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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The style of Gaudi's interior design cannot be classified within a particular movement, for he was an entirely unique individual who also took different inspirations into his work.

Gothic influences would certainly play a major role in his early work, both within the internal designs but also in the structures that he produced. He would later draw in ideas from the Art Nouveau which was quite different but he was somehow able to fuse many of these ideas together. He would tend to loosely draw his creations before then creating three dimensional models of them in order to test out some of the more important technical aspects. Much of his interior design, plus also the facades that he created on the outside of these buildings, was not overly planned and he liked to work with a little freedom and spontaneity. There were, however, clear themes which run throughout most of his designs, such as the use of bright colour which related to his home region of Catalonia, as well as the handling of respect for the light, from wherever it entered each room or building. The photograph shown here underlines how Gaudi would use stained-glass windows in order to add design flourishes as well as encouraging light in and out of each room.

Some of the elements common to his work would be ceramics, tiles, plus the use of materials such as iron and glass. He liked to re-use items where ever possible, valuing the importance of recycling way before western society took it seriously. He would use draw on nature frequently, creating wild creatures within his designs that came to life with colour and flair. Much of that would have, again, been influenced by the culture in which he grew up and the same type of things that would have been in the minds of fellow natives such as Miro and Dali. Finally, Gaudi's interior design was also intelligent, not simply decorative but also carefully thought out solutions for everyday living, most notably for how he would handle space and make the most of what could sometimes be relatively limited areas with which to plan and deliver each room's layout. He liked to handle as much as he could, combining a range of creative disciplines together to produce something organic, covering furniture, sculpture and architecture as well.

Antoni Gaudi liked to create dream worlds, in a similar way to how Dali would create surrealist dreams in his paintings. All manner of creatures would be found within the designs of his rooms, each carefully working in alongside the key fundamentals of design, such as the use of windows, shutters and skylights in order to carefully control the flow of light and space. Some of his apartment projects would test his abilities with producing liveable spaces that also were fun and beautiful. He would even plan the buildings themselves in a direction that would best draw in the light, to then give him enough to play with once he started to design the interiors within them. Few artists have ever been involved, successfully, in as many different disciplines as this - perhaps one good example might be William Morris, a British textile artist who used his floral patterns in a variety of disciplines. Though, that said, even he would leave the architectural challenges of his company's projects to other members of his group.

Gaudi would make use of many existing design techniques but also invented a few of his own. For example he is generally regarded as being the brains behind Trencadís, where mosaic designs are produced directly from broken coloured ceramics. It was a great way of reusing items that he may have found lying around and it also provided him with the challenge of matching these coloured items with a particular plan. His dragon around the entrance of Park Güell is certainly one of the more memorable uses of this technique and it was exciting to see a traditional technique such as mosaics being re-invented within the 20th century, having been so common all the way within classic art and design. The term of Trencadís derives from the Catalan word for chopped, which refers to the cutting up of these coloured ceramics into small pieces that could then be put together into new forms.

The variety of styles with which Gaudi could work proved highly beneficial to his customers, who would often ask for customised interiors that would differ in taste. His themes offered could be natural, something more urban as well as using religious themes or leaving them out entirely. He could adapt to the requirements and loved to be in control of almost every past of the overall project. His insistence of being so hands-on ensured a great level of stylistic consistency, as he would consider all elements together rather than having a team of specialists who each worked in their respective silos, such as just on the furniture, the decoration, etc. The downside was obviously that the projects would take longer to be completed and that Gaudi was often unavailable to work on other tasks at the same time, other than when he was willing to manage others to complete some of this work.

There was a delicate touch to this artist which meant he could achieve astounding designs even with fairly masculine, rigid materials such as wrought iron. He could decorate staircases with this material but turn it into something organic in appearance, such as snails, leaves and stems. The transformations would be so magical that one would not even think about the brutality of this material until later on when we started to reflect on the methods that he used to create these dreamy worlds. He would then go from that to the fragile nature of glass and somehow put the two together in a blend that fused together so comfortably. Stained glass elements would bring colour and light in areas of each room that he felt might otherwise be a little too dark. Though he would angle buildings in order to maximise light, there would always be areas which required the special attention of his innovative and knowledgeable mind.