Casa Vicens
Carolines, 18-24.
This early work by Gaudí, built between 1883 and 1888, was a commission by Manuel Vicens, a Valencian tile manufacturer, to build a private house in the old municipality of Gràcia. The work had to fulfil two purposes: be the home of the Vicenses and advertise the excellent product that they manufactured. Gaudí gave this house characteristic forms, inspired by Indian and Japanese architecture, and covered a large part of the three façades with spectacular green and white glazed tiles. Gaudí used tiles in this building by exhibiting them in stark contrast to exposed brickwork. Another element of interest on the outside is the iron railing, which reproduces the attractive leaves of margalló, the endogenous Catalan palm species (Chamaerops humilis). Although the owners may be lenient with discreet visitors who take a step or two into the garden, the house is private property and the interior cannot be visited. Main features of the interior are a spectacular round smoking room, culminated with a Mudejar vault of multi-coloured plaster, elaborate floral decorations and carpentry in the living-room and, generally, the extravagant decoration in the purest style of a Caliph’s private chambers.