Header image by Natalie Rapoport. Antoni Gaudi. Sagrada Familia. Barcelona.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Park Guell

This will probably be the last post in Antoni Gaudi series. Park Guell in Barcelona was his last public project before he committed all his entire time and talent to Sagrada Familia.


Gaudi was a talented artist and a craftsman as well as a visionary architect who was way ahead of his time. Not many understood and appreciated his genius.
But among the selected few who sincerely admired and supported Gaudi for years and commissioned the architect with significant projects was Count Eusebi Guell.
He was a prominent entrepreneur and a devoted friend of Gaudi.
As soon as the wast park area on the far outskirts of Barcelona was acquired in 1900 the idea to create and ideal futuristic village for the wealthiest was born. Or maybe it was the other way around. The architect had so many exuberant ideas that he needed the opportunity to present itself to implement the playful side of his many talents.

It was supposed to be 60 homes scattered on a hilly park area, but wealthy Barcelonans showed little interest in moving to the suburbs and only two cute gingerbread gatehouses with spiky wrought iron gates were completed by 1914 when hardships of WWI put the whole project to the infinite halt.

So far were accomplished the market area  with leaning columns and wavy ceilings with mosaic medallions, a query like promenade gallery, landscaping and the stairs with the psychedelic lizard fountain which became one of the landmarks of Barcelona much later.

And of course the famous serpentine bench on the esplanade over the market  covered entirely with unique mosaics. Bright colors and intricate patterns were created in collaboration with another Moderniste architect  Josep Maria Jujol. In fact  it was Jujol who put it together  using the technique of  trencadis , or broken bits of tile  (trencar  means to break in Catalan).

The mosaic serpentine bench.
Not to mention the tiny cozy pink castle like house built for Gaudi by his follower architect and right-hand man Francesc Berenguer i Mestres, were Gaudi lived for 20 years with his niece who looked after him. Unfortunately not much of original furnishings and décor survived, but ornamented tile floors, ceiling medallions and moldings did. And the views from the windows could be fantastic if it wasn’t for  later ugly building developments of 60-70 which inevitably are sticking out, making clean shots next to impossible.
The whole park today is beautiful and lush but in a high season heat there may be more visitors than trees. And it’s quite hilly, so be prepared for a good work out.

The main attraction of the park beside the unique landscaping and relief are numerous mosaics which are everywhere. There’re so many ornamental ideas for textiles. Every close  up could be turned into fashionable print, fantastic fabric pattern and very modern one. Sheer paradise for aspiring textile designer.

Needless to say that souvenir industry benefits heavily transferring the colorful fragments on t-shirts, umbrellas, glassware , ceramics and countless trinkets.

When all these mosaics are shining  and playing with colors on funny roofs, window casings, a bit squashed tower, harmfully ferocious lizard/dragon, serpentine border/bench, walls an fences and all this rainbow happens on the green backdrop of abundant vegetation, surrounded by palms and trees and exotic flowers it’s  breathtaking beautiful.

The ceiling floral ornament and the stairs in Gaudi's house. 
Promenade query-like gallery 

This necklace is inspired by mosaics. 
I acquired a couple of handmade artisan glass  beads recently and designed this shiny piece.

Thank you for coming.

*All imagers copyright by Natalie Rapoport.


  1. An absolutely brilliant post. Such detail! What always amazes me, with Guadi being so far ahead of his time, is that anybody at all was interested in buying his buildings, or commissioning his work. It must have been so confronting at that time. Thank goodness there were some far-sighted imaginative clients out there though!

    1. Thank you very much Virginia. I try my best to share the excitement. Gaudi was like a meteor visiting the Earth once in a million years. Thank goodness indeed there were very few but devoted patrons to support his vision.
      And it's such a pity that this particular project in Park Guell was never completed as Gaudi planned. We can only imagine how beautiful it could be.

  2. Une merveilleuse découverte en ce qui me concerne en admirant vos magnifiques photos. Quelle architecture surprenante et belle à la fois.
    Gros bisous

    1. Je vous remercie beaucoup Martine-Alison. Gaudi was a master of details. I have so many close ups that I have to restrain myself to limit the posting somehow. L'architecture surprenante vraiment.

  3. So incredibly beautiful, as always!! My goodness, you really take us right inside his heart and mind. Thank you for all of this series. Again, I feel so frustrated to be so close and yet so far but I will get there one day and will keep all that you have shared for when I do!

    1. Thank you Heather so much. I'm so incredibly happy that it resonates with you. Whenever the right time comes to go there please let me know, I might be of help re. sightseeing.

  4. just a wonderful series of Park guell,
    gaudi's imagine may seem out of this world back then, but
    this park clearly is a masterpiece.
    btw, the view up there is also breathtaking, despite the hordes of tourists, (including me!) ^0^

  5. Natalie, hopefully you will see this. I just wanted to thank you again for your beautiful and moving comment on my blog the other day. You always have such a specific point of view and poetry to balance it as well.
    Bisous et bon weekend!

  6. Loved the park and want to go back :)

  7. This post makes me want to go to Spain so badly! For all the time I've spent in France, I've never made it to Spain. (Your pictures are wonderful by the way, as is your mosaic inspired necklace.)

    It does indeed look breathtaking. I am constantly amazed at the creativity (and persistence to execute) of the human spirit. What beauty and whimsy we can make.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate more than I can tell. See you soon virtually.

  8. Amazing shoots!That's absolutely beautiful!Love the ceiling floral ornament!It's my favourite!Gorgeous!


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