The Last Word
It’s hard to imagine Barcelona without the Sagrada Família and other iconic landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí, whose oeuvre continues to inspire and fascinate design aficionados and architects alike. With the Casa Vicens now open to the public, visitors will finally get to explore the first house that Gaudí built, over 130 years after its completion. Originally envisioned as a summer home, this UNESCO World Heritage site has undergone numerous changes—the complex has been expanded from a single-family abode to a multigenerational home, and even divided into independent apartments over the years. Led by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García, the restoration project uncovers natural elements that were integrated into the facade and its myriad decorative details—it was Gaudí’s way of bringing nature into the house. Casa Vicens also offers insight into the famed architect’s initial projects, and the ways he celebrated and integrated the various decorative arts, especially through the trompe l’oeil-effect murals, as well as the oriental detailing and botanical motifs pictured on woodwork, ceramic tiles and wrought iron. With its intricate ornamentation now beautifully restored, the building is now as much as an ode to Catalan craftsmanship, as it is a tribute to modern architecture.