Gaudi's Barcelona Mosaics: Casa Batlo
Casa Batlo was the home of Josep Batlo in 1903. A wealthy man, intent on "keeping up with the Joneses," he hired Antonio Gaudi to do a complete renovation of his home, and gave him full artistic creativity. Gaudi replaced the original façade with his imagination and ornamental exuberance, definitely outdoing Batlo's neighbors.
Gaudi did, indeed, live up to the challenge and created this wondrous home with ornamental balconies that look like skulls or masks and columns that look like bones. At the top of the home, the roof has a shape like an animal's back with scales. The windows are opened and closed with counter-weights and there are no jambs. The home is filled with symbolism, color, light and shapes.
This is the main room and the curves, shapes, colors, glass, designs are all wonderful. The large gallery projects out over the street. Gaudi incorporated curves, not only for aesthetics, but they provided structural strength and support as well.
The light and spaciousness Gaudi designed in here lends itself to a very functional and happy space. Many skilled craftsmen worked on this with Gaudi. Colorful stained glass was used throughout the home and helped to filter out the harsh light and bring all this wonderful color inside.
This is the roof of Casa Batlo and is made of pieces of clay that were fired; then color was applied and then they were fired again to harden the varnish. It's a wonderful, functional work of art.
On the roof's terrace, Gaudi turned this space into a huge area of mosaics and did not leave many areas untouched. These are plant holders made out of ceramics and highly decorated. Again, beauty and function.
The terrace of Casa Batlo features mosaics everywhere you turn and look. The forms and textures look like sculptural pieces, but are functional as chimneys and ventilation shafts.