“Beauty in Brokeness,” the Catalan Technique of Trencadí Mosaic is Featured in this Fridge Magnet
This refrigerator magnet depicts one of the chimneys of Palau Güell, an architectual masterpiece of Barcelonan architect Antoni Gaudí. It is decorated using a technique signature to Gaudí and his fellow architects in the Modernisme Movement: Trencadís. Trencadís are pieces of broken tile, pottery and china – traditionally collected from the waste of the cities ceramic industry – which were cemented onto three-dimensional structures like the chimneys. The technique lives on in Barcelona, where it remains a popular way of decorating. Even beyond the city, it is still employed: when the nearby city of Valencia built a complex of science museums in 2005, it covered them in brilliant white trencadís.
Rising Up to the Sun at Palau Güell
Like many of Gaudí's works, Palau Güell is deceptive from the street. Palau Güell was built for the Güell family, Gaudí's greatest patrons and what he built for them is a true masterpiece. Visitors are impressed by the ornate ironwork on the gates and the elegant stonework of the facade but they typically do not realize this is only one face of the Palace. Gaudí's work was inspired by living things – being in his buildings feels like being inside a great lizard or a mighty tree. At Palau Güell, this biological feel starts in the basement, where the supports look like great mushrooms. The building grows up sinuously from there, through the dark, polished wood of the lower floors and the smooth gray stone of the facade. Finally, the building bursts into the light at the roof. The roof tiles and the chimneys, like the one featured in this magnet, are a celebration of light and color, basking in the sunlight like flowers.