Philippe Starck Brings Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao To Life

One of things I loved so much about Bilbao is the ready access to public art and dynamic architecture. Then there are places in the city where the two aesthetics meet.

The Azkuna Zentroa opened in 2010 as a cultural and leisure center for locals and visitors. Product designer Philippe Starck was brought in to transform a former wine warehouse from the early 1900s into a eye-catching space.

You can shop, eat, drink, study, swim, exercise, watch a movie, hear a lecture, read a book or see a performance. There’s something for everyone, adults and children.

The first thing that you’ll notice are the columns all done in various designs — each one is not like the other. Even if you’re just passing through or creeping on the free WiFi, you can study the columns like you would in a museum.

While you’re walking around, make sure you look up. The gym is on the roof of the building and the pool has a glass bottom. It was raining the day I went so I couldn’t take advantage of the pool. All you need to do is take the elevator to the gym, pay an 11 Euro admittance and get ready to do the butterfly while strangers below look up at you.

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If you want to feel like you’re in the future, you can rest on the illuminated light benches. They don’t sell those at IKEA.

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