The unknown wardrobe designed by Gaudí that comes to light

From now on, a piece designed by one of the most universal architects, Antoni Gaudí, is exposed to the public.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
10 March 2024 Sunday 22:23
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The unknown wardrobe designed by Gaudí that comes to light

From now on, a piece designed by one of the most universal architects, Antoni Gaudí, is exposed to the public. This Monday, the Vicens house presented a hanging corner wardrobe designed by Gaudí after a meticulous restoration that lasted half a year. The piece dates from the end of the 19th century and was commissioned by the architect for the Vicens family house that he had in Alella.

The wardrobe has been the property of four generations of the family and its last place had been an apartment in Sarrià until 2023, when it was acquired at an auction house by the Vicens house for 95,000 euros. Its use until now had served to store dishes although it is unknown if Gaudí designed it for this purpose.

The restoration work has focused on disinfecting the furniture as some holes due to woodworm were found and subsequently cleaning the wood and metal parts, which had to be dismantled piece by piece. After analyzing the wood, it has also been found that the furniture is made of walnut, instead of cedar as was historically believed.

Other difficulties of the restoration have been the interior part upholstered in velvet, which was very deteriorated, a slight deviation of the wood of the column in the crown part and some unnailed slats.

“The state of conservation was fair, it was not optimal, but not bad either. Our proposal has consisted of recovering the formal and aesthetic values ​​of the piece,” highlighted Marta Vilà, one of the restorers. “We have removed the surface dirt, but never the original coating, the original varnish remains,” added Sonia Berrocal, the other restorer.

On the sides of the door you can see the intertwined initials D and G of Dolors Giralt, wife of Manel Vicens. Also noteworthy are the golden brass floral motifs and some carved wooden birds on the base. This piece of furniture was created to be next to a corner fireplace made of wood and metal with the inscription of the initials M and V of Manuel Vicens, property of the construction board of the Sagrada Família, and also currently exhibited in the Vicens house.

“The two pieces of furniture were born together and after 140 years they are again in the Vicens house,” commented Emili Masferrer, general director of the house, who has announced that last year they received about 200,000 visitors. The wardrobe can now be seen in the permanent exhibition on the second floor of this building in Vila de Gràcia, a UNESCO world heritage site.