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Think you know all there is to know about Catalan modernism? Casa Planells

By | 11 February, 2021 | 0 comments

Visit Casa Planells! When you come to Barcelona, you quickly realise Catalan modernism can be seen everywhere you look throughout the city. Among the most famous modernist buildings and destinations you’ll find Parque Güell, the Sagrada Familia, as well as Casa Milà, more popularly known as La Pedrera. All were designed by Gaudí himself, the greatest representative of modernism in Barcelona’s long history.

Casa Planells

But there are so many other great artists to enjoy, such as Josep Maria Jujol, whose work we’re going to talk about in today’s post on Casa Planells. Perhaps one of the least-known modernist buildings in Barcelona, it’s also one of the most special and interesting.

Casa Planells, an icon of Catalan modernism

Located in Barcelona’s Ensanche district, specifically in the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood, Casa Planells can be found on the corner between 332 Avenida Diagonal and 195 Calle Sicilia. It was designed by the Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol in 1924 as a commission for the contractor Evelí Planells. Despite being a great work of Catalan modernism, it has been difficult to pin down over the years, given Jujol worked so freely.

What makes Casa Planells so special is that even though it stands on a plot of just 83m², Josep Maria Jujol was able to create a living space of 120m² thanks to his use of simple materials, such as iron and plaster, as well as the many curved shapes he employed. The building was erected on a trapezoidal block and, today, it is protected as a Cultural Asset of Local Interest.

The house has seven floors spread across the ground floor, the mezzanine level, the main living area, three further floors above, plus the attic with a terrace. Without too many decorative details, its interior highlights are the staircase, the forged railings, the column in the main room and the ceramic tiles that depict various insects.

Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949) was an original architect from Tarragona, and it’s there that his principle modernist work is located, the Metropol Theatre. Furthermore, he was Gaudí’s assistant on several occasions, helping him with the colour design for Casa Batlló, designing the wrought iron for the balconies of La Pedrera, and even with the ceramic tiling on the curved bench in Parque Güell.

What is Catalan modernism?

Catalan modernism was chiefly an architectural style that developed between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite being a Europe-wide phenomenon, it was in Cataluña that it managed to acquire more of a foothold, particularly in the capital.

Following the Industrial Revolution, the way of life in our cities changed radically. That’s what gave rise to modernism, breaking with tradition in the search for new styles, lending greater importance to aesthetics and design than ever before. The modernist artists based their designs on shapes and figures found in nature in a decorative way, as can be seen in many of the modernist buildings scattered throughout Barcelona.

Architects and modernism in Barcelona

Gaudí and his various creations are the best expression of modernism in Barcelona. But there are plenty of other architects who were part of creating this brave new world alongside Gaudí.

They include Lluís Domènech i Montaner, whose best known works are the Palacio de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de San Pablo; Josep Puig i Cadafalch, creator of Casa Amatller and Casa Macaya, among others; Elías Rogent, architect of the Seminario de Barcelona, among others; as well as Antoni Maria Gallissà i Soqué, who designed Casa Llopis, for instance.

In Barcelona, you can see more than 100 modernist buildings, some internationally renowned, others that would go virtually unnoticed to the average passer-by. If you’re interested in getting to know the style a little better, don’t hesitate to try the Modernist Trail, a route that takes you through all the architectural highlights that make Barcelona the modernist capital of the world. Don’t miss out on all the city’s best-kept treasures.

Categories: barcelona

Barcelona, May 13th 2020

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Barcelona, March 24th 2020

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