On my recent trip to Barcelona I was excited to finally be able to visit Casa Vicens, the first house ever designed by Antoni Gaudí, as it finally opened to the public. Designed in 1885, just three years after he graduated, Casa Vicens, was designed as a summerhouse for the real estate broker Mantel Vicens. I first stumbled across it on a visit to Barcelona a few years ago as I wandered the quiet neighbourhood of Gracia, where it is located. I was immediately moved by the architecture and have often returned to marvel at the Moorish, Oriental and Catalan Modernisme styles that Gaudi combined to magical effect.
Gaudi’s body of work is eclectic intricate and Casa Vicens is no exception: a wrought iron gate cast from dwarf palms and colourful hand-painted tiles inspired by the flora found in the garden, papier-mâché mocarabes reminiscent of the Alhambra, hidden symbolism in the trompe-l’oeil and the genius garden fountain that created an eternal rainbow are some of the details that provide early evidence of Gaudi’s creative brilliance.
Casa Vicens marks the beginning of Gaudí’s artistic career and is considered to be one of the first masterpieces of Modernism. Along with Casa Battló, La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and my all-time favourite Palau Güell, Casa Vicens is a declared UNESCO World Heritage site and it definitely shouldn’t be missed when visiting Barcelona.
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