Façade decoration

6 Oct
copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Plaça de Santa Maria

When in Barcelona, you have probably noticed there is a lot of façade decoration going on. Carved stone ornaments, wrought iron railings and grilles… I’ve shown you some of these already, some even a couple of times, but one I haven’t dedicated a post to until now, is ‘sgraffito‘.

Sgraffito is a technique that uses tinted plaster in two or more layers, which is then scratched to create coloured decorative designs. Used in Europe since classical times, it became hugely popular in Italy in the 16th Century.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Junta de Comerç

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Sots-Tinent Navarro

In Catalunya, sgraffito was implemented in the early 20th century by  neo-classical architects and became a recurrent technique in façade decoration. Examples of it, in simple or complicated forms, abound in Barcelona, as well as in other cities around Catalunya. Some examples are in very good shape (above), others almost hidden under a layer of grime, such as the one in Carrer Boqueria.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Boqueria

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer de Banys Nous

I’m not sure, but it is quite possible, due to the heavy influence of the Italian Renaissance on architecture in Barcelona, that the above sgraffito, on this building from the 18th Century, may actually have been created at that time. Then again, it is entirely possible it was added later. (If anyone can shed any light on this, please let me know.) Either way, it’s rather pretty, don’t you think?

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

?

I love this sgraffito (above) for it is rough, almost coarse, but no less beautiful. I can’t remember where it is, but no doubt will pass it one of these days, and will then let you know.

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Palma de Sant Just

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Plaça de Sant Just

Pretty flowers and sweet cherubs are among the more common themes, but various graphic elements can also be seen on many buildings (such as those on Plaça de Santa Maria).

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Sots-Tinent Navarro

These cherubs have also been used in sgraffito with commercial purposes, as can be seen on this example on the corner of Carrer Nou de la Rambla and Carrer Guardia. Unfortunately the shop or business, that used to sell chocolate(s) no longer exists.

Tomorrow I am taking you to a hidden garden, quite different from those I have shown you so far. Fins demà!

copyright: Lisette van de Graaf

Carrer Nou de la Rambla

2 Responses to “Façade decoration”

  1. Tatiana October 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Amazing buildings!
    I love the decoration and I love Barca in general :)

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