Things were going more than well for the industrialist Eusebi Güell, in the days when the young Gaudí worked for Martorell. The latter, a prestigious architect, who was offered the most important projects in the city, knew for sure before anyone else that his disciple was going to overtake them all in a very short time. Without any doubt.
Güell played an essential role in Antoni Gaudi’s career advancement; he fell in love with a display cabinet that his apprentice had designed for the Universal Exhibition of Paris, and since then, he started asking him for commissions. Over the years and the projects a strong friendship developed between both men and as sometimes happens with destiny, their names would also be linked in history thanks to the Park in which you find yourself, the first of the great works of Gaudí in Barcelona.
Güell Park was commissioned in the year 1900 and, even though it’s hard to believe, at the time of its inauguration it seems that this amazing creation was only liked by two people: the owner and the architect. Something understandable because it was a very modernist and daring style for the time, up to them such method was linked more to the decorative design of shops and stores, this way he achieved a display of shapes, colours and ideas that would directly place Gaudi’s immense talent in eternity. Nothing to do with fashion, trends or expiring dates. That’s how geniuses work.
Although the work is usually classified as modernist, the adjective is an understatement. From the iron forged dragon of the entrance gate to the beautiful lines inspired by nature that fill the enclosure, they are ideas of modernist taste and origin. But as soon as you walk through the park, you will find that breaks any pattern into small pieces and quickly slips away from any category other than the one reserved exclusively to Antoni Gaudí himself. That’s the way geniuses are.
The most emblematic image of Güell Park is that mosaic-covered bench in a salamander shape which also resembles an ouroboros: an ancient mythological dragon that swallows its tail and symbolises the infinity, the continuity of the universe in eternal struggle and creation.
The entrance to the Hypostyle Room, with its Dorian colonnade, will take you a couple of thousand years back; although its labyrinthine structure will lead you to an even more remote and primitive past, in which people prayed for protection against the imaginary and monstrous creatures of the earth.
Gaudí’s unleashed fantasy will make you wind between forms, at times bizarre and grotesque, other times harmonious and colourful, until you reach a small palace that seems more from a dream than the work of an architect.
And after, when you sit down to take a breath and recover from so many visual impressions put together, you will understand why this park is a World Heritage Site and why the name of Antoni Gaudí is so well known all over the world.