There’s a general strike in Spain today which means that, among other inconveniences, design fans will be denied the chance to see Mario Eskenazi’s brilliant identity system for the city of Barcelona in action. I recently had the chance to speak to Eskanazi about a piece of work that is a daily part of city life
Eskanazi’s identity for Barcelona pel Medi Ambient, the environmental services department of the municipal authority, was actually introduced in 2009 but has been rather overlooked in terms of international coverage – which is ironic given its visibility in the city. Its huge dotted B adorns all the vehicles used for street cleaning, patrolling the beaches, parks and so on in the city. Different coloured and patterned Bs represent different departments – light green for parks, light blue for streets, dark green for refuse collection and so on.
You might expect a city council to be a difficult client but Eskanazi says that the opposite was true. He also says that, having moved to the city from his native Argentina more than 30 years ago, his intimate knowledge of it meant that he already had a deep understanding of what would be appropriate.
The patterning of the B letters at the heart of the scheme was created using the Processing open source programming language. A script sampled images of the city to create the patterns.
These are then applied to white vehicles alongside the Barcelona pel Medi Ambient name in black type with the individual department name in its appropriate colour below.
It’s a very effective, instantly recognisable scheme that, in its confident modernity, expresses the values of the city very well.
It’s also very flexible – here, for example, it is used reversed out on a blue bin.
And on a beach patrol vehicle.
Hopefully by tomorrow things will have returned to normal in the city and, once again, Eskanazi’s Bs will be buzzing about its streets, parks and beaches once again.
See more of Eskanazi’s work here.
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