Design Inspiration: Gaudi Exhibition Center, Barcelona

Travelling always feeds my creativity. Recently I went to Barcelona where I had a fascinating visit to the Gaudí Exhibition Center (Gaudíexhibitioncenter.com). Here are my reflections on the experience. I hope you enjoy them, Emma

Barcelona is filled with astonishing buildings, the most iconic of which were designed in the second half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century by the Catalan Modernist architect Antonio Gaudí. 

I wanted to find out more and the Gaudí Exhibition Center, which is located in the Gothic quarter of the city, promised accessible insights. 

The exhibition has a brilliant layout and is really interactive with lots of video content and even sets of specially designed 3D goggles, which offer, among other things, an immersive virtual reality tour of the Crypt of the Colònia Güell (Gaudicoloniaguell.org).

However, my favourite part of the exhibition was the inverted model of the Sagrada Familia (sagradafamilia.org) made from string and small weights. Gaudí gave this spectacular basilica (a type of Roman Catholic church building) such an extraordinarily complex design that it is still under construction 137 years after the cornerstone was laid in 1882. 

It is hoped it will finally be finished in 2026, a hundred years after Gaudí’s death. 

Learning about a genius such as Gaudí is valuable because it broadens my understanding of architecture. While his style is not a direct influence on my work, I am very interested in the ways in which he was inspired by nature, especially how he translated natural forms into the sinuous organic shapes that characterise many of his buildings. 

Perhaps this is because, in a completely different way, I too am inspired by nature. For instance, a few weeks ago on a work trip to Paris as I flew over northern France I looked out of the window and saw how the chequerboard of winter fields had created the most beautiful colour palette of hazy green and grey tones. I’m sure this will make it into the scheme on which I am currently working. 

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