The story starts and ‘ends’ with Pepe Rosello. The man behind the myth, one of San Antonio and Ibiza’s favourite son’s who’s history of clubbing included venues in his home town’s West End but whose name will always be synonymous with “the worlds greatest club”.
It’s amazing really when you consider that in 1989 he opened Space in the car park of Ibiza’s largest water park in what at the time was the islands premier family resort. Playa den Bossa of 1989 was a whole different world with family hotels, cafes and very few beach bars except those that sold burger and chips to the masses.
Space’s stroke of genius was to OPEN at 6am when all other clubs were closing therefore capturing the after hours market. It was also mainly open air giving that fun in the sun vibe that is so popular today.
As you can imagine for a venue that opened its doors at 6am there was a distinct atmosphere fuelled by those who refused to go home and go to sleep. The Space terrace soon gained notoriety as the place to be meet the wild and wonderful and legends were born (and buried).
Throughout the 90s Space on Sundays became the party of parties that attracted the great and the good from all over the world and many Sunday afternoon and evening flights were missed as a result of the club that never seemed to stop. The rise of Manumission in the mid 90s saw the Tuesday morning ‘Carry On’ that became infamous as part of the holy grail of Space to DC10 to Manumission then back to Space. 84 hours of pure madness.
Without even realising it Space changed the boundaries of a ‘clubbing experience’ and as its reputation grew the awards started to pour in, routinely voted ‘World’s Best Club’ due to its hedonistic mix of Balearic house and an anything goes ambiance and I mean ANYTHING GOES.
Before the age of the superstar DJ some young Ibiza talent made their names there. Brandon Block, Alex P, Jason Bye, Jonathan Ulysses to name but a few. Some went on to conquer the world while others disappeared in a haze of self destruction, Ibiza is no place for the weak willed after all.
Nothing lasts forever and a radical change of laws in the early 2000’s saw the club sound proofed and a roof put on the infamous terrace – home to a thousand parties. Most importantly the club couldn’t open before 4pm taking away the ‘afters’ trade, the unique selling point that made it’s name in the first place.
For some Space would never be the same again but it quickly reinvented itself from a quirky specialist venue to a fully functional Ibiza Super Club with 5 separate rooms not counting the car park on opening and closing weekends (the official start and end of the summer). Space on Sunday still soldiered on causing casualties on a weekly basis and Carl Cox came onboard and became the face of the most famous club in the world.
Cox’s close relationship with Pepe Rosello forged something special that rose above the other venues and CC’s Tuesday night became another pioneer starting in the evening rather than the early hours like other clubs.
After years of rumours it was left to the big man himself to reveal to the world that 2016 would be Space Ibiza’s 27th and final year after its lease on the building expired and wouldn’t be renewed. Pepe Rosello stayed in the background as usual thanking everybody for the good (and bad) times.
Space Ibiza is now a global brand but the Bossa club will be no more. The bricks and mortar will still be there but the venue will change back to its actual owners, the Matutes Group, who own Ushuaia and the Hard Rock Hotel amongst many other things. They plan to carry on using the venue as a club and will open in 2017. Plans have yet to be finalised but it makes sense for them to use it as somewhere to funnel the post Ushuaia crowd into.
For some the closing of Space is a watershed moment whilst others like the ‘new’ Ibiza with all its glitterati and VIP’s. Like everything times move on and the island has changed drastically from those legendary mornings on the Space terrace sitting on wooden chairs in the open air surrounded by all your mates (old and new), drinking cold beer and jagermeister while listening to incredible tunes from Peezee, Blocko and their entourage.
If you don’t embrace the change then you become the bitter and twisted person in the corner constantly reminding people that Ibiza “isn’t what it used to be” and that they “missed out on the best years” and you don’t want to become that person.
Whether we like it or not Ibiza has evolved into a global brand that immediately conjures up images of natural beauty, world class clubbing and hedonistic pursuits and right at the forefront of that is Space. Whether or not the club carries on in another venue it’s history has already been written and its legacy is assured and more importantly Pepe Rosello will be remembered not just as a pioneer but also as a very decent man.
Bravo Señor Rosello, Bravo.