Metalworking, in Gaudí’s blood
Gaudí is known for his contribution to the field of architecture, and this, in large part, is due to the fact that he incorporated his in-depth knowledge of artisan trades into his works, especially metalworking, shaping pieces with blows from a hammer. From a very young age, he learned the technique of forging: heating metal and then reshaping it with a hammer into a final piece. His father and grandfathers were potsmiths and this proximity to blacksmithing gave Gaudí intimate knowledge of the trade.
Later, he developed iron techniques and designs. So, he created pieces to complement and decorate the buildings he designed, such as bars for windows, railings, gates and even some furniture. In the garden at the Gaudí House Museum, where the architect lived from 1906 to 1925, there is an open-air exhibition with various elements Gaudí designed and made in iron.
At the Sagrada Família, we can see two wardrobes in the western sacristy that were designed by Gaudí in wood and wrought iron to hold the items needed for mass: one is for the vestments celebrants and ministers wear and the other for various religious items, such as chalices and missals. To learn more about the symbolism behind these two wardrobes, you can watch an audiovisual explanation during the tour.
These two wardrobes were used until 1936, when they were burnt and nearly destroyed. Luckily, the iron on the wardrobes was able to be saved and used to rebuild them following the original design. Today, they are once again in use. In this video, blacksmith Enric Pla tells about the process of restoring the wardrobes and the metalworking trade, which may seem simple but requires precise knowledge of metal-based materials and smelting, as well as a certain artistic flair.