Along the sun-kissed cobbled streets of Barcelona, the colorful Art Nouveau creations of Antoni Gaudi are hard to miss. From the iconic Sagrada Familia to the enchanting Park Güell, the esteemed architect’s presence is keenly felt across the city. Now the Catalan city is getting ready to welcome another Gaudi creation to the fold – Casa Vicens.
In addition to being one of the starting points of Gaudi’s career, Casa Vicens stands as one of the “first examples of the aesthetic renewal of art and architecture which was taking place all around Europe in the late 19th century,” explains Joan Abellà , Director of the Casa Vicens project. Built in the 1880’s, the details of Casa Vicens, from the multi-colored plaster mocárabe ceilings, to the green, blue and gold papier-mâché tiles, are indeed reflective of the 19th century penchant for Oriental design. “All this ornamentation takes us immediately into the imaginary world of exotic far-off places.”
Historical restoration is never easy. An obligation to honor authenticity alongside the difficulties of recreating original methods of construction, for instance, pose significant challenges.
With Casa Vicens, the architectural team faced the added complication of “recovering the original house as designed by Antoni Gaudi.” In 1925, the single family home was turned into three separate dwellings. Later, in the 1940’s and again in the 1960’s, Casa Vicens’ gardens and land were sold off, resulting in the loss of its original waterfall and chapel.
Gaudi’s architecture is so personal. It’s not easy to generate a loyal movement of followers, but yes, he has inspired me – and not just me; Gaudi has the power to inspire some of the best contemporary architects with his enthusiasm and his dedication.
Although an opening date has yet to be announced, Casa Vicens is expected to open by the year’s end. We can’t wait to visit in the ultimate travel meets architectural appreciation adventure!