Celebrating the Birthday of Antoni Gaudi
Today we are celebrating the birthday, life and works of Spanish designer and architect Antoni Gaudi, who was born in Catalonia on 25th of June 1852 and died on 10th of June 1926.
Catalan Modernism and Gaudi’s Style
After graduating in 1878, Antoni Gaudi quickly rose to fame, becoming a highly sought after architect in the upper-middle class circles of Barcelona. Whilst he enjoyed the reverence of his reputation, by 1900 he moved away from eclectic commissions to focus on his more personal architectural style.
By nature, the work of Antoni Gaudi is hard to put into a stylistic box, but his designs are most closely associated with Art Nouveau or, more specifically, Catalan Modernism. This is a style characterised by its dynamic forms, exuberant colours and rich decoration. All of which are typically found in Gaudi’s oeuvre but, as the greats do, Gaudi set himself apart through the inspiration he found in nature and geometry.
The Life of an Architect Dedicated to His Craft
Scholars know very little about Gaudi’s personal life. He never married and seemingly dedicated almost all of his time to his craft, the rest was given to the Church.
His childhood, however, is understood to be the starting point of his fascination with the organic shapes found in nature, which we see so regularly in his work. And it is also unsurprising to learn that young Gaudi excelled in geometry and arithmetic, given his love for geometric patterns.
Throughout his life, Gaudi’s relentless commitment to his career saw him create some of the most iconic structures in architectural history. These include masterpieces such as Casa Mila (1906-10), Villa Bellesguard (1900-05), Park Guell (1900-14) and the famously unfinished Sagrada Familia (1882- ).
Each of these works demonstrate Gaudi’s innovation and individuality, which we can see in their undulating facades, brilliant colours and utterly unique forms. His unique approach should also be noted. Each one having been designed through an unprecedented methodology of trial and error using 3D models.
Casa Batlló’s Beautiful Blue Interior
Whilst we adore Gaudi’s kaleidoscopic exteriors, we must take a moment to appreciate the interior of Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló was originally built in 1877 but it was entirely reformed by Gaudi between 1904 and 1906. It is one of the buildings that make up the group known as the Bone of Contention in Barcelona, and both the facade and the interior of this spectacular building are feats of dazzling artististry as well as functional design.
Described as “a canvas of marine inspiration”, Casa Batlló’s interior is awash with blue ceramic tiles and stained glass windows. Between the swirling ceiling and organic oak framed doors, Gaudi combines form and colour to create the enchanting impression of rippling blue water.
The highlight of the house is the lightwell, its functions being the distribution of light and air throughout the building. Gaudi’s incredible design is enhanced by the ombré of tiles that cover the lightwell’s walls. They ascend from white to a dark ocean blue, effectively carrying the light with them. Enchanting and effective.
After his tragic death in 1926, attention to Gaudi’s architecture faded momentarily. But interest in his work sparked up again in the 1950s and, by 1984, several of his buildings were recognised for the masterpieces that they are and declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Today we celebrate Gaudi’s life, his designs and his exceptional use of colour.
“Nothing is art if it does not come from nature.”