Secession & Antonio Gaudi
House of Batllo - facade, Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, 1906.
At the mention of the art and architecture from the beginning of the 20th century, their originality and fairy tale impression, it is impossible not to reflect upon Antonio Gaudi and his stunning buildings. Gaudi and his architecture are the unique identity and landmark of urban Barcelona. Secession, Art Nouveau, Jugend style… all these terms describe the art from the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century with all of their characteristics. Even though, the time correspond to the Gaudi’s life, they remain insufficient and incomplete when it comes to the description of this Spanish genius creations. The uniqueness of his thinking and design of architecture and interiors, eclectic relation to the entire previous artistic tradition, remain out of the box, different from all the rules and quality of existing styles.
Antonio Gaudi and Cornet, draw their inspiration from books, past, previous epochs, and from the nature. The preference for the ornaments which are typical for Gaudi came from the great interest in the Middle Ages and Gothic, which have become extremely popular in the across most parts of Europe at the time. Moreover, interest for nature, plants, and animals gave his imagination the inexhaustible source of inspiration for designing pillars, fences, furniture, and other elements.
Gaudi’s inspiration by nature and interpretation of the shapes taken from nature, plants and animals world was implemented on the house Batllo, which is presents artist’s fantasy and amazing design skills. The fairytale-like and wavy facade elements, a small protruding balcony, gleaming panels that are like fish scrub inserted into the facade, creates the illusion of continuous movement.
On the ground floor, the house is leaning on the massive pillars resembling the elephant’s foot. They have caused a whole series of problems and disagreements with city authorities during the construction because of their design, but also because of its position – they crossed the setback zone for 60cm.
House Batllo - interior, Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, 1906.
Softness, the absence of sharp edges and corners identified on the facade, are skillfully transferred in the interior of this house. Like other Gaudi’s houses, the interior of the Batllo House is Gaudi’s work. The artist thought thoroughly about every detail that is embedded in his design, staircases, handrails, doors, fireplaces. Special attention is devoted to rooms which were intended for the owner of the house, a rich textile manufacturer Giuseppe Batllo.
In the interior is a clearly evident denial of sharp angles and edges, junctions of wall and ceiling everywhere is done with a subtle transition from one plane to another. Junctions of adjacent walls without sharp corners, soft transition from one to another, creating the impression of a continuous wall surface. As a part of wall surfaces door and window frames resemble the cellular structure with their unusual and asymmetric divisions and curved edges.
House of Batllo - door, Antonio Gaudi, Barcelona, 1906.
Ambients in homes created by Gaudi are full of unexpected and unusually shaped and composed details. In accordance with the complete concept and the use of curves, in one of the foyers, he formed an opening in the wall with the shape similar to a mushroom and in the niche, he placed unusually shaped fireplace and space for sitting like a bench next to the fireplace. The entire space in the niche and the fireplace is coated with special fireproof ceramic tiles in shades of brown. Taking into account the color pallet, the color of the wall is matched with the color of the chosen ceramic tiles. The walls in the Batllo House, although they look like a mosaic, are skillfully and accurately painted.
House Batllo - fireplace, Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, 1906.
There is an interesting story that despite the incredible sights and popularity of Gaudi’s work during his lifetime, as well as today, life in these spaces without the straight lines, sharp edges and corners, for home users became extremely difficult over time. Nevertheless, the strength of Gaudi’s creative spirit does not lose its value and popularity. Interiors of Gaudi’s buildings together with the buildings itself are an unavoidable touristic attraction for each visitor of Barcelona.