Hivernacle is one of Barcelona’s hidden gems. It is a garden center like no other, located in a restored historic building that dates back to 1884, when architect Josep Amargós designed the building for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. This stunning construction blends brick and steel with huge windows that flood the interior space with light. Upon entering it feels like walking into a secret garden: visitors are greeted by a water feature surrounded by enormous tropical leaves. The main cavernous hall is dotted with tables filled with a huge range of plants – from cacti to olive trees, delicate bougainvillea and peace lilies. From the roof beams hang planters, their leaves tumbling downward to give the sensation of being truly immersed in a luscious garden, filled with everything to satisfy gardening needs.
At the back of the hall there’s a small pagoda and a peaceful “Zen garden”, where a Buddha statue faces outward beside a table and chair where visitors can relax. There is even a small children’s play area with a few toys scattered around to entertain kids while parents peruse the plants. A second large room is open to the elements, leaving a sense of the raw industrial construction it once was.
The center is a family-run business in the low-key residential neighborhood of Sants. A proud display of photos showcase the building before its renovation, and it certainly has received a lot of love and attention to bring it to the elegant and beautiful state it is now. The Hivernacle team sometimes advertise workshops on a range of topics to do with gardening and food, and also rent the space for concerts. For any Barcelona-based architecture and plant lovers, Hivernacle is a must-see!
Images via Helen Morgan