Barcelona: A city of art and architecture

When I told a designer friend that we’d be spending a week in Barcelona he said enthusiastically, “Oh, you will love Barcelona.  It’s like Paris.  In fact, I like it better.”

He was right.  Like Paris, Barcelona has art, great food and interesting architecture.  Extremely walkable, it is a city to meander and to explore.

I’m not sure Barcelona will trump Paris on my favorite DesignDestinations list, but it sure comes in close.   From the minute I saw  the green glass airport coming into view, I  knew I was  in for a treat.

Antoni Gaudi

Why?  First, of all, there’s Antoni Gaudi, the father of Spanish Art Nouveau, the architecture style very popular around the turn of the 20th century.   His influence is everywhere.  I’m going to do a separate post on him and the places we saw but for now, I will say, his work is amazing.  And I like straight clean lines, lots of glass and no trims.  I sure could appreciate the artistry and skill of this man the more I visited his buildings even though the style is not one I’d choose.

Mecca for Artists and Architects

The city is filled with the work of other artists as well.  We enjoyed a trip to the Joan Miro Foundation to see the work of this well-known Spanish artist.  I found it fascinating to see how much the Spanish Civil War and World War II impacted his work.  The museum is situated high on a hill over looking the city.  Worth going to just for the view.

We also peeked into the Picasso Museum, situated in the old Gothic part of town with its twists and turns and narrow streets, for a looksee at a new exhibit comparing Degas and Picasso.  The artists certainly took different approaches to some of the same subjects.

And then my favorite: the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion. Built in 1929 for a Barcelona International Exposition, it is a stunning example of the work of a man known for many things but often associated with the phrase, “Less is More.”  It is a marvelous contrast to all the curves and ornamentation of Gaudi’s work and a real treat if you like this kind of thing.  I do.

Building Ornamentation and Public Art

Art is everywhere in Barcelona.  On the street.  On the buildings.  There’s nothing bland and boring about this city.  It is easy to maneuver on foot and a joy to look up at the buildings and on the street corners for art, sculpture and a occasional surprise.

Fashion Galore

I also loved the fashion.  Our hotel was on Passig de Garcia where we passed large glass showcases of Barcelona design as we made our way to different parts of the city.   And my head turned often to see some one dressed in flamboyant or interesting attire or sporting an unexpected hair color.

If you would like to see more Barcelona photos, check out my Facebook DesignDestinations fan page.  I’ve been posting them there.

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3 Responses to Barcelona: A city of art and architecture

  1. Barb says:

    We totally missed Mies van der Rohe…we’ll just have go back! We loved that city! Your street photos of “fashion” is not all unlike NYT Sunday Styles…but you knew that. Great work!

  2. smithsj says:

    Thanks Barb,

    The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion is amazing. It is in same area as the Miro Foundation, just down the hill.

    I think you will need to go back to see that and the Familia Segrada when they get it ready to hold services. Will be something to see.


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