I live in a Warehouse in Barcelona
I live in a warehouse in Barcelona. I don't know how many housemates I
have...about twenty? I have a friend who asked me to write an article
about living in a warehouse. I was about to write it...and then I got
This is life in a warehouse. Chaos. Parties. Creativity. The air can
be thick with creativity: graphic designers hunched over their
computers, tattoo designers staining their fingers with ink from
detailed drawings, musicians with eyes glazed, lost in composition as
they cradle their guitar or race hands over piano keys. Sometimes the
air is thick with the smoke from spliffs and cigarettes, and the air
heavy with the potential of creativity which is blown away with every
It is like living on the end of a yoyo. Sometimes the studio pulses
with energy, groups cooking together in the kitchen, coworking on
artistic projects, lending a hand with writing ideas and sharing
materials. As the yoyo descends things can get out of control. The
walls vibrate as speakers are cranked up to the max, three people
bring friends home and in a flash a home turns into a rave. The air
crackles with the fizz of beer cans opened, plates, mugs and someone's
art project are turned into ash trays.
Alcohol, ever the social lubricant, seeps through the rooms, sealing
friendships, shooting cupids arrows and sparking arguments. Figures
emerge from doors hitherto rarely opened. Housemates pop up like
meerkats, small group of intense conversations sprout like mushrooms.
Friends and lovers are won and lost.
Then the yoyo loses its slack. One by one figures melt into the
darkness, back into their caves, out into the urban desert of Poble
Nou. The sun strains to poke its fingers into the cavernous space,
through slats and skylights. A burning eye of curiosity, peeking in
through the grills on the windows by the traintracks, to shed light on
the mystery of such a big and closed space.
You never know which way the yoyo is swinging. Sometimes you walk into
laughter, new housemates. Who is rifling through the drawers in the
kitchen, looking for the ever absent corkscrew? A new housemate,
visitor, robber? Who is that spraying a poem on the bathroom wall. Do
we live in a house, a working studio or a hostel of strangers?
Othertimes you walk into a morgue of potential talent lost at the
bottom of sticky bottles lining the bottom of the grafitti lining
Like a long flight with strangers, there is a fine line between
strangeness and intimacy. Some come for three months, some two years.
Peru, Germany, Australia, Lithuania. You make the connection of a
lifetime with a housemate of two weeks, and spend a year sharing a
kitchen with someone whose name you struggle to remember.
But that is the beauty of the yoyo. It's shiny, plastic and new. You
never know who may come next, farewells are sad but spaces quickly
filled. Murals are painted over and replaced. Arguments swing from the
point of art, to who drank the milk, with equal passion.
Enough light can fill the darkest of spaces.
Text : Nellie English
Illustration : Andrzej Selistrovskij