After having explored this magnificent house in Barcelona, I decided to take it upon myself to further research in order to inform what I saw as a key connection in my practice. My resource for this research was an excellent well informed book Casa Batlló, produced by Dos De Arte Ediciones. This book is a visual guide that walks us through the Casa Batlló explaining the work and breaking down the inspirations of Gaudi’s work.
The book starts off by giving us a brief overview Gaudi. Antoine Gaudi was an architect with very singular tastes for the era. He replaced the old methods of architecture with modern revolutionary construction. His main source of inspiration was the nature and his work was always full of creativity from both a structural and decorative point of view. Gaudi was commissioned to create the Casa Batlló by Josep Batlló in 1904.
Gaudi’s work is sewn with symbolism, around every corner of the Casa Batlló there is a constant eager to discover what inspired him for a certain wall, pattern or material. Due to the fact nature was his constant source of inspiration, we can pull out easily what we can assume to be certain shapes and forms that link us back to natural forms. For example the form of a mushroom in the chimney in the appropriated named Chimney Room. Gaudi used a wide range of materials to create his work: wood, iron, ceramic and glass, the mosaic pattern we can see all over the front of the building and in the back courtyard were all recycled from other projects. These mosaic patterns initiate a particular Avant-Garde theme.
There were certain parts of the house that really inspired me. The first of which was the outside of the house. In order to create the outside of the house Gaudi has to completely reform the structure of the outside of the apartment. He drew the building as the other architects and builders constructed. Its complex form meant that it was a intricate and decorative build. The balconies are turned into masks which could also be interpreted as skulls and their supports make a reference to seashells. Again we can reference this aesthetic mosaic pattern scaling up the front wall of the house where it turns into array of colours forming scales of a reptile on the roof. The book states that columns display features of bones which can be obvious when looking at the joints and the form, even though they have natural forms such as leaves bound round them. Behind these and sculpted into the complex wall are the windows, their frames made of wood and insides constructed with both transparent and coloured glass. However the glass is cut and welded into different forms, all joined together by circles which could relate to droplets of water falling into the glass creating ripples.
The next part that really caught my eye was in inside court. Due to the fact this acted as a main entrance to all the floors and therefore all the apartments situated within the house. This space was meant to feel like the sea. The colours of the wall tiles were a light blue and they reached up into a dark blue colour at the top. Each glass panels rippled in order to look like reflections and ripples on the water. The aim of the inside court was to let in natural light from the outside and to also act as a ventilation.
Finally I thought the work into the walls displayed all throughout the house was carefully crafted. All the lines were curvaceous and added to the style of the house, being that the house has no straight lines. The ceilings and the columns took form due to these sculptured forms. I felt these create movement adding to the emotions that we perceived when in the house. These forms are also repeated in the woodwork all around the house. Again this smooth material lends itself to the overall feeling of the house.