When we walk through a city we normally look up to see the buildings and what surrounds you but what about looking down? A new phenomenon called selffeet has appeared, a selfie of your own feet but not only to show off about your new shoes but also to show those floors that we don't see in our daily basis.
When visitors come to Barcelona they are looking up to Sagrada Familia or looking at the sea in Barcelona beach but there is a lot more to see if you look down. Barcelona is known for the Modernism, Gaudí being one of the most known architects for that in the city and something not so known is that Barcelona is famous for its hydraulic tile floors that were relevant during the Catalan Modernism.
All floors deserve to be looked at, and as in Barcelona the hydraulic tiles are the star of floors with no doubt that we inherited from the Catalan Modernism. In Venice, for example, the marble floors. As you can imagine, the list of cities with incredible floors is extense but I will walk you through Barcelona!
Sebastian Erras, an artist and photographer has captured the beauty of Barcelona floors among other cities with its incredible shoes that appear perfect in every selffeet. I am sure than from now on when you visit a city you will look down as well, and you will be surprised to find mosaic patters, colourful tiles and floors, some geometric or flowery in monuments of interest such as Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya,
Sebastian shoes by Andrés Sendra designer, in my opinion, are part of the success of Barcelona floors project as they combine perfectly with the floors, elegant, clean and impeccable shoes to show the interesting tiles under your feet. You will find out that Sebastian has three pairs of shoes when he travels that show in their selffeets, a pair of blue and brown shoes that are in the majority of his pictures and there is another one that he uses in case it rains.
Hydraulic mosaic in Barcelona
As mentioned, hydraulic tile or hydraulic mosaic are an icon of Catalan Modernism and these decorative floor tiles that are made from pigmented cement have an incredible personality and rich colors that belong to the ornamentation of the house. You can see them everywhere around the city, in cafés, hotels, churches and in important monuments that you would visit not because of the tiles but because of the artistic interest.
The instagram rock stars on the hydraulic mosaic scene are Tile Addiction, an account fully dedicated to tiles and floors. In their web they have a map as well so you can see all the locations visited through the tiles. The have recently launched another project called Foodies Tiles which is the best of tiles and the best of Barcelona food porn, nice uh?
Many modernist buildings have incredible tiles in them, Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Montaner complement the building as colourful carpets. Casa Ametller has also incredible floors with Nolla mosaics that are a combination of square and triangle tiles.
The hydraulic tile is made with cement, a technology that at the time was fascinating by the architects as itis enough to let it dry instead of placing it in the oven to dry. The advantage of the hydraulic tiles is that they can be decorated, a huge plus for the modernists as they could add there the icons of Modernism such as swans, lizards and flowers. The drawings are applied in the tile being humid with a metallic mould full of pigments. The tiles are called hydraulic due to the use of water with the cement and because originally were made through a hydraulic press.
You don't need to go very far to find hydraulic tiles or modernist tiles in the city, right in Passeig de Gràcia you have the most famous ones called "panots", they are a simpler version of their brother hydraulic tile.
The tiles in Passeig de Gràcia have snails, sea stars, jellyfish and other marine creatures, it is being said that Gaudí also managed to cover up with the marine life in the tiles the face of the demon to express his masonic faith. This tiles designed by Gaudí were originally though to cover the floor of Casa Batlló, but due to some delays in the delivery they never ended up in Batlló's house. In 1971, the design was chosen to cover the most expensive avenue in the city, lucky us that we can see them while walking and shopping!
Barcelona floor map
The pictures of nice floors were just the beginning to start a series called Barcelona floors. This project has been culminated with an interactive map of Barcelona floors where you can check the different places in town to visit them.
The project has been a collaboration between the artist and photograph Sebastian Erras and Pixartprinting. The incredible mosaic patterns and colourful floors are now located in a map, another interesting route to discover Barcelona city.
All pictures with floor tiles are by the photographer Sebastian Erras