Saturday Art: Lluis Domènech i Montaner

(Photograph courtesy of Kashna's photostream at

One of the leading architects in the Catalan area is i Montaner, whose eclecticism is characteristic of  Barcelona’s style.  While it may seem oxymoronic, rebellion against rules is typical of architecture that the city has on display.

Taking cues from Gaudi, the natural world is a large inspiration for the buildings i Montaner designed.

His buildings displayed a mixture between rationalism and fabulous ornamentation inspired by Spanish-Arabic architecture, and followed the curvilinear design typical of Art Nouveau. In the El castell dels 3 dragons restaurant in Barcelona (built for the World’s Fair in 1888), now the Zoological Museum, he applied very advanced solutions (a visible iron structure and ceramics). He later developed this style further in other buildings, such as the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona (1908), where he made extensive use of mosaic, ceramics and stained glass, the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, and the Institut Pere Mata in Reus.

Domènech i Montaner’s work evolved towards more open structures and lighter materials, evident in the Palau de la Música Catalana. Other architects, like Gaudí, tended to move in the opposite direction.

Chosen for its distinctive mordern style, the Hospital de Santa Creu i  de Sant Pau is a World Heritage site.   The Castle of Three Dragons was designed for the World’s Fair in 1888.

(Photo courtesy of wallygrom at

Also remarkable are designs that i Montaner utilized for the details of his structures.  Like Gaudi, he made nature his model.

Mail slot at casa de l'ardiaca

(Photo courtesy of Laura Padgett at

Comments are closed.