Saturday, November 20, 2010

A bright idea

While in Barcelona, I stayed at Le Meridien on La Rambla. In the lobby next to the elevators was a vase of lilies that were very peculiar; their color changed, pink to white to blue to yellow. Now how did they do that?
Up in the ceiling was a very regular looking little box hidden in the stair opening that threw a slowly changing point of colored light onto the arrangement; So slow that it was barely perceivable. I began to wonder, weren't those flowers pink this morning or am I going crazy? Just another bright idea, sometimes technology IS useful!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stunning shells

Another fascinating pair of objects from the decorative arts museum were these Victorian era (what is the spanish era equivalent?) shell bouquets. While these are relatively common, I had never seen any so colorful or intricate before!
This one in particular was stunning - an entire garden with maiden under a canopy of shell flowers under a glass dome! Sadly the lighting in the museum needs an upgrade and the picture isn't as clear as I had hoped for. Maybe some summer craft ideas for at the beach?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A decorative screen

Located just outside of the city center, the Museu de Arts Decoratives in the Palau Reial de Padralbes (seen below) is definitely worth the quick subway ride. The museum focuses on the decorative arts and interior design from Barcelona throughout history. The palace also contains a ceramic and a clothing museum, but I'll bring those to you at another date.Probably my favorite object in the museum was this dramatic decorative screen by Francesc d'Assis Gali. Gali was an artist and educator who practiced in an art school he founded in 1906 until his death in 1965 which produced such pupils as Juan Miro and Josep Artigas.The screen dates to 1929, a very important year as it turns out (especially for Gali) as it is the year of the Barcelona Universal Exhibition (think Barcelona Pavilion) of which he was the Artistic Advisor.The fair not only put Gali on the map internationally, but also Barcelona which has such a rich history of design. I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite items in this museum over the next few weeks -would love to hear what you think of them!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Main Post Office

One of my favorite things to see in Barcelona, which you won't find in many guidebooks, is the beaux arts styled main post office.Centrally located off the Barceloneta metro stop, just below the Born and the Gothic quarters and with views of Port Vell, plenty of people pass this building and assume it's a cathedral of sorts.
Yes, you are reading this correctly, this grand building is the post office!Since you'll probably be walking by numerous times a day during your stay, take a peek inside with me.The quiet entry vestibule is efficient but begins to prepare you for the main room beyond with the beautiful details of stone columns, bronze lanterns and a dentil'd cornice (a common Beaux arts design layout).I thought this stair, while beautiful, was perhaps a bit understated for such a grand building, but I suppose it's not meant to gain attention: guests not welcome in the offices upstairs!The piece de reisistance is the main postal room with beautifully frescoed ceiling.Now THIS is the place to mail your postcards home!In case you still don't believe me, it is labeled plain as day, Correos. The space is light filled thanks to the glass dome a few stories above.
Just another close up of the beautiful columns and that ceiling.
Tucked into a corner was a bit of history. I would assume Spanish mail isn't still delivered using these bicycles (but as slow as it is, it just may be!).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cabin fever

I spent the past weekend in a blissfully remote cabin in West Virginia. The scenery was so stunning I had to share it with you all!
As we were up in the mountains, fall is nearly over and the air is crisp with the anticipation of winter. I just love the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet and the smell of camp fires.
These are the views from the cabin where I spent most of my time napping; in between reading and munching on peanut m&m's with cups of tea for good measure!
You never know what you'll find down a lonely country road.
Unfortunately the weather was a bit chilly to be using the screen porch but the fireplace inside saw a lot of action!
We didn't even need to use the dinner bell, no one wandered very far.
Next time, we'll leave the light on for you! Tomorrow, back to much more glamorous locations in Barcelona.