Nov 7, 2021 | Ibiza Blog | 0 comments

Space Games. Who Owns Space Ibiza

Ibiza Blog | 0 comments

Written by Dan Kirwan

The island of Ibiza was on red alert last week as its most decorated Captain, Pepe Rosello, came under direct fire from the Matutes Empire.  When a picture of the Space trademark appeared on an intergalactic screen hanging on the wall of an old hotel, the islands jungle drums began beating louder than the DC 10 sound system.  Like a Klingon Bird of Prey, the image silently decloaked on a cold Halloween night when they say the dead come back to life. In Latin culture, the next day November 1 is referred to as Day Of The Dead and I feel the date was used to convey a non-litigious message to Pepe Rosello not to resurrect Space Ibiza from its grave. Thanks to the power of social media the ghoulish image went viral as it was shared across the world creating a storm of online speculation and newspaper headlines.

So what’s going on here. Well like most things in Ibiza its mui complicado and rooted in its complex, small island culture.  It’s well known that Pepe Rosello and his ex-landlord Abel Matutes are no longer friends, Pepe had threatened to bulldoze the building at one stage and has been vocal in the local press voicing his grievances to the eviction and spinning stories that he would be relaunching the brand after it was forced to cease trading in 2016.  During most of that time, the Matutes group remained silent as Pepe and the management team linked to Carl Cox, were leaking information and rumours to keep the Space Ibiza brand alive, something many in Ibiza knew was a lame-duck.

In 2015 Grupo Matutes were in the process of launching Hi Ibiza on the former site of Space in partnership with the charismatic Frenchman Yann Pissenem and his company The Night League. It was a very delicate time for the fledging Franco-Spanish alliance and I remember causing upset [not for the first time] when I published the identity of the multi-million euro project after Google Maps prematurely unveiled its secret identity before the official launch. It was a hostile environment at the time, Hi did not have many friends as the perception was they had assimilated Space and built a corporate entity on its grave.  However in Ibiza, I have found there are usually three sides to every story, your side, their side and the truth, and to date, we were only hearing one side. 

The story I had heard offers an alternative perspective, I’m not saying it’s the truth, but it’s a different version from the one that is doing the rounds, the one that seeks to control the narrative, the modus operandi of a certain sector of the industry on the island. It was recounted to me that the lease on Space had expired much earlier than 2016 and to secure an extension to that lease, a deal was brokered that the tenant could remain in the building for an extended period if Space agreed not to go into direct competition with Grupo Matutes business interests in Ibiza. Pepe may not have been aware of the Hi project at that time as it was bound in secrecy. It was a strategic and logical business decision not to have an award-winning club camped out in your backyard when launching a shiny new clubbing brand on the island. 

It is rumoured that Pepe has two high value aces up his sleeve

It allowed Pepe to stay on for a few more years while thinking he retained the Space name as legal advice would have supported his claim as the rightful owner of the intellectual property rights of the Space and its landlord would have known this too. The scorpion had been tourist trapped and outmanoeuvred by the Wiley old fox and he should have known better. Evidence to date would also support this story as both parties have been unable to launch a Space Ibiza branded event on the island after five long years and actions talk louder than words. There is also a big piece of evidence registered in the offices of the Spanish Trademarks Registry which lists the Space Ibiza trademark as inactive, cancelled in 2018 and resting in a dormant state ever since. 


There have been a few red herrings thrown into the mix all designed to keep chipping away at public opinion and keep the brand alive in some other shape-shifting form but the registered owner of the Space trademark has always been Space Ibiza Planet Sl which is listed as having two directors Pepe Rosello and his partner Juan Arenas. If the Matutes family owned it they would most certainly have it registered in their names. There is nothing stopping anybody from displaying the Space Branding on their TV screen, it doesn’t mean they own it and trying to crack Pepe’s bulletproof claim to the intellectual property rights would prove a daunting task so I cant see how Grupo Matutes could run with a Space Ibiza branded party.  It is rumoured that Pepe has two high-value aces up his sleeve and this move by Matutes would confirm that there may be truth to those rumours. 


They say a picture can paint a thousand words and all art is subjective. Possessing a fair understanding of the cultures involved in this dispute, my view of the Hard Rock incident is that it was meant as a warning shot across the bow of Pepe’s ship to remind him of a private deal that neither party can trade the iconic Space Ibiza brand on the island. The old Space ship has been decommissioned, like the Apollo 11 Command Module, retired to the Smithsonian Museum of Ibiza artefacts where it should be remembered for what it was, a cultural icon that belongs to the island and not one individual or entity who may sell it to foreign developers. Let it rest in peace.

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