Xavier Corberó’s wonderful labyrinth house
International artist Xavier Corberó´s house – considered by many as being the most important Catalan artist since Gaudí – is an architectural gem located in Esplugues, which is a municipality within the metropolitan area of Barcelona, which was also home to the Pujol i Bausis factory, which has produced architects like Gaudí and Domènech i Muntaner, and which was the setting of many 60´s westerns.
Among the thousands of wonders he carried out – including the design of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games medals – his masterpiece of a house stands out.
The house is like a magnificent sculpture. It feels much the same as being inside a work of art.
Currently, it is his widow Maria Dolors Rica, who lives inside this dream house made up of five winding floors structured around a hexagonal interior courtyard and who fights in order that her husband´s legacy – including over 400 pieces of the artist, not be forgotten.
We could say that the house is in some way hidden from the town´s passers-by because it is in a small neighbourhood of old farm houses in the vicinity of the Santa Magdalena Parish. And, in fact, beyond the threshold it´s impossible to imagine the amazing feats it hides…like the classic Rolls-Royce which is there for merely decorative purposes.
As I was saying, everything in this house is an absolute work of art. The whole house is divided into 6 descending floors which together take up 15,000 square metres (comprising 25 individual spaces) and where each room is built around a glass skylight. On the last floor we may find an impressive orchard with spectacular views.
Corberó´s Home – who’s preferred description was “humbled in comparison to stone”– is a self-portrait and exploration which took up 40 years of his life. It is true to say that the process and evolution have been enormous. A labyrinth of studios, living rooms, the artist´s residence, galleries and an underground workshop, which grew forth from nine industrial structures which lie there but are in deterioration. It is a harmonious lattice where stunning staircases cohabit with other monumental pieces by Corberó, like designer furniture and in which the coldness of the cement contrasts with the warmth of the wood forming a perfect partnership.
Corberó was a close friend of Salvador Dalí and Duchamp, whose surrealist influence is clearly reflected in his works and in the house itself..
The exterior of the house includes a great structure of 3 floor cement arches and which stand out as an enormous grey skeletal structure. There is a garden around them full of stone or iron totem poles sculpted by the artist whose constant wish it was to create poetry.
It´s poetry and music. As with melodies, I like it to be continuous such as those composed in India or the toccatas and fugue by Bach where we know not where it begins nor ends in its mental space..
Corberó tasted the sweet nectar of success – he travelled through the Fundición Medici and by the Bienal Hispanoamericana, he exhibited in Munich, in Japan, in Nueva York –at MoMa!-, in Amsterdam´s Stedelijk Museum and at London´s Victoria and Albert Museum… -, as well as gaining great prestige in the USA. However, his decision was to set up his house and workshop in Esplugues de Llobregat, in order to be close to his friends and family. Unfortunately, he passed away last year, but his art, talent and great performance will remain eternal. Congratulations Maestro!
(*) Photos by Jerome Galland. Video by Albert Moya, cortesy by NOWNESS.
Beti-Jai: a beautiful historical fronton in the centre of the Chamberí district