Gaudí & trencadís
Creativity and Recycling
«Colour is life.» (Antoni Gaudí)
The trencadís mosaic is one of the images that best identify the architecture of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). In Catalonia and Valencia, walls have been covered with coloured tiles, a resource of great beauty and hygienic functionality, since the Middle Ages. Thanks to the proper use of ornamentation, architecture represented, throughout Modernisme (the Catalan Art Nouveau), the synthesis of all the arts, creating a rich combination of shapes, volumes, textures and colours.
Gaudí experimented with all kinds of materials, especially ceramics, replacing the popular look of traditional mosaic tiles with fragments resulting from irregular cutting. The cutting “breaks up” (“trenca” in Catalan) the tiles into fragments -hence the name trencadís. A large number of artisans, industrialists and bricklayers emerged around Gaudí, with the architect Josep M. Jujol (1879-1949) standing out among them. They all shared creative wealth and a love for recycling materials.