In 1885, Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí completed Casa Vicens, his first of many major commissions. Beautifully blending hints of Art Nouveau with Moorish elements, this mesmerizing building is celebrated as the catalyst of Catalan Modernisme, a style that Gaudí pioneered and perfected. In order to showcase what makes it so special, Barcelona-based photographer David Cardelús offers a glimpse inside the site in his series, Photographing Heritage. The Vicens House.
Like other works by Gaudí, Casa Vicens is famous for its details, which include hand-painted mosaics, multifoil arches, and geometric motifs. In addition to these decorative and architectural elements, Casa Vicens is renowned for its vibrant color palette, which Cardelús sought to emphasize in his photographs.
“Color is one of the things I love most in architectural photography because it helps me to catch the viewer’s attention really fast, to make them stop and stare at what I try to show them,” he tells My Modern Met. “I have photographed some other buildings by Gaudí–Casa Batlló, Gaudí Crypt, Palau Güell, and El Capricho–and color is always key in how we communicate the buildings; different color palettes, but always color everywhere.”
Cardelús was commissioned to photograph Casa Vicens by the site’s building managers. Specifically, he was asked to “communicate the building in digital markets by highlighting its distinctive features.” Fortunately for Cardelús, this kind of focus is not a foreign concept; in fact, it’s central to his entire practice, and, unsurprisingly, has been fueled by his appreciation for Gaudí.
“In architectural photography, there are colors, shapes, and lines, and it is my intent to capture them in a frame that is as harmonic as possible,” he tells us. “Photographing Gaudí is always a privilege and nothing compares to it when you have been raised in Barcelona. I hope that I will be able to photograph all of Gaudí’s works . . . some day.”