Sara Reddin, 48 years old, with a partner and two teenage children. She was born in London and moved to Paris in my late twenties. She moved to Barcelona a year ago to develop her business and discover a new alternative school that is based here. She is the designer and director of a homewares brand called Golden Editions. The brand creates design led, handcrafted luxury for the home, working with associations of artisans in Ghana. They now have a workshop/showroom/Shop in Gracia.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
We were looking for a new alternative school for our children and discovered there was one in Barcelona. We loved the school and then started to research the city. We were looking for somewhere where you could enjoy a cosmopolitan urban life and be close to nature. Near Barcelona there is real wilderness, mountains, sea, and forest all within 30 minutes of the city. Then, as a designer, Barcelona is a beautiful Mediterranean city with a rich architectural history, incredible modernist buildings and exciting patterns and details everywhere you turn. Culturally rich there are parts that feel funky and creative like New York and other areas that have the calm sophistication of Paris.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
It is warm and friendly place; people are rarely disagreeable which makes starting out feel manageable. The closeness to nature makes people health conscious and naturally happy. It’s also very creative and cosmopolitan, with lots of start-ups like our children’s school, people experimenting and being innovative.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
I think it could be useful to have more Catalan lessons available for newcomers! Some salaries are very low which seems unfair considering many things are expensive as other countries with higher minimum wages. A better developed Design Week would also be important to develop the design industry here.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
Financially speaking, tourism may seem invasive to some, but it may be the saving of Barcelona, great for businesses and therefore jobs. The city is definitely very attractive for investors as there is a dynamic and young international population willing to work hard and be creative.
Regarding wellbeing and social contact, Barcelona is a very sociable place and Catalan culture is very family orientated so I am sure the mental strain caused by Covid was overcome here better than other places.
What other challenges do you think the city will face once the health crisis ends?
The climate is a great concern, the possibility of fires in the forests behind and then rising tides of the sea in the front. The increasing heat and humidity level is also quite high. How to keep people cool and active in such heat without using polluting air conditioning, this is certainly a question to be solved in Barcelona.
Then there is the question of work and financial stability for people on low wages.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
Adapting transport and logistics to be sustainable and to allow people to connect to places outside the city easily without driving. To develop Design, Art and Architectural happenings in the city to attract professional and international people to visit. I would also like to see the beach front developed in a way to protect against sea rising whiles becoming more attractive.
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
I grew up in London so it will always be my first home. I miss the multiculturalism, the smell of wet leaves, great Indian food, and my family.
If you want to know the latest English news about Barcelona and the people who bring it to life, sign up to our Blog.