Design & Development

Barcelona commits to further Palau Blaugrana upgrades, hires Fieldfisher

FC Barcelona has revealed plans for further upgrades at the Palau Blaugrana arena, while it has engaged law firm Fieldfisher to aid the Espai Barça project.

Palau Blaugrana is part of Espai Barça’s multi-layered vision to overhaul the club’s facilities, with the ultimate goal of delivering a new arena which in principle would largely maintain the current exterior design, but increase the capacity from the current 7,500 to between 10,000 and 15,000 seats and adapt it so it can cater for both professional sports and concerts and cultural shows.

In the meantime, Barcelona has been seeking to implement upgrades to the existing building, with this process commencing last year for the facility’s 50th anniversary. Last season the first actions were carried out to improve the fan experience, with the renovation of the electronic scoreboard, the replacement of the court lighting and the installation of a new public address system. In the summer, new spot lighting was installed, together with a new court surface.

Work has now commenced this week which aims to modernise some of the arena’s busiest spaces and give the building “a more Barça feel”. Work is to be carried out on the catering zones, specifically the Lateral bar, the Ice Rink bar, the Grandstand A and B bars and, on the first floor, the Gol Nord and Gol Sud bars, along with the one for visiting fans.

New flooring is to be put in pace, and the walls and ceilings will be given a Barça feel with blaugrana stripes and inspirational messages taking centre stage. The bar and all other interior spaces will also be renovated, including LED menu screens and Click & Collect points. Recycling points will also be installed.

To make better use of an area of the Palau with reduced visibility, a new 58 square metre VIP lounge will be created at the top of the first tier of Gol Nord. The aesthetic will be inspired by the Barça Cafe, the restaurant on Rambla Barça, and the space will be open to the court so fans can watch games from there. LED screens will be introduced to ensure fans don’t miss any of the action.

Two fixed points of sale will be introduced for Barça Licensing & Merchandising products, one in the Lateral area and the other in the Grandstand. As in the restaurant areas, Barça’s colours will also feature on all the exposed brick walls that surround the stands.

The Palau lighting will also be made more efficient through the installation of LED lamps on the court, to be complemented in the following months by new Barça-themed lighting in the domed roof. Additionally, new static advertising LED screens will be installed behind the goals.

Fieldfisher to oversee Espai Barça

Meanwhile, Barcelona has hired Fieldfisher to carry out risk assessment and control monitoring functions for Espai Barça, in liaison with the club’s Compliance and Internal Audit areas. This will form part of a new Espai Barça Monitoring Committee, a group of professionals who will provide an additional layer of supervision and monitoring throughout the project’s development process.

Barcelona said: “The club’s intention is to thereby strengthen internal controls through the participation of an independent firm that will be responsible for supervising compliance with current legislation and internal procedures with regard to the most high-risk activities of the Espai Barça project.

“This is yet another example of the club’s commitment to Espai Barça, which was already evident during the referendum campaign.”

In December, Barcelona members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a funding proposal for Espai Barça. A total of 42,693 members voted to ratify a decision made by delegate members in October to back the board of directors’ proposal to negotiate a financing operation of up to €1.5bn (£1.31bn/$1.47bn) for Espai Barça, which will result in the expansion of the Camp Nou to a capacity of 105,000.

As well as the expansion of the Camp Nou, Espai Barça will deliver the new Palau Blaugrana and the wide-ranging Campus Barça development. The first part of the project saw the opening of the new Estadi Johan Cruyff in August 2019.

Barcelona last month appointed the joint venture of Ingeniería y Arquitectura Torrella and Ingenieros JG to direct the next construction phase for the revamped Camp Nou.