Vol. 11: Signs and the Architecture of Gaudi
Japanese people appear to be fascinated by the architecture of Gaudi, and famous sites such as the Sagrada Familia Temple and Guell Park are always thronged with Japanese tourists. In contrast, there are no tourist buses that even bother to stop at the Casa Mila facing Passeig Gracia in the center of the city. Lying outside the tourist bustle, the Casa Mila is the only communal housing block created by Gaudi. The first floor is occupied by shops, but the building is a far more substantial one that this suggests. Rather than describing this building created by a genius as a work of architecture, onefs first impression is rather of a mysterious, monumental rock stuck in the middle of the city. The restaurant created in the image of a cave and the show windows of the boutiques are skillfully formed in imitation of nature itself. Although one might think that these shop signs are ornate and intricate, they are in fact surprisingly simple, and the materials used are modern ones such as neon and acryl. But this highly unusual building in no sense seems unnatural: one of the outstanding features of Gaudifs work is precisely his manner of making the unusual appear completely convincing. The projecting sign of the Tabacos restaurant is simple, but it is astonishing to see how it fits in perfectly with the building in terms of both color and shape.

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