Grille from the Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Barcelona, Spain
Antoni Gaudí

Wrought iron
65¾ x 73¾ x 19⅝”

In the numerous grilles for the semibasement level of the idiosyncratic Casa Milà, Antoni Gaudí transformed strips of wrought iron into organic, flowing, ribbonlike forms. The mesh patterns evoke images of fishing nets hung out to dry, a common sight  on the Mediterranean. The twisting and undulating grille profiles are as much works of abstract sculpture as they are architectural elements. The play between opacity and transparency, strength and plasticity, add to the variety of organic forms on the facade of the building..Most of the work of the Catalan architect Gaudí is in Barcelona, the city where he made his home and participated in every aspect of his buildings. The wildly organic Casa Milà (known as La Pedrera because it was thought to resemble a quarry) is situated on what was then Barcelona’s most important thoroughfare, Passeig de Gràcia. Like this grille, the entire building has not a single straight line. Gaudi argued that in nature there is no such thing as a straight line. Nature, from minerals and vegetables to its greatest manifestations of power, was for him an inexhaustible source of inspiration: “The great book, ever open and which we must make every effort to read.” —Objects of Design: The Museum of Modern Art

(Photo: MoMA & La Pedrera Barcelona)