural styles of the area, such as Roman, Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance and Baroque. The park’s creators visited 1,600 Iberian towns and villages looking for their inspiration. The site is also home to the Fran Daurel Museum, a contemporary art gallery with works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Míro and other famed Spanish artists.

Invest in the future
Poble Espanyol escaped being demolished after the World Fair and grew to be one of Spain’s best-loved attractions, recording almost 2 million visits in 2017.

Though its aim is to immerse guests in an environment that’s true to history, Vidal says it was important to invest in the future success of the attraction.

A 10-year improvement plan costing more than €10m ($11.4m) has just been completed with the opening of its final phase, a €2.3m state-of-the-art multimedia experience designed to throw visitors right into the thronging crowds of a vivid, noisy, vibrant, traditional Spanish fiesta.

“These modern installations are designed to show how people live now in the five regions of Spain, and through this we hope to explain the ‘Spanish soul’,” says Vidal. “For the Fiesta zone, we recorded 180 hours of footage at nine different fiesta locations over a whole year to create this visual spectacular. With the sound of the fiesta all around them and surrounded by the 10-metre-tall 4K screens, visitors will feel as though they’re in the middle of the Sanfermines in Pamlona or the Tomatina in Buñol, for example.”

The state-of-the-art multimedia installations were handled by Mediapro and bring a “dynamic and didactic” element to Poble Espanyol that’s both engaging and capable of evoking emotions. Two further areas have also been completed: a welcome zone with interactive touch screen technology, which introduces visitors to the history of the attraction and helps them plan their visit; and the Feeling Spain zone, which takes visitors on a multi-sensory journey across Spain.

“We also did not want to introduce too much multimedia and technology because we don’t want to compromise the feel of the park,” says Vidal. “You could put multimedia attractions anywhere but you cannot build a town like this.”

Aside from the new investments, Vidal keeps people coming back to Poble Espanyol by working with different partners to host a varied offer of events, such as the OFFSonar electronic music festival, Barcelona Marionettes Festival, Rock and Grill Festival and Biergarten festival.

The Poble Espanyol has replications of 117 buildings representing fifteen communities of Spain
The museum was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo as an exhibit of the architecture and culture of Spain
The museum was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo as an exhibit of the architecture and culture of Spain
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People profile
Anton Vidal

Director general, Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol, a 90-year-old theme park in Barcelona, Spain, is admired by Michael Eisner, Disney chair and chief executive of 21 years.

“Eisner did an interview with a Barcelona newspaper and said that he always visits Poble Espanyol when he’s in Barcelona,” says Anton Vidal, director general of the Catalan attraction. “For him, it’s the first theme park in the world and it inspired Disney and the theme park concept. Now, theme parks of course are very different, but the concept was born here.”

Poble Espanyol was established for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo to show the world the Spanish way of living. The idea was to build a town using different architectural styles of the area, such as Roman, Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance and Baroque. The park’s creators visited 1,600 Iberian towns and villages looking for their inspiration. The site is also home to the Fran Daurel Museum, a contemporary art gallery with works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Míro and other famed Spanish artists.

Invest in the future
Poble Espanyol escaped being demolished after the World Fair and grew to be one of Spain’s best-loved attractions, recording almost 2 million visits in 2017.

Though its aim is to immerse guests in an environment that’s true to history, Vidal says it was important to invest in the future success of the attraction.

A 10-year improvement plan costing more than €10m ($11.4m) has just been completed with the opening of its final phase, a €2.3m state-of-the-art multimedia experience designed to throw visitors right into the thronging crowds of a vivid, noisy, vibrant, traditional Spanish fiesta.

“These modern installations are designed to show how people live now in the five regions of Spain, and through this we hope to explain the ‘Spanish soul’,” says Vidal. “For the Fiesta zone, we recorded 180 hours of footage at nine different fiesta locations over a whole year to create this visual spectacular. With the sound of the fiesta all around them and surrounded by the 10-metre-tall 4K screens, visitors will feel as though they’re in the middle of the Sanfermines in Pamlona or the Tomatina in Buñol, for example.”

The state-of-the-art multimedia installations were handled by Mediapro and bring a “dynamic and didactic” element to Poble Espanyol that’s both engaging and capable of evoking emotions. Two further areas have also been completed: a welcome zone with interactive touch screen technology, which introduces visitors to the history of the attraction and helps them plan their visit; and the Feeling Spain zone, which takes visitors on a multi-sensory journey across Spain.

“We also did not want to introduce too much multimedia and technology because we don’t want to compromise the feel of the park,” says Vidal. “You could put multimedia attractions anywhere but you cannot build a town like this.”

Aside from the new investments, Vidal keeps people coming back to Poble Espanyol by working with different partners to host a varied offer of events, such as the OFFSonar electronic music festival, Barcelona Marionettes Festival, Rock and Grill Festival and Biergarten festival.

The Poble Espanyol has replications of 117 buildings representing fifteen communities of Spain
The museum was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo as an exhibit of the architecture and culture of Spain
The museum was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Expo as an exhibit of the architecture and culture of Spain
 


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