Barcelona’s most famous and most frequented Hall of Fame is faced with new limitations on which walls will be permitted to paint. Below we’ll explain the new regulations, their reasoning, and we’ll take a little look at the history of Els Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies de Paral·lel.
A little bit of history…
The Tres Xemeneies gardens or “The Three Chimneys Park” is a space located on one side of Paral·lel avenue, between the Apolo nightclub and the Baluard Gardens. This park is dedicated to the historical strike of March 1919, by the workers of “la Canadenca” (Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited, which occupied the same location). It went down in history as an emblem of the Catalan labor movement. This is why we can see industrial elements that allude to the old factory.
Barcelona’s most emblematic Hall of Fame
The three walls that separate the tree-lined park from the recreational area have always been used in support of graffiti, condoned by various festivals that endorsed its use in the urban art scene since they were erected.
In 2006, the enforcement of the new regulations promoted by the City Council, backed by then mayor Joan Clos, put a stop to the most elaborate graffiti activity, both at Les Tres Xemeneies and in the rest of the city — and made way exclusively for quick and clandestine graffiti.
It was in 2012 when the Wallspot platform managed to develop a mechanism which freed certain walls from the exorbitant fines from city officials. Following this, the park once again hosted all kinds of urban writers and artists who saw this location as the perfect place for their pieces.
From 3 walls to 5POINTZ
In 2017 the Tres Xemeneies gardens began to host the different activities that use the 3 authorized walls as part of their setup. While these activities are on, many writers and artists choose to paint other areas of the space, since the available surface is reduced by half.
The huge influx of foreign writers and artists who come to leave their mark pushes many writers to place their names in less accessible areas throughout the park, displaying their signature and maintaining visibility.
In addition to all this, the arrival of COVID-19 and the consequent closure of many recreational places has turned the park into a meeting place, street hangout, and host to more than one outdoor party.
Current problem: assorted incivility
It seems as though the current situation has become unbearable for the neighbors, for various reasons.
In addition to becoming a nightlife hub, with its consequent disorder and commotion, the square has also been host to many homeless people and drug addicts who make it difficult for residents and users to coexist at night. In the mornings, a cleaning crew is in charge of clearing the area of syringes, which children who play in the park have come in contact with on more than one occasion.
Although this aspect isn’t directly related to painting, a proactive stance towards these things usually includes an aseptic repainting of the area, to demonstrate a proper and aesthetic “cleansing” of the space.
Poisoning of the indoor courts
The walls closest to Vila y Vilà street form part of a public gym and are mounted with ventilation for the indoor soccer and basketball courts that are housed within them. The constant activity with spray paint in this area directly harms those who practice play in this sports center, due to the paint dust and the smell of the solvents that get absorbed.
Protection of biodiversity
It appears as though the most eco-minded opinions see the artistic activity incompatible with the biodiversity of the garden, which has an area of Canadian poplars characteristic of both the Mediterranean and the Park itself.
For these reasons and more, the city council has decided to implement a bit of order, which includes partially restricting the areas where graffiti will be permitted.
What are the new norms?
Really, the new rules will be pretty much the same as always. Painting will only be allowed on the 3 central walls and the wall that surrounds the office building of the Red Eléctrica Española. The remaining areas, which they are trying to whitewash with the recurring gray color, will be subject to inspections and sanctions.
Given that sanctions in these times of economic scarcity can be an enormous inconvenience for a citizen’s pockets, a grace period will be implemented in the area in an attempt to inform users of the firm conditions that will be imposed. Although, as always, whether you get fined or not will all depend on the officer you come across that day.