Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens in Barcelona displays a different side of Gaudi that is more geometric but still wildly original and inspiring.

 

Casa Vicens was Antoni Gaudi’s first architectural commission. A wealthy stock broker entrusted Gaudi in 1883 to design a summer garden home for his family in the then village of Gràcia. Now it is a neighborhood within Barcelona as the city has expanded over time.

Gaudi was inspired by the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean which can be seen inside as well as out. The ceramic floral tiles would typically have been saved for interior use, but Gaudi preferred them outside.

The wrought iron fence mimics the surrounding palms.

The floral tiles continue into the entry.

The Dining room combines tiny mosaic flooring with Moorish tiles on the fireplace. Sgraffito, seen around Barcelona on the exteriors of buildings, is conversely used inside. It is an Italian technique where the finish is scratched off to create a pattern by revealing a different base color.

The ceiling was decorated with papier-mâché ceiling tiles with leaves and fruit. The decoupaged flowers were a later addition by the family.

The smoking room is Moorish in feeling with its ceiling tiles representing palms and dates. The top photo shows restoration in the works removing the gold paint on the walls.

The family embraced Gaudi’s love of ornamentation taking it further. They added the painted flowers on the checkerboard tiles as well as the gold paint in the previous photo.

The addition is deliberately kept white to differentiate it from the original Gaudi architecture.  This extention houses offices, restrooms, and a shop allowing the home to function as a museum.

The domed ceiling outside of the smoking room.

An upstairs room reveals two different patterned ceilings. Originally this space was divided down the middle creating two bedrooms. At some point the wall was taken down.

A sgraffito frieze underneath papier-máché tiles.

Close up detail of a passion flower on the sgraffito section.

An interesting opening connects three rooms.

The opposite side.

Love this Moorish-tiled bathroom.

A white model shows the structure before certain alterations were made such as the location of the original entrance. It was on the street side but later became more private moving to the garden side. A wall protected the garden from the street. Now the palm fence extends the length of the property.

One could look out over the city and catch the breezes from the decorative rooftop.

The street was widened at one point (I believe) that eliminated a buffer between house and street.

If you find yourself in Barcelona, I highly recommend visiting Casa Vicens one of the lesser seen Gaudi works.

Casa V Interiors loves tile and seeing how it is used in unexpected ways.