A cabin, a motor, a rope, a counterweight……..and thus the elevator was born. Placed in the hands of masters of Modernisme Català (Catalan Art Nouveau), this simple contraption was turned into a genuine work of art in the late 19th century in Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudi, Josep Puig I Cadalfalch, Domènech i Montaner, and Josep Maria Jujol, amongst many others, transformed Catalan society during this significant period of urban renewal characterised, above all, by creativity and a wealth of detail resulting in unique modernisme architecture featuring “contemporary” or “art nouveau” influences of the time combined with gothic elements making for organic and poetic spaces.
On a walk through the charming Eixample neighbourhood in Barcelona, via a peek through the doors of the buildings there, visitors will discover elegant and highly elaborate elevators comprising prime examples of 19th century modernisme Català. The Columbus Monument standing at the lower end of La Rambla, lovely Casa Batlló, the Pedrera and the Ateneu Barcelonès also feature these impressive 19th century elevators.
Columbus Monument Elevator
The Columbus Monument in Barcelona was built for the “Exposición Universal de Barcelona” (Barcelona World Fair) in 1888 in honour of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The monument, measuring 59 metres high, was the work of Gaietà Buïgas i Monravà and Rafael Atché, and has since become a Barcelona icon. It houses the city’s first ever elevator which takes visitors up to a viewing platform at the top (just below the feet of the statue) of the Columbus Monument where they can enjoy lovely views of the Catalan capital.
Ateneu Barcelonès Elevator
Amongst the first ever elevators in Barcelona features the lift in the Ateneu Barcelonès cultural club headquarters, built by Josep Maria Jujol in 1906. The Ateneu Barcelonès was only moved to Palau Savassona (18th century building housing the Ateneu Barcelonès) the year before. Despite the Palau Palau Savassona undergoing many reforms, the elevator with its original features, still remains including the wooden cabin with modernisme details, stain glass and wrought ironwork.
One of the most impressive elevators of modernisme Català is found in lovely Casa Batlló by Gaudí. Featuring highly elaborate décor throughout, the main intention was to lend the building a high-class status in Barcelona.
The Pedrera in Barcelona (or Casa Milà) comprises one of Gaudí’s masterpieces, and was built in collaboration with several other architects. In line with his love for nature and natural forms, Gaudi used designs based on animals such as turtles and moths. The Pedrera elevator was installed to serve all the floors and, although it may not be as impressive as the other elevators in Barcelona, it still comprises a remarkable example of 19th century modernisme Català.
Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona
The Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona (Barcelona Modernisme Walking Tour) offers visitors the chance to admire some of the most important buildings of the time, a great opportunity to see these elevators from the 19th century in Barcelona. Further information is available on the Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona website.
In Barcelona you can admire these beautiful elevators and prime examples of modernisme Català, the remarkable outcome of a movement which saw a number of great artists and intellectuals. You can even find one in the L’ Ascensor cocktail bar, located on calle Bellfila, 3 in the Gothic Quarter, featuring none other than a classic 19th century elevator at the entrance! So, if you would like to learn more about modernisme Català and these fascinating elevators then come to Barcelona. In addition, rent short term accommodation with www.feelbarcelona.com for a comfortable stay!