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Antoni Gaudí's Casa Vicens Opening as a Museum in 2016

The first major residential work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí will open its doors next year, after a restoration project turns the private Casa Vicens into a public museum. Originally completed in 1888 as a summer residence for a wealthy industrialist, the home was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 along with a selection of the architect's other works. According to ArchDaily, the home was put on the market back in 2007 by a third-generation descendant of the original owner, and purchased by a subsidiary of the Mora Banc Grup, which is funding the current restoration and plans to open the home as a museum late next year.

Gaudí designed the home, a detached, three-story structure located on a narrow street in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, for stockbroker Manuel Vicens Montaner, who coincidentally owned a tile company that provided much of the raw material necessary realize the architect's vision. His first major home commission completed when he was just a few years out of school, it's also a building closely connected with and inspired by nature. French marigolds found on the grounds of the estate inspired the polychromatic pattern of pressed tiles on the façade, the cast iron rails were shaped to resemble palms growing nearby, and Frescos in the third-story bedrooms drew inspiration from the plants growing on the Cassoles River. Gaudi also drew heavily from Islamic influences and techniques, including the Mudéjar-inspired design and a domed smoking corner on the ground floor covered in muqarnas, a type of ornamentation. Finished before Gaudí fully embraced more curved forms, it was an impressive example of Orientalist design, and a fitting home for an aristocrat; the owner could survey a garden of palms from balconies on the turrets, then descend down a staircase to the smoking room.

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