The narrow and gloomy Carolines street in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona hides an oasis. Because its number 20 corresponds to the most recently opened to the public house of Antoni Gaudí. The first one designed by the great architect: Casa Vicens.
Open to the public in November 2017, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, and perfectly represents Le Corbusier’s words about its author:
“Gaudí was a great artist, only those who move the sensitive hearts of men remain and will remain.”
Made after finishing his studies, between the years 1883 and 1888, it is a cluster of marked influences from the Near and Far East, and of a marked constructive simplicity. The first Gaudí piece followed the currents that dominated European aesthetics, drawing inspiration from Japan, Persia or India, and also from the country’s tradition.
It is mainly verified in the brick used as a construction base, and the ceramic tile. Which in this case pays tribute to the owner of the summer residence, Manuel Vicens i Montaner. According to some sources, he was the owner of a ceramic factory.
The vegetal patterns that characterize this building, and that continue as a general trend in the Gaudinian style, are from Art Nouveau, by William Morris or Viollet-le-Duc.
The square-plan house occupied just over half of the plot, which contained a lush garden and a monumental fountain, now lost. The ceramics and the exterior forging are the logical continuation of this vegetation.
A distinctive sign of the Casa Vicens is the Arab style minaret, which alternates the masonry with the checkerboard tile in green and white colors. The entire exterior is decorated with Indian carnation borders, the flowers that stories say the architect found on the site when the project began.
The museum experience that can be enjoyed today is, in all the magnitude of the word, an experience. Make redundancy worth it. An interactive visit, in which contemplation is one of the bases of the walk through its corners and nooks and crannies. Do not miss it.
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