Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first private work, after he graduated and carried out numerous public works as an architect’s assistant. The house was commissioned by his friend Manuel Vicens i Muntaner, a stockbroker.
At first it was a small summer house, located in the old town of Gràcia. Years later, the house was sold to a doctor from Barcelona and became a permanent residence. In the 1920s, the owners asked Gaudí to enlarge the house. The architect did not do it, but indicated a student to perform the service. As a result, the northern part is a retrospective enlargement.
The house attracts attention by the colour of its tiles and its Arabic forms, which remind the houses of Morocco. Some of the tiles have yellow carnations printed on them, a flower that Gaudí found in the floor when he went to take the measurements.
The protective fence of the house is another decorative element that attracts the visitor’s attention. According to them, the ground had a palm tree whose leaves inspired the design of the wrought-iron fence.
The interior is decorated with elements of nature: flowers, leaves and animals. Gaudí used elements of nature as decoration not only in this house but in all his works.
The main room has the ceiling decorated with olive branches, the sides of the doors with birds, the walls with vines and the balconies with palm trees and carnations.
I can’t let the beauty of the furniture in the main room stand out. They were made to order and are decorated with 34 paintings depicting seascapes, domestic interiors and scenes of daily life, by Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés.
Another charming part of the house is the smoking room. A warm place richly decorated with papier-mâché, which recreates an atmosphere of the thousand and one nights.
The walls of the rooms are decorated with impressive graffiti.
Casa Vicens was bought and restored by MoraBanc and is open to visitors since November 2017. After 130 years of residence, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has become a cultural and architectural space to visit.
The visit is quick. There is no audioguide but the house offers a guided tour.
Calle les Carolines, nº 24
How to get there:
Metro L3: Fontana or Lesseps