Architecture lovers will be excited to find the work of more than one master designer when they visit Barcelona’s Casa Batlló. Aside from Casa Batlló itself—which is an iconic example of Catalan Modernisme or Art Nouveau architecture designed by Antoni Gaudí—visitors will find a dramatic staircase addition designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The architectural intervention is part of a larger design event called Casa Batlló 10D Experience that seeks to give visitors a glimpse into the mind of Gaudí.
The staircase is defined by aluminum chain curtains by Kriskadecor. Instead of focusing on Gaudí’s dramatic use of color and unusual form, Kuma chose to highlight his masterful use of light. He highlights this in the reflective qualities of the aluminum chain. The staircase is a tribute to Gaudí’s work while presenting it in a more contemporary architecture that does not seek to compete with the historic work.
“We have imagined this space dressed in aluminum link curtains which with their meticulous materiality catch the light, as if they were fishing nets, and show it to us in all its forms: brightness, silhouettes, shadows,” Kuma states. “This way, by omitting the use of any other materials, and erasing the presence of this blind box and its staircase using these chains, we are able to speak of light and light only.”
The relationship to light changes throughout the eight floors and the coal bunkers in the basement. The aluminum chains are lighter at the top and become darker as they descend through the building, becoming black as they reach the basement. Aside from creating a beautiful progression for visitors to the building, the chain curtains also serve to cleverly hide acoustic panels that limit noise.
To see Kuma’s staircase and all of the other special works included in the Casa Batlló 10D Experience, you can book a ticket on the Casa Batlló website. To hear more about the experience and the designers behind them, you can check out an exclusive interview with Refik Anadol—another designer included in the exhibit—on an episode of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast titled Media Artist Refik Anadol on His AI-Driven Artwork Redefining Space.