Categories Inspiration

Casa Vicens, My Visit to Antoni Gaudí’s First Residential Home

It’s not hard to find one word that describes a visit to Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Vicens. Color. Overwhelming, brillant, color. Walking through the garden, past exterior walls of teal and yellow-colored tiles provided a hint of things to come. We were not disappointed upon entering the front door. It’s interior design like you’ve never seen it.

Gaudi, the famed Spanish architect perhaps best known for the vision of the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, a church under construction for over 130 years, was at the time, a newbie on the scene when asked to design Vicens.

There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.

Antoni Gaudi

Originally meant to be a summer home, it was built in the late 1800s for a client of Gaudí’s, the wealthy broker Manuel Vicens, the home showcases unique decorative features that could only come from the mind of Gaudí via his love of nature as his muse. These include highly-detailed frescos, textured wallpapers, papier-mâché tiles, wood built-ins, and Mocárabe, an Iberian form of ornamented vaulting with roots in Islamic architecture. It looks like a honey comb and is magnificent!

In 2005, Casa Vicens was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2017, a painstaking renovation began and it was reopened to the public in 2018.  At some point in its history, Casa Vicens was transformed into three different spaces that housed several flats. According to one of the docents, the structure suffered severe water damage and many of the decorative surfaces were covered with cream paint and drop-ceilings.  According to the official website, “a multidisciplinary team, made up of architects, artisans, historians, experts on the works of Gaudí, chemists, and photographers, among others, helped ratify the preliminary hypotheses”, was needed to bring it back to its original grandeur,

Casa Vicens was the world’s introduction to Gaudí’s distinct style and some say it is the beginning of the Modernism or European Art Nouveau. Located at 20, Carolines Street, in Barcelona, it’s worth a visit. For the simple love of design.

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