CAIXA FORUM SEVILLAby Fiona Flores Watson
The major new cultural centre in Seville, which opened in March 2017, CaixaForum Seville offers a purpose-built venue for contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, conferences, and other events.
Located next to Andalucia's first skyscraper, the 180m-Torre Sevilla (known locally as Torre Pelli), CaixaForum Sevilla covers 8,100m2, consisting of two exhibition halls, an auditorium, two multi-use rooms, a Kids Zone room for children's activities, a shop, and a café-restaurant with outdoor terrace.
The eighth CaixaForum in Spain, and the third-largest, this 200-milion-euro centre expects to welcome 300,000 visitors per year, offering a total of 1200 activities and events per year - at least five per day (some repeated), from talks about specific artworks, to scientific lectures, to "Art in Motion", when an artist paints a mural accompanied by a DJ.
The underground centre (only the restaurant is above ground) was designed by Sevillano architect Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra. Innovative features include flexible seating options for an audience with all levels of mobility - the 273-seater auditorium features a front row where nine seats can be removed to make space for wheelchairs, and energy-saving escalators.
Scientific and cultural activities
A monthly schedule includes concerts, films, talks, and weekend family activities on a wide variety of cultural and scientific themes. In the opening few months, you can hear talks on Seville-located operas, and astronomy; go to family workshops themed around art, geometry and science; listen to Senegalese griots, traditional African singers and storytellers; and see classic silent movies accompanied by live music.
Exhibitions in the two salas, which will feature works from La Caixa's extensive contemporary art collection, change every three months.
One of the most innovative features of the exhibitions is the interactive children's activities within the exhibition halls. Each activity is themed around a specific work or group of works in the exhibition - for example, a painting of a forest which hides faces of famous people, on the theme of identity, is next to an area where children can create their own family tree using leaf-shaped papers to write names on.
In another exhibition, one section of which looks at the use of colour, children can use brightly-coloured paper to trace over sea creatures in a vivid underwater scene, which they then cut out and stick onto the marine image.
Restaurant and shop
The restaurant has several set menus, including one themed around a current exhibition, with local specialities from a region associated with the artist. From its first-floor terrace, you can see the iconic Torre Sevilla, owned by CaixaBank Group, whose main shareholder is "la Caixa" Banking Foundation, of which CaixaForum is also part.
In the shop, you can buy books on art, design, photography and architecture, as well as pretty Art Deco bags and scarves, ceramics, traditional Spanish leather botas (bags for water or wine) and educational children's toys and games.
You can also leave bags in lockers, and there's free WIFI.
Watch this video to get a taste of the new centre
Camino de los Descubrimientos, esquina calle Jeronimo de Aguilar, 41902 Sevilla.
Tel: 955 657 611/2
Opening hours: Opens daily 10am - 8pm (12 midnight on Wednesdays in June and July). Restaurant opens daily 9am-10pm.
Entrance fees: Exhibitions are free for La Caixa customers, €4 for others; concerts and other activities and events range from €2 - €6, with a 50% reduction for La Caixa customers. Children aged under 16 are free.