Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spain's Best Modernista Architect

The best Modernista architect in Spain was Antonio Gaudi.  Modernista works were a 19th century Art Noveau movement that emphasized natural forms, bright colors and curveular lines that was carried over into architectural.  And Gaudi did it best! 
Casa Batllo in Barcelona on the Passeig de Gracia (No. 43), just south of Carrer D'Arago, is  really phenomenal!  It was an existing building that textile industrialist, Josep Batllo', commissioned Gaudi to remodel. Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1906.  The facade refers to Catalonia's Middle Ages.  The scaly roof line represents the Dragon of Evil impaled on St. George's cross. 
Batllo's residence was the largest apartment in the building that had an impressive "noble floor."  It was a large gallery with balconies that extended beyond the facade of the building with stone columns in shapes of skulls and bones representing the dragon's victims.  This was an area to see and be seen!
This is how the gallery was decorated back in the early 1900's.
This mushroom shaped enclave with the mushroom shaped fireplace was perfect for "courting couples."  One side for the courting couples and the other side for the chaperon!
The center core of the building was like Captain Nemo's underwater caves with skylights, vaulted ceilings and a beautifully carved wood banister that twists up the stairwell like a spine of a serpent.  And of course the blue and white ceramic tiles were a big hit with me.  
Examples of Modernism can be found everywhere in Barcelona from a building's foyer, lighting fixtures, tile, fountains, a facade...   That is one of the many things I love about Barcelona.  Viva Modernism!

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