Our vacation to Spain continues

The next stop on our visit to Barcelona was to see CASA BATLLO.  This iconic Modernist masterpiece is located in the center of Barcelona on the historically prestigious street Passeig de GraciaI.   It was originally commissioned by Lluís Sala Sánchez but totally renovated by the Batllo family from 1904 -1906.

It is known locally as the House of Bones, no doubt because so much of its form is inspired by the vertebra of both man and other animals. Can you see the reference to vertebra in the design of the staircase?

Casa Battlo staircase by Martin Pierce Hardware

Casa Battlo staircase by Martin Pierce Hardware

The house, like so much of Gaudi’s work, incorporates fantastical earthly and non-earthly themes.  For example, the ocean with its waves, sea creatures and sea shells carved on the doors, are captured in tile.

Casa Battlo, Barcelona Spain photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

Casa Battlo, Barcelona Spain photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

As you can see, Gaudi’s Casa Battlo makes wonderful use of colored tile, in particular the color blue.  A fine example of this is the inner shaft that was used to cool the house with louvered wooden shutters that opened to allow cool air in.

Casa Battlo photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

Casa Battlo photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

The curvaceous and fluid shape of the wooden windows and doors is reminiscent of tree roots and plant tendrils.  Be sure to take notice of the unique wainscoting design on the walls.

Casa Battlo photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

Casa Battlo photo by Martin Pierce Hardware

And the arched roof crowns of the building are, by all accounts, Gaudi’s interpretation of a dragon.

Can you spot the dragon on the rooftop of Casa Battlo Martin Pierce Hardware

Can you spot the dragon on the rooftop of Casa Battlo?
Martin Pierce Hardware

 

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Room accessories to compliment your custom hardware

With any design project, big ticket items and other decisions often monopolize the conversation.  Room layouts, color schemes and furniture needs are determined early in the game.  However, as all hospitality and residential designers know, it is often the little details that really make the room.

Hardware for doors and cabinets are obviously a necessity but being ordinary is not a requirement.  That same school of thought holds true for other items in any space, including the bathroom.  Products like the soap dish, towel and robe hooks and even tissue holders may seem unimportant in the overall design of the space but they can make a strong design statement, particularly when they compliment the custom door hardware.  Take, for example, the companion pieces in our Hedgerow, Morphic, Ergo and Willow collections:

The sleek design of our Morphic coat hook is like a miniature piece of modern sculpture for your walls.

Coat hook from Morphic collection at Martin Pierce Hardware

Coat hook from Morphic collection at Martin Pierce Hardware

Our popular Hedgerow collection of architectural hardware also features utilitarian items like this beautifully detailed towel bar cast in oil rubbed bronze.

Beautifully detailed towel bar from Martin Pierce Hardware

Beautifully detailed towel bar from Martin Pierce Hardware

Even the tissue holder will get noticed when it is this contemporary design from our crisp and clean stainless steel Ergo collection.

Polished stainless steel toilet paper holder from Martin Pierce Hardware

Polished stainless steel toilet paper holder from Martin Pierce Hardware

Don’t overlook the opportunity to introduce beautifully detailed accessories in your next hotel, spa, commercial or residential project.

To view all of these product and our entire collection of architectural hardware, visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

 

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Our homage to Gaudi continues with a visit to Colonia Guell

As we continue our discovery of Catalan Modernisme in Barcelona we began our homage to Gaudi in earnest when we visited his work at  Colonia Guell.

Not to be confused with Parc Guell, the “colony” was an unusual venture into social engineering and urban planning; again funded by Gaudi’s benefactor and friend Eusebi Güell.  Colonia Guell  is in many ways the blue collar polar opposite to the planned community that was to be Parc Guell, the latter being in the new sector of Barcelona and targeted for the very affluent.

The Colony is located outside of Barcelona and reached by train and, unlike much of Gaudi’s work,  it is not unduly cluttered with tourists like ourselves.  Quite the contrary, for  on arriving at the Colony we found ourselves in a ghost town.  When we arrived at the station we were 2 of only 4 passengers who had come to the colony.  Therefore, together we 4  followed the blue track that took us past the eerily quiet factory,  through a street of quiet houses and on to the Crypt and Church which are the Gaudi highlights of this small ghost town.  The detailing on the exterior of the crypt reminds me of a reptile and so similar to our own set of Iguana door pulls.  See if you agree:

Exterior of Colonia Guell Martin Pierce Hardware

Exterior of Colonia Guell
Martin Pierce Hardware

Iguana door pull by Martin Pierce Hardware

Iguana door pull by Martin Pierce Hardware

The colony was begun in 1890 at what would have been the peak of the industrial revolution that began in England. Guell was an industrialist; therefore, at the Colony his first building was not surprisingly the cotton textile mill and supporting buildings. The worker houses and the manager’s house together with a school house followed on the heels of the factory.  Finally, the church which was both the spiritual and visual center of the town. The Colony showcases Gaudi’s work and also the architecture of Joan Rubió, a disciple of Gaudi and whose CaL’Espinal is an interesting modernist house so named for the factory manager Mr. Espinal who lived there.

Colonia Guell Espinal house Martin Pierce Hardware

Colonia Guell Espinal house
Martin Pierce Hardware

The Crypt of the church  is an unusual and somewhat bizarre architectural feat and it is where Gaudi developed a lot of his engineering techniques that were later used in his masterpiece, Sagrada Familia.

As Wikipedia so puts it

“Gaudí’s design[edit]

The technique Gaudí used to design the church was to hang little bags of birdshot from strings. Gravity would pull these bags downwards, giving even weight distribution and stretching the strings to form a model structure, thus showing him the shapes and angles his pillars would need to be.

 

Colonia Guell  Martin Pierce Hardware

Colonia Guell
Martin Pierce Hardware

By photographing the model, then inverting the photograph, Gaudí could then see the model as it should look. A replica of his model for the crypt is in the Museum under the Sagrada Família in Barcelona.

This place was really spooky and also very sad.  You felt as if the lives of these workers were trapped inside the “majesty” of someone’s grand plan.

While the architecture was interesting we were pleased to return to Barcelona and the hustle and bustle of life.

To view other pieces in our collection of architectural hardware, visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

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Get to know your entry door hardware up close and personal—backplates

A front door is something we all have in common.  And while the appearance of our entry door hardware varies from building to building, they all have parts in common.  Let’s break it down and review the proper terminology and purpose of this very necessary hardware.

lizard multi point door lever from Martin Pierce Hardware

lizard multi point door lever from Martin Pierce Hardware

Back plate or to some, escutcheon: The plate to which a door handle, be it a lever or knob, is attached, making it possible to open the door. The back plate was often referred to in England and Europe as an escutcheon plate which tends to imply that it is more decorative.  The back plate not only is the mounting for the handle but it also covers up the “guts” of the lock in the door be it a tubular lock or mortise lock.

At Martin Pierce  our back plates are extremely decorative and very stylized.  They are designed to continue the artistic style of the handles.  With our lizard handles shown in the photo we designed a back plate to look like the bark of a tree; our Willow knob uses a circular back plate or rose in the form of overlapping willow leaves; the Hedgerow handle uses a back plate that has fretted sections at the top and bottom that are stylized tree branches.

Willow collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

Willow collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

Hedgerow Collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

Hedgerow Collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

Our entire collection of custom architectural hardware for both entry and interior doors can be seen at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fine examples of modernisme mosaic

A few weeks ago we traveled to Spain with the specific goal of visiting many of Antoni Gaudi’s works. Along the way we stumbled upon the works of another great name from the Modernisme period, Montaner.  We share parts of our story here.

One of the more remarkable aspects of the work of these two geniuses is their use of mosaic tile.  But not just any mosaic tile…in lieu of the more expected symmetrically cut glass, they both incorporate broken tile pieces into their designs.  These irregular pieces of tile and glass give their work an organic edge that we find so interesting and appealing, especially when juxtaposed with the exposed brick and ironwork of the buildings they design.

In this photo you can clearly see the mosaic pattern in the red background.

martin pierce montaner broken tile sample from barcelona

 

 

martin pierce montaner ceiling light and colorAnd, while this photo does not do justice to this remarkable domed ceiling, it does give you an idea of what to expect from Montaner i.e. exposed iron supports and curvilinear shapes as seen in the various patterns.

As we have shared, Martin Pierce continues to be inspired by the work of these two gentlemen as well as the Art Nouveau and other early 20th century art and architecture movements.  Following this very inspirational vacation I am looking forward to what the future holds for our custom hardware designs and sculpture.

For some inspiration of your own, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com to view our entire collection of architectural hardware.

 

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Montaner treasures in Barcelona

The first few weeks of October found us experiencing the vacation of a lifetime in Spain with the first half of this remarkable trip spent in Barcelona.

We traveled to Barcelona in homage to architect Antoni Gaudi who’s modernist art nouveau style continues to inspire and humble Martin. However, before we even saw our first Gaudi treasure we stumbled upon the work of another key architect in Catalan Modernisme,  Domenechi Montaner (1850-1923)

His Palau de la Musica Catalana  was located near where we stayed and we found it by chance. We  were so astounded by the exterior that we signed up for the guided tour and took this video during that visit.

The building is one of amazing color, texture and light. Decorated with natural themes often in the  form of applied ceramic and glass flowers and leaves, the style is so intense with color, movement and varied mediums that it is  almost like being inside a kaleidoscope.  I fear the impact must be overwhelming to those with subtle palettes.
If one looks at the tiered ceramic layers that lead to the stained glass roof one is reminded of the Victorian décor that we recently saw at the Simpson house in Santa Barbara.

Montaner’s style, while not as unrestrained as Gaudi, certainly shares Guadi’s sense of fun and sets both of their works apart from that of their contemporaries.

The Palau was built between 1905 and 1908 but more recently the façade has been extended to include a Petite Palau in 2004. The new addition continues Montaner’s theme of nature but with the clever use of red brick which, ironically, was being built during the same period when Martin began designing his Hedgerow collection.  I say this is ironic as both make reference to tree canopies; in Martin Pierce’s case it is the canopy that forms the grip for the passageway door handle.

Notice the similarity of the leaf motif set against the red brick to that of our Hedgerow Collection

Take note of the similarity of the leaf motif set against the red brick to that of our Hedgerow Collection show in the photo below

Hedgerow Collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

Hedgerow Collection from Martin Pierce Hardware

 

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The cool beauty of stainless steel hardware

We spend a lot of time talking about and sharing our collection of bronze hardware, and for good reason.  This warm metal is very popular because it works with almost any design style and is certain to please both your hospitality and residential clients.  While bronze is popular, stainless steel fixtures can have the same impact on projects, especially those done in a contemporary style.

We offer several stainless steel collections but, of course, custom hardware can be cast in the metal of your choice.

Sleek and modern

Our Ergo collection is not only sleek and modern but ergonomically designed to fit the hand comfortably, making it a perfect choice for hospitality and commercial projects.  The unique design is also ADA compliant.

Ergo wave pull in stainless steel finish Martin Pierce Hardware

Ergo wave pull in stainless steel finish
Martin Pierce Hardware

Texture and color

The architectural hardware pieces in our Morphic collection have a textural quality that is both beautiful and interesting.  A powder coated accent color is an option we debuted at the 2014 HD Expo, giving designers the ability to further customize the pieces for their clients.

Morphic cylindrical pull with a hot orange powder coated accent from Martin Pierce Hardware

Morphic cylindrical pull with a hot orange powder coated accent from Martin Pierce Hardware

Organic

A combination of modern and textural, our appropriately named Texture collection offers a little of both.  The contemporary wave pulls are suitable for both residential and commercial projects, and while the chiseled collection is not cast in stainless as are the other items we have shown, it will add a bit of rustic elegance to any door, drawer or cabinet.

Large rectangular pull from our Textured collection.  Martin Pierce Hardware

Large rectangular pull from our Textured collection. Martin Pierce Hardware

Bronze, brass, stainless or your own custom combination of metals—your choice of metal finishes for hardware can add a personalized detail to your next hospitality, residential or commercial project.

You can view our entire collection of stainless steel and other custom hardware items at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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