Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí

Probably the best known and most photographed of all Antoni Gaudí’s non-architectural works is the hexagonal hydraulic mosaic tile he designed in 1904 in conjunction with Escofet. Initially to be used to pave the renovated floors in Batlló House on Barcelona's Paseo de Gràcia, the design was finally used to pave the service rooms in another building on the same street, Milà House, better known as «La Pedrera», an apartment building with a visionary structure that he designed immediately afterwards. Gaudí’s mosaic design is a clear expression of his innovative capacity. It features a simple, one-colour paving tile with a unique format and gentle reliefs that are visible when lit. The combinations of this undulating, textured tile is reminiscent of the movement of the sea, with its references to botanical and animal figures in its reliefs: starfish, snails and seaweed. The "Gaudí tile" is a magnificent example of the architect’s genius and his working method, motives that fully justify its permanent place in the New York MOMA exhibition as a paradigmatic example of an early paving design conceived as an industrial product. This tile is the convergence of two constants in his work: geometry and symbolism. The shape of the tile and the forms shown on it refer the viewer to Gaudí’s ideas, based on the meticulous observation of natural forms and structures, «Nature, always my master». The six-sided perimeters reproduce the cells in a honeycomb or the growth of a reptile’s skin, while the bas relief figures are the results of an abstraction and artificialization of nature. At Escofet we have preserved not only the original metal mould of this tile, but also our memory of Gaudí’s presence in our production workshop, where he modelled the wax original that gave rise to this mould with his own hands. As a tribute to Gaudí, in 1997 the city of Barcelona paved the broad pedestrian zones along Paseo de Gracia with a re-edition of this tile, adapted to outdoor spaces. The new paver, “Panot Gaudí”, reproduces the original figures in a new bas relief format nearly 100 years after Escofet first produced the hydraulic tile, originally designed for interiors.

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