A driving force of Catalan Modernisme in architecture and design, Gaudí conceived of art as a unity, integrating form and function in often eclectic and intricately curving designs. His first furniture models appeared shortly after he graduated from Barcelona’s School of Architecture in 1878. This chair was designed for the manager’s office in the Calvet House (1898-99), built as both a private residence and a commercial office space. The chair was part of a set that included a desk and corner stool and exemplifies Gaudí’s early period, when he developed a personal style inspired by forms found in nature. Built from oak, a strong and durable wood that is easily carved, the armchair’s swooning curves recall contemporary Art Nouveau stylizations. The chair’s arms and legs resemble the limbs of an insect or a skeletal structure, and the subtle concavities of the heart-shaped back and circular seat suggest an ergonomic attention to the sitter’s comfort.
Text credit: Produced in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and Patricia Ortega-Miranda.