Pavement of Paseo de Gracia
Visit Barcelona is strolling around Paseo de Gracia and being surprised by the original pavement of this busy street, what is your history?
A pavement that was placed in 1997 to honor the city´s most famous architect Antoni Gaudí. This is the « Gaudí tile », a new edition, a hydraulic mosaic of hexagonal shapes for outdoor spaces that the architect designed in 1904 for the floors in the Casa Batllo, but in the end it was decided to place them in the service rooms of Casa Mila, both houses located on Paseo de Gracia. A new edition presenting the original inverted relief, to improve wear resistance.
This monochrome pavement once again demonstrates Gaudi´s immense creative potential and his constant reference to the elements of nature featuring embossed shapes of shells, starfish and algae. A theme which refers to the sinuosity of a seabed which would be improved by a naturalist nature with which he endowed, especially with Casa Batllo that is even known as « Casa del Agua » (The Water House). In this piece of two of the main characteristics of Gaudi’s work are visible; the interest in geometry and also the symbolism, as the hexagonal form refers to a honeycomb or growth of the skin of a reptile, but in low highlight you find an abstraction of nature. The combination of these tiles, single format, makes up what is popularly known as « Gaudi Mosaic » that has managed to become part of the permanent exhibition at the MoMA in New York as an example of pavement design conceived as an industrial product.
A very similar pavement he designed for Casa Batlló could be found in the hall of « Black Smoker » in the missing Torre dels Pardals or Casa Roig, a modernist building located in the district of Horta-Guinardó of Barcelona. A site in the current Torre dels Pardals Street hosted a farm in Roman times and a fortified farmhouse in medieval times. It was in the late nineteenth century when the farm was purchased by Josep Maria Valls i Vicens a Barceloni lawyer who used it as a summer house. After being inherited by some of his children in 1915 it was then sold to Joan Roig i Mallafré, an industrialist from Reus that modernized it making it a modernist style manor house. He then commissioned the renovation to his brother-in-law, the architect Joan Rubio i Bellver, one of the first disciples of Antoni Gaudi, with whom he worked on the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and Bellesguard among other fantastic pieces of work. The new design of the manor was not lost on the people of Barcelona, thus siding with gardens as refined interior decor, coming to receive the first prize for architecture dedicated to Stately Homes, granted by the City of Barcelona in 1918 . During the Spanish Civil War, the house was confiscated and converted into a school, but was abandoned after the war and spent decades in decline until in 1958 when it was demolished in order to build some blocks of flats there.
Image Torre dels Pardals: Josep Maria Co i de Triola. AFCEC