Art Nouveau at every corner…

img_4675The thing that I loved about my recent trip is that it set me on my way for something on the bucket list, to find as many Art Deco and art nouveau buildings as I can and photograph them. Well, I am just back from Barcelona within the last month, which was a real eye opener for me and didn’t disappoint.

Of course I wouldn’t have to travel alone if a friend or family member wanted to join me, so that’s always an option. I don’t know how I’d be abroad totally on my own. I think I need a bit more confidence before I take that step. But there’s hope for me as I’m only uncertain not terrified at the thought of it. Time would be my own and I wouldn’t have to do a particular thing. There again though it wasn’t like that when Mum and I travelled it was very relaxed. We did not have an itinerary just expressed a wish of things to see and she noticed things that I did not when we were out and about. A beautiful doorway here and there, or architectural detail. Something on the bus which I made her get off to show me so I could capture it.

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Like this place for instance, a gorgeous and working original Art nouveau designed working pharmacy in Barcelona. What is lovely is that people were so accommodating when we wanted to wander around their shops taking photos. They invited us in to do so with no obligation to purchase something.

We did say that it would be interesting to see how many of our photographs were of the same things since we shared a keen eye for so many of the sights.

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, merely an enthusiast.  Yes as I think about it, I am an enthusiast of so many things.

So along with my growing list of things that I’d like to do this year. I’m afraid my bucket list is growing too and I don’t think that’s a bad thing really. It simply means that I have not had enough of the experiences of this world. There is more and more that I wish to see and do before I die and if I don’t get to do it all soon, then I’ll just have to live a long and happy one.

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The Daily Post – Aesthetic

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Dali v Gaudi

I do feel the need to explain. For those die hard art fans out there, it is simply my own opinion and fighting my own inner thoughts why I had no desire to go and see Salvador Dali’s work whilst I was in Barcelona. You see, I have never felt entirely comfortable with what little of his work that I have seen.  My mother said it quite succinctly “Well, he was totally mad!” and thankfully she didn’t want to go either. I know there are lots of “mad” people out there who are great artists, however I have always felt more than slightly uncomfortable with his work. Yes, he was probably a genius.  But very little of what I have seen makes me want to see more.

The same could certainly not be said for Antoni Gaudi.
Although I only recently came across his work, I have an absolute thirst to find more of it, he was brilliant in his architecture.  I don’t know what it is about it, but I am in awe of the colours, textures and patterns and the skills that were used.  It was a later arrival to my Barcelona wishlist, once I knew that I was going there and I certainly did not want to leave without visiting at least one of his projects.

Casa Batllo, on the Passieg de Gracia was the place we settled upon visiting whilst we were there.  Well it had to be once I saw the front window alone. It’s curves and frontage pleading me to venture there and see what else it would show me, I was little prepared for it and as it turned out we were in for one of the biggest surprises of our trip.  I walked around the place in absolute awe, listening to the pre-recorded tour, eyes wide from what I was seeing and was totally besotted with the house. Mr Josep Batllo was a very lucky man to live and work there and commissioned Antoni Gaudi in 1904 as architect to create a fine home for his family.  In 1906 it was completed and over 100 years later, it is a celebrated Unesco world heritage site, which is privately owned and the upkeep and restorations now financed by the admission fees.

I can quite honestly say that I have never experienced anything like it before.  My eyes were drawn to the colours, the shapes and wondering how on earth they managed to do it all.

I probably took about 300 photographs whilst I was in that building, possibly even more.  I could easily split them into monochrome and colour sections but I will not, I think there will be some stills and also a slideshow for here.  There was so much to see, a glorious assault upon the senses, which left me dizzy and eager to see what was around the next corner, or in the next room.  I adore the place and have happily dreamed of living in a building like that, if only I were lucky enough to do so.

The sitting room holds the most beautiful windows I have ever seen. Being very keen on architecture this is quite an achievement and deservedly so. The large bay windows are cavernous and have stained glass sections in multiple shades all around the top, as have the doors within this section of the house. It is simply breathtaking to see it for the first time and my photographs do not do it justice.


We walked around the house loving the design, it was a touchy feely building, your hands are drawn to the curves everywhere and the warmth created by the honeyed tones of the wooden fittings I think that this place brings a whole new meaning to the term “love handles” here are just a few of them here and they were exquisite.


The handrails of the stairs strong yet smooth where possibly millions of people have done the very same thing grabbbed the rail in eagerness to see what is next.

This is a place to reawaken your creativity. It is exciting, both in it’s form and humour. Likened to a dragon, it is a great beast of a building, fascinating and makes wonderful use of my favourite colour throughout.

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The light well is central to the building and which houses the entrances to the various apartments, the staircase and elevator is something to behold and the colour blue deepens the higher you climb, being the darkest at the roof. It occurred to me that it must hold every shade of the spectrum in that one building.

If you like ceramics or glass in any form then you will probably love this place after all, What’s not to love? 

As the tour continued upwards throughout the building, I felt that the clever architect brought a new feeling of calm as I walked through the rooms.

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The staircases, the curves in attic bedrooms of the servants quarters were welcoming and I think at the end of a long day, I would feel safe and secure being looked after within it’s walls. Everywhere we went, the light was wonderful and so cleverly used throughout. There was no dark cramped attic rooms in here, they were white and bright and yet had such softness, it must have been the curves and the clever touches throughout for storage. Not as flamboyant or colourful as the main quarters but just as lovely.

The sunny terraces were at the rear of the building and up on the roof.  I remarked upon the similarities to the enamelled ceramic colourful plaques in the rear garden and the artwork that my mother had produced years earlier in art college. She said that at the time, she had no idea as to what was possible and this had opened her eyes to it. I have quietly hankered after one day owning a particular piece of her pottery from that era. The rooftop also housed the highly decorated chimneys and the amazing roof which curled around the front of the building like a sleeping dragon its multicoloured scales at the front.

 

I think that my hardest task was to capture photographs without people walking across them. But I have to say the other visitors were very accommodating and would wait if you were poised for a shot. All these photographs I took on the iPhone I will ensure that next time I travel I will take a battery bank or two as my only complaint was that it ran out on me too early in the day. I decided to purchase a book, it was not hugely expensive and the photography was lovely. It also gave a potted history of the house which I could show my partner upon returning home.

We walked out late afternoon elated from the experience, so pleased that we had been able to see it on our last day, the sunlight on the building casting yet more glorious shadows upon its curvaceous form. I felt that if God took me now, then I would die with a smile on my face feeling as though I’d lived and grateful for the experience.

The Daily Post – Interior

I knew it…Someday I’d get there

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So, how would I feel when it finally happened and was it different to how I expected it to be? 

Yes, totally.  I clearly did not know what to expect when I arrived at the place which I had longed to see.  It was my reason for wanting to visit Barcelona in the first place. To visit and pay homage to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

For those of you who do not know, it was the German Pavilion first built in 1928-29 for the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain it was demolished in 1930 and later on, they figured that that was a bad idea. It was an important building and pivotal in the architects career.  So the foundation set about reconstructing the building on the original site, in 1983 and in 1986 work was completed.  It is now open to the public and can also be hired for private events.

At this news, I thought what a wonderful place to have your wedding photographs taken. I felt that the clean lines, beautiful chrome and glass and exquisite stonework, would only enhance the photographs from the best day of a woman’s life.

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We had tried to find it for three of the five days which we had planned for Barcelona and yet, it was not easy to find at all.  We went past the signs for it on the bus, but still couldn’t find it. I had seen photographs of the place, but I didn’t know what surrounded it, something to look out for and three different maps didn’t show us.

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Once we were inside, you could see the iconic Barcelona chairs displayed. I somehow thought that there would be more furniture inside it. My mother was distinctly unimpressed with the whole place and within a short time was clearly bored.  We had taken a while to get there and were both tired. She agreed that the building construction was very good, but that was it for her.

I wanted a little bit more from the experience, I had thought that I would have a little time to relax there for a while and meditate, but my legs were aching from the walking and I could not get comfortable or shut out the sights and sounds around me. For a moment I stood next to the statue within the place.  It was not quiet enough, but would have to do.

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Dawn by Georg Kolbe

Just Wonderfully simple.

The Daily Post – Someday

Abandoned Buildings, Inspiration Indeed.

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My inspiration for this post comes from this article in my reader.

After the Final Curtain a post by Cheri Lucas Rowlands which shows some wonderful photographs by Matt Lambros.

I often see whilst perusing social media the shots of ancient places and abandoned buildings throughout our world and curiosity encourages me to take a look.   A part of me thinks that one day I would love to do a tour of such places, but then reality hits and it occurs to me that I don’t think I could cope with the sadness it would bring me.

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You see I have a love of old buildings and architecture in general and have always been able to see the possibilities in a place.  When I was younger, I found that by finding derelict buildings by the road whilst on holiday, churches, schools, old houses. It didn’t matter what the building’s previous use had been.  I always imagined it as a place to make a home.

It really fires the imagination for me, gets the cogs whirring and clicking and excitement builds.  That part of the process I would love.  But then the sadness when it had been left for so very long, I don’t know what effect that would have on my psyche, but I suspect not  a good one.  The fact that it had gone to waste for so many years for whatever reason, war, famine, time, recession and may not be able to be restored to it’s former glory hits home. These buildings, particularly the Theatres and Cinemas were built for the community and so many communities have suffered when these and other public buildings have been closed down.

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I guess that’s why when it came to finding our home, that’s why it was always going to be a doer upper.  It was never going to be a pristine box, with white walls and minimalist fixtures.  Give me a place with character, knocks, grazes, a history and somewhere that speaks to you, pulls at the emotions when you walk in and I am happy.  My place needs to be lived in, that is what makes it home to me.  If I ever came into a lot of money, then it would be one of the first things that I would search for, a lovely old building to breathe new life into. Of all the possible styles it would probably have a Deco feel to it, now that’s a tour I’d be tempted to do which would really inspire me.

The Daily Post – Transformation

Images: Morguefile.com