I must admit, I greatly underestimated Barcelona’s awesomeness. Having only once been to Madrid as a complete and utter tourist, I expected a little bit of the same – big city, lots of people, good food. However, I was pleasantly surprised and mildly embarrassed at how wrong I was. To draw a comparison between the two rivals is simply unfair. I traveled to Barcelona with a friend who also happens to be an architect, and I was pretty much blown away by the incredible buildings and undeniably creative vibe surrounding me.
The biggest and most obvious influence on the city’s personality is that of Catalan architect and creative genius, Antoni Gaudi. Nicknamed “God’s Architect” it was not only the incredible but sadly unfinished Sagrada Família cathedral and stunning facades of Casa Milà and Casa Batlló that grabbed me, but also the more subtle elements infused with the designer’s creativity, like the individual tiles and modernist lamp posts that lined the streets of downtown Barcelona.
Through various projects, particularly Sagrada Família, Gaudi demonstrates his understanding of the perfect balance between structure and engineering that allow a building to remain standing, and the seductiveness of organic shapes and influences from nature. Perhaps the confidence of such a distinct and unapologetic style has infiltrated the general Catalonian vibe, as seen in the playful designer objects sold in local stores like Vinçon and the carefree, colourful street fashion by one of my favourite designers CUSTO Barcelona.
All in all, a great trip and highly recommended city. The tapas were good too!
Sagrada Familia via Wikipedia with construction and cranes digitally removed.
Ceiling of Sagrada Familia via Wikipedia
Street tiles shot by LeDezign
CUSTO Barcelona SS12 via Elle