The panot street tiles are part of Barcelona's urban heritage, Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

Barcelona will keep its iconic street tiles by adapting them to the 21st century

Barcelona will keep its iconic street tiles by adapting them to the 21st century

The art nouveau rose design will stay. The composition, though, will have to meet new sustainability standards

Earlier this week the Barcelona authorities announced that they have picked three proposals for the future production of the city’s panot sidewalk tiles. The iconic rose petals design of the tiles will be kept but the way the little cement blocks is produced, as well as their composition, will be changed in order to make them more eco-friendly.

The three finalists were selected after the city placed a tender with the express wish that the original shape of the panots has to be maintained but in all other aspects they should be fit for the standards of the 21st century.

The three solutions will be tested in public in a pilot test at the end of the year, as part of the Superilla Barcelona plan and the redevelopment of the first four green axes of the L’Eixample district. That area is where most of the original panots can be seen.

The road ahead for heritage conservation

If you’ve been to Barcelona, you’ve probably stepped foot on panots, especially if you’ve strolled through the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau district of L’Eixample. The concrete tiles were designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1901 and then standardized with five different models in 1906. The ‘rose’ style (seen in the photo) has been the most popular.

Their initial purpose was the need to cover up the muddy streets of the Catalan capital and even out the appearance of the sidewalks. The tiles proved successful and covered some 5 million square metres of the city’s sidewalks.

They have stayed on since, becoming part of the cultural heritage of Barcelona along with other landmarks, such as the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. In fact, there are also Gaudi-designed panots, which can be seen on the Passeo de Gracia.

Here are the three finalist proposals for the panots of the future:

  • Panot of the XXI century: The system of placement of the pieces allows the reuse of almost all the pieces without using mortar. In addition, there is a reduction of almost 50% in CO2 emissions during manufacturing.
  • PANOT+: These tiles incorporate cement with a lower impact of CO2 emissions and are thinner, though just as strong as the original ones.
  • R3PANOT: This proposal achieves the greatest reduction in CO2 emissions (up to 65%) but the tiles will be thicker.

In order to reach a final decision, the administration has decided to put all three designs to the test. Each of the winning proposals will manufacture the prototype panels needed to cover an area of ​​1,000 m2 in the area of ​​the new green axes.

Each project will receive 80,000 euros for development purposes. After a year of monitoring to check if they perform well, an evaluation of their resistance will be made. If satisfactory, the design will receive final authorisation.



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