Mercat de Santa Caterina

Market in La Ribera

Image by Artur Debat Getty Images

Come shopping for your tomatoes at this extraordinary-looking produce market, designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue to replace its 19th-century predecessor. Finished in 2005, it is distinguished by its kaleidoscopic and undulating roof, held up above the bustling produce stands, restaurants, cafes and bars by twisting slender branches of what look like grey steel trees.

The multicoloured ceramic roof (with a ceiling made of warm, light wood) recalls the Modernista tradition of trencadís decoration (a type of mosaic, such as that in Park Güell). Indeed, its curvy design, like a series of Mediterranean rollers, seems to plunge back into an era when Barcelona’s architects were limited only by their (vivid) imaginations. The coloured design is in fact from a photo of a fruit and veg stall, blown up to huge scale. The shape of the market roof bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the Escoles de Gaudí at La Sagrada Família.

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