Gaudi: An inspiration in design

‘I capture the purest and most pleasurable images from nature, the nature that is always my teacher’ – Antoni Gaudi

‘The great book, always open and which one must make every effort to read, is the book of nature’ – Antoni Gaudi

Gaudi design inspired by honeycombe

Gaudi design inspired by honeycombe

Gaudi: the designer, a peronal hero

If you could meet someone, anyone, for instance a famous pop star or perhaps one of Henry the 8th wives or even Henry the 8th himself, who would you choose?  The person I would choose, without hesitation would be the great designer and architect Gaudi.

Gaudi had an amazing insight and a talent for doing things his own way.  He was often accused of being a genius or a madman through out his career.  I am a massive fan of his ‘’organic’’ style in design, in which one idea leads to another.  (I am constantly referring to my designs being ‘’organic’’ in the workshop, you can get away with a ton of things using this ‘term’)

I am intrigued by the mixture of materials Gaudi used in some of his buildings, combining things like ceramic tiles with unfinished rubble, contrasting textures. I have a thing for contrast.

Gaudi preferred to use everyday materials and work with great craftsman like Blacksmith’s and ceramicists.

Gaudi's Dragon Gate

Gaudi’s Dragon Gate

Gaudi and Design in Nature

Gaudi’s designs are associated with Art Nouveau but he is far more distinguished with his affinity with nature.  His designs were about nature and the materials he used, the forces beneath the surface.  His ideal of a house was an organic body that seemed to live in and off it.

As a student, Gaudi failed on a Design project because he was unable to draft plans of just a gate.  He couldn’t imagine the gate separately from the surroundings.

Gaudi had an incredible ability to bring unity between the structure of a building and its decoration.  The stone he uses comes alive and his love of using colour.  He seemed to give his designs a wonderful atmosphere and a pulse.

Gaudi's Casa Batllo

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

‘Ornamentation has been and will be coloured.  Nature presents us with no object that is not coloured; everything in vegetation, geology, topography and the animal kingdom is a more or less sharp contrast of colours.  That is why every architectonic element must be colour… Architecture must not renounce colour, but must on the contrary use it to bring shape and physical volume to life.  Colour is the complement of form, and the clearest manifestation of life.’ – Antoni Gaudi

When designing I try to open my mind and consider a lot of these great things Gaudi was so brilliant at.  I want the piece to fit in harmony with its surrounds and have a relationship with them.  I also love texture and trying to bring the work alive with it.

I have made a number of pieces using elements of Gaudi’s work for inspiration like The Casa Mila for a Door design.

 

At the top of the building are some small windows that look as if they were punched through the stone. I used this punching idea and placed glass stones in the swells that were created, bringing some colour to the door. I also added texture by heating the sheet and hammering it under the power hammer and then placing it on the fire to build up lots of scale, to create more texture and depth.BexSimon Mila Door Cladding

After being totally blown away visiting Gaudi’s work on a trip to Barcelona, I designed and built a gate that had loads of different inspirations and references to various buildings and features of his work that I just loved and couldn’t get out of my head.

BexSimon Barcelona Gate

BexSimon Barcelona Gate

My Pestle and Mortar is also another tribute to Gaudi.  He designed these beautiful blue ceramic vases with leaves creeping up vertically from bottom to top.  I love his flowing use of curves and wanted this same shape for my mortar bowl, as there didn’t seem to be any using this particular kind of shape.

Gaudi's vases in the Casa Batllo

Gaudi’s vases in the Casa Batllo

Instead of using leaf design I used a series of circles, going from convex to concave bringing texture to the piece as well as playing with the way light would create shadows and bring contrast to the design. I also wanted to create something that would appeal to both men and women and circles seemed like a sensible choice for the design.  We have called it the Gaudi Pestle and Mortar.

BexSimon Cast Bronze Pestle and Mortar

BexSimon Cast Bronze Pestle and Mortar

Every time I see some of Gaudi’s work, I just look on in awe.  To have had that amount of insight and passion is just incredible.  He really did bring life to his work.  To find out how I can bring my work to your life, just get in contact and we can start to discuss some designs.

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