Xerjoff Magazine

A night at the Vicens’ house

Writer

The first house designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, Casa Vicens has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Restored and opened to the public years ago, now starting from next autumn, thanks to an AirBnb initiative, it will also be possible to stay in this precious home.

Defined by Le Corbusier as a “moulder of stone, brick and iron” Antoni Gaudí was one of the most eminent exponents of the so-called Catalan modernism. An artistic style that developed in Barcelona between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, which Gaudí was able to enrich and interpret in his own personal way, using stylistic elements from oriental arts, Moorish and Islamic architecture and neo-Gothic suggestions. As proof of the greatness of his work, seven of his works in Barcelona have been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1984. These include Casa Vicens (1883-1885), a villa on Calle de las Carolinas whose style has been described as Mudejar-Moresque. Gaudí himself explains the surprising sources of inspiration for the work: “What inspired me was the tree. The tree supports the big branches, these the smaller branches and the twigs support the leaves. And every single part grows harmoniously and beautifully. “Commissioned by stockbroker Manuel Vicens i Montaner, Casa Vicens was the first home designed by the Catalan architect, who was only 31 at the time and still unknown.

Today, this architectural jewel has become a “house-museum” after a major restoration and has been reopened to the public, but now a new initiative will allow its beauty to be enjoyed to the full. Thanks to AirBnb, in fact, some lucky people, from next autumn, will also have the opportunity to sleep in this magnificent place after booking on the special page that AirBnb has created specifically for the initiative. Guests will be welcomed (while the place will obviously be closed to the public) by one of the designers of the team that worked on the restoration of the villa, who will have the task of guiding guests through the various rooms, illustrating the precious architectural and stylistic features. The tour will start on the main floor, the heart of the house, where there is a delightful living room pervaded by oriental atmospheres and with decorations that enhance the beauty of nature. After visiting the veranda and the fumoir, you will go up one floor to admire the bedrooms and bathrooms of the former owners. The second floor, which used to be reserved for service personnel, offers fascinating light effects and a beautiful view of the city through its many windows. Before drifting off to sleep surrounded by the beauty of the place, guests can enjoy dinner in the elegant dining room, where the menu, created by a Michelin-starred chef, is inspired by Gaudí’s aesthetic.