Antoni Gaudí is one of the most unique, approachable, and extraordinary architectural influencers of the late 19th century and early 20th century. He participated in the Catalan Modernista movement, but eventually transcended any defined style by creating one of his own—one of organic shapes, nature-inspired details, and groundbreaking techniques.
Jean-Noël recently traveled to Barcelona and had the pleasure of experiencing Gaudí’s four main réalisations (achievements): Casa Milà, Casa Batlloó, Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia. This week we will take a look at the first two, Casa Milà and Batlló.
Gaudí was commissioned to design Casa Milà by Roser Segimon, a wealthy widow, and her second husband Pere Milà, to be their private residence. This modernist building is also known as La Pedrera, or “open quarry”, which is a reference to the rough-hewn and irregular exterior. Gaudí used ruled geometry and naturalistic elements to design the house as a constant curve, on both the inside and outside.
Casa Milà is especially noteworthy for its self-supporting stone facade, which uses curved iron beams to connect the facade to the internal structure of each floor. This allows internal walls to be built and torn down without impacting the stability of the building.
Also of note is the use of catenary arches. At the time, the catenary curve was a mechanical element that was used solely to build suspension bridges. Gaudí was the first to use this technique in an architectural context. These arches distribute the weight they carry evenly, therefore allowing Gaudí to create structures of considerable strength.
Casa Batlló is a remodel and redesign done by Gaudí in 1904. It is also known locally as Casa dels ossos, or “house of bones”, for its visceral and skeletal exterior. The famed arched roof has been likened to the spine of a dragon or dinosaur, which is said to be speared by the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí’s home), represented by the turret and cross to the left of the arch.
The overall design of the building can broadly be attributed to Modernism or Art Nouveau, though in Gaudí’s typical fashion, it is largely a creation of his own unmistakable style and imagination. The facade has three distinct sections, most of which are covered with broken ceramic tiles in colorful mosaic designs. The ground floor is especially unique, with irregular oval windows and flowing stonework, the middle floor has curved skeletal balconies, while the top floor is the same level as the roof and contains some of the most intricate mosaics.
Gaudí’s lack of linear design and incorporation of colorful ornamentation continues on the interior as well.
Gaudí’s work is very clearly his own, and we will look into more of his réalisations next week!
With Thanksgiving and the entertaining season just around the corner, it is time to fill your home with pieces that bring warmth and ambience to the space. As the focal point to a room, the fireplace lights up as the weather outside grows cold. From modern style to an antique aesthetic, we have gathered some stunning hearth designs and paired them with a few of our favorite Jean-Marc Fray Antiques pieces. If you’re looking for design inspiration to draw attention to your fireplace and bring cheer to your living room for the holidays, look no further!
This modern fireplace makes a strong statement, contrasting the clean lines of the glass and metal with the natural elements outdoors. Our dynamic Stilnovo style chandelier would be the perfect addition, matching the modern materials while introducing eye-catching angles and light.
The bold architectural elements of this Art Deco space are warmed both by the fireplace, but also the curves of the lighting and furniture. These Venini style chandeliers bring a softness to the room that is mirrored in the arms of the chairs and the floor lamps. This would be a wonderful space to host a holiday event.
No hearth is complete without an exquisite antique mirror! This Louis XVI style trumeau adds depth and history, as well as brightening and elongating the room. The carved details of this fireplace are matched by the mirrors, but it would look just as wonderful juxtaposed against a more austere and simple mantel as well. This style is typical of Parisian apartments with luxurious living spaces at the end of the 19th century.
The stark white walls and fireplace bring attention to the vintage rugs and accessories. We love the concept of adding Murano glass to provide texture and shimmer while keeping the monochromatic aesthetic. These accessories always make an impactful addition to a space, whether entertaining or year round.
Nothing says comfort like a sofa near a fireplace. This bright red Chesterfield is inviting and cozy, while still maintaining a sharp style. As a mid-century piece, it can be paired with antiques or modern details.
Add to the ambience of your fireplace or your home for the holidays and visit our new arrivals page. We would be happy to help you find the perfect piece and will work with you to ensure it arrives before your next dinner party or holiday soirée!
Alberto and Diego Giacometti: brothers in life and in art. They are both recognized for their unique sense of form and scale, and yielding a variety of work that is not easily categorized into one particular artistic movement.
Alberto, a famous and self-confident Swiss sculptor, created the most expensive sculpture ever sold- “Walking Man I” (1960) for $ 104.3 million. He is best known for this figurative post World War II work, though he has many others of comparable acclaim.
Diego, more reserved, but an artist and sculptor in his own right, also created whimsical and inventive furniture. His works combined the function of the craft with the majesty and artistry of sculpture. He especially enjoyed incorporating animals-frogs, horses, cats, turtles, etc.- into his pieces.
Alberto and Diego’s similarities in style and medium are clear, while each maintaining their own realm of work and recognition. They shared a studio in Paris for 40 years and were each other’s biggest inspirations, advisors, and fans. There’s nothing quite like brotherly love!
Jean-Marc recently exhibited at Galerie Lympia in Nice, France displaying Alberto Giacometti’s latest works. His first-hand pictures provide a glimpse at the rich texture, striking beauty, and Giacometti’s unique interpretations of the human form.
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