If you missed the sell-out BCNMCR (opens in new tab) last year, then you're in luck: the Barcelona-Manchester exhibition is gearing up to return to the UK on Thursday 27 March, with some of the Spanish city's most exciting designers and studios in tow. Alex Trochut (opens in new tab), Brosmind (opens in new tab), Toormix (opens in new tab), Laura Meseguer (opens in new tab), Folch Studio (opens in new tab) and more will be showcasing work - some created exclusively for the event - during the free, month-long exhibition at Manchester's TwentyTwentyTwo (opens in new tab) venue.
There will also be an afternoon of talks taking place on Friday 28 March. The speaker list has yet to be publicly confirmed, but if last year is anything to go by (the speaker sessions sold out in under 20 minutes) you'll need to move fast when this year's tickets become available in the next few weeks. For tickets news, you can sign up to the BCNMCR email list on the website (opens in new tab).
We took five with organiser and curator Dave Sedgwick to find out more in the run-up to the BCNMCR launch...
What's BCNMCR all about?
BCNMCR is short for Barcelona/Manchester. It's a design exhibition and series of talks featuring 11 illustration, typography and graphic design studios directly from Barcelona, but in Manchester.
I organised the first one last year and it was a real success, with lots of people coming to see the show and tickets for the talks selling out really quickly. So the aim this year was to move things on a bit, add some more interesting elements and continue the creative collaboration between the two cities.
How will this event be different from last year?
Well, firstly there are 11 studios involved this year, so I have more work to showcase and a real variety of work as well. The exhibition will also be open for longer (four weeks) and with clear and consistent opening times. The talks will be held in a larger venue so more people can come to see them and there will also be a chance to purchase limited edition (one of each) prints that are in the exhibition, so you can own a one off piece from the show!
As well as all this we have arranged for some well known DJs to fly over from Barcelona to complete the launch weekend with a special set at TwentyTwentyTwo on the Saturday night. So it's a celebration of not only design, but music as well.
There will be an afternoon of inspirational talks – who's going to be speaking? And can people still get tickets?
The speakers are still to be publicly confirmed! But I can tell you that six of the 11 are coming over for the event. So it's a real exciting, inspirational and varied group. If you want tickets, you need to sign up with your email address via the BCNMCR website (opens in new tab) as all the news will be available first to those who add their email addresses. Tickets will be on sale in the next few weeks and I really don't think people will want to miss it!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing speak?
Personally I really like the work of all the studios involved. It would be unfair of me to suggest any favourites! Obviously I've met with them all and they are really passionate and talented creative people who are greatly looking forward to coming to the UK for this event. There's some amazing speakers lined up and I know the event will be a really popular and interesting afternoon of talks.
Tell us about the exhibition: who's exhibiting?
As mentioned, I have 11 entirely new studios involved this year. We have the amazing illustrative work of Brosmind, who will be showing some original drawings of their work never before seen in the UK. Alex Trochut, who is very well known and has sent some great pieces to be shown in large format, including a set of binary prints, which will be available to purchase as well.
Studios such as Atipus, Toormix and Solo have all done new work for the event and typographer Laura Meseguer will be showcasing new projects in the show. I also have some amazing new work from Folch, TwoPoints.Net, ClaseBCN, Forma&Co and the very talented illustrator Berto Martinez who created the drawings of all the studios for the website.
There will be a real variety of design, illustration and type. I will be taking a look at everything sent to me and will pull together the show based on making sure variety is apparent. Anything that maybe doesn't make it into the show, will be available to see in a limited edition newspaper, which also features exclusive interviews with all the studios involved. Anyone purchasing a ticket to the talks will received one of these as well!
What have you learned since putting on BCNMCR last year?
Loads really. I learnt what the stress and hard work in doing something like this can be and I promised myself never to do another one! Basically I guess I learnt that if you really want to do something then you just have to get off your arse and do it.
There are also some really great people who are prepared to help you out if you ask them. I couldn't have done this without the support of the likes of Shillington College who agreed to sponsor the event, Nine Sixty who helped build the website, Estrella for giving me some beers to offer out, GF Smith for all the paper, Team for the printing and loads of other people who have helped out and would take up too much room in the interview to mention!
Anything else we should know?
Well, to be honest this will more than likely be the last time Barcelona comes to Manchester as the plan is to finally look at taking Manchester over there soon. Plus there are real plans to look at working with some other cities around the world and grow the idea that way.
There's really going to be some amazing work on show at this exhibition and I know the studios are all putting a load of effort into getting their work together. Plus they are all really excited to come over to the UK and I hope everyone gives them a great welcome! I also have one or two surprises to mention, so keep an eye out for more details soon!
Check out the BCNMCR (opens in new tab) website for more details and make sure to follow on Twitter (opens in new tab) for up-to-the minute information on the event. It opens on Thursday March 27 at TwentyTwentyTwo in Manchester and is open for four weeks.
Words: Julia Sagar