The discreet cat of Països Catalans

It is, in all probability, the most discreet cat in Barcelona.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 04:26
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The discreet cat of Països Catalans

It is, in all probability, the most discreet cat in Barcelona. He doesn't meow, he doesn't move. It does nothing because it is not made of flesh and blood, but just a black silhouette silhouetted against the sky above the undulating pergola of the Plaza de los Països Catalans, in front of Sants station. It is difficult to see because it can only be seen clearly from afar, but there it has remained motionless and observing everything for decades.

This life-size metal cat was a small detail designed by architects Helio Piñón and Albert Viaplana when they designed the square in the 80s. They wanted to add a human touch to a space that has been considered a paradigm of what are called squares. hard

The Països Catalans was one of the first major works carried out by the first democratic city council of Barcelona and was criticized from the beginning, at a time when there was special citizen sensitivity for the recovery of green areas. The argument for converting that space into a hard and inhospitable plaza was the thin slab that covers the railway tracks at that point, which has not diminished criticism since its inauguration in 1983. For others it is a symbol of architectural modernity. Today, pending renovation, it is one of the paradises for skaters.

The most unique feature of the square is precisely the undulating copper pergola, which provides shade to a space always considered hostile to citizen life. And it is on the pergola that Piñón y Viaplana's cat remains. To locate it, you have to do it from a certain distance because the structure of the pergola itself prevents doing so.

The architects wanted to evoke nature through abstract art with the pergola. Light and wind filter through the roof. The urban element of the all-seeing cat on a roof breaks the rhythm, which can also be seen through the plot if one stands directly below it and looks up.