Antoni Gaudi is the most well known of the Modernista architects and you see his work everywhere in Barcelona. I love the color, curves, dragons and mosaics of his magical creations. I want to share as many pictures as I can so I am setting aside the Sagrada Familia for its own separate post; still leaves a lot to cover in this one!
I chose the Gaudi Hotel; it is right off Les Rambles, across the street from Palau Guell and a few doors down from the London Bar, both designed by Gaudi. We had planned to tour Palau Guell during our stay but the website hours were wrong and we missed it – we left too early in the morning and it was closed when we came back. There is a domed ceiling I would have loved to see; we contented ourselves with viewing the rooftop from the patio on the roof of our hotel.
We ran into another conflict of hours at the Casa Mila. We were able to look into the atrium and of course the exterior. Ice cream is an adjective used to describe this building due to the curves and contours of its roof. I have been in this building in the past and the tour allows you to see furniture and decorations, giving you an idea of how people lived in a Gaudi creation.
The ceilings are energetic. The apartment side of the building sports the colors of the sea and the restaurant has layers of swirls that remind me of flowers. When I see something like this ceiling, I can’t help but wonder how they keep it dusted!
Casa Batllo is often referred to as the bone house, made of skulls and bones. The bones are the supporting pillars and the skulls are the balconies; the skulls are most apparent at night when they are lit. Gaudi’s intention with this house was to create a “paradise on earth”. The facade’s upper floors are mosaic; the colors used inside and out are reminiscent of the sea. An intricate pair of iron doors open onto a rooftop filled with organic shapes and mosaic clad chimneys.
Gaudi was obsessed with lighting. This house has a light well that runs through the center of the building; the stairwell curves around it and is capped with a large skylight. To further distribute the light evenly, the tiles in the light well go from a gray blue in the bottom to cobalt at the top. When you look through the glass panels of the stairwell, the mixture of tiles ripple like water.
Casa Batllo is touted as a building with no right angles – that must be the structure and not the ornamentation! No matter, the curves and arches make you feel coddled and peaceful. I would love to live with this much light!
The last place I want to share images of in this post, is Parc Guell. The park was to have been the common/central area of a residential development outside of the city. To get to the park, it’s best to take the bus or taxi; the walk is all uphill! We caught the bus outside of the hospital on the Ave de Gaudi, opposite the Sagrada Familia.
The pavilion area now has limited access to protect it from wear and tear. One of the advantages of traveling in the off season is that we had no trouble getting a slot, the disadvantage is that it gets dark very early! As you can see from the pictures, the sun was beginning to set when we arrived. We walked through some of the park land, past twisted, grotto-like columns (used as a backdrop on America’s Top Model) on our way to the main square which is decorated with mosaics. I was actually able to photograph the iconic dragon without people in the way, taking selfies or doing silly poses!
The upper square is surrounded by this wonderful bench of undulating curves. The color flows with extraordinary boldness; some consider this project to be the forerunner of abstract art. I feel the urge to start breaking china! I would love to create a bench for our new house!