A year of bringing people together: Mazda Space celebrates its first anniversary today, having attracted more than 100,000 visitors to the facility – an average of 300-plus per day – since it opened in September 2014 for the global unveiling of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 roadster.

Located in Barcelona’s fashionable El Born district, Mazda Space was conceived primarily as the Japanese carmaker’s European event hub, at least initially. However, it quickly turned into more than that, becoming a cultural centre and a place for people to come together and connect as a community. The venue has of course hosted company conferences and the launches of several new-generation models (including the Mazda CX-3 and Mazda2). It also houses an exhibition of Mazda’s 95-year history. But cars are not the central focus, because Mazda Space is above all about the values the brand respects and encourages, namely the challenger spirit and people who strive to make a difference in the world.

Aimed at diverse target audiences, the 115 events held at Mazda Space over the past 12 months have featured celebrities, thinkers, artists and more. TEDx Barcelona talks, for example, are held monthly. It was the venue for “A TASTE OF Sónar+D by Mazda Rebels”, a series of live music shows devoted to cutting-edge audio and visual devices, as well as several design, fashion and photography exhibitions. Mazda Space is also home to the Barcelona Challengers Conferences, which bring together Nobel Peace laureates, social activists and others with an international student audience to discuss ways to a brighter future. And when there are no special events, the facility is open to the public free of charge.

“We were of course aiming to connect with people and enable them to experience our brand, but the resonance coming from Mazda Space has been overwhelming,” says Mazda Motor Europe’s Vice President Communications Wojciech Halarewicz. “It has truly become an environment where minds can open and ideas flow freely.”

Upcoming events at Mazda Space include the third in the current series of three Barcelona Challengers Conferences on 23 September. The theme is the future of work, and speakers include Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams and Federico Pistono, author of the bestseller Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK