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Barcelona Housing Lottery | Newsletter

On August 18th I landed in Barcelona after three long years and a global pandemic away. I had never seen my parents as happy as during the first days we were back at their home. These were the highs of the honey moon period, and it felt like the Christmas reunions you see on TV for a few minutes.

Every detail seemed new again. The taste of my mum’s food; the way people stare at you on the street; how they interact with each other; how friendly and loud they are; the smells of the city; the human density; the expressions of love in every corner; the ratio of people and dogs; and the indescribable feeling of freedom.

The prices of everything have gone up, like in most countries around the world. Still, there are things considerably cheap like the price of a beer, which is not so different from the price of a bottle of water.On September 1st, we temporarily moved to a friend’s apartment while she was away working on a movie set. These type of apartments in Australia are called commission flats, although the connotations, preconceptions and assumptions about class, education and privilege are quite different.

In this particular case, Public Housing in Barcelona means a block of units built by the government, and offered to the population for a significantly reduced rent for a period of seven years. The fifty-square-metre apartment we are house-sitting, is a brand new architectural project repurposing an old factory, part of a contemporary art centre complex.

The building is filled with people from all ages, genders and personal life circumstances. How do you apply for it? The government opens a public enrolment with a specific criteria. In many cases —not all— the units are offered to people under 35 years old with an income below a certain threshold. As part of the criteria, in every building there are units reserved to people with disabilities, single parents, large families and same sex couples.

Our building is housing forty-two apartments, two of them donated to the art centre, which offers the accommodation to artists who come  from outside Barcelona and need to perform for consecutive days.

By now, I have met a few tenants in the building who told me they were selected out of thirty five thousand applications, so they feel like they already won the lottery.

Many of my friends live in commission flats, be it rentals or brand new units they purchased through a social pool of applications. I wonder if in Australia we need a serious visual, structural and mental rebranding on the concept of commission flats, where broader sectors of the population can access public housing opportunities without any social connotations and specially, without any private investors inflating the already unaffordable house market.

I have been in Barcelona for two months now, and I have hardly taken any photos. I am trying to be as present as I possibly can, absorbing every day as a precious gift.



Below, you’ll find a public talk I recently released, a project that just hit the shelves at Woolies and Coles, and my upcoming Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy Course.

On the last section of this newsletter, you’ll find type and graphic design resources from creatives and academics in Barcelona that I admire.

Much love,Maria xx

Finding Your Inner Compass | ATypI 2021 Talk

In December 2021, I gave an online lecture called “Finding Your Inner Compass” as part of ATypI All Over Again. It’s been nearly one year since then, and I decided to made this lecture public, I hope you find it helpful!


Nexba Non-Alc Soft Seltzers | Kakadu Plum and Finger Lime


Nexba Non-Alc Soft Seltzers | Pink Grapefruit & Tasmanian Pepperberry


Nexba Non-Alc Soft Seltzers | Kakadu Plum & Finger Lime

Australiana botanical packaging illustrations currently stocking at Woolworths and Coles Australia wide.Client: NexbaDesign Manager: Taylor KotlarczykProduct Range: Non-Alc Soft Seltzers


Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy Course (L1)


February 1, 8, 15 & 22, 2023Level 1: Beginner and intermediate2 hours x 4 Wednesdays6 to 8pm AEDT / 8 to 10am CET

My next Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy Course starts on November 2nd. For the first time in 8 years, this course will run on a school night from 6 to 8pm (MEL time), or from 8am to 10am (BCN time).


Tipo-g | Barcelona School of Typography

In October 2022, Tipo-g celebrated its 3rd anniversary at Type Thursday BCN held at BAU School of Design. During the event, Laura Meseguer introduced the new 2023 «Curso de diseño de tipografía. Del boceto a “Variable Fonts”» a type design and applied Typography Course, and invited to the stage some of their former alumni to present their final projects, which you can check them out here.Tipo-g is currently the only in-person Typography School in Barcelona. Its fourth edition starts on January 10th till June 20 2023, and registrations are now open!Learn more about Tipo-g on this recent interview between Laura Meseguer, Quique López and Brandemia.


La columna de Raquel Pelta | Perspectivas sociales del diseño

Raquel Pelta is someone I have always admired. She inspired one of my early lettering artworks back in 2014. Raquel has recently started a design column for Experimenta which I am enjoying very much. Yes, the column is in Spanish, so you can exercise your Google Translator App if needed.


Women At Work Podcast con Ingrid Picanyol 

I started listening to Women at Work Podcast a while ago, and the conversation with Ingrid Picanyol is one of my favourites. You can also find a few English conversation with Paulla Asher and Malika Favre. Thanks to Veronica Fuerte and Hey Studio for making this podcast possible!


Veronica Fuerte at Open Studio w/ Martina Flor 

Recently, Veronica Fuerte was interviewed by Martina Flor on being a woman in a male-dominated industry, about client outreach, about Hey Studio, her physical retail store Hey Shop and about Women at Work Podcast. Listen to it in Enlgish here.